How Often Should A Timing Belt Be Replaced? And why

How Often Should A Timing Belt Be Replaced? And why

A timing belt runs the engine camshaft (or camshafts in a dual-cam engine). It's called timing belt because its main job is to precisely time valve opening and closing with up-and-down movement of the pistons.

Timing belt replacement is one of the high-price maintenance items that many motorists have to deal with. How often does the timing belt need to be replaced?

Because the job of a timing belt is, essentially, to keep a number of important parts moving in synchronisation, if it fails the consequences can be immediate.

So in this article, we’ll look at the vexed question of how often you should replace your timing belt - and hopefully, armed with this knowledge, you’ll know when it’s time to start shopping around for timing belt replacement quotes.

What Does a Timing Belt Do?

The timing belt keeps a vehicle’s camshaft and crankshaft turning at the right speeds relative to each other.

The crankshaft moves the pistons up during the engine’s compression and exhaust cycles, while the pistons move down in the power and intake cycles. In some vehicle makes, the timing belt also operates the water pump, oil pump and injection pump. So it’s easy to see what an important job this pretty small piece of apparatus does.

So what can go wrong? If the timing cycle is not correct, fuel may not enter the cylinder or could escape through an open exhaust valve, so leading to problems with your vehicle’s performance and economy. If the valves are not fully closed during compression, the majority of the engine’s power will be lost.

Why Does A Timing Belt Need To Be Replaced?

All the parts which are moving inside your vehicle’s engine in order to produce the power which moves it are like a mechanical ballet performance. They need to be kept working in synchronisation - and inside an engine this can mean margins of a fraction of a second.

Otherwise, unwanted forces are put on parts which might not be able to take the stress, and, in extreme circumstances, can snap or break. And because this can all happen with tremendous force, that means all that energy has to be dissipated somehow - if it happens to be through the casing of your vehicle’s engine, the damage will be considerable, and the cost of putting it right, therefore, likewise.

Timing belts are more often than not made out of very strong rubber. This is designed to absorb and be able to operate under tremendous stresses. But over time, its ability to do this is compromised. Rubber will, however gradually, deteriorate as time passes, and a timing belt made of rubber will lose its tautness. When this happens, the tiny intervals between the various actions which it helps control become more difficult to keep in sync.

The result, at the very least, is a reduction in the performance of your engine. But ultimately, you’re running the risk of this lack of synchronisation getting steadily worse, and falling victim to the consequences as outlined earlier.

Author: AL
Source: Autolatest

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