There are quite a few belts in a car like a power steering belt, alternator belt, serpentine belt and more. Most of these belts are meant to drive certain functions of the car. One such belt is a timing belt. In this article, let’s find out what a timing belt is and when and why do you need timing belt replacement services.
What is a Timing Belt?
A timing belt is made of durable compounds like highly saturated nitrite. It’s a fibre-reinforced drive belt with teeth. This belt is used to drive the camshafts in the cylinder so that the camshafts open and close the engine’s intake and exhaust valves at the right time. Hence the name, timing belt.
Why is Timing Belt Replacement Important?
A broken or damaged timing belt can snap anytime and cause a complete loss of engine power. This can leave you stranded in the middle of a busy road. In interference engines, sudden breakage of the belt can also significantly damage the engine components like pistons and valves. To avoid any mishaps, the timing belt should be immediately replaced when it reaches the recommended replacement mileage.
When Should you Replace the Timing Belt?
Every vehicle manufacturer specifies a certain mileage at which the belt needs to be replaced, even if it’s not damaged. Usually, it ranges anywhere between 60,000 to 90,000 miles. You should read your car manual to know when is the right time to replace the belt.
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Sometimes the timing belt might need replacement before the scheduled maintenance time. It can happen if the timing belt suddenly breaks during driving and the engine stops. Rough engine operations can cause the timing belt to stretch or its teeth to wear out and break before the mileage limit set by the manufacturer.
If your car’s engine stops running or makes a clanking noise, it might be because of a broken or damaged timing belt. In interference engines, if a timing belt jumps, it causes the valves and pistons to collide and cause significant damage. You should replace the timing belt according to the maintenance schedule to minimize the chance that a belt failure will cause engine damage.
How is it Done?
With changing engine designs, the timing belt replacement procedure also changes. However, generally, our mechanics will follow the following steps.
- The mechanic will first disconnect the battery ground
- Wait for the engine to cool down and then remove the crankshaft pulley after setting it to the top dead centre.
- Remove all the accessories coming in the way
- Remove the cover of the timing belt.
- Lock the crankshafts and note the position of the timing marks.
- Remove the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys and timing belt.
- Install the new timing belt and reinstall all other parts.
- Turn the engine crankshaft to 720 degrees by hand and confirm the correct positions of the timing marks on the crankshafts and corn shafts.
- Road test the vehicle to confirm proper operations
Read your car’s manual to find out the scheduled time for replacing the timing belt. A faulty timing belt can damage the engine and cause it to stop suddenly. If your engine is making a noise, hire an expert mechanic from Swezo to thoroughly check the engine and belts.