Timing belt inspection and replacement
Updated 10 Oct 2019
How Much is a Timing Belt?
Depending on your style of vehicle and whether you are replacing just the belt or a full kit, you could be looking anywhere from $500 up to $800+.
It is also good practice to replace the water pump if it runs off the timing belt. This can save you time on labour and can prevent expensive repairs further down the track.
The timing belt is a major component of the modern combustion engine.
It’s designed to keep the camshaft and crankshaft timing in check, which allows the engine to run at maximum performance.
A timing belt is usually made of a composite of rubber and other materials which is located behind plastic protective covers at the front of the engine.
The timing belt, pulleys and tensioner that the belt runs on require replacement at specific manufacturer intervals.
Failure to do so can lead to catastrophic engine failure.
The tensioner applies pressure to the belt ensuring it is kept at the correct tension and the idler pulleys allow the belt to stay in correct alignment.
On some vehicles, the water pump also runs off the timing belt, so it is important to inspect and replace if it is leaking or noisy.
Common Timing Belt Symptoms
• Abnormal squeaking/ rattling noise from engine bay
• Burning smell from engine
Common Timing Belt Issues
Noisy Idler pulleys/ tensioner
The timing belt uses idler pulleys and a tensioner to keep tension on the belt, this allows the belt to stay in correct alignment.
These units are usually sealed bearings – which cannot be lubricated and become noisy when they wear out.
Timing Belt stretch
If the timing belt is not replaced at correct intervals, the belt may stretch. This will make the vehicle harder to start and reduce engine performance.
Why is Replacing the Timing Belt important?
The timing belt controls the synchronisation between the crankshaft and camshaft/s. If it is not replaced at the recommended intervals, it can slip, stretch or break – causing major engine damage.
Even if you are not travelling the recommended distance, the timing belt, tensioner and idlers still need to be changed by yearly intervals as the rubber and other components can break down and cause failure.
Timing Belt Inspection:
Our mechanics will run the engine, listen for any abnormal noises, and inspect under the vehicle for any leaks. They will then remove the top timing belt cover to inspect the belt and any other components, which the mechanics will then quote on replacement, if required.
Timing Belt Replacement:
If the timing belt requires replacing, our mechanics will:
• Remove accessories to gain access to the timing belt covers
• Remove and clean the covers, remove the timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys
• Inspect and replace the water pump (if required)
• Replace the timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys.
• Reinstall all removed components
• Run engine to ensure correct operation, and top up and bleed the cooling system, as required.
All data gathered in November 2016.
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.