The timing belt in your car is connected to the crankshaft. Your vehicle’s camshaft is operated by it. If you detect one of the following symptoms indicating timing belt issues below, you should replace timing belt without any delay. Keep in mind that it is the component in the engine that closes or opens the valves in your engine. So, as soon as a problem is detected, you should consider replacing timing belt.
In general, the best time for changing timing belt is when your vehicle reaches a distance in between 40,000 to 60,000 miles. If you drive most of the time in extreme weathers, like very cold or hot, keep an eye for any anomalies and replace timing belt in quick sessions. In extreme weather conditions, timing belts last shorter than usual.
How to Detect and Replace Timing Belt
Look out for these three signs that commonly indicate there is something wrong with your car’s timing belt.
- Unwanted Noises
Do you hear any kind of whirring or shrieking sound at high-pitch? If you hear such sound whenever you start the engine, then, it is quite sure that the timing belt is faulty. To be sure, keep the engine running and inspect it carefully. Don’t touch anything that might be hot, though.
- Visual Damage
Look for signs of oil or coolant leakage, or worn out marks. In a perfect belt, there are no signs of tear or wear.
- Problems Starting The Engine
When your car has an issue with timing belt, it may take more time to start the engine. Usually, if engine takes several attempts to start, it could be the timing belt is damaged.
If you don’t have any idea about this task, replacing timing belt could be quite difficult. But following proper procedures without hurrying, you can accomplish your object. You could take a look at the manufacturer’s manual to find the instruction for your particular model.
You need to disconnect all negative battery cables to get started. Then, dismantle the distributor cap. Presently, manufacturers don’t release cars with distributor; instead, they use electronic ignitions. If this is applicable to your car, then locate the top center position.
Set the Crankshaft
Use a socket or wrench to rotate the bolt to set the timing mark at 0 degree on the timing scale.
Check the Distributor Rotor
The distributor rotor should be aligned properly. As it matches the index mark, the first cylinder is ready to be fired. Otherwise, another full turn of the engine would be necessary.
Accessing the Timing Belt Cover
You should remove components that are obstructing the timing belt cover. The obstructions could be other belts or accessories. Reading vehicle’s repair manual before performing this action is necessary.
Remove the Timing Belt Cover
The cover along with screws and bolts attached to the engine should be removed. Some engines may have two covers.
Check the Timing
The crankshaft timing marks or the crank need to ensure at the right position. If you find difficulty detecting the mark, make use of the manual.
Loosen the Tensioner
In this step, the timing belt tensioner needs to be loosened. For some cars you may need specialized tools to do this. It helps reaching the tensioner easily.
Instead of removing the mounting bolts, just loosen them. And then re-tighten them to keep the tensioner in the newly loosened position. Inspect the sprockets or pulleys carefully to see if there are any damages on the belt.
Remove and Replace the Belt
You could use the tensioner to slide on or off the belt in this loose position, and avoid changes in crank rotation. The timing marks need to be aligned as before.
Reassemble the Engine
This is the last phrase of changing timing belt. Start by replacing the tensioner to its previous place. After that, you could set the tension as per as the specifications of your vehicle. With this, the task of replacing timing belt is completed.
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