Timing Belts & Chains

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Timing Belts & Chains

A timing belt, timing chain or cam belt is a part of an internal combustion engine that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft(s) so that the engine's valves open and close at the proper times during each cylinder's intake and exhaust strokes. Unfortunately, in most cases, there are no obvious signs the timing belt is near it's end it will just break. That's why we highly recommend replacing it at the manufactureres recommened intervals. The timing belt tends to operate other components, the condition of which affects the belt’s life. Excessive slack may be compensated for by one or two tensioners and idlers. Over time, their bearings may dry out, causing a squeak that should be investigated. In some cases, idlers and tensioners can seize, throwing the timing belt from its pulleys and causing extensive damage to the engine, with bent valves and even holed pistons.

We all know that a timing belt in a car engine needs to be replaced at recommended service intervals, but what about the timing chain? A timing belt is a toothed belt made of high-quality rubber. A timing chain is made of metal, similar to a bicycle chain. A timing chain doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it.

Timing chain problems are not uncommon, especially in high-mileage vehicles. Similarly to any other moving mechanical components inside any engine, a timing chain is subject to wear. The chain is lubricated by the engine oil. Lack of oil changes, low oil level or poor oil quality can cause the timing chain to wear faster. A timing chain is kept under proper tension by the chain tensioner. A chain tensioner could be operated by a spring-loaded mechanism or oil pressure. All these components wear too. Often, if the timing chain is worn the engine may feel sluggish, low on power or have trouble starting.

timing belt

timing chain