What is a Timing Belt and When to Replace it?

Timing Belt

While reviewing your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, you may have noted a line item for the timing belt. What is a timing belt? Timing belts — also known as cambelts — are an essential component of internal combustion engines. What does the timing belt do? It keeps the engine’s moving components in sync, specifically the camshaft and crankshaft rotation. When these are synchronized, the valves and pistons are able to operate as intended. The valves control air/fuel mixture intake and exhaust gas, pushing the pistons down as fuel ignites in the combustion chamber.



It might sound complicated, but as long as you have a healthy timing belt, you’ll be ready to roll on Apex streets. With that said, when should you replace the timing belt, and how much is a timing belt going to cost? The Hendrick Dodge Cary service department answers these questions and more, below.

How Much is a Timing Belt Estimated to Cost?

If you’ve got a broken timing belt, the valves won’t open and close on schedule. They’ll strike the pistons, potentially resulting in extensive damage to the valves, water pump, and pistons, which can add up to $2,000+ worth of repairs. If no damage was done and you only need to replace the timing belt, you might pay around $500 to $1,000 for parts and labor.

When to Replace the Timing Belt

Most manufacturers recommend the timing belt be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. If your vehicle exhibits any of the following problems on Carrboro roads, it’s time to replace the belt:

  • The engine sounds like it’s ticking
  • The engine fails to turn over
  • The engine gives you trouble when you reach 2,000–4,000 RPM
  • The engine misfires
  • Excessive smoke and fumes
  • There’s an oil leak at the front of the motor

How Are Timing Belts and Timing Chains Different?

Does your owner’s manual refer to a timing chain instead of a timing belt? While their function is the same, the difference between timing chains vs. timing belts is what they’re constructed from and their location in the engine.

Timing belts are made of reinforced rubber and are found outside the engine. They’re often quieter than timing chains thanks to their softer material.

Timing chains are made of metal and can be found inside the engine, utilizing engine oil for lubrication. You’ll still find timing chains in a wide range of new vehicles, though they’ve been modernized to operate more quietly with minimal vibration.

Have Your Timing Belt or Timing Chain Inspected at Hendrick Dodge Cary

Worried about the condition of your timing belt or timing chain? Contact us or schedule an appointment at the Hendrick Dodge Cary service department. Our technicians will inspect your vehicle and let you know if the belt or chain should be replaced. We don’t want you to stress about the safety of your car on Chapel Hill roads, so we offer ongoing service offers and service financing to help with the cost of essential repairs.


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