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Timing belt is responsible for synchronizing your engine’s functions. If it fails, your engine will stop and serious engine damage can result. A worn or stretched belt can disrupt the operating order of the valves and pistons, which can result in a piston hitting a valve and damaging the engine. Timing belt failure warning signs include rough idling or difficulty starting the engine. Cracks on the belt, which is made of reinforced rubber, are an indication that it may soon break.

Timing belts and chains contribute greatly to the operation of car engines. They are responsible for synchronizing the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft with the cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes so that the valves in the engine open and close at the right intervals. The vast majority of cars made after 2000 have a timing chain, while most cars made before 2000 have timing belts.

Why do some engines use a timing chain vs. a timing belt or timing gear? Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and automakers and engine builders balance these.

  • Timing belts are light and quiet, but they don’t last very long, relatively speaking. Because they’re rubber-based, they degrade over time and must be replaced. Oil and coolant leaks speed up this deterioration. Most automakers recommend replacing the timing belt every 60,000 to 105,000 miles.
  • Timing chains are heavier and more complex than timing belts, but they also last much longer. Really, unless there’s a problem, timing chains don’t have a replacement interval. Regular oil changes prevent premature wear, stretching, and failure.
  • Timing gears are the heaviest and noisiest, with a distinctive whine some liken to a supercharger. Like timing chains, timing gears are strong, accurate and last a long time.

Checking your owner’s manual will tell you the recommended interval for your vehicle. Replacement of your timing belt will help keep your engine performing as it should and ensure you avoid expensive future repairs. During our replacement service, your belt will be replaced and synchronized with the crankshaft and camshaft to restore proper operating precision and order. It is widely recommended that you have your water pump changed during a timing belt replacement service as well. If your water pump fails later, it can do great damage to your vehicle. Since the water pump is easy to change during a timing belt replacement, consider having a new one installed at this time. 

Manufacturers often recommend replacing your timing chain and guides at 100,000 miles. Some manufacturers do not recommend replacing your timing chain until it begins making noise or showing signs of excessive swear. Most timing chains are designed to last the life of the engine. If are unsure, come to Kwik Kar Auto Care Center for a through vehicle inspection to put your mind at ease.

Kwik Kar’s Certified Automotive Professionals can can give you a more accurate idea of the condition of your timing belt by  visually assessing it and will let you know if replacement is recommended. Our ASE-Certified technicians are extensively trained, using cutting-edge equipment for an accurate diagnosis and precise repairs.