Car Care: Knowing When To Replace Your Vehicle’s Timing Belt

Car care is one of the several responsibilities you take on the moment you decide to bring home one. Not only is car maintenance important to make your vehicle last longer – saving you from having to purchase a new one every 5 years or so – it is also mandatory to ensure that road accidents are avoided as much as possible.

As a responsible vehicle owner, you are also expected not only to take your car to your trusted mechanic for a routine check up, but to daily monitor its running condition as well.

You do not need the expert skills of a mechanic to know the condition of your vehicle’s brakes, fuel, windscreen, or lights. You can easily identify the problem – and most of the time, the fixes – just by doing a few simple tweaks.

Your car’s engine, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Vehicle owners who are not at all car savvy usually are not able to detect engine problems until a breakdown happens. When a car absolutely refuses to start, it is more likely a failure of the timing belt.

A timing belt is a crucial component of your car’s internal combustion engine operation. It is a loop of flexible material used to connect your car’s crankshaft and camshaft together, controlling the opening and closing of engine valves. They are essential to keep cams turning at the right interval to keep the engine running.

When the timing belt is damaged or malfunctioning, your car’s engine will stop working. If this happens, your best option is to seek the help of a mechanic to fix the problem for you.

We all know how inconvenient it is to have your car die on you. To prevent engine troubles caused by timing belt malfunction, you have to learn to at least determine when your car’s timing belt needs to be replaced.

The easiest way to do this would be to check the mileage as to when the belt was last changed. If the vehicle you currently own was purchased a used car, look for a sticker under the hood as it will give you the mileage of the last change. If you can’t find that sticker, refer to the owner’s manual to see if there are instructions as to when the timing belt should be replaced.

Generally, timing belts are replaced every 60,000 to 75,000 miles. However, it is best to have a mechanic change it sooner to ensure safety and in the long run, save money.

Of course, to save even more, you can always learn how to replace it as well as the specific timing belt pulley involved all by yourself. You can pay close attention to how your mechanic changes it or just refer to the owner’s manual to find out how to replace a timing belt pulley for your specific type of car.