What is a Timing Belt?
The timing belt is a rubber belt with hard teeth that interlock with the crankshaft and camshaft cogwheels. It synchronizes the crankshaft and camshaft movements. This ensures that the intake and exhaust valves of the engine open and close in sync with the pistons.
In simple terms, timing belts, also known as cambelts or timing chains (although the latter is technically a different type of system, as we’ll see), are devices typically installed on the rotary mechanisms of a power transmission system.
They’re most commonly found connecting the crankshaft to the camshafts to maintain the precise alignments (timings) between these two key components as they rotate at different – but consistent, relative to one another – speeds in internal combustion engines.
Timing belts in nearly all engines built before the last 20 years were uniformly made of thick straps of tough, resilient rubber.
Different Types of Timing Belt
- Pitch selection
- Pulley selection
- Pulley drawing
- Belt selecting
- Shaft selecting
- Design assembly
What is the Difference between a Timing Belt and a Timing Chain?
Depending on the model of your vehicle, you may have a timing chain instead of a timing belt. A timing chain performs the same function as a belt but is made of metal rather than rubber. Timing belts became popular after they were introduced in the 1960’s because they are lighter and quieter.
Many modern cars have returned to using timing chains due to design improvements and a long lifespan. If your car has a timing chain, you may be able to go longer between timing chain replacements. To be sure, consult your owner’s manual or call us.
Core Functions of Timing Belts
The following are the functions of timing belts or chains in automobile engines:
- Synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft
- Controls the opening and closing of engine valves
- Maintains correct engine timing
- Prevents valve-to-piston collisions
- Transfers power from the crankshaft to the camshaft
- Maintains engine performance and efficiency
- Helps reduce engine vibration and noise
- Protects engine components from damage caused by misalignment or slippage
- Essential for the safe and reliable operation of the engine
Warning Flags of Failure
Before a timing belt breaks, there are often no warning signs. However, the following are some possible indicators that it is time to replace your belt:
- Engine power has been reduced
- Shaking or vibrating
- Having difficulty starting the vehicle
- Belts making squealing or rubbing noises
- The engine is making a ticking noise
- Oil leaking
- Engine Warning Light
We suggest changing the water pump while your vehicle is in for service. The water pump has a similar lifespan and is easily accessible when removing the timing belt. You can save money on labour costs this way.
What happens when a timing belt breaks while driving?
If a timing belt breaks while driving, it can cause serious damage to the engine and other components of the vehicle. The timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the rotation of the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft, which ensures that the valves open and close at the correct time. If the timing belt snaps or slips out of place, the valves can collide with the pistons, causing extensive damage to the engine. This can result in costly repairs or even the need for a complete engine replacement. In addition, a broken timing belt can cause the engine to suddenly stop running, leaving the driver stranded on the road. Therefore, it’s important to have the timing belt checked and replaced regularly, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, to avoid the risk of a catastrophic failure.
Explore Services Offered by Superior Tire & Auto
Superior Tire & Auto has ten locations throughout Ontario to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Timing belt replacement is an expensive service. Depending on the vehicle, it is a complex, time-consuming process that can take 4-8 hours. However, replacing the timing belt before it fails will protect the engine and save you money in the long run.
Stop by Superior Tire & Auto today if you’re unsure whether your belt needs to be replaced. Our certified technicians will inspect your vehicle, identify any belt damage, and replace it with quality service at a reasonable price. A 2-year/24,000-km service warranty covers our timing belt replacement service if you require service. Call today to schedule an appointment!