Cost of Timing Belt Replacement: 2023 Ultimate Guide
The timing belt is so important to the way your engine works that if it breaks, it can be very bad. Your car won’t start all of a sudden, and the engine inside is probably also broken. It’s one of those parts where skipping maintenance would definitely lead to a catastrophic failure and a higher cost, even though replacing it is more painful than routine maintenance. Do you want to know the timing belt replacement cost and more? Let’s go!
A smaller car’s timing belt replacement can cost between $300 and $500, while a larger SUV or minivan will cost around $700. On the high end, you might have to shell out over $1,000 to get your timing belt serviced. Timing belts should typically be replaced every 75,000 miles or 5 years, but check your owner’s handbook for precise guidelines.
The information you need to know about timing belts, their purpose, and how to keep track of their replacement is provided below.
The Purpose of a Timing Belt
If you’re familiar with the term “timing chain,” a timing belt and chain serve the same purpose. They are in charge of making sure that the intake and exhaust valves open and close at the right times and that the engine’s mechanical timing is kept. Modern engines have numerous valves per cylinder, often as many as five. To work well, the pistons must move with perfect accuracy and the valves must open at just the right time.
The timing belt (or chain) is positioned beneath the timing cover, near the front of the motor. The belt has nylon cords for reinforcement and is made of premium rubber. As the crankshaft of the engine turns, this belt turns the camshafts (and often the water pump) to keep the timing perfect. It is precisely tensioned.
If a timing belt is not put on correctly, the valves will open at the wrong time, or even worse, the belt could break. Since most engines are built with no space between the piston top and the valves, this frequently results in the piston striking one or more valves in the cylinder head, bending the valves, and inflicting significant damage.
Since several parts of the engine have to be taken off to get to the belt, most of the cost goes to labor. Even though a normal timing belt only costs $25–$50, the repair takes many hours. Timing belt replacement labor costs can range from $200 to $900. The timing belt should be changed by a skilled mechanic because it is a complicated job that requires taking apart the engine to remove the old belt.
What Signs Point to a Faulty Timing Belt?
A timing belt failure can cause a variety of symptoms. But you should keep in mind that timing belts and chains need to be changed at regular times that the car manufacturer tells you about. This is important because the timing belt could snap at any time, causing damage that could cost a lot of money to fix.
Timing belts in modern cars typically last up to 100,000 kilometers. Given how time-consuming it might be to reach the compartment, replacing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt is advised. If you suffer any of the following symptoms but have not yet reached the timing belt change threshold, you should have it checked as soon as possible.
1- Sound of the engine ticking
If the engine ticks, it could mean that the timing belt is wearing out and needs to be replaced. The ticking could be caused by a lack of oil in the lubrication system or not enough pressure on the oil. So, if you hear the engine ticking, check to see if there are any oil leaks and that all the fluids in the car are full.
2- A Misfiring Engine
It makes sense that a faulty timing belt could result in desynchronization and misfires because the timing belt is crucial in keeping the engine’s power-generating mechanism in sync. Numerous other problems can also be the source of this symptom. Still, it’s important to figure out what’s wrong quickly so that the engine doesn’t get damaged more than it needs to.
3- Significant exhaust smoke
It is typical to see vapor flowing from the exhaust during the winter. But if you see a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust, that could mean that the timing belt is broken.
This may occur if the exhaust valves operate erratically, causing anomalous exhaust emissions.
4- No power to the engine
Your timing belt may be faulty if you try to start your automobile but all you hear is clicking. The starter makes a clicking noise, but the engine will not turn over because the timing belt is broken. Your automobile might not start for other reasons as well. The problem is probably with something else if the mileage on the odometer is less than the timing belt’s recommended servicing period.
5- Valve and/or Piston Damage
Damage to the pistons or valves is a hazardous side effect. If this happens, it will be too late to do anything other than spend money on pricey component repairs. When a piston strikes closed valves with full power due to a malfunctioning timing belt, both the valves and the pistons are damaged.
This could happen while driving, which can be frightful and dangerous. So, it’s important to follow the service schedule and change the timing belt when it’s time.
Including the timing belt replacement, this issue will cost many thousands of dollars to fix. The possibility of having to scrap the entire engine is also very probable.
Costs of Replacing a Timing Belt for Various Vehicles
Sadly, the majority of timing belt replacement jobs are expensive. Depending on a few important parameters, they can range from $500 to $2000 or more:
- Model of the vehicle
- Labor costs
- Replacement parts
Maintaining older or more common automobiles is generally less expensive, particularly when changing the timing belt. For instance, a 2005 Volvo XC70 might cost less than $600, whereas a 2014 VW Jetta will probably cost more than $1,000.
Timing belt replacement costs are also affected by the amount of work that needs to be done. Due to limited access, many modern engines don’t fit very well in their engine bays. This makes this job very hard.
The cambelt assembly is located right at the front of some engines, such as those in Nissan’s RB line, but many automobiles, especially those with front-wheel drive, have transverse engines. Because of this, the cam cover is often pressed up against other parts on the driver’s side of the motor. Specialty and luxury cars are often more difficult to get to, especially if they have big engines. These vehicles frequently need a professional.
Timing Belt Replacement Pricing for Various Cars
|Cars||Estimate||Parts Cost||Labor Cost|
|2013 Volkswagen Passat||$902||$464.73||$436.95|
|2009 Dodge Nitro||$598||$304.02||$294.46|
|2010 Volvo V50||$577||$263.47||$313.46|
|2007 Lexus GS430||$813||$376.09||$436.95|
|2012 Acura TSX||$717||$337.15||$379.96|
How Much Does a Timing Belt Replacement Cost?
Depending on your car, replacing your timing belt will be expensive and time-consuming. Timing belt replacement often costs between $500 and $1,000 before it breaks. It may cost up to $2,000 or more to wait until the timing belt breaks. The process should be stopped as quickly as possible if additional damage develops.
Most timing belt packages come with the belt itself, idler pulleys, and a tensioner. The work will be finished when all of these parts have been replaced. Typically, a timing belt set costs between $100 and $350.
It typically costs between $400 and $1,000 to repair a timing belt, which takes 3–5 hours. A belt change may not be all you need. Although it might be less expensive, the likelihood of further failure increases.
1. Costs Could Rise
Timing belt service involves more than just changing the timing belt. Contrary to popular belief, this procedure involves more than just a belt adjustment. Tensioners and idler pulleys hold a timing belt in place. Both of these parts have bearings and can break.
In many cars, timing belts also power the water pump. It makes perfect sense to switch the unit simultaneously with changing the water pump because the work to expose the pump is already being done.
The worst-case scenario is paying for a timing belt service but choosing not to spend the extra $100 on a replacement water pump, only to discover six months later that the water pump is leaking and that everything needs to be changed once more.
2. The Cost of Doing it Yourself
If you choose to handle the work yourself, you should meticulously follow each disassembly and reassembly phase and conduct as much research as you can. Don’t be daunted by the possibility that you will need to utilize a specialized tool when installing a timing belt. Even though these tools are easy to get to, many of them are made for a certain type of vehicle, so there may not be a lot of choices.
There are numerous alternative techniques, many of which do not involve any tools, that can be found online to keep the camshafts correctly positioned throughout the installation of the new belt. Once the new belt has been manually attached to the engine, turn the engine slowly and look at the belt alignment to make sure it is properly tightened.
Stop whenever there is opposition. Verify the alignment again. Failure of the timing belt is a serious issue, and the damage is much worse. Now, either the cylinder head must be removed, the valves must be changed, or a new cylinder head must be manufactured. This increased the $400–$1,000 timing belt repair to $3,000–$5,000 instead. The expense of fixing a broken timing belt often exceeds the car’s value.
What Elements Influence the Price of a New Timing Belt?
1- Cost of the Parts
The prices shown above are labor-only costs for replacing a timing belt. The cost of changing a timing belt will depend on the parts’ cost.
2- Emergency Assistance
An urgent or emergency appointment will typically cost more than a routine one. The cost of emergency services and mobile mechanics takes into account the travel time and distance to your location as well as the hourly fee for those services. The costs associated with replacing a timing belt can increase on weekends and holidays.
3- Additional Problems or Substitute Components
If your mechanic finds more damage or problems that you didn’t know about because of a broken or broken-down timing belt, your costs will go up. Due to excessive mileage, timing belts nearly always require replacement. By the time you need to replace it, other parts around it will have to be changed. Most mechanics advise changing your timing belt and water pump at the same time. Make sure to include the expense of replacing the water pump and timing belt in your budget.
How do Mechanics Replace the Timing Belt?
Because there are different kinds of engines, the process for replacing them is also different, but in general, it goes like this:
- The battery ground cable should be disconnected.
- When the engine is cold, position the crankshaft so that the first piston is on the compression stroke. Remove the crankshaft pulley.
- Remove all items that would make removing the timing belt covers difficult.
- Dispose of the timing belt covers. As necessary, lock the camshafts, and note where the timing marks are on the camshaft. Remove the idler pulleys and timing belt tensioner. Take off the timing belt.
- Replace the water pump if necessary at this time, but drain the cooling system first. If changing the water pump is the only way to access the thermostat for the engine cooling system, the thermostat should also be changed.
- When putting on a new timing belt, all of the above steps must be done exactly backwards. This is to make sure that the camshaft, crankshaft, and balance shaft are all perfectly aligned when the tensioner is set.
- After the installation is complete, the engine crankshaft is manually rotated 720 degrees to verify that the timing marks on the crankshaft and camshafts are in the right place.
- The car is put through a road test to ensure it is operating normally, and a service sticker is then applied to the engine to record the miles and the date the belt was changed.
Brand of Timing Belt Kit (OEM or Aftermarket)
Whether you choose an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) timing belt system or an aftermarket one will depend on your budget, how old and what kind of car you have, and your own preferences.
OEM timing belt kits are made by the same company that made the original parts for your car, so they meet the same standards as the original parts.
Even though they are often more expensive than aftermarket parts, they fit better and give you the peace of mind that comes with using parts made by the car’s original maker.
A variety of makes and models are supported by aftermarket timing belt kits, which are produced by businesses other than the original equipment manufacturer. They provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive OEM parts and are frequently less expensive than OEM parts. However, aftermarket parts might not be as dependable as OEM parts, and their quality can vary.
The choice between an OEM timing belt kit and an aftermarket one is ultimately a personal one that depends on your needs and your budget. It’s crucial to do your homework and pick a reliable company that sells premium items at a reasonable cost.
Listed below are a few instances of timing belt kits you can find on Amazon:
- Gates TCKWP284 Engine Timing Belt Kit with Water Pump: This aftermarket timing belt set is made by the renowned automobile brand Gates. It has a water pump, idler pulleys, an idler belt tensioner, and a timing belt.
- Dayco 5060860 Timing Belt Kit: This Dayco aftermarket timing belt kit comes with a timing belt, tensioner, and idler pulley.
- Bando 6PK2315 Serpentine Belt: This timing belt package from Bando comes with a serpentine belt, a tensioner, and an idler pulley.
- Continental Elite 49363 Engine Timing Belt System with Water Pump: A timing belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, and a water pump are included in this aftermarket timing belt kit from Continental.
Tips for Creating an Accurate Estimate before you begin
- Be prepared to spend a lot of money on the servicing by getting at least two or three quotes from qualified local auto repair shops.
- To replace a timing belt on most vehicles, you should plan on spending four to six hours of labor. To be safe, you should budget about $1000 for most timing belt repairs.
- Know what is offered as part of the usual service. For instance, does the shop’s pricing include the water pump, tensioners, and seals, or is it just for changing the timing belt?
What happens if a Timing Belt is not replaced?
The consequences of not replacing your timing belt could be severe. The timing belt is in charge of synchronizing the engine’s pistons and valves. The engine will sustain severe damage if the timing belt snaps as a result of the collision between the pistons and valves.
It can be expensive to fix this kind of damage, and in some cases, the engine may need to be replaced entirely. If you don’t replace your timing belt, you might have to pay for expensive repairs and worry about your safety. Your car could stall in traffic or lose power while you’re driving due to a damaged timing belt, endangering you and other drivers.
Because of these things, it’s important to change your timing belt when the manufacturer says to. Timing belt replacement is typically a rather inexpensive repair, and preventing more severe engine damage can save you a lot of money over time.
FAQs On Timing Belt Replacement Costs
Can you drive a vehicle with a damaged timing belt?
No, if the timing belt snaps while you’re driving, it might seriously harm the engine. The timing belt keeps the engine’s valves and pistons in synchronization; if it snaps, the valves will no longer be in synchronization and will begin to clash with the pistons. The valves will be bent or broken as a result, seriously harming your engine. A damaged timing belt can entirely destroy an engine.
Does the timing belt give off any notice before it breaks?
No, your engine will certainly suffer harm when the timing belt suddenly snaps. Your dashboard may occasionally display a check engine light when there is a problem with the camshaft timing as a result of a damaged timing belt, but most of the time, the engine will just snap and seize. Replace a timing belt if you think it might be damaged.
How durable are timing belts in reality?
The lifespan of a timing belt varies according to the make, model, and manufacturer and is not defined by mileage or age. While some timing belts survive up to 150,000 miles, others need to be replaced after 40,000 miles. When replacing the timing belt, don’t go over a certain number of miles or years; check your car’s service manual for the schedule.
What occurs when your timing belt malfunctions?
Your engine will probably fail if your timing belt snaps. The timing belt is in charge of making sure that the valves on the engine open and close at the proper times. Valve and piston collisions caused by timing belt failure can seriously harm an engine. A damaged timing belt frequently results in the engine completely seizing up.
Is a Timing Belt the same as a serpentine belt?
No, your car has two separate belts: a timing belt and a serpentine belt. Consequently, they serve a variety of purposes. Only a timing belt can synchronize the camshaft’s and crankshaft’s rotation, guaranteeing that they are operating simultaneously. While this happens, a serpentine belt uses some of the engine’s power to drive motor-driven parts.
The air conditioner, water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and many other parts of your vehicle depend on the serpentine belt and the power from your engine. Given that they are both put in the same place, are rubberized belts, and both loop around pulleys and gears, it is possible to confuse the timing belt with the serpentine belt.
Timing Belt Replacement Cost: Final Verdict
Following the recommended service period set forth by your vehicle manufacturer will ensure that the timing belt is always changed before symptoms manifest. Timing belt failure could occur earlier than anticipated. If that happens, it’s critical to identify the signs and fix the issue as quickly as possible.
Engine misfiring, a ticking sound coming from the engine compartment, and excessive exhaust smoke are signs that a timing belt may fail. Some cars use timing chains instead of timing belts, which operate on the same principles but typically last longer.
An exceptionally dangerous situation caused by a damaged timing belt could cost several thousand dollars to fix. Timing is everything when changing the timing belt. The labor cost is very high, despite the fact that timing belts are not very expensive. Additional parts will cost between $500 and $1000 to replace.