My friend had a broken timing belt and it was very expensive to repair his engine. What can I do to avoid a broken timing belt?
Well, a broken timing belt can lead to one of the most expensive engine repairs you’ll ever face. The good news is that replacing your timing belt on its recommended schedule can help avoid those problems.
Here’s a brief overview of what the timing belt does:
Air is drawn into the cylinder of the engine through the intake valves. After the air and fuel mixture is burned, it’s pushed out through the exhaust valves. The timing belt, which is driven by the engine, turns the camshafts which control when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. It is important that the opening and closing of the valves take place at exactly the right time for the engine to run properly.
Beyond that, on some engines the valves extend into the combustion chamber far enough that they can be hit by the piston as it moves up and down in the cylinder. When everything is timed just right – no problem. When the timing is off, the piston will slam into the valves and cause big (expensive) damage.
The timing belt makes sure everything is timed just right. However, the belt does have a useful life. Beyond that it can break or slip – and that’s when the damage can be done. If your vehicle has a timing belt (some have metal timing chains) it will have a recommended interval for replacing it, typically in the 60,000 to 90,000-mile range. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or with your service advisor to make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced: there is a lot at stake.
Now, getting to the timing belt requires a lot of labor so it is an expensive service item, but it is certainly less expensive than repairing a damaged engine. If your timing belt drives your water pump, change them both at the same time to save labor costs down the road. Ask your service advisor when your timing belt should be changed and get an estimate for what it will cost so you can budget for this important service.
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Mountain View Automotive
8650 Pearl Street
Thornton, Colorado 80229