The Definitive Guide To Timing Belt In 2021

  03 Sep 2021

The Definitive Guide To Timing Belt In 2021

This is the ultimate guide to timing belt in 2021 that answers all your questions about timing belt. Let's dive right in!


A timing belt, also known as a cambelt, is important to make sure everything in your engine is running effectively and optimally all the time, keeping you safe on the road.

Hence, replacing the timing belt is an important maintenance task! So, if you are a car lover, you should learn how a timing belt works, the warning signs of a malfunctioning belt, and its replacement tips.

Read: The Top 5 Car Spare Parts You Should Be Checking Regularly


What Is A Timing Belt?

For starters, your car will not run without a timing belt. That’s how important it is for a vehicle.

Timing belt is a toothed belt made of high-strength rubber and nylon blend.

It controls the camshafts in your engine by opening and closing valves at just the right time to keep your engine’s parts functioning.


How Does It Work?

The job of the timing belt is to harmonize a car’s crankshaft and camshaft rotation. It is only when both are synced up, that your vehicle’s pistons and valves will operate correctly.

That is why no matter if it’s a brand-new car or years' old vehicle, you got to have a functional timing belt.


When Should A Timing Belt Be Replaced?

It's important to replace your timing belt at the mileage intervals your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

Most car manufacturers recommend a replacement interval of between 100,000 and 160,000 km. This means that the belt must be replaced at 100,000 km, then at 200,000 km, and so on.

Your timing belt replacement interval should be listed in the maintenance section of your owner's manual.


5 Signs Your Timing Belt Needs IMMEDIATE Replacement

Since it can be hard to do a visual check, there are five signs to be aware of that indicates your timing belt may be about to fail.

1. Your engine doesn’t start or has a hard time starting

While there can be a number of reasons why your car won’t start normally — either your battery is dead or your car is out of gas. In this case, however, if your timing belt has broken inside, your engine will not be able to turn over nor ignite. This means when your turn the key to start the car, you can still hear the starter motor engage, but your engine would not be able to turn over as normal.

In many cases, timing belt will break when the engine is running. If it remains unrepaired, the worst case scenario is that your broken timing belt will cause your pistons to crash against your valves, damaging them — resulting in bent pistons and valves, broken cylinder heads or cylinders.

Once the piston bends, then that could also lead to irreparable engine damage that can only be fixed with a complete engine overhaul.


2. You hear ticking or clicking in your engine

When your timing belt starts to wear out, you may hear a repetitive ticking or clicking sound coming from your car’s engine. Since the timing belt is responsible for the synchronization of both camshaft’s and crankshaft’s movement, and is covered in a series of rubber teeth, so when it starts to break off, it is not going to run smoothly and evenly between the camshaft and crankshaft any longer — and that creates a ticking noise as it spins.


Let’s take a closer look.

So, when you start noticing this warning sign, means that you definitely need a timing belt replacement or call a professional mechanic. However, this ticking noises may sometimes be an indication of low oil pressure or your engine is not having adequate lubrication.


3. Engine misfires (hesitation or shaking when your car is running)

Misfiring is a common occurrence with malfunctioning timing belts. Since your timing belt is attached to the pulleys that drive the crankshaft, so when it starts to wear out, the belt will sometimes slip on the camshaft drive — causing the engine cylinder to open or close earlier than it should and impacting your engine's fire rate. The result will be a misfire. If the belt is not replaced and misfires continue to happen, then it could lead to severe engine damage.

If you start experiencing engine misfiring, be sure to check your timing belt out quickly.


4. Too much exhaust coming from your tailpipe

If your car’s exhaust has been expelling far more smoke than you’re used to, it could be another sign of a failing timing belt. While this can make your engine work harder than it’s supposed to in an attempt to run under duress, which can lead to costly repairs down the line. Therefore, if you notice an unusual amount of smoke coming from your tailpipe, it is a good indicator that something may be off with the timing belt.


5. You hear squealing sounds from your car

In addition to the ticking sound, you may notice a squealing noise. While the ticking sound will likely be constant, the squealing may only happen as you are accelerating, and it might only happen when you're breaking. There are other causes for a sound like this, but a worn-out belt that's on the verge of snapping can definitely make this sound as well.


Let’s take a closer look at how it will sound and the way you can fix the squeaky belt.


Knowing these warning signs can save you costly repairs and a ruined engine. To prevent the unfortunate event of the belt slipping, be sure to replace the belt as recommended based on your vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines.


The Bottom Line

Anytime you hear a new sound coming from under the engine, you know something needs to be done about it.

So, today we have discussed what a timing belt is, how it works, and the symptoms of a bad timing belt. By now, you should be able to identify the signs of a worn-out belt and make sure you get it repaired as soon as you can — before ends up with severe engine damage.

For more car care tips and advice, be sure to come back to the Saiko blog soon.

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