Timing Belt Service and Replacement

What is the timing belt? Why is it important?

While we specialize in Subaru and Euro timing belts, Convenience Auto Service can replace just about any make/model of timing belt.  The timing belt, also known as the cambelt, or even the “forgotten belt”, is located on the front of most engines behind the timing cover. It connects the Crankshaft (lower part of the engine) with the valves (top end of the engine) and keeps the crankshaft and camshaft to rotating synchronously, so that the engine opens and closes it’s valves properly during the intake and exhaust strokes.  When a timing belt breaks, depending on the particular engine and how fast you are driving, the pistons may collide with open valves, potentially causing damage to the valves, pistons, and other internal engine parts. This can cause major engine damage. This leads to a serious strain on your time and your wallet.  

Most manufacturers recommend a timing belt service before 100,000 miles. We recommend that you check the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation to determine when it is appropriate to change your timing belt - you can find your preventative maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.  However, if you do not have an owner’s manual, feel free to call or stop in to Convenience Auto Service.  We would be happy to print out the factory recommended maintenance schedule for you.

What should I consider before doing a timing belt service?

Insist on top quality parts. We all know that cheaper option isn’t always the best value. Our repairs have a 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty on almost everything we do. (see https://www.convenienceauto.com/warranty for full details) We select parts that meet manufacturers “Original Equipment” (OE) specifications, or parts that we consider (based on our vast experience) will give you an even better outcome.  There are lot of low cost options out there, but when the wellbeing of your car and safety of you and your family is at stake, do you really want to take the chance of installing a critical component that will not last?  In order to stand confidently behind our warranty, Convenience Auto Service uses parts that, we believe, provide the best value – that is, a good tradeoff between durability and cost.

If you are the type who likes to call around to find out prices before committing to a shop, read the following. When calling around for estimates, be aware that there are many variables that contribute to the total cost of repair. First, make sure your comparisons are apples to apples. It is important make sure everything you will need to complete the repair is included in the estimate.  When we quote a timing belt service, we will include additional parts that your car will need based on the mileage, condition of the vehicle, and our experience. Ask for an itemized list of these parts. For example, we know that on a ten-year-old Subaru, it also makes sense to replace the water pump, the timing belt pulleys, and built-in tensioners behind the timing cover.  Since the cooling system is opened as a part of the water pump replacement, it makes sense to replace the coolant at this time, too.  These are relatively inexpensive things to do while the engine is already apart, but significantly more expensive if you have to do the job again later.  Getting a price on only one part of the job can lead to surprise midway through the job, or worse, lead to another major failure down the road.  These additional fixes will make the job a little more expensive in the short-term, but can have significant long-term benefits. Make sure when shopping around that the work is guaranteed by a shop that has been around for a long time, and that you can be confident will remain in business.  A warranty from a company that will be out of business before you can collect is no bargain.

It is important to allow enough time to get the job done right.  When the job is done, make sure it has been done right by insisting the mechanic take your vehicle on a test drive after the vehicle has been put back together.  He/she should be sure while driving to check for any performance issues, listen for any unusual sounds, look for any indicator lights, and so on.

Convenience Auto Service has been independently owned and operated, serving our Ann Arbor customers since 2005.  We are proud of our reputation for providing quality, integrity, and value.  It is our distinct pleasure to serve you! Please call us today.