Is a timing belt covered under warranty?

Timing belts are usually covered but pay attention to maintenance

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timing belt

Sometimes, we all need something to keep us running. For some people, that’s a perfect cup of coffee first thing in the morning. For others, it’s a quick 30-minute jog around their neighborhood park.

And for your car? It’s the timing belt. The timing belt ensures that the engine and its supporting parts run smoothly. So what happens when your timing belt needs to be replaced? Well, sometimes you may be able to rely on your warranty coverage — but sometimes you can’t. Read below to learn when your warranty will pay for a new timing belt and when you may need to open your wallet.


Key insights

Timing belts typically fall under powertrain warranties.

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Timing belts can be expensive to replace.

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Extended warranties often cover timing belts.

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Timing belt warranty coverage

In general, timing belts are covered under warranties — as long as you have stuck to the car’s prescribed maintenance schedule. Also, if there is damage to the car, like from an accident or too much off-roading, then your warranty may not cover your timing belt.

This is how most warranty terms work. However, if you’ve followed all the rules and your timing belt snaps for no apparent reason, your warranty should pay to replace it.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

What types of warranties cover timing belts?

You can find many types of car warranties, but not all of them will cover a timing belt. A manufacturer warranty will generally cover a timing belt and these warranties usually last up to three years or 36,000 miles. Most timing belts should not wear out that quickly.

Powertrain warranties usually cover timing belts, even though they’re designed to wear out over time. Also, there may be situations that void your warranty.

For example, if you get into a car accident and damage your timing belt, then you may not be able to utilize your warranty. In this instance, you may be able to have your car insurance (or the other driver’s car insurance) cover the replacement cost.

If you buy a used car that is already having issues with its timing belt, then purchasing a new warranty will often specifically exclude any preexisting issues. This is fairly standard across all types of warranties.

» MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

Does your extended warranty cover timing belts?

There are many extended warranty companies and plans that cover timing belts. Below are some popular providers and details on which of their policies include timing belts.

» COMPARE: Best Extended Car Warranty Companies

How much does it cost to fix your timing belt?

Replacing a timing belt costs on average, between $600 and $900. That’s a pretty big range — the variation in cost partly comes down to the type of car you have. In general, the more expensive your vehicle, the more you’ll pay for a timing belt. Also, some timing belts are easier for the mechanic to access, which can reduce labor time and, therefore, cut the total replacement cost.

For example, timing belt replacement for a Honda Civic costs between $343 and $411 in total. However, the price jumps with a Lexus RX400h, with a total average cost between $636 and $756. But that’s nothing compared to a Land Rover Freelander, with a whopping typical price of $1,505 to $1,734.

There’s also a cost difference based on how far along the damage is. If the timing belt has already broken, it may have damaged other car parts. In this case, the cost of replacing the timing belt may be higher because you’ll have to fix or replace the other parts as well.

Also, some mechanics may recommend replacing other parts that are next to the timing belt at the same time, even if there’s nothing wrong with them yet. This can save you money in labor costs later on. But you can always opt to skip this.

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FAQ

Is a timing belt a wear-and-tear item?

A timing belt is an item that goes through normal wear and tear, which means there’s nothing you can do to avoid replacing the timing belt eventually.

No matter what kind of car you have or how you drive, you will have to replace your timing belt at some point if you drive it long enough. A timing belt can last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on various factors. This should give you a few years’ worth of driving, depending on your annual mileage. All in all, you shouldn’t be surprised when it’s time to replace the timing belt.

How long is a timing belt guaranteed for?

There is no set time frame for how long a timing belt can last, and even having a car warranty does not guarantee that a timing belt will last for a specific number of miles.

Some timing belts need to be replaced as low as 60,000 miles, while others can last up to 100,000 miles. If you plan on owning a new car until it dies, you may have to replace the timing belt two or three times, depending on how long you drive the car.

Is a timing belt covered under a powertrain warranty?

A timing belt is normally included in the powertrain warranty and will, therefore, be covered if something happens while the powertrain warranty is still active. A powertrain warranty usually lasts five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

However, most timing belts won’t break until you’re past the 60,000-mile mark. In that case, the powertrain warranty will have expired and will no longer be in effect. Therefore, you shouldn’t bank on not having to pay for a replacement timing belt. It’s better to assume that the timing belt won’t need to be replaced until your powertrain warranty has expired.

A powertrain warranty is available even when you buy a used car. When you’re buying the car, ask about transferring the warranty coverage over to you.


Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. Endurance Warranty, “What Does a Powertrain Warranty Cover?” Accessed May 2, 2024
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