The timing belt operates in the extremely hot and demanding conditions of your vehicle’s engine. Which means, like the other components in your engine, the timing belt is subject to normal wear and tear over the course of its life in your vehicle.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on the conditions of your vehicle and the average lifespan of the timing belt itself. The best way to avoid extensive damage to the engine from a broken timing belt is by following the schedule or replacing the timing belt early.
Age and miles are the most common reason a timing belt fails, but even this can take many forms. The most common problems with the timing belt are:
- Material Loss
As your timing belt runs through the engine over and over each time you drive your vehicle, it is subject to wear and tear from the components it controls. This rubber belt constantly moves along metal pieces and gears. Friction can wear down the rubber teeth on the belt. If enough material is lost, the timing belt may lose grip and slip.
Often the timing belt is controlled by a tensioner or pulley to keep it in the correct position, with appropriate tension and resistance in the system. But if these components are misaligned, it can cause a belt abrasion or break.
Timing belts are often made from a synthetic rubber material called neoprene. The high heat, high friction environment will damage the material over time. Cracking can indicate excessive wear, which means your timing belt should replaced as soon as possible.
Similar to the way fabric on your sweater forms clumps and pills as you wear and wash it, the material that is lost on the timing belt may collect in the ribs of the timing belt. Material and debris build up means that the timing belt will not be able to grip as well. You may notice noise or vibration as an effect and your vehicle is at greater risk for a slipped timing belt.
With heat, friction, age, and miles, the timing belt will become worn. Don’t ignore your timing belt and leave your vehicle at risk for a breakdown and extensive engine damage. To learn more, find out when your timing belt needs to be replaced, or schedule a timing belt replacement, call our independent auto repair shop in Hayes at (804) 642-2440.