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We all hate when it comes time to replace the timing belt in our vehicles as it's probably the most expensive service you will have to perform on you car. Most vehicle manufacturers suggest replacing your timing belt at between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Cost for this service can range anywhere from $550 to about $1500 depending on the make, model and year of your vehicle.

It is very important to remember that if the engine in your car is a non-clearance type, meaning that the pistons and the intake and exhaust valves will not clear each other if they are out of time if the timing belt breaks. If your timing belt breaks and your engine is a non-clearance type, this will become an extremely costly repair ranging in price from around $1500 to many thousands, again depending on the make and model of your car.

If you are in the market for a used vehicle that has a timing belt engine, make sure that the timing belt has just been replaced before you purchase it. If it hasn't, keep the cost of this service in mind when talking price with the seller. If you negotiate a reasonable price for a vehicle and it's your responsibility to have this service performed, DO IT RIGHT AWAY! Then you can start a maintenance schedule that is based on you knowing exactly when the timing belt was replaced. Don't take the BIG chance by waiting.

Don't be cheap when it comes to a timing belt service. If somebody is offering to perform this service for a couple hundred dollars, beware. Most timing belt engines have a number of components that need to be replaced when the service is performed. These parts range from idler pulleys, tensioners and tensioner pulleys, seals and water pumps. Yes, water pumps. Many engines have water pumps that are driven by the timing belt. Remember, if you just replace the belt and not the other parts that tension, guide, or drive off of that belt, you run a very high risk of breaking your new timing belt when one of these items fails. If an idler pulley or water pump lock up, the belt will break. If the tensioner fails the belt will break. Don't take the chance, replace all the part associated with the timing belt when you do the service. Always replace the thermostat and gasket when you replace the water pump too.

Oil leaks are very often found in back of the timing belt cover and can be repaired easily while the timing belt and water pump service is being done. The camshaft and crankshaft seals can replaced more easily when the timing belt is off during replacement. Most oil leaks come from these common areas on the engine, so take care of that while you're in there if it needs it. Oil leaking onto the new timing belt will damage it and reduce the life span dramatically. If this is the case and the oil leaks aren't repaired during your timing belt service, you may not make it until the next suggested service interval. Those times are based on a DRY timing belt, not an oily one.