Saturday, February 2, 2013

Avoid Costly Engine Damage; Change Your Timing Belt at the Recommended Interval

Avoid Costly Engine Damage; Change Your Timing Belt at the Recommended Interval or Every 72 Months, Which Ever Comes First

Automobile engines can be classified as either Free-Running or Interference, depending on what occurs if piston/valve synchronization is lost. Knowing the difference between these engine types and recognizing the type of your own car can give you insight on when you should change your timing belt, and what could happen if you don't.

As illustrated below, The free-running engine has a valve that does not interfere with the piston, even if the engine should seize, or stop moving. The Interference engine has a valve that does interfere with the piston should the engine seize or stop moving.

If the valve interferes with the piston, synchronization is lost and the interference engine sustains significant damage. Once the piston and valve collide, damage can occur to the valves, pistons, or heads that can cause very costly repairs to the owner, and even ruin the engine completely. Most car and light diesel engines have higher compression engines are considered interference engines. Follow your auto manufacturer's mileage replacement recommendations or the standard recommended mileage interval of 60,000 miles.

Timing belts are located inside the engine and are often considered out-of-site out-of-mind for routine maintenance. Here are some quick questions to consider to be aware of when your timing belt should be replaced.
  • Did you buy the car new? Check your maintenance manual to see when you should have your timing belt replaced.
  • Did you buy the car used? Make sure you find out if the timing belt has been replaced by the previous owner or dealer. If they are not sure, have the timing belt checked or replaced and be aware if it is an interference engine.
  • How many miles are on the vehicle? Generally belts are replaced around 60,000 miles or less. Ask your local auto repair facility to look up the recommended mileage for timing belt replacement.
  • Have you ever replaced the timing belt? If the answer is no, you should find out when your vehicle is due for replacement.
Helpful Hint:
For vehicles within a few thousand miles of recommended replacement interval, if you are already getting engine repairs done, have the timing belt checked. If it needs replacing, do it along with the other repairs by saving on labor costs, time, and money.

1 comment:

  1. A timing belt is a toothed belt that connects the engine crankshaft to the camshaft or camshafts as you can see in the picture.