As your car begins to age and the miles start accumulat […]
As your car begins to age and the miles start accumulating on the odometer, eventually your trusted auto repair mechanic will begin recommending that you consider replacing the Rubber Timing Belt. This is a standard maintenance procedure with later mileage cars that you definitely don't want to skip. Replacing the belt will cost a few hundred dollars, but if it breaks, it can cause thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary damage to your engine.
When Should the Timing Belt Be Replaced?
Manufacturers employ various schedules and measures for timing belt replacement, but the rule of thumb is 60,000 miles, or 5 years, whichever comes first.
Is My Engine Safe If My Timing Belt Snaps?
Well, that depends. There are two types of engine timing configurations: interference, and non-interference.
An interference type engine means that the valve's stroke and piston's stroke take up the same space in the cylinder, so the timing belt essentially keeps them from smashing into each other, since they do it at different times. If the timing belt snaps, they run into each other, causing bent valves (most common), cylinder head or camshaft damage, and possibly piston and cylinder wall damage. While it is possible that no damage could occur from a snapped belt on an interference engine, such a case is unlikely.
In a non-interference engine, the pistons and valves don't occupy the same space, so if the timing belt snaps, no valve or cylinder damage occurs. You just pop a new belt on, and the engine should theoretically drive normally.
How Much Does It Cost To Change My Timing Belt?
Timing belt services can be costly on some cars, ranging into the thousands of dollars. A typical job would be around $450. If you do it yourself on a car that is relatively forgiving, the parts cost for good quality components would be around $250 or less, so taking a day and doing it yourself would be well worth it.