timing beltWhen it comes to cars, let’s all be honest here; unless you are a mechanic and a good one at that, most people don’t know in depth information and the maintenance of how to upkeep a car, including warning signs to look out for.  Every car, new or old has a timing belt and let’s be honest, you’re probably speculating on what a timing belt is and how it can affect your car.

A timing belt, also known as a chain or cam belt is the part of an internal combustion engine, which synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft.  Why does it do this?  Well, it does this so that the engine’s valves open and close at proper times during each of the cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes.  Still confused, right?  Ah, it’s alright, most readers are anyway.  What you really need to know about your car’s timing belt is what to look for when it needs to be replaced and the red flag sign it will convey out when it’s getting time to replace.

On average a timing belt needs to be replaced every 60,000 – 100,000 miles or every five years, whichever comes first.  Now, a lot of you may speculate the fear of…Will my engine remain at safe measures if my timing belt snaps?  Well, that all depends on your car’s situation; literally.  There are two types of timing configurations, which include the interface and the non-interface.

What is the difference?  An interface engine simply means that the valve’s stroke and piston’s stroke take up the same space inside the cylinder, meaning that timing belt keeps them from smashing into one another; since they work at different times.  Now, if your timing belt snaps, they will most definitely run into each other, causing bent valves, cylinder head or camshaft damage.  Sometimes, even piston and cylinder wall damage.  Although this is possible that no damage could happen from a snapped belt on an interface engine, a case such as this is quite unlikely.

Now, for a non-interface engine, the situation is quite different.  If the timing belt does happen to snap on a non-interface engine, the pistons and valves do not occupy the same space, so if and when the timing belt stops, the valve or cylinder damage doesn’t happen.  All you need to do is pop on a new belt, giving leeway to the engine working and driving with no issues.  It roughly costs around $450 to have the timing belt changed, unless you run into other situations with your engine.

Now, if you are knowledgeable of completing this task on your own, the cost could very well be cut in half, ranging you to about $250 to suitably change the timing belt on your own.  How will you will be able to tell if your timing belt snaps, the outcome is simple; your car will not run and function.  You could be out driving on the freeway and your car could just stop in the middle of your driving, so it’s key to know and understand the functions of a car’s timing belt and more so than anything, keep track of your mileage.