Liberty
928 Sutton Place
Liberty, MO 64068

816-792-1504
Liberty West
(Formerly Hart's Auto Repair)
2108 W. College
Liberty, MO 64068

816-781-6552
It is Our Goal to be Your
#1 Neighborhood Auto Repair Shop

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Timing Belts / Chains

Timing belts are a critical but often overlooked part of your car’s engine. When an engine is not correctly timed, it will run poorly and inefficiently. If the timing belt breaks in an interference engine the engine may suffer extensive damage. The pistons will crash into the valves, breaking the valves, bending the rods and possibly causing damage to the pistons.

Timing belts connect the crankshaft to the camshaft and drive the camshaft. The belt provides the timing for piston motion to correct valve opening and closing. In non-interference, or free running design engines, belt breakage will not normally cause engine damage. In these engines, there is enough clearance in the engine to prevent contact between the valves and pistons. Timing belts may also power other mechanical parts including the water or oil pump.

Timing chains were used on older cars and would generally last the life of the vehicle. When it comes to newer vehicles that use timing chains, failures can occur due to tensioner problems. The chains are longer in Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) engines and use a series of tensioners and guides that can fail and require costly replacement. Proper lubrication is also required to prevent binding.

Always follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation when it comes to belt replacement and additional suggested services. If the water pump is located under the timing belt, and the belt needs to be removed to replace the pump, replace the pump at the same time the belt is changed. If the water pump has been changed recently, this step can be skipped. Otherwise, you may face the need to replace the timing belt again if the water pump fails, well before the belt would otherwise require replacement.

Timing belt replacement intervals will vary by the car manufacturer and the type of belt installed. Vehicles built after 1999 may have recommendations of up to 100,000 miles between belt changes. For vehicles built before 1999, most manufacturers recommend a belt change at 60,000 miles.

 

Timing belt tips:

  • If you purchase a used vehicle, try to get information on when the timing belt was changed, if it ever was.
  • Invest in the best quality, longest lasting timing belt for your vehicle. It is the labor that is costly. The belt is only a small portion of the total cost.
  • If your engine has an internal oil or antifreeze leak, have the belt inspected when repairs are made. Oil and antifreeze can damage the material and shorten the belt’s life span.

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