When it comes to the timing belt, every vehicle is different. In fact, some vehicles don’t even have timing belts; they have timing chains. Timing chains tend to be stronger and more durable than timing belts and thus need replacing less frequently, though both types will eventually need to be replaced at one point or another. While there may be some indications that your timing belt or timing chain is going bad, it’s best not to wait until these signs present themselves. Usually, if you notice the tell-tale signs of a bad timing belt, you’ve already caused extensive damage to your vehicle. So, instead of waiting to see the signs of a bad belt before you take action, you should have your vehicle serviced and the timing belt checked regularly. Some timing belts will need to be replaced at 60,000 miles, while others can make it to 90,000 or even 105,000 miles. The shop you choose should know at which interval your specific belt or chain is likely going to need to be replaced and should inspect your belt regularly. The sooner you can catch a bad timing belt and replace it, the less likely it is that you will have to shell out large sums of money for a repair and the less likely it is that issues with the timing belt will cause problems with other parts of your vehicle.
With that said, however, it is important for you to be aware of the signs of a timing belt problem. That way, if a problem does occur, you can get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible, hopefully before more serious problems have developed. If, for example, your vehicle has suddenly started putting out a lot more exhaust than it did in the past, you could have a timing belt problem. A vehicle that is wobbly or shaky may also have a timing belt issue. Other things to be on the lookout for include a leaking engine and unexplained trouble starting your vehicle. Sometimes, however, these signs can be indicative of a different issue all together, so it’s always best to leave the diagnostics up to a qualified mechanic.