Most internal combustion engines manufactured today use a timing belt (a cogged belt) or timing chain to control the timing of engine valves opening and closing. This synchronization of the valves is essential for your engine to run smoothly. Timing chains are less common than timing belts. A timing chain is typically good for the life of the engine (200,000 miles or more), and rarely needs replacement.
Timing Belts do need to be changed at the manufacturers recommended interval (typically every 90,000 – 105,000 miles). When the timing belt is changed your vehicle might also require new oil seals, idler bearings, tensioners and pulleys. Additionally, if the water pump is driven by the timing belt the water pump is usually changed at the same time because you have already paid to access the timing belt and there is little additional labor to change the water pump. If the water pump were not changed and failed 5,000 miles later, you would have to pay a lot of labor costs to access and change the water pump.
If you do not change the timing belts when recommended and it breaks or slips you will most likely damage the engine and may damage pistons or bend valves. This engine damage will greatly increase your car repair cost. Typical costs for replacing a timing belt range from $400-$900 depending on difficulty of access, cost of the parts, and what besides the timing belt needs to be replaced. Costs for repairs after the timing belt has broken usually exceed $2000, and we have seen them over $4000 because the engine needs to be replaced. When calling for estimates make sure you know what is included in the quote. Less reputable repair shops may try to lowball the quote by only pricing a timing belt change and then telling you after they have started work that the water pump, oil seals, idler bearings, and tensioner also need replacement. A more reputable auto repair shop (like Wayne’s Automotive Center) will provide a complete estimate up front that includes these costs.
Frequently the vehicle tune up is recommended at the same interval as the timing belt. Consequently, the 90,000 mile service can be quite costly and is usually in the $900-$1500 range for the tune up and timing belt change together.
If you are looking for Auto Repair Reno NV, please contact us at Wayne’s Automotive Center (775) 356-6996.