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In life, timing can mean the difference between winning and losing, getting rich or going broke, getting free donuts in the break room, you get the idea. Under your hood, timing can mean the difference between spending a few hundred dollars, or a few thousand.

There’s a rubber thing attached to your engine called a timing belt. It’s a belt that connects the crankshaft (which controls the movement of your pistons) and the camshafts (which control the movement of your valves). A four-stroke engine, like the one in your car, requires that the valves open and close once every other revolution of the crankshaft. The timing belt makes sure that this happens. If your timing belt breaks while your engine is running, then something very bad happens. The pistons will collide with the valves, bending them, and forcing you into a very expensive engine repair job.

Check your owner’s manual to see if your car is equipped with a timing belt. If it is, check the maintenance schedule to see when the manufacturer recommends to have that timing belt replaced. For most vehicles it’s either at 60,000 or 80,000 miles.

Now, I’m not going to kid you – replacing the timing belt is a rather expensive job. Usually it requires four to six hours of labor to take the front cover off the engine to expose the timing belt. That can run you at least $500 depending on your vehicle.

But the alternative is much worse. If that belt breaks and you have a piston-valve collision, then you’re going to have to get a valve job on your engine – and that’s usually at least $2,000 at the very low end and as much as $5,000, again depending on what kind of vehicle you drive.

So, like anything else, timing is everything. You make the call on whether to get your timing belt replaced and base your decision on whether or not it’s worth the risk to you. But even when selling your car, many people will ask you if the timing belt has been changed. A recently-changed belt will boost the resale of your vehicle.

If you have questions, just call any of our locations and we’ll help guide you through the process. Thanks for reading!

Written by Developer Autoshop