All You Need to Know About Timing Belts

Automotive Blog

The timing belt is a critical component of your vehicle's timing system. It controls the movement of the valves and pistons during ignition. In the extract below, you will learn more about the timing belt and why it is a critical component of your car. 

Work of the Timing Belt

Four-stroke engines have four engine cycles. During the intake cycle, the intake valve opens, and the piston moves down, creating a vacuum and allowing air and fuel inside the combustion chamber. During the compression cycle, the intake valve closes, thus compressing the air-fuel mixture. As the piston moves up, it causes further compression, and the spark plug ignites this mixture. This is known as the combustion cycle. The resulting explosion pushes the piston downwards, consequently opening the exhaust valve to let out exhaust gases. This is the exhaust cycle.  

The timing belt controls the camshaft (which controls the valves) and the crankshaft (which moves the pistons). As such, without a timing belt, the vehicle will not move.  

Signs of a Failing Timing Belt

Timing belts are made from rubber and will, therefore, wear out over time. Below are a few symptoms of a faulty timing belt:

  • Your car will give a timing belt warning sign on the dashboard.
  • The timing belt is connected to a series of pulleys—these pulleys could produce a ticking noise if the timing belt is misaligned or worn out.
  • The vehicle may have trouble starting or may misfire.
  • An incorrect air–fuel mixture in the combustion chamber could cause your vehicle to produce excessive smoke.
  • In worst-case scenarios, the valves or pistons may break, leading to catastrophic engine failure.

Timing Belt Replacement

The timing belt should be replaced at a specific mileage. Check your vehicle's manual to know how long you should use the belt. Consult your mechanic if you think that your car has a faulty timing belt. Your mechanic will inspect the timing belt to determine if it is misaligned or worn out. Always use original timing belts on your car. Seek the advice of your mechanic and conduct some online research if you want to install an aftermarket timing belt.  

Changing a timing belt is a tedious and delicate task. Typically, your mechanic will need to open up the engine to locate the timing belt. He or she will then inspect the internal engine components for signs of damage and then align the camshaft and crankshaft before installing your new timing belt.

The timing belt controls an engine's ignition timing process. Ask a skilled and experienced mechanic to replace your worn-out timing belt. 


27 December 2019