Different manufacturers will recommend different intervals, but generally accepted mileage to replace a Timing Belt is every 60k-75k miles. Manufacturers of some belts claim they are designed to last up to 100k, but typically it is not recommended to go beyond replacing every 80k miles regardless of belt design or manufacturer claims.
While it is obvious why one should regularly check and maintain their Timing Belt, it may not be so obvious why there is a need for a “Timing Belt Kit” that includes a lot more than just the Timing Belt itself. So what is rational behind replacing all of the other stuff? Many recommended Timing Belt Kits include a Timing Belt, Idler Pulley, Tensioner, Water Pump, Cam Seal, and Crank Seal. Do you need all those extras? Thinking logically, we know that all mechanical components will break down over time. Unfortunately, our vehicles are not built to last forever without any attention. Depending on the vehicle, the labor involved in changing out a Timing Belt can easily be 4 – 5 hours or more. The additional time needed to replace all these parts located in the same area, and designed with a similar mileage limitation to the Timing Belt, is usually minimal (sometimes, the mechanic may even not charge any additional labor to replace all of these components). Chances are even if the Tensioner, for instance, isn’t all the way used up yet, it is unlikely it will last until the next time you need to replace your Timing Belt. The question you then ask yourself is if it would be worth paying another 3+ hours a year from now to do what you could have replaces for a few extra dollars today. With labor rates often over $100 per hour, it makes a lot more sense to get everything done at once.
While keeping up with your regularly scheduled Oil Changes is crucial to the longevity of your vehicle, ensure you pay attention to the other recommended maintenance items – such as the Timing Belt Kit replacement – as well so that you will receive faithful service from your automobile for years to come. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
For quick reference, although it will vary by make, model, and year, the items you typically look to replace in a Timing Belt Kit include:
- Timing Belt
- Idler Pulley
- Water Pump
- Cam Seal
- Crank Seal