Timing Belt & Water Pump Repair & Service
Replacing a Timing Belt can protect your engine from costly breakdown repairs.
The Timing Belt is a rubber belt tucked behind the drive belts. It's sole purpose is to keep the crankshaft and camshaft(s) in sync with one another, ensuring proper timing of the engine valves. The Tensioner keeps the Timing Belt tight by applying pressure to it, while the Pulleys keep the Timing Belt in line. All of these components are sealed in place with bearings.
Water Pumps are usually driven by the motor, through the Timing Belt on most cars and trucks, and is responsible for circulating the coolant through the motor and into the radiator to cool the extremely high engine temperatures. The Water Pump keeps your vehicle inside of safe operating temperatures and prevents the engine from exploding. Because the Water Pump and Timing Belt work together to time and cool the engine, they must both be in proper working order to preserve engine longevity.
There are two primary ways to know that the Timing Belt needs service or replacement, either you will hear squeaking coming from the engine compartment near where the Timing Belt is located, or the Timing Belt is broken and the car will not start. In a "free-running" engine, when a Timing Belt breaks, the engine will stop but not produce mechanic damage - replacing the damaged belt will restore the vehicle to working order. In "interference" engines, when a Timing Belt breaks, it commonly strikes the pistons and results in expensive mechanical damage. In some very extreme cases, breaking a Timing Belt during engine operation has required a complete engine rebuild or replacement.
Don't wait for your Timing Belt to break to replace it.
The majority of cost in Timing Belt Replacement is not the parts, it's the labor. The engine has to be opened up and disassembled to access the Timing Belt, Water Pump, and other components. The coolant even has to be removed from the system in many vehicles to complete this repair. The labor time required depends greatly upon the make and model of vehicle being serviced and that has the greatest impact on price. When getting an estimate for Timing Belt Repair, make sure your estimate includes replacing the entire Timing Belt and Water Pump Kit.
It's always recommended that when replacing the Timing Belt, the Water Pump, Tensioner, and Pulleys are also replaced. If all of these components are not replaced at the same time, a failed Tensioner or Pulley could cause valve or piston damage. 60% of vehicles have a Timing Belt that drives the Water Pump, in this makes and models, both parts should be replaced together.
- DO I NEED TO REPLACE THE TIMING BELT AND WATER PUMP?
In over 60% of the vehicles on the market today have a Water Pump that is driven by the Timing Belt. When the Timing Belt fails, the Water Pump is usually not far behind, and while the pump itself is not an expensive part, the time and effort required to pull the engine apart to acess the water pump is an expensive process. By replacing the Timing Belt and Water Pump, the engine is already opened up, and for one time the labor cost, you can replace both parts and prevent further expensive repairs.
It's also recommended by most vehicle manufacturers that the Timing Belt, Water Pump, Tensioner, and Pulleys are all replaced at the same schedule maintenance intervals. Refer to your owner's manual to determine the best schedule for your vehicle's make and model.
- WHAT IF MY VEHICLE HAS A TIMING CHAIN?
Timing Chains have been replaced with Timing Belts on most modern vehicles since the late 1970's as auto makers found new ways to produce lighter and less expensive automobiles. Although both are designed to keep the Crankshaft, Pistons, and Valves all operating together at the right time, Timing Belts are lighter, quieter, and more efficient than Timing Chains.
In recent years, Timing Chains have been resurfacing as a more durable option for vehicle manufacturers.