One of the most important maintenance items on your engine is the timing belt or chain, yet it is often neglected. If you fail to adhere to the maintenance schedule for these components, it can result in costly repairs to other engine components.
One of the reasons that drivers often neglect the timing components is because of the long service intervals. Oil changes can occur several times per year but the change interval on some timing belts is well over 50,000km and timing chains can last even longer before they need replacement.
The reason that the timing belt or chain is critical?
In the same manner, as an athlete, an engine needs to breathe so that it can produce power. Athletes inhale air and then exhale carbon dioxide. Engines also draw in air and then exhale exhaust gases.The valves allow air and fuel into the combustion chamber and these valves must be synchronised with the rotation of the crankshaft.
The incorrect timing of the opening and closing of the valves can cause poor performance but more notably it can result in the pistons and valves colliding which will cause severe damage to the engine.
The valves are opened and closed by the camshaft(s) whilst the pistons are driven by the crankshaft. What keeps the timing of the valves and pistons in sync is a drive mechanism which links the camshaft and crankshaft together. This is typically done by either a toothed belt or a chain drive.
There have been changes in timing belt material in recent years which has dramatically improved the durability of timing belts. Our Powergrip an FEBI FSD (full-service distance) belts are made from a special high-temperature grade material called HSN (highly saturated nitrile) which is rapidly becoming the OEM material of choice.
That having been said, timing chains still have a slight advantage in terms of durability over timing belts although belts are quieter. The service interval of a belt or chain will be listed in the owner’s manual and it is strongly advised by manufacturers that the driver follows this recommendation.
Replacing the timing components typically requires removing most parts of the front of the engine such as the power steering pump and alternator. If you have an engine with a timing belt your mechanic may recommend that your water pump be replaced at the same time, even though there is nothing wrong with it. This is because as much as 90% of the labour to change the water pump will already be done during the changing of the timing belt. Based on our experience with your model of vehicle and industry recommendations we will advise you what you need to consider changing in addition to the timing belt.
If you have a timing chain on your engine, we recommend taking a timing kit which typically comprises the timing chain, tensioner, camshaft and crankshaft sprockets and the guide rails. It is not recommended that you replace a timing chain without replacing the sprockets and vice versa as you will be integrating a worn component with a new one.
The task of replacing your timing components is not something that can be done at home like an oil change so it is best to use a properly trained professional.
Whatever option you choose, delay can be costly.
Contact us today and we’ll help steer you in the right direction.