Have you ever had a mechanic look at you and mumble something about a timing belt? Most of us have experienced this issue at one time or another and it can be an incredibly frustrating situation. At Miramar Automotive and Transmission we are experts at replacing timing belts on all sorts of vehicles and engine configurations. After all, your timing belt is one of the most important parts of your engine. Although you can never predict when a timing belt will decide to let go, the best possible advice we can give you is, follow your recommended maintenance schedule for your car. Most manufacturers have extensively tested their vehicles with the original components and know approximately when a timing belt failure could occur.
What is a Timing Belt?
What the heck is a timing belt anyway? No it is not the belt that may be visible on the front of your engine. That is the serpentine belt, and depending on the vehicle usually runs the alternator, water pump, and accessories. Sometimes this belt is called the fan belt because it will run the fan on engines that still utilize a mechanical fan but many new vehicles utilize an electric fan. The timing is actually under the front cover of the engine, underneath the serpentine belt, the only problem is, it can not be seen. This makes routine maintenance even more important due to the fact that inspection is next to impossible. The timing belt is generally a flexible belt with teeth cut into the underside, these teeth mount into pulleys that keep the engine in perfect sync. Regardless of what many people may think, the timing belt is a critical component in your engine. A broken timing belt means at the very least, a engine that won’t run and at the worst severe engine damage.
What Does It Do?
In order to understand the timing belt it is important to understand how and engine works. An automotive gasoline powered engine can be thought of as a circular process. To put it simply, the fuel and air mixture is introduced to the combustion chamber through an intake valve, the spark plug ignites the fuel and pushes the piston down, the piston then pushes the burned gasses out through the exhaust valve. Each of these events must happen at the correct time and your timing belt is the component that makes that a possibility. Your typical four cylinder engine has either one or two camshafts, depending on configuration, these camshafts are responsible for opening and closing the valves at the proper time, thus, introducing fuel when needed and then expelling exhaust at completion. The timing belt is tied directly to the pistons through a pulley on the crankshaft, making a perfectly symbiotic mechanism.
As you can see, your timing belt is critical to the operation of your engine. At Miramar Automotive and Transmission we have done hundreds of timing belts and are always happy to check over your vehicle history to see if you are due for a timing belt replacement. Please give us a call about your timing belt or any vehicle issue you may have. Keep your car running its best with the finest service in the west.