What to Know About Timing Belt Replacement

by  |  On May 4th, 2017  |  In Tips & Guides

Your engine’s timing belt is your car’s most important maintenance item. Your timing belt gets old, it may break, and when timing belts break, terrible things can happen. Continue to read to learn more about timing belts, and what can happen with them!

Timing Belt Replacement

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What are Timing Belts?

A timing belt is a heavy rubber belt in your engine that couples the engine’s crankshaft to the above camshaft(s). Basically, a timing belt keeps the valves in your engine’s top half rotating in sync with the pistons and crankshaft in your engine’s bottom half, and the Service team members at Paul Conte, a Chevrolet car dealership in Freeport, NY, agreed on this. Be sure to contact this Chevrolet dealership if you have questions about timing belt replacement once you’re finished reading this article!

But Timing Belts are Missing, Sometimes:

Nowadays, some automobiles have timing belts and others have metal timing chains. There’s a huge difference. Timing chains have a great design because they are made of metal and generally do not break like belts. Timing chains can usually last the engine’s entire life, and they’re essentially roller chains that have short cylindrical rollers that side links hold together How do you find out which you have? Check your owner’s manual to see if timing belt maintenance is listed!

When to Get a Timing Belt Replaced:

Automobile manufacturers employ various schedules for timing belt replacement, but the basic rule is around 60,000 miles or so. Some cars are more, some less. The problem with a used car is that you might not know when it was replaced last. If you are in doubt as to your timing belt’s age, see your local dealership and have it examined.

Putting off Replacement:

A mechanic can judge a timing belt by pulling a cover and checking out its condition. But if you don’t get it replaced and they advise you do, this might happen:

Worst case: if a timing belt breaks, it might destroy the engine. It all depends if your engine is a “non-interference” or an “interference” engine.

Here is how these two types of engines differ: With an interference type engine the valve’s stroke and piston’s stroke overlap within the cylinder, however, this happens at different times. Your timing belt keeps them from hitting each other. If the timing belt snaps, the valves might smack into the pistons, resulting in bent valves or even cylinder head damage. You could even have piston and cylinder wall damage.

In a non-interference engine, the pistons and valves do not overlap, which means that if your timing belt breaks, no valve or cylinder damage occurs, the engine quits running.


If your vehicle has a standard rubber-based timing belt and interface engine, go by your manufacturer’s replacement schedule. By the way, tons of work is involved when changing a timing belt so they cost a lot to fix. A job can be $600-$1200 but can buy you anxiety relief. We hope that you thoroughly enjoyed learning about timing belt replacement!

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