Your engine is a complex system filled with pulleys, belts, and much more. Of these parts, the timing belt may be the most important. The toothed timing belt ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft are rotating in harmony. The back and forth between the piston movement and valve opening inside your engine require extreme precision. Without the timing belt keeping these parts in sync, your engine would fail in a catastrophic manner. While most vehicles use a timing belt, newer models, or cars with larger engines use a timing chain instead. While chains have a few differences compared to belts (last longer, harder to access) they generally function the same.
So when will you know to replace the timing belt? The best tried and true answer comes down to the maintenance schedule and owner’s manual. There are issues that could signal that you may be due for a replacement. Things such as misfires, a clicking engine noise, or your engine refusing to start. While these could be the cause of your timing belt, there’s no one surefire way to know. The best way is to check on the health of your belt. The timing belt is generally sealed in its own housing, so it can be very difficult to check on its condition. For this reason, it's best to stick to what’s recommended by the manufacturer. Generally, a timing belt replacement is needed in the 60,000-100,000-mile range. With such a wide variance between vehicles, we recommend bringing your car to an ASE certified technician. Preserve your automobile and get an engine diagnostic today!