Changing Your Car’s Timing Belt

So, have you checked your car’s timing belt lately? Or have you ever checked it? If you haven’t, you must make sure that the timing belt hasn’t been driven too many miles or you could be driving on borrowed time. Typically, a car’s timing belt will last from about 60,000 miles to about 100,000 miles; your car manual will spell that information out for you. A timing belt can fail 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. So, when the timing belt breaks, the engine can no longer run and you are stuck where you are. Sometimes a timing belt failure can damage or even ruin a car’s engine. Unfortunately, many motorists do not replace their timing belt until it breaks, which can be a real problem if you are miles away from the nearest help!

There is no certain way to check whether a timing belt has worn out so changing it at prescribed intervals will lessen the chance that the timing belt will break before it is replaced. Many mechanics believe that the water pump should be changed at the same time as the timing belt – even if it hasn’t failed – as most of the work that relates to replacing a water pump has already been done when the timing belt is replaced.  However, as a water pump could last as long as your car, it is your call whether you want the mechanic to replace it at the same time. If you decide not to replace the water pump and it does break later on, 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 do-it-yourself mechanics feel comfortable enough to replace their car’s timing belt themselves. With a trusty auto maintenance and repair manual by your side, you can pop the hood and remove and replace the timing belt in no time at all. Shop via a reputable online shop to compare your replacement timing belt 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.

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