The timing belt is the element that transmits the circular movement of the crankshaft towards the camshaft, through which the intake and exhaust valves are actuated.
If you have a car, you have to take care of it like never before, but for this, you must know its possible basic problems. Timing belt symptoms are very common in your car’s engine, affecting your displacement. You have to know everything about this little rubber that opens and closes the valves in your car’s engine.
Timing belt problems can be due to wear or even poor quality material. You can either replace the timing belt yourself or ask a professional mechanic for help. It is time for you to learn a little about this belt’s function, the symptoms to replace it, and the costs of doing so.
What would a timing belt be on my vehicle?
Your vehicle has many belts on the engine that keep it running, and the timing belt is one of them. You may have other belts on your car engines, such as the steering belt, serpentine belt, drive belt, and alternator belt. These belts are distributed throughout the engine’s length and width and tend to change in size and hardness.
The timing belt belongs to that group of belts but responsible for opening and closing the engine’s valves. This belt is one of the most exposed in the engine and the one that usually gets damaged. You can invest a good deal of money by replacing the timing belt in your vehicle.
With the timing belt, your engine will control the timing between the camshafts and the crankshaft. This belt system has been replaced in current vehicles that give you a stronger chain. If you have a vehicle from the past decade, you will surely have a timing belt on the engine.
Where do I find the timing belt?
To locate the timing belt, you will only have to open the hood of your vehicle. When you open the engine compartment, you should look for a rubber strap under the cam cover. The timing belt will also be in the front of your vehicle, having a large size.
Timing belt functions
Before you learn about timing belt replacement cost, you should know how useful it is. The timing belt would represent the heart of the engine because it works to:
- It is responsible for synchronizing the camshaft’s rotation and crankshaft vital for your car to move.
- It has the power to synchronize the valves in your engine to allow air and fuel to enter its cylinders. All fuel ignites in the combustion section at which the spark plugs ignite. In the ignition process in spark plugs, these valves will push the pistons of the car down.
- The timing belt also runs the water pump that would directly control the engine cooling. If the water pump does not work, the engine may overheat and eventually become damaged.
There are three very important uses that the timing belt fulfills, and therefore you must be attentive to its operation. These belts keep turning non-stop while you have the car reaching 100 km / h in speed. It is common for the timing belt to break because the daily pressure is very strong.
Timing belt symptoms
You have to know the timing belt symptoms to notify you to replace them. Among the main failures that will appear in your vehicle when the timing belt breaks or slips are:
- Very rough idle
If the teeth on the timing belt slip out of the way, some engine areas will be affected. Your timing belt will stop, which prevents camshaft timing, and thus, the engine stalls. In the best case, the engine can jerk roughly because the camshaft runs without a synchronizer.
- Broken pistons and valves
This is one of the timing belt symptoms that you should be afraid of when the rubber breaks. If the belt breaks, this will take the camshaft’s timing and crankshaft, which affects the valves and pistons. You must turn off your car completely because this problem can cause the engine and a millionaire loss.
- Low-pressure engine oil
If the timing belt stops rotating because it is smooth, this can cause the oil in your engine to drain. When the belt no longer rotates, the camshaft’s timing does not work, which breaks some parts. If this problem occurs, all the oil pressure could be placed in the engine causing it to stall.
- Engine misfires
A worn timing belt that does not synchronize the crankshaft very well can affect the engine’s starting. The cylinders that make up your engine will open and close very slowly, resulting in an absorption of air and fuel. With this combination inside the cylinders, the car will not start or take a long time.
Is it necessary to replace the timing belt?
Timing belts can wear out easily and therefore need to be replaced from time to time. You may notice that the timing belt plays a great role in the engine, and if it fails, everything will fail. The timing belt stands out among other belts because it will affect your entire engine if it wears.
The reason these timing belts wear out or break is that they are made of rubber. With time, this material tends to be damaged by heat or by exceeding its resistance level limits. There is no exact time that your timing belt will wear out because this depends on how you use the car.
If you are used to going out every day in your vehicle and traveling long stretches, you apply great pressure to the belt. These belts are exposed to a hot environment and high speeds that would affect their function.
What happens if the timing belt breaks?
If the timing belt breaks, you will have a bad day because this results in great damage to the engine. Although the timing belts do not break easily, it may happen in your vehicle. You may be driving at low speed, and the belt may slip out of its compartment, causing a tear.
When the timing belt breaks, the entire vehicle system starts to malfunction. The pistons and valves will not be in sync, causing shocks within the engine. With these blows between pistons and valves, the engine cylinders can be greatly affected.
If the timing belt breaks, your car may shut down because it’s not working as it should. In the worst case, the entire camshaft will be damaged, which prevents your car from starting. If the camshaft breaks, the repair you should do is not cheap at all.
Costs to replace the timing belt
If you want to know the timing belt cost to replace it, you must understand that it is not cheap. This mechanical intervention can cost you from $ 400 to $ 2,000, depending on the matter’s severity. The price varies depending on the labor cost, your vehicle’s make, and additional parts that need to be replaced.
If, for example, you have a 2005 Volvo XC70 with a damaged belt, the repair may be minor. This strap can be replaced for less than $ 500, making it affordable to get your car back. If you have a 2014 VW Jetta, the timing belt change can cost approximately $ 1,100.
Another thing that you should consider when replacing the timing belt is labor. If your engine is very large and does not allow the timing belt to be easily replaced, this increases the cost. Nissan RB series vehicle engines have the cambelt in front of the engine, but not all cars are created equal.
Some vehicles have transverse motors, which make it difficult to change the timing belt without removing it. If you have a car from the decade, your cost of changing the belt may increase and require expert help.
It’s not just a timing belt; it’s other components in the engine
A big reason timing belt replacement is so high is because of the extra components that got damaged. The whole system in the timing belts comprises bearings and some tensioners that guide the belt. When you want to change the belt, you must replace the bearings and tensioners at once.
The seals in the oil should also be replaced when you change the timing belt. The belt’s repair will jump to other elements like the bearings, seals in the oil, and even a water pump. You can spend a good amount of money on each of these pieces in addition to labor.
To have the best results when replacing the timing belt, you should do it with experts. It is not recommended that you change the strap yourself unless you are a professional mechanic.
Now that you can see how important the timing belt is, you will understand its high cost to replace it. You should be aware of the symptoms your vehicle presents when the belt is malfunctioning. You can consult with a mechanic expert about belt repair costs depending on the car model you have.