Best Timing Belts: An Essential Maintenance Item
A high-quality timing belt is an essential maintenance item that provides longevity and peak engine performance
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Your car’s timing belt is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your car. It’s responsible for keeping your engine running, not just at its peak performance, but at all. The timing belt is what causes the camshaft in your engine to open and close the valves at precise intervals. While it’s not something you need to replace often, replacing it before it breaks is key. Not replacing your timing belt before it breaks can be a costly mistake that can result in you needing to replace your engine all together. To help prevent serious damage to your vehicle, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best timing belts available. We will help you select a rugged and reliable timing belt that will keep your engine running smoothly for years to come.
The tensioner, idler bearings, and belt match OEM parts. Water pump attains engine-specific water pressure while not overloading the engine. Upgraded body design makes for more strength. Carbon ceramic seals prevent leaks. Matches Mitsubishi OEM belts.
- High-quality parts that match OEM specs mean that everything fits and functions properly
- The accurate instructions make installation easy
- Cast parts are made of aluminum for reduced size and weight
- This kit costs about half compared to dealer price
- You may need a strap wrench to remove the camshaft pulley
- The specs in the instructions for the crank pulley/balance torque install may not be accurate
This kit provides you with high-quality, dependable parts at a refreshingly low price point. It includes a TCK timing belt, tensioners, tensioner springs, idlers, necessary hardware, and detailed installation instructions.
- This is an excellent OEM replacement kit for Asian and European imports of different makes and models.
- Detailed installation instructions also include handy and informative troubleshooting tips for difficult application issues
- Double check to be sure that the idler bearings are made in Japan, and not another country
- This means they’re not OEM parts
Water pump, idler pulley, and hydraulic tensioners included: everything needed for a professional installation. Traditional, trustworthy brand. OEM fit for all parts. For Honda Odyssey, Pilot, Accord, and Acura models as well.
- The water pump’s design makes it durable and provides for efficient cooling
- The hydraulic tensioners work well and last long
- The timing belt does not have marks
- The belt may be longer than the OEM one
- The tensioner spring pull pin may bend
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a New Timing Belt
- Avoid engine damage. When a timing belt breaks while the car is running, the camshaft no longer turns. This can cause major engine damage. Replacing an old and worn timing belt allows you to avoid this type of problem.
- Peace of mind and great performance. A new timing belt gives you peace of mind that your engine is running optimally and is not in danger of damage. An engine that is running at its best produces more power and uses less fuel and oil.
- Increased resale value. Replacing the timing belt at the recommended intervals increases the resale value of your vehicle. If a prospective buyer has proof that you have installed a new timing belt, he or she may be willing to pay more for your vehicle when it comes time to sell.
Types of Timing Belts
A Single Timing Belt Versus a Timing Belt Kit
Timing belts (also called serpentine belts) are available for purchase as a single item. However, professional technicians and shade-tree mechanics alike recommend replacing the pulleys, tensioner, and coolant pump (water pump) at the same time. This is because a lot of labor (and labor costs) go into partially dismantling the engine to access and replace the timing belt. As a result, you should also replace these items and save yourself problems (and money) in the future. If the timing belt is worn, these items are most likely worn as well and are therefore subject to failure.
OEM and Aftermarket Timing Belts
As with many auto parts, some aftermarket components are of higher quality than OEM components. This is because aftermarket manufacturers may use superior materials to construct the belt. Also, they may use better manufacturing techniques and more stringent testing. From an engineering standpoint, OEM belts can stretch at high revs, affecting engine performance. Aftermarket timing belts that are stronger won’t stretch as much.
Timing Belts and Timing Chains
Automakers commonly used chains to perform the required functions in an engine through the 1980s. Timing chains are usually more durable than belts. However, timing belts became the standard after this time because they are less noisy, less expensive, and are lighter and more flexible. Timing belts are made of rubber material infused with Twaron/Kevlar or fiberglass, which gives them these desirable properties.
The Aisin Company, also known as Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd., is a Japanese company founded in 1949. The Toyota Group owns 30 percent of the company. This Fortune Global 500 company makes a variety of OEM parts and also produces automotive accessories. It has offices and manufacturing facilities in Japan, Europe, and the United States. Check out the Aisin Engine Timing Belt Kit with Water Pump and the Aisin Timing Belt Kit with New Water Pump.
ContiTech is a division of Continental AG. This German company makes automotive items such as safety components and powertrain parts in addition to accessories. Founded in 1871, the company began as a tire manufacturer and now owns brands like General and Uniroyal. The company has offices and plants in North and South America, Africa, Australia, China, Japan, and Europe. ContiTech makes the Accessory Drive Belt Kit and Black Series Timing Belt Kit, among others.
General Motors owns ACDelco. The company makes parts for GM products and also produces aftermarket parts for GM and non-GM cars, trucks, and SUVs. ACDelco was founded in 1916 and has a long history of being associated with General Motors and its founders. ACDelco features the Professional Timing Belt Kit with Tensioner and 2 Idler Pulleys and the Professional Timing Belt and Water Pump Kit with Tensioner, Idler Pulleys, and Bolt, plus many others.
Timing Belt Pricing
- Under $50: Here you will find timing belts and accompanying components (water pump, gaskets, pulleys, tensioner) made in China. Many users report that these kits are serviceable with parts fitting the way they’re supposed to, and they are fair quality.
- $100-$200: In the medium-priced range, the timing belt kits include the same components as the lower-priced ones, but the reputation of the manufacturing company is better and the overall quality is enhanced.
- Over $250: In the high-priced range, you find kits made by OEMs that perhaps include additional parts like a camshaft seal not found in lower-priced kits. OEM parts tend to be higher quality and fit better than aftermarket ones. These kits may also simply contain more necessary parts, thus the higher price.
When you buy a timing belt replacement kit for your vehicle, it’s good to know that the kit contains everything you need to replace key wear parts in addition to the timing belt itself. These parts include a replacement water pump, pulleys, timing belt tensioner, and gaskets. It’s wise to replace these parts in addition to the timing belt for peace of mind.
Make sure the timing belt kit you choose is the correct one for your vehicle. Do your research. Check the specifications and details about the product before you buy it. Also, check the reviews and questions and answers because they may have additional information about the proper fit. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer or distributor.
When you replace the timing belt and ancillary components on your vehicle using one of these kits, the job is good for seven to 10 years and between 60,000 and 105,000 miles. This means you do not have to be concerned about your timing belt wearing out again, most likely for as long as you own your car, truck, or SUV.
- Timing: It’s wise to be sure your timing belt actually needs replacement. Specifications vary, but manufacturers recommend replacing it between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Check your vehicle owner’s manual. Many shops will recommend a replacement for you if you are having other work done, such as the brakes or a water pump replacement.
- Warranty: Most timing belt kits warranty the workmanship of the parts for one year or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. While it’s disheartening when a part fails after the work of dismantling your engine and reassembly, there’s consolation in the fact that the manufacturer will replace the defective part free of charge.
Best Timing Belt Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you are doing the installation yourself, make sure you have the proper tools and the mechanical know-how to do the job properly. If you don’t, have a professional install the kit and save yourself money and stress.
- Most timing belt kits include a belt tensioner. It’s best to replace this part while you’re replacing the timing belt and water pump even though it may look okay. Symptoms of a bad tensioner are chirping, rattling, and squealing sounds; slapping noises; and the illumination of the “check engine” light.
- If you have signs of a timing belt failure, such as your engine misfiring or rough starts, don’t delay; get your vehicle checked. It may save your engine and save you lots of money in repairs and parts replacements.
Q: How do I know if my timing belt needs replacement?
A: The best way to know if your timing belt needs to be replaced is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement in your car’s owner’s manual and just go with that. It’s not something you want to chance. Signs that it may need to be replaced are ticking sounds from the engine, failure of the engine to start, or misfiring during starting. Oil leaking from the front of the motor is another sign you might need your timing belt replaced.
Q: Can I replace a timing belt myself?
A: Yes, if you have the proper tools and knowledge. But beware: Replacing the timing belt involves taking apart major areas of the engine, replacing pulleys and gaskets, replacing the water pump, and then reassembly. Unless you have the tools and the mechanical ability, it is better to have a professional tackle this task.
Q: How do I select the timing belt that fits my car or truck?
A: Your vehicle owner’s manual should have the proper specs for replacement parts listed inside. Most online retailers offer a metric that allows you to input your car’s specific make, model, and year, and they will come up with proper parts recommendations for you. Be sure to double check prior to purchase, and always read through online user reviews to see if what you’re considering is worth it or not.
When it comes to our top pick for the best overall timing belt recommendations, we have to go with the Aisin TKF-001 Engine Timing Belt Kit with Water Pump. This kit includes high-quality parts that match OEM specs so that everything fits and functions properly. The accurate instructions make installation easy.
For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Gates TCK304 PowerGrip Premium Timing Belt Component Kit. It’s an affordable option that will suit a wide variety of makes and models.
If you’ve got any game-changing tips or tricks to make timing belt installation easier, hit us up in the comments.