A timing belt in an automobile is an engine part which is a toothed or ribbed belt which is generally driven by the crankshaft in the engine. A timing belt’s primary function is simply to ensure that all of the crank and cam shaft components within an engine are moving in sync with each other. While every car or truck is going to be different in terms of when they will need their timing belt replaced, there are average mileage levels for cars when they start becoming prone to timing belt issues. For many manufacturers, this rating will generally be about 40,000 to 60,000 miles, but again this is depending on which car manufacturer you ask.
One primary factor that will determine how long a timing belt component is going to last in a given make or model of car is the climate in which that car is being driven. If it is being operated in a very cold climate, then this could provide an additional stress to the timing belt. This can become a cause of accelerated wear and tear on a timing belt. Also, an extremely hot climate can also serve to more quickly degrade the structure of this critical engine belt.
4 Common Causes of Timing Belt Problems and the Symptoms
#1 – Although some timing belt assemblies are going to be more difficult to access than others, gaining access to the belt will allow for a visual inspection. If a timing belt is showing visible cracking, or is showing spots of coolant or oil, then this can be a fairly clear cut sign that the belt should be replaced to avoid potential damage to the engine if it were to fail while driving out on the road.
#2 – A second potential cause that can tell a driver that their timing belt is beginning to fail is that the car or truck will begin to have a hard time starting up. If a vehicle starts demonstrating a characteristic of needing several tried to actually ignite the engine, then this can be another fairly solid indicator that a timing belt issue could be the problem and it may be time for a replacement.
#3 – A third cause that can help to alert a driver to potential timing belt issues is strange sounds coming from the engine area. These strange sounds will often seem like a high pitched noise coming from the engine, and it may even be a kind of violent shrieking sound. This is obviously not a good condition for a car to be in. If high pitched noises are coming from the engine, then it may be time to have the timing belt replaced.
#4 – A final symptom that can serve as a sign that a timing belt may need changing is if the belt is either hanging a bit, or if it is misaligned at all. Sometimes, these two timing belt symptoms will show up at the same time and this could mean an under-tensioning of the timing belt. This is a scenario where the belt may not need replaced, but simply modified and re-tightened.