Timing Belt

What Is a Timing Belt on a Car?

Unless you are an automobile enthusiast or a mechanic, you may not be aware of the timing belt under your hood. This may be because this part is long-lasting, often not needing a replacement for up to 7 years.

However, it is wise to get familiar with parts that expire. This is especially relevant for those who own a used car or may be in the market for one. A car cannot drive without a timing belt, and replacing it can often incur an expensive bill.

To learn more about the importance of this car part, check out the guide below.

What Is a Timing Belt?

A timing belt, also known as a timing chain or cambelt, is usually a rubber belt with teeth. In older vehicles, it may be made with metal. Although metal is longer-lasting than rubber, it is noisier and more expensive to produce. Eventually, manufacturers began using rubber with fibers to produce tension.

The timing belt has teeth to lock into the camshaft and crankshaft, connecting them. It’s an important part of the whole moving mechanism that makes a combustion engine work. The camshaft spins to open and close valves, while the crankshaft moves pistons up and down, and these functions need to be timed right with the help of the timing belt, which is aptly named.

Why Does It Need Replacement?

Over time, parts of any vehicle get worn down from wear. The wear may be from weather, mileage and use, or damage.

For a timing belt, heat can aggravate normal wear and tear. An engine gets very hot because it’s based on combustion, and this wears down the rubber. Heat from the environment, like in hot climates, doesn’t help either.

Eventually, the rubber loses its elasticity and snaps. This is when it needs to be replaced.

Signs of a Bad Timing Belt

Knowing the signs of a bad timing belt can help prevent further damage to other parts of the car. A car dealer or manufacturer will often recommend when to replace the timing belt, as this varies by make and model. It’s a good idea to replace a worn timing belt before it snaps and costs even more to repair.

Other signs of a bad timing belt include a ticking noise, engine misfire, a cranking engine that won’t start, and leakage from the water pump or timing tensioner.

How to Replace a Timing Belt

Unless you are a professional mechanic, it’s not recommended to replace a timing belt yourself. The timing belt needs a precise amount of tension to do its job. It cannot be too tight or too loose.

Consider saving up for this eventual replacement, as it is a labor-intensive repair that can cost between $500 and $1,000.

More Auto Guides

A timing belt is just one of those parts that must be replaced on a car. But the good news is that it doesn’t need to be replaced often. This gives car owners time to save money for when their timing belt fails.

If you’re in the market for a used car, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Timing Belt

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