Timing belt: without timing you are going nowhere

The timing belt, or also known as a cam belt, is an internal engine component and it’s a rubber belt with hard teeth that interlock with the cogwheels of the crankshaft and the two camshafts. The belt synchronizes the movement of the crankshaft and the camshafts to make sure the engine intake and exhaust valves open and close in time with the pistons.

The belt is located under the timing cover and it’s in front of the engine. Simply explained, the timing belt is a reinforced rubber band with teeth or notches on the inner side that precisely synchronize the opening and closing of the engine’s valves.

Not all engines have a timing belt. The timing belt is commonly found in vehicles and SUVs with smaller displacement engines. When an engine has a large bore or stroke, most automotive manufactures utilize a timing chain system that replaces the rubber belt with a metal chain. Generally, a timing chain lasts longer than a belt and some chains are rated to last a life time.
We recommend a timing belt replacement every 120 000km with a major service to prevent any damages caused by a faulty or broken timing belt.

Common symptoms that indicate that the timing belt is wearing out or has broken down:
1. Ticking noise coming from the engine- The timing belt is attached by a series of pulleys to the engine’s crank and cam shaft. The crankshaft powers the engine’s connecting rods which are attached to pistons inside the combustion chamber. The cam shaft operates the cylinder head valves and rocker arm assembly, which sends fuel into the combustion chamber and expels burnt gases out of the exhaust manifold.

When the timing belt starts to wear out, it may cause a ticking sound inside the motor. This warning sign may also be an indication of low oil pressure or the engine not having the proper amount of lubrication.

2. Engine won’t turn over- When the timing belt has broken inside, the engine will not be able to turn over or ignite. You might hear the starter motor engage, but since the belt operates the crank and camshaft, it will not turn over. When theĀ  belt breaks while the engine is running, it may result in other internal engine compartment damage- damage to the cylinder head hardware (rocker arms, push rods and valves), damage to crank bearings or damage to the oil pump inside the oil pan.

3. Engine misfires- A worn outĀ  belt may have an impact on the engine’s fire rate. Sometimes, the belt will slip on the camshaft drive and cause one cylinder to open or close earlier than it should. This might cause a misfire situation and if not replaced soon, may result in catastrophic engine damage.

4. Oil leaking from in front of the motor- It is also typical that the engine will leak motor oil from the timing belt cover. The cover is secured by a series of nuts and bolts that may come loose over a period of time. Another issue that will cause oil to leak is when the gasket between the engine block and timing cover wears out, is cracked or has been improperly installed and is pinched. The leaking oil can cause overheating and can prematurely wear the timing belt.

Often, it’s difficult to discover a problem with the timing belt until it’s too late. Since the timing belt is so critical to the operation of your vehicle, if you notice this warning signs, you should contact your trusted Audi and Vw specialists at V.A.G Spec Centre Zeerust.

Let the experts check your timing belt today: BOOK NOW

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