Timing is Everything: When To Replace Your Subaru Timing Belt

If you are a Subaru car owner, you know that your vehicle is known for its reliability and durability. One of the key components that keeps your Subaru running smoothly is the timing belt. However, many drivers are unsure of when their timing belt needs to be replaced, which can lead to costly engine damage if not taken care of in a timely manner. In this article, we will cover the basics of Subaru timing belt replacement, including its function, signs of wear and tear, costs, and recommended replacement intervals.

What is a Timing Belt and What is its Function?

The timing belt is a key component of your Subaru’s engine. It is a toothed belt that connects the camshaft to the crankshaft and is responsible for synchronizing the opening and closing of the engine’s valves with the movement of the pistons. This ensures that the engine runs smoothly and efficiently, allowing for proper combustion and power output.

Signs that Your Subaru Timing Belt Needs to be Replaced

As with all car components, the timing belt wears out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. There are several key warning signs to look out for that may indicate that your Subaru timing belt needs to be replaced:

  • High-Pitched Whining Noise: If your engine emits a high-pitched whining noise, especially at high RPMs, it may be a sign that your timing belt is worn out or stretched.

  • Engine Misfires: A worn timing belt can cause the engine to misfire, which can lead to reduced power and poor fuel economy.

  • Engine Won’t Start: If your timing belt breaks, your engine won’t start at all. This can cause additional damage to your Subaru’s engine and lead to expensive repairs.

  • Visible Wear and Tear: If you can see visible wear and tear on your timing belt, such as cracking, fraying, or missing teeth, it’s time for a replacement.

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Cost of Subaru Timing Belt Replacement

The cost of a Subaru timing belt replacement can vary depending on several factors, such as the model of your vehicle, the location of the repair shop, and the extent of the damage to your engine. Generally, you can expect to pay between $500-$1000 for a timing belt replacement, including the cost of labor and any additional repairs that may be required.

While this may seem like a hefty price tag, it’s important to remember that timely replacement of your Subaru timing belt can prevent much more costly engine damage down the line.

Recommended Replacement Intervals for Subaru Timing Belts

Subaru recommends replacing your timing belt at specific intervals based on the model and year of your vehicle. The typical recommended interval for Subaru timing belt replacement is every 105,000 miles or 8 years, whichever comes first. Some newer models may have extended intervals of up to 100,000 miles.

It’s important to note that even if you haven’t reached the recommended time or mileage interval for replacement, you should still have your timing belt inspected regularly to look for signs of wear and tear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if I don’t replace my Subaru timing belt?

A: If you don’t replace your timing belt in a timely manner, it can cause severe engine damage, including bent valves, damaged pistons, and even complete engine failure.

Q: How long does a Subaru timing belt replacement take?

A: The replacement process can take several hours, depending on the extent of the damage to your engine. It’s important to plan accordingly and have a backup transportation plan if needed.

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Q: Can I replace my Subaru timing belt myself?

A: Unless you are an experienced mechanic, it’s not recommended to attempt a timing belt replacement on your own. It’s a complex and technical job that requires specialized tools and knowledge to do correctly. It’s best to leave it to the professionals.


Your Subaru’s timing belt is an essential component that keeps your engine running smoothly and efficiently. By following the recommended replacement intervals and keeping an eye out for signs of wear and tear, you can prevent costly engine damage and keep your Subaru running for years to come. Remember, when it comes to your timing belt, timing is everything.

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Davis Bellew

As a Subaru owner and enthusiast, Davis has a deep understanding of the needs and concerns of Subaru drivers. He specializes in writing informative and engaging content about Subaru maintenance and repair, and his articles are always well-researched and easy to understand. When he's not writing, he enjoys hiking and photography.

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