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How to Replace the Timing Belt on the Hyundai Elantra or Kia Spectra: DIY (With Video)

Hardlymoving writes about the do-it-yourself maintenance and repair of Asian cars.

Got a Hyundai Elantra or Kia Spectra? Learn how to replace the timing belt yourself.

Got a Hyundai Elantra or Kia Spectra? Learn how to replace the timing belt yourself.


This DIY (do it yourself) article covers the replacement of the timing belt, guide, and tension pulleys for the 2004 Hyundai Elantra and Kia Spectra that have the 2.0-liter DOHC engine configuration.

The same belt, pulleys, and water pump may be used in the:

  • Hyundai Elantra (99–07)
  • Hyundai Tiburon (97–07)
  • Hyundai Tucson (05–07)
  • Kia Spectra (04–06)
  • Kia Sportage (05–06)

The outlined belt and pulley replacement instructions may be used on these other vehicle models; however, the removal of parts to get to the timing belt may be slightly different.

Gates makes an acceptable Timing Belt Component Kit (belt, two pulleys, and water pump).

Since the water pump is not driven by the timing belt, you do not save much time or cost by replacing the pump along with the timing belt. However, replacement of the water pump/alternator belt along with the timing belt is highly recommended. A broken belt will quickly lead to the engine overheating and may result in expensive repair (i.e. blown head gasket).

The belt change service interval set by Hyundai for this engine is 60,000 miles. The mileage of the vehicle being serviced in this article was 103,000 miles.

In the instructions below, each written procedure is accompanied by a sequence of thumbnailed photos with arrows pointing to nuts, bolts, or other components needing removal. You can enlarge a photo by clicking on its thumbnail.

At the end of the article is a video showing the procedure.

Tools Needed:

  • Metric ¼”, 3/8” & ½" sockets, ratchet wrenches, extensions, box wrenches
  • ½” breaker bar
  • Pulley Removal Tool like this one (for the crankshaft pulley)

A two-part video is provided below (Installation followed by Removal), accompanied by step-by-step instructions and photos.

Timing Belt Removal (Part I)

Timing Belt Installation (Part II)

Step-by-Step Instructions for Hyundai Elantra Timing Belt Replacement

1. Remove All Accessory Belts

  1. Remove the 5 bolts that secure the plastic engine cover.
  2. Remove the passenger side wheel and remove the side engine splash guard secured by two 10mm bolts.
  3. From below the car, loosen the Alternator Pivot Bolt Nut and from above the car the Belt Tensioner Locking Bolt. Turn the Alternator Belt Tension Adjustment Bolt counter-clockwise to relieve the belt tension then remove the belt.
  4. Loosen the Power Steering Pump Pivot Bolt. Loosen the Belt Tensioner Locking Bolt. Turn the Power Steering Belt Tension Adjustment Bolt counter-clockwise to relieve the belt tension then remove the belt.
  5. From inside the passenger side wheel well, loosen the A/C pulley nut. Turn the Belt Tensioner Adjustment Bolt counter-clockwise to relieve the belt tension then remove the belt. After removing the belt, keep the A/C belt separate from the Alternator Belt. The belts can be easily mixed up due to their similar lengths.
  6. Remove the A/C pulley nut and remove the pulley assembly. Removal of the assembly will ease remove of the side engine mount.

2. Remove the Side Engine Mount Components

  1. Support the engine block with a hydraulic Jack. Place a wood block between the oil pan and the jack to prevent damage to the pan. Apply pressure to the pan until the engine moves slightly upward. This will relieve pressure on the side motor mount.
  2. Remove the Aluminum Bracket that links the right side Motor Mount with the Engine Mount. There is one nut that bolts to the Motor Mount stud, and one bolt and two nuts that bolts to the Engine Mount.
  3. Remove the Plate that links to the rear side Engine Mount.
  4. Remove the rear side Engine Mount. This removal is necessary to gain clearance to remove the lower timing belt cover.
  5. Remove the three 10mm long bolts that secure the Power Steering Pump Reservoir.
  6. Remove the three bolts that secure the right side Motor Mount.

3. Remove the Alternator and Power Steering Pump Drive Pulley

These pulleys are sandwiched together and bolted onto the Water Pump with four 10mm bolts. They will require removal to gain removal clearance for the timing belt cover. The easiest method on removing bolt tension is with a ¼” 10mm socket attached to an extension and a ¼” ratchet wrench. While hold the pulley with the right hand, apply torque to the ratchet wrench to remove the bolts.

If replacement of the Water Pump is desired, the alternator mounting bracket will require removal. The pump can then be unbolted, jarred loose and removed.


4. Remove the Crankshaft Pulley

If an air, electric or ½” mechanical hand impact driver is not available, the Crankshaft Pulley Bolt can be removed by positioning/securing a breaker bar to the ground and attaching a socket to the breaker bar and Pulley bolt. Turnover the engine for around one second to allow the torque from the Starter Motor to rotate the engine while the breaker bar prevents the pulley bolt from moving. This should provide enough torque to remove the pulley bolt.

After the pulley bolt has been removed, attempt to remove the Crankshaft Pulley. If the pulley will not slide off, attach a Pulley Removal Tool and use a ratchet wrench and socket to apply pulling pressure.

Remove the metal pulley cover seated in front of the lower timing belt cover.


5. Remove the Upper and Lower Timing Belt Covers

  • Remove the Engine Cover Bracket.
  • Remove the four 10mm bolts that secure the Upper Timing Belt Cover. Pull off the cover.
  • Remove the 10mm bolts that secure the Lower Timing Belt Cover. The cover should be pulled from below the engine. To ease removal, the cover can be slightly bent to pass obstructions preventing its passage (i.e. A/C pulley, Water Pump, etc.)

6. Set Engine to TDC (Top Dead Center) Before Removing the Timing Belt

  1. Re-thread the Pulley Bolt into the Crankshaft and rotate the Crankshaft clockwise (with a ratchet wrench) until the Camshaft Timing Mark Hole is in alignment with the pink alignment mark.
  2. Use white paint (Oil-base Paint Marker Stick from any artist paint shop or Walmart) and place additional alignment marks for the camshaft and crankshaft.
  3. After alignment and the paint marks have been made, the Pulley Bolt can be removed by attaching either a box or ratchet wrench & socket to the bolt then 'slapping' the handle. This should jolt the bolt loose without disturbing the alignment marks.

7. Remove the Timing Belt and Pulleys

  1. Unbolt and remove the Timing Belt Tension Pulley (left side of the engine).
  2. Using a box wrench, slightly move clockwise (1 degree) the Camshaft Pulley and remove the belt. This slight advance in the camshaft will allow some belt slack to ease new belt installation.
  3. Unbolt and remove the Belt Guide Pulley (lower, right side of the engine).

8. Bolt on New Tensioner and Guide Pulley, and Mount New Timing Belt

To eliminate Pulley bolts from every coming loose after re-assembly, apply thread-lock to the bolt threads. Not absolutely necessary but provides peace of mind.

  1. Bolt on the New Belt Tensioner Pulley (finger tight only) and the Guide Pulley (full tension).
  2. Starting from the Crankshaft, weave the new timing belt through the Guide Pulley, over the Crankshaft Pulley and finally over the Tensioner Pulley. Push the Tensioner Pulley against the belt to remove slack and tighten the Tensioner Pulley Bolt.
  3. Remove the belt slack on the right side of the belt (between the Camshaft, Guide Pulley and Crankshaft) by rotating the Camshaft counter counter-clockwise (around 1 degree) with a box wrench. Check the paint alignment marks. Everything should be in alignment.
  4. If the alignment is good, loosen the Tensioner Pulley Bolt till finger tight.
  5. Using an Allen Wrench or Allen Wrench Socket Set like this one, and meanwhile using a box wrench for the Tensioner Pulley Bolt, fit the Allen Tool into the Tension Pulley's Hex Hole. Turn the Allen tool clockwise to remove belt slack on the belt's left side until there is no slack. *Warning - do not over tighten - just enough tension to remove the slack.
  6. While maintaining tension on the belt via the Allen Tool, torque down the Tensioner Pulley Bolt. With the right amount of tension, the belt on the left side should able to twist around 45 degrees between the Crankshaft and Tensioner Pulley. If too much or too little, re-adjust.

9. Reassembly

\Reassembly of the removed components can be accomplished by performing the reversal of the removal steps. Use anti-seize or high-temperature grease on bolt threads showing any corrosion.

A brief re-assembly summary:

  1. Re-attach the Upper and Lower Timing Belt Covers. The bottom cover should be guided from the bottom of the engine and slightly squeezed to gain clearance from obstructions.
  2. Re-attach the Engine Cover Bracket.
  3. Grease the Crankshaft before mounting the Crankshaft Pulley. Then fit the Crankshaft metal pulley cover, Crankshaft Pulley, Pulley Bolt Washer and Pulley Bolt. The Pulley Bolt can be torqued on with a Mechanical Impact Driver available at most Auto Retail stores that provide tool rentals.
  4. Re-attach the left side Motor Mount.
  5. Re-attach the A/C Pulley Assembly, Pulley and Belt.
  6. Re-attach the Alternator and Power Steering Pump Drive Pulley.
  7. Install and re-bolt the Side Engine Mount Plate, Motor Mount, Aluminum Mount and Power Steering Fluid Container Mount.
  8. Re-attach Power Steering Pump and Alternator belts.
  9. Re-attach Engine Cover bracket.
  10. Re-attach Engine Cover.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have a 2009 Hyundai Elantra Limited with 153,000 km on it, and the timing belts have never been changed. It should have been changed according to the manual at 100,000 km. I am I lucky that it is still working. It will cost about $700 to replace it. Should I bother replacing it or just take my chances? How much longer can it last?

Answer: I've been amazed at how long Kia or Hyundai timing belts last. Did a timing belt job on a Kia Sportage last year with 170K miles but the water pump showed signs of wear. So I'm not so sure about luck ... they do last longer than the recommended change interval. Driving beyond the recommended interval is a crap shoot. They could go at any time but usually give you some indication they're about to go. Belt stretch won't allow the car to run right ... there's hesitation when taking off from a dead stop. The water pump may start leaking or making noise.

$700 is a little steep for an Elantra belt change. A good technician should be able to do it in around 3.5 hours including the water pump. Under $500 would be more appropriate. I'd shop around for a better price if I were you.

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