HOW TO: When is it time for a timing belt change?

As a part of routine maintenance on your boat, it’s very important that for about every 100 hours of use that you check your timing belts for signs of wear and damage to prevent break downs while on the water. This also prevents damage to your engine and keeps you from getting a nasty surprise when it fails. Just a few of the simple ways to tell that it is time for a new belt are if you observe any of the following on the belt:

Cracking – If you observe cracking within the belt itself it is a very obvious sign that the structure of the belt has been compromised and may not perform as well as it should be and could snap, leaving you stranded.

cracked timing belt
Cracking belt, courtesy of

“Glazing” over – This describes the phenomenon of the belt getting a shiny texture after repeated use. This is simply the rubber or material that is used for the belt beginning to break down.


Material missing – Chunks or pieces missing can lead to increased risk of the belt snapping when run.

Belt abrasion – if you notice a sandpaper like texture or effect on either side of your belt, there could be metal shavings, lubricant, or other foreign material that is getting in and wearing your belt down even faster. Time for a change.


But! When it’s time for a change, you know you can always trust Sierra to have your back. Especially with our NEW timing belt sub-category this year! We offer 9 new timing belts for Yamaha outboard engines. We’re the first to the aftermarket and trusted to keep your boat running smooth. Most of our timing belts fit a broad year range of engines, up to late model engines. Our fitment ranges from 6HP to 300HP and covers over 1100 models. Plus, it comes in some snazzy new packaging — which is always a plus! And of course, backed by our industry leading warranty!

2 Replies to “HOW TO: When is it time for a timing belt change?

  1. I have a 1987 Carver 2667 single engine stern drive. It has a power steering system which is shot. I want to install a steering cylinder only, to the sterndrive. Which one should I install, and what mounting brackets would I need? All other components (Helm Pump, Lines ) are Fine.

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