What is the Timing Belt in a Car?

The timing belt is essential for a car's engine to cycle at precisely the right time. The riskiest aspect of this car part is that the timing belt doesn’t give many signs of wear compared to, for example, the noise that brakes make when they’re worn out. The belt’s toothed system is designed to facilitate the mutual motion of the crankshaft and camshaft.

The timing belt distributes nothing directly but is responsible for synchronizing the movement of the pistons and valves of the engine, with the mutual motion of the crankshaft and the camshaft. A breakage of the timing belt can be one of the most expensive damages in a vehicle since the pistons will begin to rub against the valves of the engine, causing costly problems such as bent valves and damaged pistons.

When Should I Replace It?

Typically, if the vehicle has more than 60,000 miles on it, it’d be a good idea to start thinking about the replacement of the timing belt. The best thing would be to check the vehicle owner's manual and find out what the car manufacturer's recommendations are since all cars have different specifications. Thanks to advances in technology, some manufacturers with the latest car models recommend the replacement of the timing belt when the vehicle travels up to 100,000 miles, while models of older vehicles tend to have less capacity. Even if you do not drive the vehicle frequently, the recommendation is to replace it every 6 to 8 years, because the timing belt wears out anyway.

It’s common for the timing belt to break without showing many symptoms of wearing out in advance. However, if you notice the symptoms below in your vehicle, it’s best that you take it to a mechanic for inspection.

Symptoms of malfunction:

  • Strange motor vibrations
    • If the vehicle starts to vibrate or shake, it may be due to a stretched timing belt or with one with missing teeth.
  • Visible exhaust
    • Possibly be due to valve problems that are having a hard time opening or closing in time, which causes thick smoke to escape from the exhaust pipe.
  • Ignition Difficulty
    • Startup problems don’t always have to do with a worn belt, but sometimes it's because the timing of the ignition is wrong.
  • Motor leaking or overheating
    • If the vehicle overheats or leaks fluid, it could cause premature wear of the timing belt, and in the worst cases, even a break.

How Much Does the Replacement Cost?

The replacement of the timing belt exclusively for maintenance reasons could cost you around $500 to $900. In the event that it’s too late and the timing belt is already broken, the repair may cost up to $2,000. This is because if the belt breaks, repairs may have to be done to the valves, pistons, or the water pump since a broken belt could potentially damage those parts.

Other Pieces You Should Keep an Eye On

When you take the car to the mechanic to replace the timing belt since it’ll be an extensive procedure, it’d be a good idea to also have the technicians review the:

  • Transmission Band
  • Camshaft Seals
  • Crankshaft Seals
  • Water Pump
  • Tensioner

The timing belt is a very important part of your vehicle which needs to be replaced before it breaks, to avoid potential damage to other parts of the engine. Protect yourself and your loved ones when driving your vehicle, and make sure you have a team of reliable people at your service. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.

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