timing belt maintenance
The timing belt is an integral part of your engine and, if it fails, so does your engine, causing your car to shut down.
Replacing the timing belt at the proper interval is absolutely crucial.
Signs your Timing Belt Needs to be Replaced
Belt wear is just like tire wear, as you lose grip you lose traction, which makes the timing belt slip. This is more likely to happen during high load use (pulling a trailer) or in wet weather.
This sign of wear is pretty self-explanatory. Albion Auto will inspect both the topside and underside (rib cross-section); if your vehicle has a neoprene timing belt and there are a lot of cracks this can indicate excessive wear, which needs to be attended to as soon as possible.
As the timing belt ages, the material it loses can build up loosely in the rib cross-sections. This can cause belt noise and excess vibration.
This type of wear will indicate to your mechanic that the tensioner’s internal components may have failed. If the tensioner fails it will result in a high level of noise, vibration and produce excessive heat.
This normally occurs when there is a tensioner or pulley misalignment, excessive heat or bearing failure. Your mechanic will notice the belt’s edges have been worn down to the filaments inside.
Glazing is when the timing belt has a shiny or glossy appearance on the underside, which means the belt has gone stiff and isn’t providing the flexibility needed. Your mechanic will check this by trying to put an indent into the surface of the belt. If it doesn’t leave a mark the belt needs replacing.
Material loss can also change the effective length of the belt, moving the tensioner beyond its take-up limit. This will reduce overall tension and also overall performance.
This occurs when water cannot be dispersed away from the worn belt and pulleys. The belt then hydroplanes on the water between the belt and pulleys, which results in a loss of power to the engine.
Don’t risk severe engine damage. Have your timing belt checked today
The overall impact of a broken timing belt does depend on the type of engine installed in your vehicle. Engines are either interference or non-interference. Interference engines gain a bit more compression and provide slightly more power. Smaller engines may be the interference type for this reason. In this configuration, the valves extend into the cylinder a little more than in a non-interference engine. This also means that if the system is not properly timed, the valve may not be out of the way when the piston moves fully upwards. When a timing belt breaks in an interference engine, one or more valves may be stuck in the open position. The pistons will move upwards forcefully, crashing into the open valves. In the best case, your engine will have some broken valves and damaged pistons. In a worst case, the valves and rods can push through the engine cover. Pistons have even been known to crash through oil pans if the crankshaft twists and breaks in the process. The engine is now ruined.
Some Timing Belt Facts.
What does a timing belt do in a car?
In an engine, the opening and closing of the valves must be precisely timed with the up and down movement of the pistons. The valves are operated by the camshaft(s). The job of a timing belt is to synchronize the rotation of the engine crankshaft with the camshaft(s). The timing belt is a toothed belt running on gears.
What if the timing belt breaks?
If the timing is off, your engine won’t run. And that’s the best case. The worst case is that a valve is opening at the wrong time and hits the piston. The result is bent valves and possibly even more damage to the cylinder head.
Should the water pump also be replaced?
On some engines, the water pump is driven by the timing belt as opposed to the serpentine belt. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to replace the water pump when you are replacing the timing belt, and vice versa since much of the same work has to be done for either.
Should the tensioner be replaced?
The timing belt tensioner is the component responsible for keeping tension on the timing belt. If it loses tension the belt could either slip or jump which in some engines can cause severe damage.
How often should the timing belt be replaced?
Check your owner’s manual or consult with your service advisor at Albion Auto Sales & Service in Bolton, to see when the recommended interval is for the timing belt to be replaced. If you’ve never replaced your timing belt and have 95,000 or more KM on the odometer, be sure to see if you’re due or have the condition of the belt checked.