WHAT IS A TIMING BELT AND WHEN DO I NEED TO REPLACE IT?

When you think of an engine, many of us picture pistons or valves. Few of us think about the timing belt, even though its role is absolutely critical to keeping many engines operating.

Here’s what you need to know about timing belts:

What Is A Timing Belt?

The timing belt keeps your car’s valves, pistons, camshafts and crankshaft all rotating in sync. This belt controls when the camshaft(s) opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves, and it controls the crankshaft, which moves the pistons up and down inside the engine cylinders. When it comes to timing belts, it’s all in the name. The timing belt keeps your car’s valves, pistons, camshafts and crankshaft all rotating in sync. This belt controls when the camshaft(s) opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves, and it controls the crankshaft, which moves the pistons up and down inside the engine cylinders.

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Does My Car Have a Timing Belt?

Timing belts are very common, especially in four-cylinder engines. That being said, there is no hard, fast rule about which vehicles have timing belts and which ones have timing chains. Your best is to look it up in your owner’s manual or to ask your friendly team at Auto Lab in Libertyville!

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Why Do I Need to Replace my Timing Belt?

Over time and miles, timing belts become worn, and this isn’t something you want to gamble with.

There are few, if any, warning signs before a timing belt snaps, and if it does, your car will stall immediately and come to a stop wherever you happen to be. This means a call to a tow truck and an unexpected auto repair bill—and this is the best-case scenario.

Worst case: Your internal engine parts collide, the engine seizes, and you’re left with a repair can easily add up to $2,000 or more. (Want to see what happens when the engine seizes?)

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When Do I Need to Replace my Timing Belt?

Timing belts are nearly impossible to visually inspect, and they do not show signs of cracking and wearing. The best insurance is to replace the timing belt according to your vehicle’s factory-recommended maintenance schedule.

Manufacturers typically recommend a new timing belt at 90,000 or 105,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will tell you what is recommended for your vehicle. You can also look up the timing belt replacement interval online. If you’re not sure, ask us, and we’ll be happy to help provide the information.

Even though replacing the timing belt typically costs several hundred dollars, it pales in comparison to the expense and inconvenience of a broken timing belt. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead for this auto service requirement.

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What Else Should Be Done at the Same Time?

In most cases, several other items need to be addressed at the same time as the timing belt. Even though it adds more to the cost now, it will save you in the long run. These additional items include:

  • Replacing the water pump.
  • Replacing the drive belts (a.k.a. accessory or serpentine belts).
  • Inspecting the timing belt tensioner.
  • Inspection the timing belt idler pulley(s).

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Why Choose Auto Lab for Your Timing Belt Replacement?

When your vehicle is due for a new timing belt, Auto Lab in Libertyville offers everything you’re looking for and more:

  • Competence: Our certified ASE-Master Automotive Technicians are among the best of the best. They are an amazing powerhouse of skill who expertly manage every auto repair or diagnostic challenge we send their way. In fact, some of the local car dealers even ask us to troubleshoot their “problem cars.”
  • Peace of Mind: We stand behind all of our repairs with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.
  • Time Savings: We offer free loaner cars and a free shuttle service.
  • Accuracy: The final bill will never be more than what we quoted you.

Auto Lab is a friendly, family-owned business that’s been serving Libertyville, Mundelein, Lake Forest and Vernon Hills, IL for more than 18 years.

When you choose Auto Lab, you’re working directly with Kevin, the founder and current owner, or his son Sherman, the future owner. When you want more than a large, impersonal auto dealer, give Auto Lab in Libertyville a try.

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