Timing Belt 101 And Why You Never Want It To Break

Although many automotive manufacturers are going back to timing chains because they are less problematic, you probably have a timing belt. Check your owner’s manual to see if you do. If so, it’s important to maintain the belt and replace it when recommended. If you fail to do so, trust us here at Trinity Auto Care, you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. Here’s information about your timing belts.

The Timing Belt Itself

A timing belt is a rubber belt that has ridges in to fit in your vehicle’s camshaft teeth. In very basic terms, your camshaft rotates to open and shut the engine valves, which are connected to the engine’s crankshaft which is connected to the pistons. As the valves open and close, they push the pistons up and down. This belt keeps your engine’s valves and pistons moving in the correct time.

Timing Belt Failure

If the timing belt fails, which usually means the rubber belt breaks, the engine timing is immediately thrown off. What happens next is why you are in a world of hurt. As the timing stalls, the valves and pistons crash into each and damage the piston strike, the pistons themselves, and the cylinder walls. In the auto mechanic world, this equals catastrophic engine damage, and the repairs are in the thousands.

The Valves Take a Hit, Too

What’s worse, the valves are damaged during the collision, as well. In fact, they usually fare the worst at the end of the timing belt disaster. All of this equals a need for a new engine practically. Not only will we need to replace your valves, but we’ll also need to replace the pistons and any other damaged engine parts. We’ll also need to replace that belt and its tensioner in most cases. Bottom line: it’s a mess.

How Can I Avoid This?

The key to avoiding a timing belt disaster is to prevent it from breaking in the first place. Pull out your vehicle’s owner’s manual and check to see when your belt needs to be replaced – usually anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 miles. When you reach that mileage milestone, have the belt replaced immediately. This prevents the belt from breaking and the hot mess we’ve described above.

We can replace your timing belt. Just bring your vehicle into Trinity Auto Care in White Bear Lake, MN. Come see us for an appointment. We’ll get you in and out of our shop as quickly as possible.

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