The timing belt has a fairly straightforward job, but it's an absolutely critical one. It coordinates the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft and makes sure that they remain properly synchronised, opening and closing valves at the proper times - essentially ensuring the successful operation of the internal combustion engine.
Some modern engines use timing chains instead, but the traditional rubber composite belt - characterised by a sequence of teeth on the inside surface - remains predominant, thanks to being quiet, light and inexpensive.
Revolving thousands of times for every minute that the engine is active, timing belts withstand incredible levels of stress - not just mechanically, but also in terms of the wide variety of temperatures experienced under the car's bonnet.
Timing belt failure usually occurs because the teeth are eventually stripped away, or because the fibre cores used to reinforce the belt come unravelled.
Failure happens without warning, so routine inspection and replacement is essential. Bringing together both manufacturers' recommendations and the insight gained through unmatched levels of industry experience, Workshop personnel will learn proper procedures for removing and fitting timing belts - all while safeguarding against engine damage.
Engines can be divided into two broad categories depending on the way the valves and pistons function. The difference is small, but carries big implications. In an interference engine, the amount of space between valves and pistons is minimal and these components cross each others' paths with every stroke.
This means that if the timing belt fails, the components are liable to collide - resulting in costly, if not irreparable, engine damage. A non-interference engine provides more ample room for valves and pistons, meaning that timing belt failure causes the unit to shut down rather than self-destruct.
To minimise the risk of failure, manufacturers provide recommendations - usually based on intervals of months or mileages - as to when timing belts should be replaced. These tend to vary from model to model; other factors often need to be considered too, such as whether the car uses a diesel or petrol engine, or is subjected to particularly demanding driving conditions.
The suggested replacement interval for a timing belt could be anywhere between 40,000 and 120,000 miles.
Recommended replacement intervals assume that the timing belt is operating at the correct tension. If the belt is too loose or tight, its lifespan is likely to be drastically shortened. To insure against tensioner failure, this component is typically inspected and replaced at the same time as the timing belt itself.
To book your car in for a cambelt check or replacement simply call Paddy on 01384 885006. If you prefer, fill in the 'Make An Enquiry' form and we will call you back.