Timing Belt Aids the Engine

By: Anthony Fontanelle

A number of automotive components are essential in an engine's efficient operation. One of them is the timing belt. In 1945, the first timing belt was used by the mass produced-German Goggomobil microcar. The first timing belt in the United States was used by the Pontiac Tempest in 1966. While some engines still use a timing chain and sprocket arrangement, others use timing belts. A timing belt is a toothed device that keeps the synchronized operation of the crankshaft and camshaft. It makes the valves open and close at the right time, thus maintaining valve movement consistent to piston position. Most drivers opt for timing belts since they cost less and produce minimal noise than timing chains and gears. Timing belts are also more flexible, therefore contributing to the better performance of the crankshaft and the camshaft.

Timing belts are used by two types of engines: the interference and the non-interference engines. The in an interference engine has to be well-functioning at all times to prevent the piston from crashing into an open valve, resulting in distorted valves, broken piston, and severe engine damage. In a non-interference engine, a faulty timing belt causes the engine to stop operating. Since timing belts are usually made of rubber with high-tensile fibers, they degrade with motor oil, antifreeze, and higher temperatures. Therefore, hot and leaky engines are major culprits for timing belt damage.

Aside from protecting the timing belt from damaging conditions, a vehicle owner must also know when the timing belt should be replaced. This is because damaged timing belts rarely show any symptom. Moreover, damaged timing belts are quite hard to inspect since they are hard to locate. It is then best to replace the timing belt every 75,000 miles to 95,000 miles to ensure a more efficient engine performance. Sometimes, professional mechanic may recommend replacing the water pump and other parts when replacing the timing belt to cut down repair and replacement costs.

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