What is a timing belt?

The timing belt ensures all the various parts of the engine are synchronized. The Camshaft timing belt connects the crankshaft at the bottom of the engine to the camshafts at the top of the engine. The teeth on the belt and on the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets ensure that the valves open and close at exactly the right times. The intake valve opens to allow fuel and air into the cylinder, then closes as the mixture is compressed then ignited, then the exhaust valve opens to allow the waste gasses out. 

Learn More About Timing Belts...

Timing Belt Home | Costs, Warning Signs + Broken Timing Belts | What are Timing Belt "Hardware Parts"Video

Skipping your timing belt service interval can be costly in the long run.
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Timing belts are lighter, quieter and more fuel efficient than metal timing chains, but require replacement at manufacturer recommended intervals. If the belt breaks when the engine is running, it is possible that valves can become stuck in the open position, and bent by contact with the piston.

Something to keep in mind is that not all vehicles have a timing belt.
Here is a list of makes who have vehicles using the timing belt system. Some vehicles have a timing chain due to their reliability compared to the less durable belt.

Your vehicle will not run and it can costs thousands of dollars to repair if your timing belt breaks. Don't skip maintenance.

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Some history.

Most vehicles used to have timing chains; however, because of manufacturing costs and to save money they were replaced with belts. Belts are quieter than their chain counterparts. But now, the problem has shifted from manufactures spending more money installing a timing chain to consumers needing to replace the timing belt at designated intervals. 

We are starting to see this trend reverse as manufacturers bring all around costs down which allows them to return to timing chains.

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