What does it cost to repair a Timing Belt / Timing Chain?
The average cost of a timing belt or timing chain repair is $400-$2,000. It will heavily depend on the labor time involved and any additional components that may need to be replaced at the same time during the process or replacing the belt or chain.
How does a Timing Belt / Timing Chain work?
The timing belt is a toothed belt inside the engine. It synchronizes the rotation of the camshaft to the crankshaft so the engine valves open and close at the proper times, a requirement to produce proper combustion. A worn timing belt usually causes the belt to stretch, causing it to slip a tooth (the teeth being the ridges that it sits on). If it stretches more, it can cause the timing of your vehicle to be very off, and ultimately if it completely breaks or slips too much, your vehicle will stop running. When this happens, if your vehicle has an interference engine, then having the timing belt fail will cause your engine to bend valves, causing failure of your engine.
A timing chain works very similar to a timing belt. The timing chain has the same function and responsible of a timing belt, but it is designed differently. The timing chain is accompanied by guides which basically allow it to sit properly in the system.
A whining, knocking or rapping noise can be caused by a faulty or stretched timing belt, or a faulty timing chain or guides.
If your timing belt or timing chain fails, it can cause the vehicle to stop running due to potentially bent engine valves.
If the timing belt or timing chain jumps a tooth and timing of the engine is off even just a little, you’ll get weak acceleration, rough idling, misfiring, or smoking from the engine. Your low oil pressure and check engine lights should also ding on to alert you to a problem.
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How urgent are Timing Belt / Timing Chain repairs?
If your timing belt is due to change based on the manufacturer's recommendation and it is not changed at or around that time, it can cause it to stretch, break, and fail. The longer you go without addressing this directly impacts and increases the risk of bad things to happen. If your timing chain or related components are failing or have failed, similarly should be addressed right away, because otherwise it can cause catastrophic engine failure.