What is a timing belt? How long does it last? What are the signs it requires replacing? Below, we answer these questions and more, to help you determine whether your car needs a timing belt replacement.
What Is a Timing Belt?
A timing belt is a toothed rubber belt (reinforced with high-tensile fibres) that synchronises the rotation of a car’s camshaft and crankshaft, ensuring the valves of the engine open and close at the correct time, and hence that it runs smoothly. These belts may also drive components such as the oil pump and water pump.
How Long Do Timing Belts Last?
Manufacturers usually recommend that timing belts be replaced after 60,000-100,000km travelled or five years of operation. These figures should give you an idea of how long they are expected to last before potentially ceasing to perform safely.
Why Do Timing Belts Sometimes Wear Out Sooner?
Unsurprisingly, harsh motoring conditions can lead to a timing belt wearing out well before the distance/time milestones mentioned above. So too can incorrect belt tension or the breakdown of surrounding parts.
What Are the Signs a Timing Belt Requires Replacing?
Possible signs include:
- A regular knocking sound from the engine.
- Squealing sounds when starting, accelerating or breaking.
- Misfires (due to the belt slipping).
- The car’s engine stalling or refusing to start.
- A lot more exhaust smoke than usual.
- Visible damage to pistons or valves.
Don’t assume your timing belt is fine simply because you haven’t noticed any of the above indicators. Old belts can fail without warning. On the other hand, these same indicators can result from problems other than a failing timing belt. The best way to be sure about what is going on with your car is to take it to your trusted local auto-repair firm.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Replace It?
Timing belts may lose teeth, have fibres unravel and, in the worst-case scenario, snap. This can damage the cylinder head and block, pistons or valves. The engine will cease to work and it might be ruined as a result of the timing belt failure.
Are Replacements Expensive/Time-Consuming?
Given the damage that can be caused if it goes awry, replacing a timing belt is not expensive – it is an investment in your car’s future. This isn’t a job for novices, though, and can take hours as it involves some disassembly (and reassembly) of the engine. Experienced mechanics often find it convenient to also replace the water pump at this time. The engine timing will be checked before the replacement is considered complete.
Where to Get Your Timing Belt Replaced
For the best service at a competitive price, Mainstreme Automotive is the place to go. Based in Dayboro in the Moreton Bay region north of Brisbane, we are a family business that has been operating since 2001 and, during that time, earned numerous five-star reviews from our satisfied customers. We repair every type of vehicle, in all makes and models. You can contact us by calling (07) 3425 1503.