What does a timing/cambelt do?

What does a timing belt do?
The timing belt, also called a cam belt, is super important to your vehicle’s engine. There are two main “shafts” in your engine, the Crankshaft, and the Camshaft. The timing belt connects these two shafts and makes them turn together at the right “time” (just like a bicycle chain connects the pedals to the back wheel). This makes sure all the other bits in the engine (like valves and pistons) are doing what they should be doing at just the right “time”. Hence the name…”timing” belt.

What happens when it breaks?
The timing belt is made out of rubber, and eventually it rots, and breaks. When this happens, your car stops. You have to get the car towed because it will not start!. With some cars you can replace the belt and that’s the end of it, with most cars, it’s just the beginning of sorrows… Over 70% of all cars will have internal damage if the belt breaks.

The “Valve Smashers”
Most modern engines have a very small clearance between the top of the piston and the valves. When the engine timing is good, this small clearance is just fine, because the piston is never up at the same time that the valve is down. BUT, when the timing belt breaks, the valves stop moving. Some of them are in the down position, not by choice, and the piston, unaware of the little valve’s predicament comes flying up and SMASHES into the poor little valves. The valves don’t like this at all and get all bent out of shape and decides not to let your engine have any compression in that cylinder and most likely smashes into the piston face. With no compression the engine just doesn’t run.

How a bent valve affects the engine.
Even if you replaced the timing belt at this point, the engine would still not run right, thats is if it will run at all, it would be very weak, and probably cough and splutter because of the bent valve’s poor health. You basically “have to” fix this condition or shoot the car to put it out of its misery. In order to fix this, a cylinder head job is required. This costs anywhere from $2500 to $3500, for a straight engine, A V6 or V8 could cost much more, depending on the make of your car, and on how many “extras” are discovered that you need once the engine is torn apart. The “good news” is….

​You can save the Piston and Valve friendship!
All you have to do is replace the timing belt when it’s due, instead of waiting until after it’s dead. The cost may be high, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than having to replace the engine or the car.
The standard interval for timing belt replacement was every 100 000 Kms. Even if you don’t drive much, you should replace it every 5 to 6 years because age and dry rot will weaken it just as much as mileage and use. Today, new materials are used and sometimes they can go 150,000 Kms or more.
Although belt life may vary depending upon driving and temperature conditions, among other factors, these guidelines are a good place to start in determining when to change your timing belt. When the manufacturer doesn’t specify, we recommend changing the timing belt at 100 000 Km.

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*Prices vary between manuafacturers and engine models. Bookings essential.

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