Timing Belts For Sale

An internal combustion engine contains a number of parts that move and spin at tremendous speeds. In order for the engine to run properly, these moving components must be synchronized, much like the gears in a clock. The job of synchronization falls on the timing belt, and if the timing belt fails, serious damage to your engine can result.

Unlike the belts that drive your alternator or air conditioning compressor, the timing belt is not visible upon opening up the hood. It is located behind the accessory belts, guarded by plastic or metal covers. As such, accessing the timing belt usually requires quite a bit of time and disassembly. The typical timing belt requires that you remove, at a minimum, one of the front tires, the crankshaft pulley, the accessory drive belts, and the protective cover or covers. It is also common to have to remove engine mounts, the valve cover or covers, some of the belt-driven accessories, the air box, and/or other components as well. This is why it costs so much to have the job done at a garage. At $75.00 per hour for labor, removing all of this stuff and putting it all back into place once the new belt is on can put a comma in your repair bill. This is also why changing the timing belt yourself can save you so much money, because the lion’s share of the cost is labor.

Timing belt replacement intervals vary from vehicle to vehicle. The standard used to be every 60,000 miles. However, improvements in technology and in belt materials have extended the change interval on some vehicles to as much as 90,000 miles or more. Check your owner’s manual or a repair manual to find out when you should change your timing belt. And before you tackle changing the timing belt on your car, truck or van, there are a couple of very important things to keep in mind: timing marks and the full parts list.

Concerning timing marks, you need to take extra special care to ensure they are properly lined up when you put the new belt on. The timing marks are what tell you that the pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, balance shaft, valves, and all of the other parts are properly lined up. If these marks are off, you run the risk of seriously damaging the engine when you try to start the car. If this statement intimidates you, make sure you have a repair manual handy that details a timing belt replacement for your particular vehicle. Also, each vehicle manufacturer has a different way of marking their timing gears, so having a manual handy can save you a lot of guesswork. And this is not an area where you want to be guessing. If you need a repair manual, you can order one from Pro Auto USA at the same time you order the rest of the parts you need.

As far as required parts go, there is more to the list than just the timing belt itself. The list of required parts varies from vehicle to vehicle. At a minimum you will need to replace the timing belt, the timing belt tensioner pulley, and the idler pulley (if equipped). Some vehicles have a second belt that drives a balance shaft, too. Depending on your vehicle, there may be other parts that you need, too. For example, most 4-cylinder Hondas require that the valve cover be removed to gain access to the top timing cover, so you would need the valve cover gasket set. The professionals at Pro Auto USA will be able to help you if you aren’t sure what parts you need.

In addition to the required parts, there are certain parts that should be changed in conjunction with the timing belt. The most common one is the water pump. The most often voiced issue with this is that the water pump is probably working just fine. So why replace it? On many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the timing belt, and changing the water pump requires just as much labor as changing the timing belt. Changing both at the same time, however, only takes a few extra minutes plus the cost of the pump and coolant. The rationale is that once you change the timing belt, you probably won’t get that far into your engine again for another 60,000 to 90,000 miles, at which point your water pump will be well past its expected operational service life. A leaky or bad water pump can cause a timing belt to fail without warning, potentially causing well over $1,000.00 in engine damage. So while it may seem unnecessary or premature to change out a “perfectly good” water pump, the extra cost and time is minimal and can save you a lot of money later on. And don’t forget the coolant and thermostat while you are at it.

Besides the water pump, look at the other components you will have to remove or manipulate and see if now would be a good time to fix or replace them. Power steering pumps can be difficult to get to sometimes, so if it has to come off anyway, then there is no better time to fix or replace it if it is leaking. And since the accessory drive belts have to come off anyway, swapping them out if they need it is a no-brainer.

Changing a timing belt is a pretty involved process, and if you are unfamiliar with the task, it can seem daunting to say the least. The up side is that there is very little technical savvy required; most of the job is simply unbolting and reattaching parts. And where there are technical specifics, a good repair manual can be your best friend. By changing the timing belt yourself you can save hundreds of dollars in labor costs. So if you’re ready, let us show you which parts you need. And if you need a repair manual, we can get that for you, too.