Why It May be Necessary for Timing Belt Replacement for Your Car in Tempe
There are plenty of potential reasons why you may need timing belt replacement for your car, whether you live in Tempe or the surrounding area. Unfortunately, few drivers on the roads today have a solid understanding about their car and therefore may not have any clue that it’s necessary.
- Do you even know what the timing belt is or does?
Ask about 100 people throughout the Tempe area and probably fewer than 10 will have any knowledge about it, and their knowledge will be considerably limited. However, the timing belt is one of the keys to your car operating properly (or operating at all). It’s that important.
Let us explain in brief why that timing belt is so important and why replacement should never wait once you recognize there is a problem with it. In short, the engine in your car operates by a piston moving up and down inside a cylinder chamber. For regular gas engines, the piston compresses a mixture of fuel and air and sends it into a narrow gap up where the spark plugs are. When the cylinder reaches the highest point, the spark ignites, combusting the fuel-air mixture, creating power. This happens in every single cylinder in the engine and at a massive rate of speed.
If your car is a four cylinder engine, then this is happening at varying times throughout those four cylinders. If you have a 6-cylinder engine, then it’s happening over six cylinders, and so forth.
In order for the spark plug to fire at the precise moment when the cylinder compresses the gas and just before the valve opens for the spent fuel to escape, the timing has to be perfect. That’s where the timing belt comes into play.
If the timing belt is stretched, wasn’t replaced properly, or there are any other issues with it, then the spark plug may not fire in synch with the cylinder. This can cause misfiring, loss of compression, and a general loss of power.
There are a few signs that you may need to consider having the timing belt in your car replaced, or at the very least inspected.
- The car doesn’t start right away.
One of the most common problems that is easy to overlook is that the car might not start right away. If it doesn’t start right away, that could indicate several problems. It may be that the starter motor is beginning to fail, that the brushes inside are worn out, or some other issue with it.
It could also indicate that the timing is off. For the most part, once the timing belt is set properly, it will only begin to slip or fail if there is some other type of work done to the engine that cause the technician (or the person working on the car) to loosen the tensioning bolt or the wrong bolt.
If the belt is old, it could also be stretching, which will cause the timing to be slightly off. So if you notice that your car is not starting as quickly or as well as it used to, check the timing, or better yet, bring it to an authorized auto repair center.
- The car doesn’t start at all.
If you notice that the engine turns over when you turn the key but it doesn’t catch, this could be the result of the timing belt being broken or too loose and the spark isn’t catching the fuel air mixture at all. If it catches and sputters violently before dying, then the belt may be loose or ready to break.
You shouldn’t drive the car. Remove the key and call an auto repair facility to arrange to have your car picked up. Driving when the timing belt could result in damage to the engine. It’s not the days when a timing chain snapping could destroy the engine, but a broken belt could still cause significant damage to the engine.
- Rough running engine.
You may notice that the engine is running rough for some reason. You could have gotten some bad gas at the last fill up, but it could also mean that you need a timing belt replacement.
As we explained earlier, when the spark plug doesn’t fire at the precise moment when the air and fuel mixture is compressed completely, it may still burn some fuel, but it may also miss in one cylinder while firing right in the next. This will generally cause the engine to run rough.
You’ll notice when it does. If the problem goes away, don’t ignore it; it will likely return, and with a vengeance.
- The belt is cracking and falling apart.
Most people don’t check under the hood of their car much anymore. That’s unfortunate because people should be aware of what’s happening with their vehicle. Check your car on a regular basis, including inspecting the oil, transmission fluid, other fluids, and the hoses and belts for wear and cracking.
If you notice that the belt or belts are showing signs of cracking, or pieces on the inside are breaking and falling out (or you see gaps there), it’s time for timing belt replacement for your car.
This is usually a sign that your car is only a short time away from losing the belt completely. This could cause you to be stranded on the side of the road or, if you’re in traffic traveling at a high rate of speed when it happens, an accident.
- It hasn’t been replaced in at least 100,000 miles
If you don’t know if the timing belt has ever been replaced and your car has at least 100,000 miles on it, it’s time. Depending on whether you have a serpentine belt or a traditional timing belt, it’s important to consider timing belt replacement now.
Waiting when you notice any of these issues could put you at risk of being behind the wheel of a broken down vehicle, or causing more damage to it. Have your vehicle diagnosed by ASE Certified technicians at We-Fix-It Auto Shop.