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Timing Belt replacement

The timing belt replacement is a preventative maintenance item that is very important. Intervals recommended to replace the belt varies for each different vehicle. For a lot of vehicle its at the 100 000km mark.

This belt plays an integral part in the running of your engine. Its role is to turn the cam shaft, which opens the valves. The turning of the camshaft must be done in perfect time with the crank shaft, thats why this is called a timing belt. The belt has teeth to ensure it stays in perfect unison much like a chain and gears. The belt over time wears and needs to be replaced before these teeth tear or the belt fails completely. If the belt does fail this will cause internal damage on many engines ( Not all engines ). Commonly the valves will hit the pistons causing the valves to bend. In this scenario the cylinder head needs to be removed and repaired which is a costly job when compared to just replacing the belt.

The job of replacing the timing belt varies for each and every car. Some being very easy and cheap while others can be very involved and expensive. Call Certified Automotive mobile mechanics for a quote.

When the timing belt is due it is recommended the a timing kit is installed. The ‘kit’ includes idler and tensioner bearing/pulleys and also the oil seals for the cam and crank shaft. The reasoning is that if a idler or tensioner fail its exactly the same outcome as if the belt has failed. So this is the recommended preventative procedure.

Depending on the vehicle, some timing belts drive the engine’s coolant water pump. With these engines it is common to replace the pump at the same time as preventative maintenance. Some engines just have the water pump located behind the timing belt, without the timing belt driving the pump. These too are commonly replaced as to save the cost of labour.

The main pic is of a timing belt that is about to fail, you can see the belt has been chewed up and is about half thickness. This was due to the water pump bearing failing and causing the pulley to lean over allowing the belt to be damaged. We caught this on just in time before the belt completely failed! Very close to much larger and expensive repair.

Old vs new timing belt driven water pump. Note the toothed pulley.

Old vs new timing belt driven water pump.
Note the toothed pulley.

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