You may have some experience working on cars and you take it upon yourself to do as much as you can on your own. This is good, especially considering that the more you know about auto repair, the more you’ll pay attention to the minor details that could lead to significant problems. However, when it comes to timing belt replacement, whether you live in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona, there are some serious risks to consider if you’ve never done this type of work yourself.
Many modern cars make things so complicated whenever you’re trying to do something to repair them. You would have to remove the air filter, the air conditioning unit, maybe the alternator and about a thousand other things just to change the spark plugs, and timing belt replacement could be all of that multiplied by about 20.
- What are the rewards?
The rewards when you can replace the timing belt yourself is that you’ll save money and get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. There’s something to be said about being able to work on and repair things by yourself.
Those might be motivating factors for you, especially the saving money part. However, the risks are so significant that we feel it is necessary to mention them before you get carried away and begin removing bolts and pulleys because you saw a video on YouTube on timing belt replacement for your make and model car and they made it seem so easy.
- It depends on the make, model, and year of the car.
As we mentioned, newer cars are tough to work on. Look at an old Nova from the 1970s and you’ll notice all of that glorious space under the hood to work with. Then open up a small foreign made car and you’ll be looking at a mess of metal, rubber, and wires. If you don’t know anything about cars, you may not have the first clue what the engine is and what’s the brake cylinder or the air filter compartment.
Modern cars will have far more electrical components and sensors so that the on board computer systems can diagnose any potential problems as they arise and then set the check engine light off to let you know there’s a potential problem brewing.
Changing the timing belt doesn’t necessary mean you’ll have to remove a thousand and one things first, but that could be possible, especially if you don’t have the right tools. If you don’t set the timing belt properly, you could end up having a car that simply won’t run, and this could leave you scratching your head trying to figure out what went wrong.
- Without any prior experience, you can do a lot of damage to your car.
Now, if you’re one of those people who has never worked on a car before, but you have decided that you’re going to start, do yourself a favor and don’t make timing belt replacement your first project.
You could cause a significant amount of damage to the vehicle’s engine and other components. It doesn’t matter how meticulous you are about making sure you follow that YouTube video instructor’s direction perfectly. There are always risks whenever you begin removing wires, screws, bolts, nuts, or anything else.
Even if you managed to get the timing belt off and then the new one back one and set properly, when you begin to put the rest of the components back together, that check engine light could come on because some sensitive component broke while you were doing that.
- Is it really worth this risk?
Improper timing will result in the car not starting or running properly.
Let’s say that you managed the timing belt replacement with some finesse and got everything back together properly. You turn the key and the engine turns and begins to run, but it is rough. The entire body is shaking, rattling, and rolling and you flip that key back off as quick as possible.
Uh-oh, now what? You know, even though you had the timing light and everything looked as you expected it should, you might have it wrong. It’s a funny thing about the timing of the engine. Think about it this way: you’re driving down the highway (or someone’s driving you), you’re leaning out the passenger window traveling at over 100 miles per hour, and you have to drop a quarter into a shot glass.
Doesn’t sound easy, does it? That’s because it’s not. It’s a similar concept when you’re talking about the timing belt and replacement. With the cylinders and valves expected to be opening, firing, and closing in precision, just a slight miscalculation and you could end up with that car rocking for all the wrong reasons.
- Precision matters as much as power.
Now that you have a better idea about the precision that must be met for the engine to run properly, hopefully you understand that timing belt replacement is one of those things that should only be done by experienced technicians.
Whether your car is old, new, covered under warranty or not, don’t mess with this important repair project yourself unless you’ve done it, have someone willing to help you who has a lot of experience, or you’re willing to potentially do damage to your car.
If you live in Scottsdale, Arizona and you need timing belt replacement, choose an ASE certified technician who has experience and know-how. It’s an investment in the power and efficiency of your car to help it run for another 100,000 miles or more out on these awesome Arizona roads.