Why Timing Belts Need Replacement
WHAT IS A TIMING BELT?
Timing belts have replaced timing chains on many of today's engines. Both belts and chains ensure that crankshaft, pistons and valves operate together in proper sequence. Belts are lighter, quieter and more efficient than chains.
WHY REPLACE THE BELT?
Like other components, timing belts wear out. Proper maintenance requires belt replacement at regular intervals before they break.
WHERE ARE BELTS LOCATED?
Timing belts are on the front of the engine protected by a plastic or metal cover.
WHEN SHOULD BELTS BE REPLACED?
When a timing belt breaks, the engine stops. Replace belts before this occurs. Most manufacturers provide a suggested service life and replacement schedule for this critical component.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CAR HAS ONE?
Your vehicle manual may tell you, but you should ask your technician. He will know for sure.
WHAT IS A "FREE-RUNNING" ENGINE?
If the timing belt breaks on a free-running engine, the engine stops and you will need a tow to the repair shop. No mechanical damage occurs and the installation of a new belt is usually all that is needed to get you on your way.
WHAT IS AN "INTERFERENCE" ENGINE?
If the timing belt breaks on an interference engine, mechanical engine damage occurs. It most commonly involves open valves being struck by pistons, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. In extreme cases, a replacement engine may be required.
The following is a letter I send to my customers that is computer generated when their vehicle hits about 70,000 miles.
Letter for all my Customer
TIMING BELT FAILURE
CAN CAUSE ENGINE FAILURE!
Tiny's Car & Truck Repair LLC
266B N Yonge St.
Ormond Beach FL 32137
To everyone with a timing belt driven car,
I'm sending out this letter due to the increase in customer complaints about damage done to their engines when their timing belts break. I'm getting calls asking for reminders for regular maintenance. Most auto manufactures recommend changing timing belts at 60,000 mile intervals. (For you car's recommended maintenance interval click here) The problem that I'm seeing is when a person buys a used car that has no maintenance records from the previous owner. You can't look at a timing belt and tell if it needs replacing, They look fine until they snap. You aren't sure when to replace it or why. The two reasons for replacing the timing belts are:
Some engines are considered interference engines. What this means is that when the belt brakes the possibility of valve to piston damage is most likely to occur. This means a major repair bill and possible engine replacement!
Replacing the belt when it is recommended means you will never have to call me from the side of the road to tow your vehicle in. This is a major inconvenience, Because it never breaks down on a day you don't need it.
Call now for an appointment and receive 15% off your total repair bill. Remember to bring a copy of this letter with you for your discount.
TIMING BELT FAILURE
CAN CAUSE ENGINE FAILURE
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Last modified: 03/11/2003