Timing Belt Timing Chain Function

Timing Belt Timing Chain Function
Modern vehicles are made with either a timing chain or a timing belt. Although these two engine parts may serve a similar purpose, they actually have several key differences. Here are a few important facts about these critical components.

The Similarities
Like timing belts, timing chains are designed to balance the rotation of the crank shaft and the camshaft. In order for the engine to run properly, the chain or belt must remain in its proper position at all times. The engine timing has to be precise. To help shield these components from oil and dirt, automakers usually install a plastic cover over them.
Timing belt alignment
The Main Differences
While timing belts are typically made of rubber, timing chains are made of metal. As many readers may already know, rubber has a tendency to stretch over time. This means that a timing belt will eventually need to be replaced. On the other hand, timing chains are far more durable. In fact, it is not uncommon for timing chains to last for more than 200,000 miles. In comparison, timing belts need to be replaced every 60,000 miles or so. However, some timing belts are designed to last up to 120,000 miles. Keep in mind that the engine timing also has to be reset during each belt replacement.

What Happens If You Don’t Replace Timing Belts?
It is critical for drivers to find out whether they have a timing belt or a timing chain. Driving around with a worn out belt is a recipe for disaster. As time goes on, the belt will gradually get weaker and weaker. If the belt suddenly snaps or slips off the camshaft, the engine will stop running immediately. In the event that you have an interference engine, you need to be especially careful. A broken belt can actually cause an interference engine to self-destruct in a matter of seconds. The valves, pistons, and crank shaft may suffer extensive damage. Although the engine can be rebuilt, the cost will usually be very expensive.

Timing belt installed

Timing belt installed

When Should You Replace the Belt?
The replacement interval for a belt can vary from one vehicle to the next. The best source to find this information is in your owner’s manual. Although timing belts do not usually require any maintenance, they do need to be inspected periodically. This will save the owner a lot of trouble in the long run.

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