When to replace a timing Belt

When to replace a timing belt:


If you have a car, and you’ve been to a service center I’m sure you’ve seen/heard something about the timing belt. Timing belts are amongst one of the top recommended maintenance items, and at the usual cost of the repair a lot of people think it is a scam on the shop’s end to make an easy buck, but the timing belt is actually one of the more important maintenance items that you can take care of. The timing belt is what keeps the engine’s camshafts/crankshaft lined up and in time with each other, when they are properly lined up it allows to pistons and valves to operate in correlation. If the timing is off it can have very troublesome effects, some engines can have severe damage occur if the timing loses proper alignment.


Subaru 2.5l timing system set up


The timing system setup on some vehicles is easier to work on then others, but it is something that you want to be sure you have the proper knowledge and tools to work on it. I have had quite a few jobs come in that had just had timing work performed and setup wrong, it can be a real pain in the ass to hunt down the problem and get it all straightened out. If you are comfortable with the job then by all means go forth and tackle it, but if you are unsure then I suggest you seek some assistance.


Mercedes timing diagram


For the longest time it was recommended that the belts be replaced at 60,000 miles, but a lot of newer vehicles are coming out with a recommendation at 100,000+ miles. It is not recommended to go much longer then the recommended replacement mileage, but sometimes it will go a lot longer than that, it’s just not too smart to risk it since it can be a much more expensive repair cost if you wait until the belt breaks. A lot of shops will recommend a water pump at the same time, but that is because they are using more generic kits that come with the belt, pump, tensioners, therefore they can upsell each part at a higher price. I always prefer to leave the OEM pump in unless it has shown signs of wear or lacks efficiency. This is just up to you and what you would prefer to do.


Feel free to ask any questions you may have on the subject and I will help out with whatever I can.


As always, have fun and stay safe!




  • Tom says:

    I currently have 10 vehicles so I know first hand the importance of replacing timing belts!
    It may be expensive to have a shop do it but as you say that price won’t even compare to the price you will have to pay if it snaps and damages your engine.
    I find some vehicles very easy to do timing belts and others extremely time consuming so depending on your vehicle and knowledge as you say… it could be better to consult an expert!

    • GGrey says:

      Hello Tom, sounds like you have quite the collection!! I completely agree with you that sometimes it is best just to consult an expert and have it taken care of professionally. It costs a bit more upfront, but a failed timing job can become any consumers nightmare really quick.

      Take care!

  • Kevin says:

    I remember driving my car one night when I was in college and it stalled on me. The tow truck took me as far as a garage, but wouldn’t drive me back to school. A long 5 mile walk I would not forget. The next day I found out it was the timing belt. Since then, I always had it replaced every 60,000 miles. I see you say that it could be 100,000 miles today, but I think I’ll still have it replaced sooner. Thanks for the information!

    • GGrey says:

      Hello Kevin, I as well have had a few similar experiences, being stuck and having to walk is no fun. I completely agree and always perform required maintenance a little bit before the actual recommended mileage

  • Lauren Cook says:

    I just bought a used 2015 Toyota Sequoia SUV and it runs fine but I was wondering how to tell if the timing chain is loose. Would it sound like a rattling noise inside the engine as it idles? Since this car is only two years old with only 50K miles I am assuming I’m ok for another 10K miles. But with replacement of a broken timing belt costing $2K and up for damage to valves, pistons and water pump; I want to be sure. Should I have a mechanic check it out? Thanks.

    • GGrey says:

      Hello Lauren, I hope you are doing great!! Enjoying the Sequoia so far? I like those alot!!

      Toyota is very reliable when it comes to the timing system. Seeing as how your vehicle is a 2015 and only has 50k I would think you will still be good for awhile. I have seen some belts come off of Toyotas that had over 100k miles and still looked brand new!! The belt is easy to inspect on these though, so it if it makes you feel better then you could have someone check it out for you 🙂

  • Lauren Cook says:

    Great! Yes I know a Toyota expert mechanic I can call upon. Happy New Year!

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