Timing belt replacement cost guide 
Timing belt replacement cost guide 
Published in January 2024
How much does timing belt replacement cost in Australia?
Timing belt replacement cost typically ranges between $500 and $1,000 in Australia. Timing belt price will depend on a few factors, such as the vehicle’s engine type, price of parts, and more.
A timing belt change is crucial for maintaining the proper function of your car’s engine. Over time, belts can wear out, risking misalignment of essential engine components and potential engine damage. Getting a regular timing belt change, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, ensures smooth synchronisation between the crankshaft and camshaft, preventing costly repairs and enhancing overall vehicle reliability.
In this timing belt replacement cost guide, we explore:
- What is the timing belt?
- Timing chain vs timing belt
- Factors that affect car timing belt replacement cost
- How much does a timing belt cost?
- Getting timing belt replacement quotes, and more.
What is the timing belt?
What is a timing belt and what does it do? The timing belt is a rubbery strap or band that plays a vital part of an internal combustion engine. It synchronises the rotation of the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft. The timing belt keeps the valves and pistons in the engine moving in harmony, and allows for the proper intake of air and fuel, as well as the expulsion of exhaust gases.
The timing belt is toothed or ribbed on one side to grip gears or pulleys on the crankshaft and camshaft. As the crankshaft rotates, it drives the timing belt, which, in turn, rotates the camshaft. This synchronisation is important because it ensures the engine’s valves open and close at the correct times in relation to the position of the pistons.
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Timing chain vs timing belt: What’s the difference?
Not all vehicles use timing belts, some use timing chains. So, what’s the difference? Timing belts are made of rubber or similar materials, and they can wear out over time. Manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt at specific intervals (typically every six to ten years) as a failure could lead to serious engine damage. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of the timing belt are essential to the use and longevity of an internal combustion engine.
A timing chain and a timing belt serve the same purpose, however, a timing chain is made out of metal alloys and resembles a bicycle chain. Timing chains are more durable and generally last longer than timing belts. They are commonly found in heavier-duty or high-performance engines. Unlike timing belts, timing chains don’t require regular replacement but can be noisier.
While a timing belt can snap if not replaced, a chain can stretch so it’s important to have it checked periodically to ensure it’s in good working condition.
Depending on the make and model of the car, a new timing belt is usually required between 40,000 and 150,000km. Timing chains don’t have scheduled replacement times and are performed when needed.
Timing belt warning signs
Recognising timing belt warning signs is crucial to prevent potential engine damage. Here are ten common indicators:
1. Ticking or clicking noises
A noisy timing belt with unusual ticking or clicking sounds coming from the engine, especially near the timing belt cover, can signal wear or misalignment.
2. Engine misfires
A failing timing belt may cause the engine to misfire, resulting in a noticeable decrease in performance, power, or acceleration.
3. Visible cracks or wear
Inspect the timing belt visually for signs of wear, such as cracks, fraying, or missing teeth. Any visible damage is a red flag.
4. Oil leaks from the timing belt cover
Oil leaking from the front of the engine, near the timing belt cover, may indicate a problem with the timing belt seal or cover.
5. Engine won’t start
A broken timing belt can cause the engine to not start. If the belt snaps, the camshaft and crankshaft lose synchronisation, leading to engine stalling.
6. Engine vibrations
Vibrations or shaking while the engine is running can be a sign of timing belt issues affecting the balance and timing of the engine’s components.
7. Excessive exhaust smoke
If the timing belt fails, it can impact the engine’s valve timing, leading to poor combustion and increased exhaust smoke.
8. Warning lights
Some vehicles have warning lights for the timing belt or engine timing issues. Pay attention to dashboard warning lights and address them promptly.
9. Poor fuel efficiency
Timing belt problems can affect the engine’s efficiency, leading to decreased fuel mileage.
A malfunctioning timing belt can cause issues with the water pump, leading to engine overheating.
If you observe any of these warning signs, it’s crucial to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic. Timely replacement of the timing belt, as recommended by the manufacturer, is the best preventive measure to avoid serious engine damage.
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Factors that affect timing belt replacement cost
How much is a timing belt replacement? There are a few factors that impact timing belt replacement cost, including:
- Vehicle make and model
- Type of parts (OEM or aftermarket)
- Labour costs
- Vehicle age and mileage
- Engine configuration
The type and quality of the timing belt used can impact the cost. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are often more expensive than aftermarket alternatives. Be sure to check with the mechanic on which type of parts they intend to use on your vehicle.
Additionally, the complexity of the engine and the location of the timing belt in the engine compartment can affect the time and effort required for the replacement. If the water pump needs to be replaced as well this will add to the cost of parts and labour.
How much does timing belt replacement cost?
How much is a timing belt? Let’s look at what you can expect to pay for a timing belt or a timing chain:
Timing belt replacement cost
- Timing belt price: $500 to $1,000
Timing chain replacement cost
- Timing chain: $1,500 to $4,000
If you wait until your timing belt breaks, replacement costs can blow out to $2,000 or more due to damage that your vehicle may incur.
A full timing belt kit full timing belt kit will usually include idler bearings, timing belt tensioner and oil seals.
Other related costs to consider
While replacing a timing belt is usually prompted by high mileage, it’s a good idea to consider replacing other parts that may be about to fail – sooner or later. It’s cheaper in the long run to address these potential issues while the mechanic is already at work with the timing cover off.
Cost estimates for additional components:
- Timing belt tensioner replacement: $150 to $325
- Air conditioner condenser replacement: $500 to $900
- Water pump replacement: $300 to $800
- New engine: Approximately $2,000
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Getting car timing belt replacement quotes
Need quotes for car timing belt replacement? You can compare multiple free quotes with Yellow Pages to find the right mechanic near you.
When requesting quotes, make sure to provide the following information:
- Make and model of your car
- Year of manufacture
- Engine size
Remember to ask if the shop uses original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket parts. If your car is still under warranty, or if you prefer dealership services, contact your car’s dealership for a timing belt replacement quote.
Once you’ve gathered several quotes, compare them. Consider not only the price but also the reputation and reviews of the mechanics or shops. You can read local reviews on the Yellow Pages online directory. Make sure quotes are itemised and include both parts and labour.
Prices can vary based on your location, the make and model of your car, and the specific requirements of your vehicle. Always choose a reputable and experienced mechanic or auto repair shop for such critical engine components.
*All prices quoted were sourced at the time this cost guide was written and should only be used as an estimate.
Timing Belt Replacement Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to replace a timing belt?
It usually takes about 1 to 4 hours to replace a timing belt, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. If the timing belt replacement is performed as part of a service, the total time will be influenced by the manufacturer recommendations.
How long does a timing belt last?
Timing belt replacement is outlined in your vehicle's owner manual. Depending on the make and model of the car, it will usually be anywhere between 40,000 and 150,000km.