Timing Is Everything with Timing Belts
The timing belt is one of your engines most critical components. Waiting for it to wear out or break can result in serious engine damage. What exactly does it do? How will you know when it's time to replace it? Read on...
What Do Timing Belts Do?The timing belt connects the crankshaft (which controls the engine pistons) to the camshaft (which opens and closes valves). This precision component has teeth that, when in rotation, are perfectly "mated" with matching sprockets. The uniformity of the teeth and their spacing is what keeps valve operation and piston position perfectly synchronized. On some engines, the belt also drives other components, including the oil and water pumps, and balance shafts.
When Should You Replace a Timing Belt?Belt replacement varies by vehicle make and mileage. Check your owner's manual for suggested maintenance. Here are some warning signs that your timing belt might need to be replaced:
- Rough idling
- Chattering and other strange engine noises
- Difficulty starting the engine
Other Considerations During Timing Belt ChangesChanging the timing belt is an involved process. It requires a number of parts to be removed, including: the radiator hose, water pump, and alternator. When you change your belt, you should also consider replacing any other worn-out parts such as other belts, hoses, and clamps.
Remember, when it comes to maintaining your car's engine, timing really is everything.