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Home >   How To >   How to Replace Timing Belt

How to Replace Timing Belt


The timing belt dictates what goes on in the internal combustion engine. The engine's pistons are attached to the crankshaft and the opening/closing of the intake and exhaust valves are monitored by the camshaft. For a proper combustion process, the pistons and intake valves should do their jobs at the right time. For this, the crankshaft and camshaft need to be synchronized. The timing belt is the part that helps synchronize the rotations of the crankshaft and camshaft. This page focuses on the function of timing belts and provides tips on their replacement.


  How to Change a Timing Belt  
  Timing Belt Troubleshooting Guide  

The timing belt, by connecting the crankshaft and camshaft, prevents the pistons from colliding with the valves. It is also used to drive other parts of the engine such as the water pump and oil pump. The timing belt is usually made of rubber and is enclosed by a cover made of metal or plastic. The timing cover has to be removed when the belt is being inspected or replaced. The timing belt tensioner is another important component of the timing belt. The tensioner is what maintains the appropriate tension in the belt. An improper tension in the belt will cause it to whip off from its original position.


Timing Chains and Gears


Prior to the introduction of timing belts, chains and gears were used in automobiles to synchronize the camshaft and crankshaft. The main problems with the gears were the limit in the relative space between the crankshaft and camshaft, and their torque reversals. The gears and chains were also known to produce more noise than belts.


As the timing belts are made of rubber, they tend to deteriorate over time. The rubber belts can also become loose, failing to ensure a proper sync between the crankshaft and camshaft. A bad timing belt will produce a rattling noise, while a defective belt tensioner can generate both rattling and squealing noises. A damaged timing belt can cause the engine to misfire, resulting in a decrease in the performance of the engine. A timing belt that has fallen off from its location can stop the engine from running, leaving you stranded in the streets.


Whenever the timing belt is replaced, it should be ascertained that the pistons and valves are keeping time with one another. A faulty installation can result in piston and valve damages, leading to costly repairs of the engine. Since in some engines, the water and oil pumps are driven by the timing belt, problems in your water/oil pumps can also be a sign of a bad timing belt.


Replacement of a timing belt is comparatively inexpensive than other auto parts. When the timing belt is replaced, the tension pulley, idler pulley, tensioner and water pump should also be replaced. Check out our Timing Belt Kits to get everything you need for a complete timing belt repair.


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