Can you replace your own timing belt?

A timing belt fitted to an engine

While it is possible to replace a timing belt on a DIY basis, we do NOT recommend this procedure for non-professional mechanics. Here is why-

  • You need to remove or disassemble many unrelated engine parts just to gain access to the timing belt

 These could include-

  • The radiator, A/C condenser and/or the A/C compressor
  • The power steering pump and power steering hoses
  • Assorted wiring harnesses
  • The alternator and drive belt
  • The harmonic balancer (crankshaft pulley) with special tools to prevent damaging the pulley
  • The timing belt cover(s)

Once you have done all that, you need to-

  • Identify the engine’s timing marks, and align them correctly
  • Remove the timing belt while maintaining the timing marks’ alignment. Note that in some cases, you may need to lock the camshafts in place with special tools to preserve the engine’s timing
  • Install the new timing belt, along with a new tensioner and idler pulleys. Note that in some cases, it is mandatory to also replace the drive pulley on the crankshaft
  • Adjust the tensioner to achieve the correct tension on the timing belt, while maintaining the engine’s timing. Note that achieving the correct tension could involve the use of a calibrated draw scale
  • Rotate the engine through two full revolutions to verify that the engine’s timing is still correct
  • If the engine’s timing is not correct, or the engine is not rotating freely, you need to find the problem and correct it
  • Reassemble the engine
  • Tighten all bolts and nuts to their specified torque values

While the above is a generic procedure, some timing belt replacements can take even professional mechanics most, or sometimes, all of a full working day. Therefore, we do NOT recommend that you attempt this procedure. We do recommend, however, that you visit Find a Mechanic. Here, you can find professional mechanics near you that have the skill, knowledge, and required equipment to perform a professional timing belt replacement for you.

Ready to get started?
Get an instant estimate, or find an expert mechanic to make a booking.