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Mr Service Ltd

Timing Belts & Chains

Timing Belt

Cam Belt & Timing Belt Replacement, Tutts of Dorking, SurreyWhen does the timing belt need to be replaced?

The timing belt is essential to the proper function of your engine. Your timing belt acts as a link between the two most important halves of your car’s engine allowing for proper air flow, at the correct time, within your engine.

Due to its importance and the immense force under which a timing belt functions, it is essential to replace your timing belt routinely as recommended by your vehicle’s user guide.

Even when following the guidelines set forth by your vehicle’s manufacturer it is important to know what signs to look for in a failing or broken timing belt in order to replace your belt before any permanent damage is done to your vehicle.

Symptoms Of A Failing Or Broken Timing Belt

We have compiled the most common symptoms of a failing or broken timing belt to help you recognize the signs and bring them to the attention of a licensed professional.

1. You Hear Odd Noises Coming From The Engine

A failing timing belt can produce a well-known “ticking” noise that will emanate from your engine. This ticking noise can also be a sign of low oil pressure within your engine if you check your oil and your level is within a normal range, consult your mechanic to inspect your timing belt. 

2. Your Check Engine Light Is On And Flashing

A flashing check engine light is a sign that your car has picked up on an issue within the engine, typically for a timing belt failure or issue these lights will signal a CAM shaft/crankshaft correlation code.

These codes can be diagnosed by a vehicle maintenance trained technician at Mr Service. 

3. Your Car Starts Hard And Occasionally Misfires

If your timing belt is failing or worn out it can slip and cause the cylinders in your car’s engine to open and close out of sync. This can cause an engine misfire, which means you should replace your timing belt immediately.

4. You Notice A Loss Of Power And Your Car Runs Or Idles More Roughly Than Normal

Your timing belt is constructed with “teeth” that grip gears as it rotates your engines moving parts. If these teeth break or fall off, you will notice your car start to slip gears which can lead to failure and stalling of your engine.

Alternatively, your timing belt can “jump a tooth” causing your vehicle to suffer from loss of power. You will notice rough running conditions; including, odd idling and flashing check engine light.

What Should You Do If Your Vehicle Is Having Timing Belt Issues?

Generally, timing belts should be replaced every 60-80,000 miles. Check your car’s specific manual for service intervals.

If you have no record of your timing belt being replaced, you should have your belt inspected at 60,00 miles. Failure to maintain or replace your timing belt can result in catastrophic engine failure which can cost you thousands.

It is important to remember that preventative maintenance is a much cheaper job than mandatory maintenance. If you believe that your timing belt is failing or broken, get your timing belt inspected by an ASE certified mechanic who will be able to fully inspect and diagnose any issues.

Timing Chains

Timing Chain Replacement: Diagnosis And Repair -Timing Chain System Frequently Asked Questions |

1. Engine misfires or runs poorly

There are two ways to achieve valve timing in a combustion engine. The first is the two-gear method, which includes the crankshaft to camshaft gear direct connection. This is the method used in most types of heavy equipment and big trucks. The timing chain method is more common with consumer vehicles and high-performance engines. Over a period of time, the timing chain can stretch, which can cause the chain to skip a gear on the cam or crankshaft. This causes the engine’s timing to fall out of calibration and often results in a misfire. The engine may also run poorly and lack accelerating power.

If this situation occurs, it's likely the timing chain is damaged and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. If the timing chain breaks, the loose metal rolling around inside the motor can lead to serious engine damage.

2. Metal shavings found in the oil

It's recommended by all automotive manufacturers to change the engine oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Over time, oil begins to separate as it heats up and is exposed to natural solvents found in gasoline. If the timing chain begins to wear out, small metal pieces can break off the chain and find their way into the oil pan. When you have your oil changed, and the mechanic tells you there were small pieces of metal inside the oil as it drained or in the filter, it's a good indication that your timing chain is beginning to fail.

Metal shavings are also commonly seen when there is extensive wear of cylinder head valves, keepers, retainers and other cylinder head hardware. It’s crucial to have a mechanic or technician inspect this issue and make the appropriate repairs as soon as possible.

3. Engine won’t start or fails

A broken timing chain will cause an engine to not start or fail while driving. If the belt is already broken, the engine won’t have enough compression to start. If it breaks or jumps while driving, the pistons will be damaged from contact with the valves. The valves themselves will bend and potentially ruin the engine. If the belt is jumping because it’s gotten loose, it can also flail around and damage other parts of the engine. If your engine won’t start or starts driving rough, indicating it may be on its way to failing, contact a certified mechanic for inspection and repairs.

4. Check Engine Light is on

The check engine light can illuminate for a variety of reasons, one of which could be a failing timing chain. A car’s computer will display warning lights that must be checked and scanned for trouble codes to determine the source of the issue. The check engine light may turn on when the onboard computer detects something wrong with the emissions system and engine operation. A stretched timing chain contributes to poor engine performance and increased emissions, triggering the check engine light and the storing of a diagnostic trouble code. A mechanic will need to inspect the code and prescribe the necessary repairs.

5. Engine rattles while idling

Unusual sounds are also a common warning sign of a problem inside your motor. Under normal conditions, the engine should have a consistent, smooth sound indicating everything is running as it should. However, when the timing chain is loose, it may cause a vibration inside the motor and that will produce a rattling noise as the engine idles. Anytime you hear a rattle it means something is loose and needs to be fixed before it breaks.

The timing chain is an integral part of any engine, and without it, your vehicle is rendered useless. If the timing chain breaks while you are driving, serious damage to your vehicle's engine is probable. The best way to reduce the potential for serious engine damage is to have a professional mechanic replace your timing chain if you notice any of these warning signs listed above. By being proactive and alert, you can save thousands of dollars and significantly extend the life of your engine.

Do Not Let This Happen