Timing Belt Maintenance Schedule

A tip from Straight Auto Care – Caloundra mechanics

car-maintenanceThe average car engine is made up of all kinds of different moving parts, some of which are a little more fragile than the others. One of the main parts found under the hood is the timing belt, as the whole engine operation can essentially fall apart if anything goes wrong with that belt. The job of the timing belt is to make sure that the camshaft turns half as quickly as the crankshaft, with real problems arising should that not happen.

The best way to make sure that issues do not hamper the performance of your car is to commit to regular timing belt maintenance. How often you need to take the car in for service depends on the type of engine that you have, but the general rule of thumb with the timing belt is that maintenance should be performed every 50,000 to 70,000 kms. Like many such scheduled maintenance, car owners will often try to push beyond those recommended times in an effort to save money. The fact of the matter is that if you lose that gamble, the amount of money you are going to have to shell out when the timing belt fails will be high indeed.

mechanicThis often happens to people that buy a used car. They will take a look at the maintenance records and see that the previous owner did a good job of looking after the car. That usually means taking it in for oil changes and check-ups on a regular basis, but it does not always include the timing belt. Before you know it, that used car that seemed great is suddenly in need of belt repairs. There are a number of things to be on the lookout for when trying to determine if you might need a replacement belt. Your car might stall regularly, be prone to heavy vibrations and squealing noises, or may even spit put smoke from under the hood. Any of these signs is an indication that maintenance is required.

When you go in for timing belt maintenance, don’t be surprised if the mechanic also offers to change out the water pump. While the pump is generally good for the life of the car, it is easy to replace once the timing belt is off. This makes it a simple job for the mechanic, so do not view their asking you about replacement as a way to try and gouge you. If you have a higher performance car, the cost of replacing the timing belt can start to get a little expensive. You should talk to your mechanic about going with a reconditioned belt when it comes time to make a change. These will do the job just as well and will save you a few dollars in the process.

The timing belt may seem like a small part of the bigger engine puzzle, but it’s one that needs a great deal of attention. If you are unsure of the last time your belt was serviced, it’s recommended you get to your mechanic for an inspection ASAP.