A timing belt is possibly the most important piece of maintenance equipment on your vehicle. This component part of your motor’s internal combustion engine, the ribbed belt sits in a certain configuration along one side of the car’s engine, to keep the camshafts and the crank timed correctly. In short, it keeps the bottom half of the motor (the pistons and crankcase) in sync with the top half (the valves and cylinder head). The timing belt is manufactured out of synthetic rubber and looks like a huge, black, elastic band. The teeth on the inside of the rubber belt grip onto the shafts inside the engine and the belt forms the key link between the crankshaft and the camshaft.

Failure of the timing belt

If the timing belt were to snap suddenly, the valves and pistons would collide, causing potential damage to the engine, and producing a costly repair. Other symptoms of a timing belt problem include oil leaking from the front of the engine, misfiring engine, an engine that won’t start, or a ticking noise heard from the engine. If your vehicle is an older model, the cost to replace a snapped timing belt can exceed the actual value of your motor itself.

Essential monitoring

Many car manufacturers have a scheduled period for replacement of your timing belt, but monitoring and replacing prior to any problems arising make much more economic sense. An experienced and trained mechanic can inspect your many vehicle components and advise if your car’s timing belt is in need of replacement.

The timing belt may be a relatively small component of your vehicle’s engine, but it’s vital for a smooth running motor.