Timing belt

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What is a timing belt?

A timing belt is one of the most essential parts used in a vehicle. In fact, without a timing belt, the vehicle will not start, and even the engine will not move. This belt, by being placed on the pulleys of the crankshaft and camshaft, connects these two parts of the engine to each other. The timing of the operation of the camshafts is also done by the timing belt. So that with every two rotations of the crankshaft, the camshaft rotates once. That is, the number of times the camshaft rotates is half less than the crankshaft.

Of course, in some vehicles, a timing chain is used instead of a belt. In fact, in vehicles, the timing chain was initially used to set the timing of the camshafts. Each of these parts has its own advantages and disadvantages. The timing chain has a longer lifespan compared to the timing belt, so much so that its lifespan is considered equal to the lifespan of the engine. However, due to the rubbery nature of the timing belt, it has a specific lifespan and must be replaced on time.

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The risk of timing belt breakage and its potential problems

If the timing belt is not replaced on time, it may tear. A torn timing belt can cause significant damage to the vehicle. The first part that suffers serious damage is the valves. Pistons and valves are located inside the cylinder and based on the rotation of the crankshaft and timing of the camshaft, the piston and valves do not collide with each other. But if the timing belt tears, this timing is disrupted and the pistons and valves collide simultaneously. This collision damages the valves and disrupts the vehicle’s operation. Damaged and bent valves are the least damage that a vehicle can suffer due to a broken timing belt. If the engine speed is high and the belt breaks, it is even possible that the cylinder will be damaged and need to be replaced.

Some cars, like those made by Peugeot, are more susceptible to this type of damage. In lower model Prides, unlike Peugeots, no problem arises with the tearing of the timing belt and the car just turns off. The reason is the shortness of the connecting rods that do not reach the valves. Euro 4 Prides are also like Peugeot, and if the timing belt tears, the valves are damaged and the engine needs repair. But overall, in Rio models, these incidents and damages are much more than other cars.

An important point that is often overlooked is the dynamo belt. The dynamo belt has a much shorter lifespan compared to the timing belt. Usually, after every 20,000 kilometers, the dynamo belt needs to be replaced. Most of the time, the torn pieces of the dynamo belt go into the timing casing and cause the timing belt to tear.

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When to replace timing belt?

The timing belt replacement depends on the vehicle’s performance and mileage. It’s not that we can say this part should be replaced in all vehicles at a specific time or mileage. However, when the vehicle’s mileage reaches 60,000 kilometers, it is better to replace the timing belt.

Of course, mileage alone is not a good criterion for replacing the timing belt, as a vehicle may not have been used for several years, in which case the belt’s usage date has passed and it needs to be replaced. Usually, the belt can be used for 3 to 5 years from the time of production.

So for replacement, both the mileage that the vehicle has traveled and the length of time since the belt was produced should be considered. But the story doesn’t end there. Sometimes it is necessary to replace the timing belt earlier than the time announced by the car manufacturer. In fact, there are signs that can sound the alarm of a timing belt tear for you. One of these signs is an increase in exhaust smoke. This increase in smoke indicates that combustion in the engine is not being performed properly, and one of the causes of this bad combustion could be poor timing belt performance. Another sign is the car not starting. When you start, you actually rotate the crankshaft, and then a combustion cycle of the car engine occurs to turn on the car. When the timing belt does not work well, you move the crankshaft by starting, but this movement is not well transferred to the camshaft and the car does not turn on. Another sign could be poor engine performance while moving. For example, engine power decreases and slips, which actually indicates that engine speed is poor.

It is better to replace the timing belt bearing at the time of replacing the timing belt. The bearing has a longer lifespan compared to the timing belt. Usually, the bearing is replaced every 100,000 kilometers, but it is better to replace this part along with the belt; because the failure of the bearing brings about the same damages that tearing of the timing belt causes.

Best time to replace timing belt in different cars

A list of timing belt replacement times has been prepared that reading it will help you to be informed about the best time to replace the timing belt of your car:

  • Pride: 100,000 kilometers
  • Peugeot 405: 70,000 kilometers
  • Xantia: 65,000 kilometers
  • Tondar 90: 40,000 kilometers
  • Megan: 60,000 kilometers
  • Rio: 65,000 kilometers
  • Mazda 323: 70,000 kilometers

As you can see, the average timing belt replacement is between 60,000 to 70,000 kilometers. If your car is not on the list above, you can refer to your car’s manual to find out the appropriate time for timing belt replacement.

Important points you should know about the timing belt

1. Refrain from eating on the conveyor belt and also avoid placing a toolbox or equipment on the belt.

2. Timing belts should be checked regularly and the intervals for replacement must also be determined.

3. The timing belt should be free of surface fractures, cracks, layer separations, and tooth edge jumps.

4. The appearance of all teeth must be healthy. If you see corrosion, jumping, or cracking and opening of the teeth, refrain from using that timing belt.

5. When replacing the timing belt, be sure to replace parts like the pulley, idlers, and if possible, the water pump as well. Otherwise, damage or defects in these parts will cause damage to the belt.

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