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  • Writer's pictureAleko Kavouras

A Guide to Timing Belts

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Ever heard of a timing belt? Don’t fret, many others haven’t either. The timing belt’s role is to keep the two main shafts in your engine turning together, at the right “time.” It’s a very important part of your car’s mechanisms, and will need to be changed at some point. Here’s a comprehensive guide to timing belts to help you understand more about why they are so vital.

What Exactly is a Timing Belt?

Back in the 1980s, timing belts became the norm overs chains. The change to timing belts allowed for a lighter and less expensive vehicle. As mentioned above, the timing belt’s main function is keeping the crankshaft and camshaft turning at the correct time or rate.

  1. The crankshaft is the mechanism which moves your pistons up for the compression and exhaust cycles, and then down for power and intake cycles.

  2. The camshaft is the mechanism which controls the opening and closings of the exhaust and intake valves. These valves must be open and closed at the correct time to achieve full engine compression. If the timing is off, even by the slightest, fuel could escape through an open valve and, in turn, a majority of the engine’s power would be lost.

The timing belt is the only thing keeping the timing of these mechanisms in sync—which is what makes it so vital to be working in your vehicle. The timing belt may also control the water, oil, and injection pumps depending on your car.

How Often does the Timing Belt Need to be Changed?

This question really depends on your car. The old standard was you should change your timing belt every 60,000 miles. But now, as technology has advanced, that number has bumped up to every 100,000 miles. The safest way to know exactly how far the belt can go is by checking with your car’s manufacturer or a Maryland auto mechanic.

Signs Your Timing Belt is Deteriorating

There are a couple of ways you may realize it’s time to change your belt. The first, and most obvious, is your engine just stops running because the belt breaks. But sometimes the belt needs replaced before it breaks. Here are some signs you need to change your timing belt:

  1. Loss of power

  2. Loss of fuel efficiency

  3. Engine misfiring

  4. Engine vibration

Consult with a Local Maryland Mechanic

If you ever are in question of whether or not your timing belt needs to be replaced, it is always a safe bet to go to your local Maryland auto mechanic. The experts at Hillmuth Auto Care are a team of highly skilled professionals who know everything about timing belts, crankshafts, camshafts, and anything else under the hood. We are a locally-owned and operated business, and after one visit you’re guaranteed to make us your trusted car repair company.

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