Timing Belt

When to replace a timing belt

In Suspension by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When considering how a car runs, a lot of people think about the major components, like the engine, the alternator or the battery.

However, there are many smaller components that are necessary for a vehicle to work correctly.

The timing belt is one of them. It surrounds various parts and is responsible for making sure the crankshaft and camshaft are in the right timing.

Sometimes, this piece goes bad and needs to be replaced.

Preventing future problems

Replacing your timing belt is one way to prevent future problems.

How often you need to replace it depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Most timing belts should be changed around 100,000 miles, but some are 60,000 miles.

A new one may also be needed if there’s cracking or a running condition where it jumps time.

Signs the timing belt is going bad

You aren’t going to be noticing wear on the timing belt, because it is covered up by parts. Timing belts are normally replaced on a mileage basis.

But a few symptoms can clue you in that the timing belt is going bad.

Engine misfires are one of them. If the engine isn’t in perfect time, then it won’t fire correctly. 

If the timing belt is too far out of timing, it causes internal damage to the engine because parts can start hitting each other.

The vehicle may also refuse to start, because the timing components aren’t spinning and the engine isn’t creating compression.

You may also notice noise caused by the timing components.

If you notice any of these indicators, you should reach out to a mechanic or an auto repair shop as soon as possible.

Replacing the timing belt

You shouldn’t put off replacing the timing belt due to maintenance or age, because if it breaks you have a chance of causing internal engine damage.

However, it’s not just the belt you should take care of. A lot of times, the belt will drive the water pump. There are also idler pulleys the belt is around that can also wear out. 

When replacing the timing belt, we also replace these other components. If you replace the belt and don’t change the parts tied to it, you will likely have a problem with them soon after.

Other than normal wear and tear, timing belts can go bad if there’s an oil leak. Oil leaks, if they aren’t addressed, may cause the belt to become weaker or break, resulting in damage to the engine.

Timing belts and timing chains

Not all vehicles have timing belts, they either have a timing belt while others have a timing chain.

Nowadays, more cars have timing chains than belts.

These two parts have the same function, but there are some differences. Timing chains are oil lubricated. Timing belts aren’t, and it’s actually bad if oil gets on them.

Another difference is that timing chains have guide rails, while timing belts just have tensioners.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.