What Does the Timing Belt Do?

What Does the Timing Belt Do?

No one wants to find themselves stranded on the side of the road, especially late at night in an unfamiliar place. Although you can always call AAA for Emergency Roadside Service, it's a good idea to avoid getting stuck in the first place when possible. In addition to avoiding costly repairs, maintaining your vehicle is key when it comes to safety. It is a crucial part of car ownership.

A timing belt is typically constructed of reinforced rubber with square teeth on the inside surface. It can be found under the hood of most cars, hidden under a cover at the front of the engine. Most vehicles are equipped with a timing belt, while some cars rely on a timing chain instead.

It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft(s) which activates the valves. The valves provide air and fuel to the cylinders and expel combustion gases to the exhaust system. The valves and pistons move up and down at high speeds, and the timing belt ensures that these components don't collide. If the timing belt fails, so does your engine.

Typically, timing belts should be replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles, or 6 years, but check your owner's manual for a specific replacement schedule. Chryslers, for example, should have their timing belt replaced at 50,000 miles, where Audi recommends a replacement at 110,000 miles. Most of the time, there are no visible signs that the timing belt is about to go, so preventative maintenance is essential.

Replacing a timing belt for preventative reasons will cost significantly less than replacing a broken timing belt, especially if it has caused damage to the valves, pistons, or water pump.

AAA members receive 10% off labor, a 2-year 24,000-mile warranty on repairs, and additional discounts and benefits. Don't wait until something goes wrong with your timing belt; visit AAA Car Care today. 

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