Hi Guys: I commute to Vancouver from Squamish and I recently visited a garage in the city and they told me I was overdue for my timing belt replacement. The quote was over $1300 and there were many other parts listed other than the timing belt itself. Is it imperative that I replace my timing belt now or can I just wait until it breaks and have it towed in? Are these other parts necessary? What is an interference engine? I’m confused and need some help please. – Sasha

Hi Sasha: First lets back up a little so that you can understand some basic information before I tell you to go replace your timing belt and related components. A vehicles timing is just as it sounds, it synchronises or times when the valves and pistons “lift” so that they do not collide. When the timing fails on an interference engine the synchronisation of these engine components will continue to turn even though the vehicle stops “running”. Here is where the problem lies in leaving a timing belt to fail. When the belt fails, the timing of the engine is thrown off immediately, risking the valve and piston paths to collide. For instance valves might get left open in the cylinder where the pistons move up and down (valves are usually closed by the time pistons reach top dead center) leaving the pistons to slam into the valves and cause some serious damage. To make a long story short, they interfere with one another and the damage is very costly (to those parts and possibly others) and in some cases the results are detrimental to the life of the vehicle.

To answer your question regarding the other parts listed on your estimate aside from your timing belt, they were most likely included in your quote to save you money in the future. The other components listed also have the wear and tear that you timing belt does and could very likely be close or already at their breaking point as well. To replace any of them, one at a time or together, you are looking at the same amount of labour involved to remove and replace the timing belt (they all have to be removed and replaced so new parts just makes sense) and therefore it is wise to do them all at the same time. There could also be additional belts listed that will have to be removed to do timing belt job, which if worn might as well be replaced to also save future labour costs.

My recommendation is to get the job done as soon as possible. There is no warning that your timing belt is about to go, it just fails leaving you with a larger bill than you would have had you fixed it before the failure. Give me a call at Newport Auto 604.892.5100 and I will give you a quote and explain the parts and labour to you. Also you might not know that Newport Auto is open on Saturdays by appointment to serve clients that cannot get their vehicle serviced Monday to Friday. Thank you for your question and I look forward to any more you may have.

For your information I have included a list of parts that you would most likely see on your quote:

. Timing Belt

. Water Pump

. Idler/Drive Pulley

. Tensioner Pulley

. Camshaft Seals

. Crankshaft Seals

. Coolant

.. Sometimes a serpentine/accessory belt will also be listed depending on the condition of your exisitng one.

** Timing Kits are also available which will sometimes include the water pump, sometimes not.

Do you have an interference engine? Find out here:


You will need to know the year, make, model and engine size of your vehicle. In the second table down in the furthest right hand column it will state in red text if your vehicle has an interference engine.