The Dos and Don'ts of Timing Belt Purchase
While the engine is running, it is the timing belt that keeps the combustion timing accurate. When the belt fails, the engine will suddenly stop working, causing your ride to halt and to be incapable of starting again. So if you don't want to end up calling a tow truck to pick you and your vehicle up in the middle of nowhere, replace your timing belt at the right interval or as soon as you notice the first sign of damage. Here are some dos and don'ts to guide you in your timing belt purchase:
Do check your owner's manual to find out the type of engine and timing belt used in your model. Get an exact replacement if you don't want to render your newly purchased belt useless. In an interference engine, a wrong belt may break or slip, causing the piston to fly into an open valve. In a non-interference engine, on the other hand, an incompatible timing belt can cause serious damage on the components it needs to work hand in hand with.
Do research about the various timing belt materials and how they differ from each other. Urethane timing belts have high elasticity, so they can absorb shock, vibration, and impact better than other materials. Though rubber timing belts are prone to degradation when exposed to high temperatures, there are units that feature highly saturated nitrile materials, which make the belt tough and resistant to wear, oil, and even engine heat.
Don't forget to check the replacement belt's length and tooth quantity and compare them with your stock. This will help you avoid compatibility issues within the engine and other parts that work with the timing belt.
Don't forego quality in favor of price. Check out the timing belt's features to determine if it's worth the price. Some belts are more expensive because of their non-stretch cord, jackets, self-lubricating fabric, and other additional features that improve the belts' efficiency and durability. Also check the product's warranty; some manufacturers add a few bucks to the price of their products in exchange for longer and better warranty coverage.
Timing Belt Adjustment: How to Do it in Five Easy Steps
A vehicle's timing belt normally lasts for 60,000 to 105,000 miles, depending on the type of belt installed, the make and model of the vehicle, how and where you drive it, and how well the vehicle is maintained. So if you don't like the idea of frequently replacing your vehicle's timing belt, you'd better provide it with the kind of maintenance it deserves. One way to do that is to adjust the timing belt whenever you notice that the valves are missing or aren't working in proper timing.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
Step 1: Prop the hood open with the locking rod. Disconnect your car's battery. Look for the timing belt and take off the timing cover.
Step 2: Slacken off the timing belt's tensioner by loosening the bolts that secure it in place. Allow the tensioner to relax until it comes in contact with the timing belt.
Step 3: Adjust the timing belt as needed. If there's a disruption in its course, find out what it is and fix it immediately. Take note of the timing marks on the cam, crank, and sprockets and make sure they're properly aligned with the marks on the belt.
Step 4: Using the wrench, manually turn the engine so the crankshaft pulley will be forced to rotate. Complete five to six crankshaft revolutions to be sure that the timing belt sits properly in relation to the sprockets. If you observe resistance from the belt while you're turning it, that means the pistons and valves come in contact with each other as the timing belt completes a revolution. Do the necessary adjustments until the belt turns smoothly without any resistance.
Step 5: Tighten the bolts that hold the tensioner in place. Be careful not to overtighten them. Reconnect the battery and shut the hood. Turn the engine on to see if the timing belt is now working smoothly.
This do-it-yourself project can be done in less than an hour. Just make sure the vehicle is safely parked on a level ground. Make sure the area is quiet, well lit, and has enough space for you to work comfortably.