The Average Cost to Replace A Timing Belt Is $567-$743, And This Is Definitely An Expert-Level Repair.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as a water pump or serpentine belt, may also be needed. For a more accurate estimate cost to replace timing belt based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate cost of replacing timing belt using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $567 to $743
- Parts: $260 – $355
- Labor: $307 – $388
Whether it’s being done as preventive maintenance or a repair, replacing the timing belt (or timing chain) is a major job that requires partial disassembly of the front of the engine. Be sure to take your vehicle to a reputable shop since a mistake in properly setting the timing can lead to serious internal engine damage.
Cost to DIY: $259 to $355
- DIY Difficulty Level: Expert
- Parts Needed:
Replacing the timing belt is a serious job that should be left to very advanced DIYers (or the professionals), but performing this job yourself will save you a considerable amount of money.
Keep in mind: Do not attempt this repair unless you consider yourself a very advanced or expert DIYers. The amount of money you might save doing this job yourself is far outweighed by the high cost of a replacement engine or engine rebuild if something goes wrong.
What Is The Timing Belt?
The engine in your vehicle requires exact amounts of fuel, air, and compression and all must be delivered to the combustion chamber at precise intervals. The aptly named timing belt is a rubber belt that keeps the engine in time by syncing the crankshaft and the camshaft(s). Some vehicles use a metal timing chain (shown below) or even timing gears to keep the engine in time, but all of them serve the same purpose.
How To Replace A Timing Belt?
Physically replacing timing belt belt isn’t that difficult of a job, but ensuring that the engine is in perfect time after the belt is replaced is what makes this an expert level repair. For that reason, this is definitely one of the top 10 jobs you should outsource. Even if the timing belt is just a single tooth off, the engine will not run properly. To prevent such issues, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to replace a timing belt in your own home.
The timing belt is located at the front of the engine, so replacement can require complete removal of components such as the serpentine/drive belts, water pump, etc. Some engines use the timing belt to drive the water pump, so replacement of the water pump will obviously include a new timing belt. Read our detailed guide here to learn how much it can cost you to replace your car’s water pump.
DOHC (double overhead cam) engine with a timing chain
How Often Should You Replace The Timing Belt?
DOHC engine with the valve cover and one camshaft removed.
Most automakers recommend replacing the timing belt every 30,000 miles or so, while some timing chains are designed to last the life of the engine. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or use the free FIXD app for accurate maintenance schedules on your specific vehicle, though. This is definitely a repair you don’t want to procrastinate with as a broken timing belt/chain can lead to serious internal engine damage that can be far more costly to repair than just having the timing belt replaced. Learn more about the fundamentals of car maintenance by visiting our detailed guide here.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace The Timing Belt?
In the best-case scenario, a broken timing belt will prevent the engine from running, although it will still crank over. If the timing belt breaks while the car is being driven or the engine is continually cranked over with a broken timing belt, this could cause serious internal engine damage including bent/broken valves, damaged pistons, and even damaged cylinder walls.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Timing Belt
- Check engine light for cylinder misfire, crankshaft position, and/or camshaft position. We recommend reading this article to learn how to diagnose your car’s check engine light quickly and easily.
- Visual inspection shows damaged/worn timing belt/chain
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed when you replace the timing belt:
- Engine valves (if timing belt broke)
- Timing belt tensioner
- Idler pulley
- Serpentine belt replacement. Read our in-depth guide here to learn how to replace a serpentine belt in your own garage.
- Water pump replacement
Claim Your Custom Maintenance Schedule
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Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals