When Should You Replace Your Timing Belt?

The engine of your vehicle is made up of many parts, each with their own important function in helping to make your vehicle run. One such component of the engine is the timing belt.

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, vehicle manufacturers were looking for ways to produce lighter vehicles. A lighter weight vehicle meant increased gas mileage, which they hoped would increase sales. It was during this time that the timing belts began to replace the chains that were used in earlier vehicle models. The downfall to this change in material was that it was now rubber, which can deteriorate.

Timing belt maintenance is important in helping to keep your vehicle running and avoiding an expensive breakdown. As a responsible vehicle owner, you should know what timing belts do, and when they should be replaced.

What is the purpose of the timing belt?

Your timing belt is responsible for keeping the camshaft and crankshaft rotating at the proper speed. In some vehicle models, the timing belt is also responsible for running the injection pump, oil pump, and water pump. The crankshafts job is to move pistons up for exhaust and compression cycles, while the pistons move down for intake and power cycles. The camshaft opens and closes the valves for intake and exhaust. In order to allow fuel to enter the chamber and close to allow compression, the valves must open at the proper time. Should the timing cycle be off, it is possible the fuel will not enter the cylinder or that it will escape through an open exhaust valve. If the valve is not closed fully during compression, then most of your engine’s power will be lost.

When should the timing belt be replaced?

Timing belt replacement is no joke. If the timing belt breaks, the best-case scenario would be that your engine will merely stop running. A worst-case scenario would be that the engine is ruined by the valves and rods of the engine pushing through the engine cover and/or the pistons crashing through the oil pan.

The timing belt should be replaced per the intervals described in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This is typically between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you will likely need to replace the timing belt sooner.

  • Loss of power
  • Loss of fuel economy
  • Engine misfire
  • Engine vibration

Ask that the timing belt is inspected when you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance to make sure they are not loose, too tight, cracked, worn, coated in oil, or frayed. If it appears damaged, then you should have it replaced to avoid the potential of developing serious and expensive engine damage.

Also, if you are having work performed on another area of the vehicle that requires the removal of the timing belt then you should go ahead and replace it. Reinstalling a used belt is not a good idea as it will be stretched and hard to set properly.

If you need help with the maintenance of your vehicle, including timing belt replacement, then you should look no further than Accurate Service. We provide complete automotive maintenance and repair for cars, pickups, and SUV’s in Tucson, Arizona.

The expert auto mechanics at Accurate Service offer the best vehicle repair in Tucson, AZ at the best price. We service all makes and models of vehicles and can do any repair whether it be large or small. Call us at (520) 622-7685 or schedule an appointment online.