The cam belt, or timing belt, is an essential component of your car’s engine. But what does it do, when does it need replacing and what happens if it breaks?
If the timing’s off, the valves, pistons or other engine parts could get damaged!
What is a cam belt?
Your car’s cam belt is a vital piece of the engine. The cam belt is made of of sturdy composites like Kevlar and polyurethane, with teeth on it that’s designed to keep the camshaft and crankshaft in time.
What does a cam belt do?
The main role of a cam belt or timing belt is to control the timing of your vehicle’s internal combustion engines. It controls the timing and sequence of when the valves to the cylinders open and close. To do that, it makes sure that the the crankshaft and the camshaft rotate in sync.
- The engine’s camshaft controls the valves, letting fuel and air in and out.
- The crankshaft moves the pistons up and down at the same time.
- These 2 actions must be synchronised.
When to replace the cam belt
There’s no set rule for when to replace your cam belt. It depends on the make and model of your car, as well as how much you drive the car. It’ll usually need to be replaced more than once over the course of a vehicle’s lifetime.
Manufacturers will usually recommend to replace your timing belt after a set number of years or miles. This could be anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 miles or 4+ years.
Check your vehicle handbook to see what your manufacturer recommends.