Why do I need to change the Timing Belt?
As with most vehicle components, certain engines have timing belts that have a limited life span. Manufacturers use these belts instead of more durable chains because chains are noisier and cost more to manufacture. Your vehicle owner’s manual will recommend at what mileage the timing belt must be replaced or alternatively we can advise you of this according to the manufacturer’s specifications. These intervals range from every 60,000 miles to every 105,000 miles.
Interference and Non-Interference Engines
There are two different types of engines that use timing belts. They are described as: “Interference Engines” and “Non-interference Engines”. The difference lies in the proximity between the valves and the pistons.
On an interference engine, if the timing belt breaks or slips even one notch, the piston can crash into an open valve causing serious engine damage by bending valves and breaking pistons.
Non-interference engines will usually not self destruct, but in either case if the belt fails, the engine will immediately shut down leaving you stranded.
Something to consider…
It is recommended that at the same time as replacing the timing belt, you should also replace the water pump. Even if nothing appears to be wrong with the water pump, many vehicles’ water pumps have an estimated lifespan similar to that of the timing belt.
Therefore it makes good sense to change the water pump at the same time especially since 90% of the labor to change the water pump has already been done when the timing belt has been changed.
For the same reason, you should also consider changing the oil seals for your cam and crankshaft.