Farmington Hills Auto Repair

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Timing Belt Replacement - Why It's Important to Do It on Time

What is a timing belt?

A timing belt sounds important, right? And it is. It controls parts of your engine that are essential for your car to run. Let’s be honest, there’s not many parts your engine could do without, but the timing belt is certainly an important one. Your engine is comprised of a myriad of pieces that push, pull, open and close in order to function. The timing belt controls the crankshaft and the camshaft, which controls a series of valves that have to open and close in appropriate “timing” for your car engine to run smoothly. Unfortunately, you probably won’t think about your timing belt until something goes wrong because it tends to last a while. It also probably doesn’t constitute one of the things you normally get checked like brakes or oil. Of course, timing belts are just one system of timing. There are also timing chains and timing gears. At Advanced Auto Sports, our technicians are experienced in working with lots of different timing devices!

 

When it doesn’t work…

Timing belt #1

 

The engine might give a kind of clicking sound. The timing belt operates with a series of “teeth,” that “grab” the camshaft and the crankshaft. In belts, the teeth are made of material that eventually does wear down. The clicking is the teeth missing their mark. If your car has an engine that operates with a timing chain, this will wear down much less quickly (if at all). The nice thing about a timing chain is that it makes noise BEFORE the part wears down. Usually, your mechanic will be able to hear, recognize, and pinpoint this noise so that you can fix the problem before it happens, however, if your timing chain does break, it can cause a lot more damage than a timing belt. The timing gears, when they wear down (which usually takes a very long time), will be similar to a timing belt, where the “teeth” are worn down.

 

And the best system goes to…

Timing belt #2

 

There are positives and negatives to all systems. The timing belts tend to run quieter, but the timing chains and gears last longer. Many high-performance vehicles use chains because they tend to be more accurate and wear down less quickly. If any of these systems are worn down/broken, your car probably won’t start.

 

And it might cost you…

Timing belt #3

 

If your timing belt, chain or gears break, you will probably be spending quite a bit of money to fix it, however, timing belts are cheap in comparison to chains and gears, so why would it be expensive to fix? Remember how we said that it was located in a place in your engine that helps protect it from grease and dirt? Well, unfortunately this place is also difficult to reach for your technicians, so the expense doesn’t usually come from the belt so much as the labor. For a timing belt, the price can vary widely, depending on whether engine valves, the water pump, or another part was damaged as well. The only safe way to get a proper estimate on a timing belt is to have a technician take a look first, otherwise you run the risk of missing other possible factors like camshaft seals, hydraulic tensioners, and anything else that might need to be serviced while addressing the timing belt.

 

Better to be safe than sorry…

 

The moral of this story is that it can be relatively expensive for any kind of timing system replacement. For high performance vehicles, the costs can be more because the likelihood is that they are not skimping on the price when they engineer the car in the first place (one of the reasons you probably purchased and love your high-performance vehicle). When in doubt, give your mechanic a call. At Advanced Auto Sports, we’re happy to have our experienced technicians make sure your vehicle is running in top form! To schedule an appointment, go to https://www.advancedautosports.net/reservations.

 

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