What does a timing belt do?
The timing belt is a rubber belt that keeps the internal engine components (camshaft, crankshaft) running in sync, moving the pistons and valves and allowing the engine to run properly. It is recommended to replace the belt at certain intervals because over time, the belt will wear out, stretch, and can eventually break. During the belt replacement, it is recommended to also replace all related tensioners and pulleys, as well as the water pump if it is driven by the timing belt.
Why is it important to replace the timing belt?
If a timing belt breaks, it can cause a variety of issues. On an interference engine, it will allow the valves to contact the pistons, causing severe internal engine damage. On non-interference engines, internal damage may not occur, but the vehicle will stall and still be rendered immobile until the belt is replaced. Even if the belt does not break, it can stretch out over time and slip or jump, causing timing issues and possible damage. Replacing your vehicle’s timing belt at or before the recommended mileage/time intervals will help to ensure optimal performance and reliability of your vehicle and engine.
How often should the timing belt be replaced?
The mileage interval is generally 60,000 to 105,000 but varies by manufacturer and even by engine. The belt should be replaced around the seven year mark even if the mileage interval has not been met, as the rubber can break down over time. If any coolant or oil leaks occur and contaminate the belt, it should be changed immediately. As always, it is best to consult with your owners manual for the most accurate recommendations for your vehicle.