What is a timing belt and why is it important to change it at suggested intervals?
A timing belt is a toothed belt that keeps the engine in sync, or keeps the engine “in time.” Your engine has 2 halves, an upper half and a lower half. The lower half consists of the crankshaft. A crankshaft is known as a rotating assembly and has pistons connected to it. The upper half is the cylinder head and contains the camshaft or multiple camshafts.
While the engine is running, the pistons are forced downward causing the crankshaft to rotate. The crankshaft has a toothed gear on the front that the timing belt rides on. This rotation causes the belt to move and spin the other half of the engine containing the camshaft. The camshaft also has a toothed gear attached. This camshaft pushes on the valves against the springs to make them open. This lets air and fuel in on the intake side, and also lets burned exhaust gasses out through the exhaust side. Obviously, it is important for those things to happen at the precise time.
When the timing belt ages, the teeth begin to crack on the inside and can break off. This break in the belt will allow the upper end of the engine to stop moving and the lower end to spin but not spin the timing belt.
In some engines there could be a valve or two that are still open when the piston comes up which in turn allows the piston to hit and possibly bend the valve. This is engine failure and will require engine disassembly. Replacing the timing belt is a far less costly service and will prevent engine damage.
The timing belt also drives the water pump in a lot of engines. Holzhauser's Auto Service recommends replacing the water pump and tensioner at the same time as the timing belt. At this juncture you are just paying for parts and no additional labor, as we are working in this area anyway.
During the month of May, 2018 we are offering a Free Oil Change (Up to $50) when you have your timing belt replaced. Call us at (410) 272-1170 to schedule your appointment today.
Holzhauser’s Auto is your one-stop auto shop in Harford County, MD.
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