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How to Replace a Automotivedrivingbelt Timing Belt


The timing belt is located at the front of most engines […]

The timing belt is located at the front of most engines, which may not necessarily mean the front of the vehicle. On older, rear-wheel-drive vehicles and newer trucks and luxury cars, the timing belt can usually be found just behind the radiator fan that is toward the front of the vehicle. However, on newer, front-wheel-drive models, the engine sits sideways in the engine compartment, so the timing belt will be located on the side. On older vehicles and newer V8 models, the timing belt is actually a chain, and on smaller vehicles it is a rubber belt, much like the V-belts that you find on alternators or power steering components.

You can change the timing belt on your own while it is best to change it with a mechanic because it is an extensive process. The crank and cam pulleys must be removed, as well as the timing cover. Usually, the radiator fan (if present) and the radiator is best removed as well. There are dots painted on both the cam and crankshaft gears, which should be aligned before placing the new belt or chain on the vehicle. This gives a good base point for the timing, and fine-tuning adjustments can be done with the motor running. Inspect both the gears to make sure nothing broke when the timing belt let loose, as well. An engine with no timing belt will not run, so it is necessary to replace a broken one before driving the vehicle.

When it comes to the timing belt, dealers and mechanics recommend replacement every 50,000 to 60,000 miles for most cars, while manufacturers advise replacement every 80,000 to 100,000 miles. Different types of vehicle have different price, and the average cost of labor in your region and additional issues that may pop up when your mechanic gets under the hood.

Average Cost

According to, the cost of timing belt replacement varies between $250 and $750, depending the make and model of the car as well as the price of the labor. To offset any sticker shock, it's best to discuss cost in any initial consultations with your mechanic. In addition to pricing the part, get a specific estimate of labor costs. Ask for a written estimate of the cost. Be aware that an estimate is just that and a reputable mechanic will provide a range of time depending on the make of the vehicle.


When it comes to timing belt replacement (and any other form of auto repair), the labor drives the price of the repair. It will cost two to six hours to replace a timing belt which relies on the skill of the mechanic, the types of the vehicle and any additional existing problems. In regions where the cost of living is fairly low, labor runs about $40 per hour, while labor at high-end dealerships in metropolitan areas runs between $110 and $150 per hour. In the San Francisco area, the average repair shop quotes $55 to $80 per hour, while dealerships, on average, quote $80 to $90 per hour.

Replace a Timing Belt

Locate the timing belt in your car. The timing belt has teeth, which differentiates it from other belts in the car which are smooth on both sides. It synchronizes the camshaft which opens and shuts the valves at the top of your engine with the crankshaft which is turned by the explosions in the chambers moving the pistons at the bottom of the engine.

Follow the timing belt around until you come to the tensioner. The tensioner is a pulley that is only for applying tension to the belt. It is on the smooth side of the belt. If you have trouble identifying it, look at the side of the pulley for the tension mark.

Loosen the pulley so that timing belt loosens. Some pulleys adjust by turning and some require you to loosen an adjustment bolt with a wrench.

Unbolt the tensioner pulley from its mount with a wrench and replace it with the new tensioner pulley.

Adjust the timing belt back into its proper place using the tension mark on the pulley and crank the belt around so it does not jump teeth. You should know that the timing belt falls into the suitable range on the Timing Belt Company.