Timing Belt Replacement: When and How to Change a Timing Belt
The timing belt is crucial in any vehicle. Since your car engine relies on a timing belt to stay in sync, it is responsible for monitoring if everything is operating smoothly on the road. Therefore, timing belt replacement is an important maintenance process. If you are a car owner, you need to understand how the timing belt works and when to replace it.
What Is A Timing Belt?
A timing belt is something that keeps all the moving parts of an engine in sync. It can also power the water pump, injection pump and oil pump. The timing belt is made up of rubber with hard teeth which interlock with the cogwheels of the camshafts and crankshafts. This helps in synchronizing the movements between the parts. Another important responsibility of a timing belt is to ensure that the engine intake and exhaust valves open and close on time with the help of pistons.
If the crankshaft and camshafts do not work in unison, it means that something is wrong with the vehicle. When the intake valves open too early, it is because of too much fuel-air mixture flowing into the engine combustion chamber. This can lead to power loss.
When Should You Replace The Timing Belt?
Timing belt replacement is essential as per the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual. Every car model is different from each other so the timing belt life may vary. However, typically, timing belt replacement should take place every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. You can find the exact information and details of ‘when should I change my timing belt’ in your manufacturer’s manual.
Since the timing belt is made up of rubber, it is surely going to wear down over time and end up growing damaged. When a timing belt breaks, the engine of the car stops running or the different parts can be out of sync. This can damage your car engine pretty badly. If you fail to replace the timing belt at the recommended time, your car may suffer from total engine failure or broken valves. This can be dangerous for you as well as others on the road. Avoid paying a hefty amount by replacing the timing belt as per the manufacturer’s instruction.
Signs To Replace Your Timing Belt
Your timing belt may break without showing any warning signs. Here are a few ways that can help you detect the breakage of your timing belt.
- If your engine power is decreased
- If your car has started overheating
- Vibration when driving on the road
- Difficulty in starting the engine
- Squeaky noises from the belt
- Oil leakage
How to Replace a Timing Belt?
Timing belt replacement requires a basic understanding of the car engine system for a smooth process. If you are inexperienced or have zero knowledge, we would recommend you to refer to the nearest car service provider. But if you have complete knowledge and enjoy repairing it on your own, here’s the process!
Step 1: Get The Correct Replacement Timing Belt
As per the manufacturer’s manual, learn about the specification of the timing belt that your car needs. If it’s not mentioned in the manual, go to your nearest car parts dealer and get the one that is suitable for your car. They will check the model number and the year of manufacture and assist you further. It is important to get the correct replacement timing belt in order to enjoy a safe ride.
Step 2: Gaskets
While you are getting a new timing belt, it would be great to buy some new gaskets and adhesives as well. Your dealer will let you know which one will work perfectly for your car.
Step 3: Disconnect The Battery
To avoid any fatal electrical shocks, disconnect the negative battery cable from its terminal while working. You do not have to remove the entire battery, just breaking the circuit will help you save yourself from nasty shocks. Remember to enter a code to regain your electrical devices like the radio when you reconnect the battery later.
Step 4: Remove The Alternator Belt
It is a small belt that is located on the top of the timing belt. To create a slack, you need to loosen the nuts and take the belt off. However, in some models, you might need to remove the serpentine belt if it comes in the way.
Step 5: Remove The Accessories
A lot of accessories are attached to the timing belt. These include a power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. By loosening the nuts, remove all the accessories so that it doesn’t pressurize the fittings. If not done so, it can cause a lot of trouble later.
Step 6: Distributor Cap Removal
In case your case has a distributor cap, you will have to remove it. This may also include removing some stubborn clips that help with the help of screws. Make sure to remove them safely so that you can attach them later.
Step 7: Align The Timing Lines
With the help of a spanner, rotate the crankshaft bolt. The timing mark should align with 0 on the timing scale.
Step 8: Remove All The Screws & Bolts
Get rid of all the screws and bolts that are holding the timing cover in place. Remove the cover completely where the nuts have been screwed off.
Step 9: Check the Alignment
Make sure that the camshaft and crankshaft are aligned properly. With the help of dots or lines on the pulleys, ensure that the shaft heads are in line. The corresponding lines need to be in the right place.
Step 10: Avoid Any Leakage
The area where you will be working should not have any oil or water leakage. Ensure that the place is leak proof before starting the work.
Step 11: Hold The Belt Tensioner In Place
Unscrew or loosen the bolts to keep the belt tensioner in place. This will create a slack that will allow you to slide off the damaged timing belt.
Step 12: Placement of New Belt
Lay the new belt in position and make sure that the torque is adjusted as per the manual. You do not want to mess things up, so consult a car service provider for cambelt repair in the UK in case of any difficulty.
Step 13. Reassemble All The Parts
Once you have laid your timing belt in place, replace all the parts of the car that you removed previously in the same manner. Once done, start the engine and drive slowly around the isolated place to see if the timing belt is fitted correctly. Also, make sure that there is no other damage to the engine.
Timing belt replacement can be a tedious process if you are unaware of how it works. Being a crucial part of the car engine system, it is important to understand the whereabouts of the timing belt. Seek help from professionals in case of any emergency.