Timing belt replacement guide

Understand the role timing belts play and discover how to install them on your own.

Many timing belt replacement intervals have been increased because belts now last longer, partly due to improved belt tooth design.

Older cars generally use the trapezoidal-shaped tooth belts, while the rounded, or curvilinear, tooth design was introduced around 1980. The more durable modified curvilinear, or HTD II, came out around 1985. The sprockets for these belts are different and using the wrong application belt will result in rapid failure.

Many headaches can be avoided by replacing the timing belt tensioner with every timing belt job. Consider also replacing water pumps that are trapped behind the timing belt. Advance Auto Parts is your best source for timing belts, water pumps, and other quality auto parts.

Why you should inspect and repair worn timing belts:
A failed timing belt can cause expensive engine damage. Heat is the biggest enemy of a timing belt. If you're operating a vehicle at high speed in a hot climate, time may be just as important a factor as mileage in the durability of the belt. Oil and antifreeze can also attack timing belt rubber. Improper belt tension during replacement is another reason for premature failure. Over-tightened timing belts run noisily and create additional heat.

What you will need to perform a timing belt replacement:

  • Timing belt
  • Belt tensioner tool
  • Repair manual
  • Pulley puller
  • Water pump (optional)
  • Hand tools
  • Shop rags
  • Jack (optional)
  • Jack stands (optional)

Timing belt replacement guide; the do-it-yourself difficulty level:

Estimated time required - 3 - 6 hours

Instructions for changing a timing belt: do it yourself & save!

Changing your own timing belt is an advanced mechanical procedure. If you are not familiar with these types of repairs, have your timing belt replaced by a professional. If you are, follow this timing belt replacement guide.

  1. Read your repair manual first, then decide if you feel confident enough to change your own timing belt. Replacing a timing belt requires good mechanical skills and a full set of hand tools.
  2. Replace your timing belt at the manufacturer’s recommended interval. If you operate your vehicle in an extremely hot climate, replace the belt sooner than recommended.
  3. Make sure no liquids such as oil or coolant are leaking onto the belt as they will cause deterioration. Fix all leaks before replacing the timing belt.
  4. If your vehicle has a belt tensioner, it is a good idea to replace it at the same time you replace the timing belt.
  5. Consider replacing water pumps that are timing belt driven or trapped behind the belt.

A timing belt that breaks at highway speed can severely damage valves, pistons and cam shafts. Do not wait for this important belt to fail you, as it will be costly. Be sure to follow these instructions for changing a timing belt closely.

Come to Advance Auto Parts for quality auto parts – including timing belts – for all vehicle maintenance tasks.