Troubleshooting a faulty timing belt and its replacement cost

The timing belt is among the frequently-replaced components of the engine. It is manufactured from a reinforced rubber material. The timing belt endures high-stress levels, which causes it to lose its mechanical strength over time. When the timing belt wears out, it causes several other problems that affect the performance and longevity of the car engine. Drivers should understand timing belt replacement costs and prepare accordingly for the unlikely event that the belt snaps.

Functions of a timing belt

The timing belt is a mechanical component that links the camshaft and the crankshaft. The engine performance relies heavily on the quality of the timing belt. Its rotation causes the crankshaft to manage the position of the pistons while the camshaft opens and closes the valves for a complete air/fuel combustion cycle.

How to identify a bad timing belt

Driving with a bad timing belt is detrimental. If any of these symptoms manifest, visit a repair shop and have it replaced.

Rough engine idling

The timing belt has optimally designed teeth that grip gears when rotating and moving the different internal components of the engine. The teeth become brittle with continued use. As the belt’s surface gets brittle, it loses grip. The dismal grip causes the belt to slip away from the gear. When this happens, the engine’s idling becomes a little erratic. Ignoring these early signs may cause the engine to stall due to faulty camshaft timing.

Misfiring engine

A worn-out timing belt slips out of the gears frequently. When this happens, the cylinders open or close too soon. Early opening of the cylinder causes misfiring. It results in poor engine performance and engine damage if not replaced immediately.

Low oil pressure

The slipping of the timing belt from the camshaft can cause breakage of the camshaft. Broken pieces drop into the oil pan. The presence of foreign matter at the bottom of the oil reservoir causes a loss in oil pressure.

Smoke from the engine compartment

The engine cylinder has inlet and exhaust ports. The timing belt synchronizes the operation of these ports. When the belt is damaged, the opening goes out of sync. It causes the exhaust port to open at uneven intervals, releasing heavy smoke from the engine.

Broken piston or valves

The worst indicator of a damaged timing belt is a broken piston or valve. Once the belt is broken, the crankshaft controls the motion of the camshaft. The unsynchronized motion bends and breaks the valves and the pistons.

Timing belt replacement cost

When replacing the timing belt, the mechanic has to disassemble engine components. The time required for this varies depending on the car brand. The more time spent, the higher the labor charges. The average cost of a new timing belt is around $50. However, labor costs are high. The average cost for replacing damaged timing belts is between $300 and $500.


A damaged timing belt must be replaced immediately. Delaying the replacement causes more damage to the engine. It is costly to repair or replace a worn-out engine. Drivers can replace water pumps when changing timing belts to offset the labor costs.


When should I replace the timing belt?

Different manufacturers have preferred schedules for replacing timing belts. On average, the belt should be replaced when the mileage reaches 75000 miles.

What is the average cost for replacing timing belts?

The charges for replacing timing belts are between $300 to $500. Consult the repair shop for a definite figure.