Timing Is Everything



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Timing Is Everything

One often overlooked item during normal maintenance is the engine-timing belt. If it fails the engine will stop and you will not be able to get the engine restarted. At the very least it will be an unanticipated breakdown that will leave you stranded on the side of the road, requiring a tow into a repair shop to have the belt replaced.

Some engines will be damaged if the timing belt breaks. This can lead to expensive repairs that can be avoided by simply having this belt replaced as specified by the manufacturer.

Timing belts resemble a serpentine drive belt, except the timing belt transfers movement from the crankshaft to the camshaft. The engine timing or the relationship between the camshaft and the crankshaft is critical. If this timing is incorrect, the engine symptoms will range from poor performance to a complete no start condition.

Timing belts are normally covered by protective covers, making inspection difficult unless the covers are removed. Some engine designs are such that the timing belt drives the water pump. Some engine designs have the water pump behind the timing belt. In either case at Stillwater Automotive Diagnostic Center we recommend replacing the water pump at the same time as there is very little extra work to do this and it reduces the chance of a water pump failure in the immediate future.

If the water pump is not replaced and the water pump happens to fail, the same components would have to be disassembled again and the possibility of the timing belt being contaminated by coolant is very great, leading to another timing belt replacement.

Some engines do not use a timing belt but rather a timing chain or gear set. These normally do not require any maintenance.

Have you serviced your timing belt lately?

   1730 Industrial Blvd. | Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 439-0581 | (800) 468-0601