Timing Belt Symptoms & Cost to Replace

Timing Belt Symptoms & Cost to Replace

Some old automobiles come with an overhead cam design that implements a belt to orchestrate a perfectly timed sequence of the crankshaft and camshafts operation inside the engine. This mechanism is known as the timing belt and is placed inside a protective housing on the engine.

However, because it’s made of rubber plastic, the timing belt is subject to wear and tear over time, hence it will need to be replaced after a while.

What Are the Symptoms?

Timing belts look very similar to a serpentine belt; however, they are not build for the same purposes.

Timing belts at first won’t have a significant impact when showing early wear signs. However, when they completely wear out, this might cause you a couple of complications. Also, they are easily visible from the engine compartment, so that each time you take a look you will notice the condition right away.

The symptoms that are shown when a time belt wears out are:

  • Driving on wet weather and pulling a heavy load while driving far distances reduces your car’s performance, causing the behind material to pull apart.
  • Belt abrasion happens, especially when it’s really hot or when there’s bearing failure as well.
  • The belt shows many cracks
  • Timing belt looks shiny or smooth on the underside
  • Noise and vibration coming from your engine is evident
  • The car is unable to drive through wet weather
  • The belt gets elongated and the tensioner will move beyond its limit
  • Car gets misaligned


Replacement Cost

The time belt is often one of the more expensive maintenance items for your car, but it is worth the investment.

The cost of replacing a timing belt may vary from place to place and from model to model. A typical timing belt usually costs between $25 and $50, with a repair that takes at least a few hours.

The labor cost to replace a timing belt can range from $200 to $900.

Here is a list of costs by place:

Local Mechanic

  • Belt Only

Price: Low

Pep Boys

  • Belt Only

Price: Medium


  • Belt Only

Price: High

Local Shop

  • All Components

Price: Varies


  • Belt
  • Pump

Price: High

Do It Yourself

  • All Components

Price: Very Low


Here is a list of costs by model

Honda Civic 1996

Rep. Cost: $415

Toyota Camry 1998

Rep. Cost: $398

PT Cruiser 2001

Rep. Cost: $450

Subaru Impreza 1995

Rep. Cost: $624

Lexus RX30 1999

Rep. Cost: $780

Nissan Pathfinder 1998

Rep. Cost: $813

Hyundai Sonata 2006

Rep. Cost: $500

Ford Escort 1996

Rep. Cost: $302

timing beltReplacement Process

Even though a timing belt can be replaced by yourself, you need to have basic knowledge and skill level on how to properly disassemble the engine replacement and remove the old belt without causing damage to other components.

In case you lack expertise, the process should be conducted by a professional mechanic.

The replacement process of the timing belt consists of:

  • Remove all of the parts that block access to the cover of the engine timing belt
  • Removing the belt cover to make sure the condition of the belt as well as the materials are in good condition
  • Replacing the belt with the right part
  • In some cases, replacing the pulleys, tensioners and the water pump might be necessary
  • Replacing the covers and components according to fabric installation

Keep in Mind

When it comes to how frequently a timing belt should be replaced, note that this will vary from vehicle to vehicle, thus it’s better to check the recommended schedule for your car year and model.

Normally, a good timeline to follow would be to replace your timing belt every 7,500 miles or 5 years, as your timing belt is constructed of rubber and breaks down. Finally, all auto manufacturers should specify around which time the service should take place. Not having the present documentation at hand indicates that you either do not have a timing belt that needs service, or you just missed it.

Whatever happens, a consultation with a professional to get the exact revision times becomes mandatory.

Even though it is one of the more expensive preventative maintenance items for your car, it is well worth the investment. Have any doubts?  please visit our website


Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

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