If you have been shopping for a used car with high mileage, over 60,000 miles or so, there is a very important, often overlooked item to take into consideration. When we are talking timing belts, we are not referring to the serpentine or accessory drive belt(s) that run your generator, power steering, air conditioning and the like, but rather the timing belt that drives the camshaft(s). Trying to find out if a vehicle’s engine has a timing chain or a timing belt can be difficult. Replacing the timing belt, which usually includes replacing the water pump (as the timing belt runs the pump as well) can cost from $800-$1500, or more; it is a costly and extremely important service procedure.
If the timing belt has not been replaced, and the vehicle is nearing the timing belt change interval, consider how this could affect the value of the vehicle when making an offer. When your patrons are looking to buy or sell a car or truck, they can turn to Gale’s ChiltonLibrary to be an informed buyer or prepared seller. Christine Sheeky started with Chilton as an automotive editor working on the Total Car Care Do-It-Yourself Manuals in 1994, and has worked on numerous Chilton products since. The timing belt or chain is a component on the engine that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft and controls the opening and closing of the valves.
If the vehicle has a timing chain, there is no interval for changing it as a regular maintenance service procedure.


In the case of interference engines, which are manufactured with extremely close tolerances, a broken timing belt will cause the valves to hit the pistons, resulting in serious internal engine damage.
Chilton’s labor estimating information can help you determine more precisely the labor cost of a timing belt replacement for the engine your year, make, and model vehicle was equipped with. If you found a car you like, and it does have a timing belt, the next question to ask is “has it been replaced?” If the seller states that the belt has been replaced, ask for proof, such as parts receipts if the repair was done by a DIYer, or a service record if the repair was done by an independent repair shop or dealership. Chances are the owner doesn’t want to incur the expense, even if the car appears to be in good condition and the seller is offering it at a low price. This comprehensive, easy-to-use online resource for novice do-it-yourselfers to serious car buffs covers repairs, maintenance and service information on the most popular cars, trucks, vans and SUVs on the road today. She has had an ongoing interest in everything automotive since spending way, way too much time at a local auto repair shop as a teenager, and hanging around in the pits at the local NHRA race track. One of the next steps to take is to research whether that vehicle has a timing chain or timing belt, because a timing belt repair is a significant expense. However, if the vehicle has a timing belt, there is a very specific interval for replacing it. Even if you do not have an interference-fit engine, a broken timing belt can leave you stranded, causing massive headaches and expensive engine damage.


If the timing belt replacement is approaching, adjust your offer to include the cost of the timing belt replacement.
Users will find  step-by-step service procedures with video and animation, maintenance and  specifications tables, Technical Service Bulletins, and  vacuum and wiring diagrams…everything needed to do the job right. She is currently a big fan of her Honda Odyssey (even though she swore she would never drive a minivan), and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children, where she occasionally daydreams of the good old days cruising around in her awesome 1989 Prelude Si with 4WS (4-wheel steering). Timing belt replacement is generally recommended every 60,000 to more than 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Check ChiltonDIY’s maintenance schedules or the owner’s manual to determine the recommended service interval for your vehicle.
Something to keep in mind is that various manufacturers do not always call it a “timing belt.” It can also be referred to as a “camshaft belt” or “camshaft timing belt,” among other things.



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