You Can Change Your Car’s Timing Belt

So, how is your car’s timing belt doing? Have you changed it lately? If, ever? If not, you must make certain that the car hasn’t been driven too many miles or you could be driving on borrowed time. Typically, a timing belt will last anywhere from about 60,000 miles to just over 100,000 miles; your owner’s manual will spell that information out for you. A failed part can occur at any time, but if you are on top of things you can avoid being left stranded.

A timing belt is used to turn the camshaft at precisely half the speed as the crankshaft. The camshaft causes the intake and exhaust valves to open and shut in time with the pistons as they move up and down in the cylinders. When the belt breaks, you aren’t going anywhere as the engine can no longer run. In some cases a belt failure could damage or even ruin a car’s engine. Unfortunately, too many motorists do not replace this important part until it has broken. This can be a real problem when you are miles away from the nearest help!

There is no absolute certain way to check that a part has worn out. Instead, changing it at prescribed intervals will lessen the chance that it will break before it is replaced. In addition, many mechanics advise changing the water pump at the same time as the belt – even if it hasn’t failed – as most of the labor related to replacing a water pump has already been accomplished when changing the belt. This is your call as a water pump could last as long as your car or it could fail at some future point. If the latter, you could be faced with a big repair bill in addition to the inconvenience of having your car out of commission for several days.

Many weekend mechanics feel comfortable enough to replace their car’s timing belt themselves. With a trusty Chilton or Haynes auto maintenance and repair manual by your side you can pop the hood and remove and replace the part in no time. Shop via a reputable online wholesaler to compare your replacement part options and to find a product that is right for you. Save a bundle of money by doing the work yourself and avoid the hassles and expense of traveling to your dealer’s repair shop.

Car Care 101 – Timing Belt Replacement Cost

Car owners should always schedule timing belt replacement since this auto part is hard to inspect visually. Moreover, car owners do not want to incur too much spending on timing belt replacement cost. For a scheduled replacement, car owners should look for a mechanic prior to needing one. It is much better to locate a mechanic whom one can trust before servicing is needed rather than settle with someone unfamiliar during the time of need. If a car owner does not have a mechanic, it is best to look for those who are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

The typical timing belt replacement cost ranges from $270 to $750. The cost varies on two common factors including the hourly labor rate and how much labor is involved, which is based on the maker of the vehicle. The replacement usually takes about 2 to 6 hours. This is to say that the average labor rate starts from $40 per hour in areas with low cost of living. On the other hand, labor rates in most urban areas range from $110 to $150 an hour specifically for Mercedes and BMW vehicles.

Additional timing belt replacement cost is usually charged when the owner asks mechanics to do other maintenance work including water pump replacement. To avoid additional costs, it is always best to consult the car manual to know if the manufacturer suggests the replacement of other parts at the same time. In the event that the car manual is lost, it is advisable to check on the website of the manufacturer.

Camry – Solara 4cyl Timing Belt and Waterpump Replacement

Many of today’s drivers own vehicles that have engines driven by timing belts. All of these cars have recommended replacement intervals for those belts. Some manufacturers recommendations range between 60,000 to 105,000 miles before t-belt replacement is due. For most of those drivers a timing belt replacement is an expense that sneaks up on them like a crazy ex-girlfriend at their job. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

While I was working for Toyota as a mechanic I learned to really enjoy doing t-belt replacements on 4 Cylinder Camry’s and Solara’s. In the automotive service business we called it gravy work, because we could do them so quick and make good money on the job. The reason that we were able to do them so quick was first the repetition, but next it still boils down to how easy they really were to replace.

All 4 cylinder Camry’s and Solara’s made on or before the 2001 year model have timing belts that drive a non-interference motor. There are two different types of motors interference and non-interference. An interference motor will likely bend valves and cause major engine damage if its belt or chain is to break or be installed improperly. This is the exact opposite for a non-interference motor, in which, you are fairly unlikely to bend valves or cause damage when replacing your timing belt on a Camry or Solara 4 Cylinder Engine.

A far less chance of causing engine damage is what makes a Camry or Solara 4 Cylinder such an incredible learning tool. Think about how accomplished you would feel if you were able to repair you own car and save 300-500 bucks.

When and Why to Replace Timing Belts

There are so many belts in a car engine, it is hard to keep up with them all. One of the most important belts in the engine is the timing belt. Without this belt operating properly, it can throw off the entire operation of the engine. It’s purpose is to turn the camshafts exactly half as fast as the crankshaft. Some manufacturers have toyed with a chain instead of a belt. The chain is preferred by many owners because it never needs to be replaced. The only problem with the chain is he noise it creates. For this reason, many manufacturers opt for the belt and ask you to replace it periodically.

How often timing belts need to be replaced will depend on the type of engine. Some belts will only turn one camshaft, while others may turn as many as four. The more camshafts the belt has to move, the quicker it will wear out. The standard school of thought is to replace the belt between 60,000 miles and 105,000 miles. Many people like to put this off beyond this time period because of the expense involved. This is a mistake as not replacing the belt can lead to several other mechanical nightmares which will cost far more to repair. Replacing the timing belt is one of those precautionary measures you do not want to say later on that you wish you would have just gone ahead with. Pay a little now to save a lot later.

Let’s say you do not replace your timing belt when it is recommended, or simply did not know that you needed to. This will sometimes happen to people who buy a used car. The previous owner will have good maintenance records, but neglect to tell you the car is well past needing a timing belt. Signs of a bad belt include change in the engine’s performance. This includes such things as stalls, backfires or running roughly with a lot of vibration. Squealing noises and smoke are two other obvious signs you are having a problem with a belt in your engine. It is recommended you take the car in immediately to an expert before the problem gets worse.

Keep in mind when replacing timing belts, many mechanics will offer to replace your water pump. This is generally a precautionary measure. Most water pumps last the life of the car without any problems. This does not meas they are exempt from malfunctioning. The reason the mechanic will offer this service is because with the belt off, replacing the pump is very simple. They are not trying to take you for a lot of money as they will not be able to charge you much for labor. A good idea here is to simply ask the mechanic what the history is on the water pump in your model car. If the water pump generally does not fail, it is a procedure you can go without.

Those with higher performance cars may want to entertain after market timing belts. These belts are made to handle a little more abuse than the average timing belt. While they cannot handle the abuse a race car driver will put on the belt, it will handle a higher revving engine better. This is because the belt is more reinforced than the average belt. You will pay more for the part, but you will be able to enjoy the knowledge that your belt is secure.