What Is Timing Belt and What Does It Do?
Timing Belt is a toothed belt located in the engine compartment which allows the crankshaft to drive camshaft thereby opening and closing the valves.
• It is called a timing belt because its primary function is to accurately synchronize the valves opening and closing with pistons movement.
• It ensures proper running of an engine.
• Without this belt, your car’s engine can’t run.
Why and When Timing Belt Should Be Replaced?
Like other moving components of the engine, the timing belt wears out over time due to heat and stress from running. Proper maintenance requires replacement of this critical component at regular intervals. Most auto manufacturers specify a suggested service life and mileage intervals for the timing belt. Generally, it is 60,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first.
What Happens When The Timing Belt Breaks?
Your car’s engine would simply stop running in case of belt breakage. Most modern cars have interference engines. In case of timing belt failure, inlet and exhaust valves may open at the wrong time and collide with pistons. This might result in significant damage to your engine.
If your car has a non-interference or free-running engine, there is enough clearance between valves and pistons. These engines usually sustain damage due to timing belt failure but still leaving you stranded.
Is it necessary to replace the water pump and belt tensioner along with the timing belt?
It is not necessary, however, it is recommended to replace these components. Timing belt drives the water pump in most of the engines and they do wear over time because of continuous operation. Same is true for tensioner pulley bearing. It is cost effective to replace these components with the timing belt. The cost of labor for the replacement of these components alone greatly outweighs their cost.
Do All Car Engines Have A Timing Belt?
No, some car engines have timing chains instead of a rubber belt. A timing chain is maintenance free and intended to last the life of the engine.