Replacing a car’s timing belt is one of the car maintenance issues most car owners dread. The process can be labor-intensive, depending on the model of the vehicle. However, timing belt failure can leave you or a family member stranded at the side of the road. Here’s what you need to know about timing belts and when to replace them.
What Is a Timing Belt?
The timing belt is a crucial part of every car’s engine. It helps synchronize the crankshaft and camshaft, which turn combustion into motion. Since the intake valve and pistons can’t exist in the same space at the same time, the timing belt ensures that they each take turns without colliding.
If your timing belt breaks, you could end up with serious engine damage that will make routine timing belt maintenance look like a piece of cake.
When To Replace Your Timing Belt
Many manufacturers recommend having your car’s timing belt changed at a certain mileage, but this number is only an estimate. You should replace your timing belt when it gets old or worn, and offering a mileage estimate is the best guess that manufacturers can make.
Here are all the reasons it could be time to replace your timing belt:
- The car has been sitting unused for a long time.
- You haven’t replaced the timing belt in seven or more years.
- You’ve reached the manufacturer’s mileage recommendation.
- You notice oil seals from the timing belt cover leaking onto the belt.
- The exterior drive belts have started to crack.
Since rubber dries out when it’s not in use, it’s critical not to leave your car sitting for long periods. When you see that your other drive belts start to crack, you can often assume that your timing belt might be cracking too.
Managing Family Vehicles
If you have multiple vehicles in your family, it’s a good idea to make everyone aware of the dangers of timing belt failure. Have everyone record the maintenance for their vehicles so that you can make sure that people aren’t losing track of the more long-term maintenance repairs.
Hopefully, this guide to timing belts and when to replace them will help you and your family members stay safe. Routine maintenance may be a hassle, but emergency repairs are much worse.