Timing Belt Maintenance

What Is A Timing Belt?


A timing belt, timing chain or cam belt is a part of an internal combustion engine that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft(s) so that the engine’s valves open and close at the proper times during each cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes. It essentially keeps the top and bottom of the engine working in sync with each other so there aren’t any hiccups in the turning of the engine.

What Timing System Does My Car Have?

This answer all boils down to the year of your vehicle. Older vehicles from the 1990’s and older usually have a timing belt. Some newer car manufacturers surprisingly use timing belts too. But many of the new manufacturers are also using metal timing chains. Our advise is to check your owner’s manual for either a section about timing belts or chains. You can also check your manufacturer suggestions at the this list. A pretty normal schedule is 60,000 miles, or 5 years, or whichever comes first. If you have any questions about this we, here at Gary’s Automotive Service, are always available to answer any questions you might have.

What Should I Know About My Timing Belt?

Like other belts in your vehicle, this belt can wear out or become smooth or thin if not checked or replaced properly. Extreme temperatures and stress can cause the belt to be damaged or worn over a period of time. Checking it can be tricky since the belt is found inside the engine itself. Each type of engine also has a different configuration. Many times the water pump, timing belt tensioner and coolant replacement also need to be replaced at the time of the timing belt. Please allow the professionals at Gary’s Automotive Service to inspect and replace these items for you.

When Should Timing Belts Be Changed?

  • You will want to know if the timing belt in your vehicle is part of the original equipment of the manufacture(OEM).
  • It is wise to know if your vehicle has reached its mileage interval that it needs replaced.
  • Once you determine which timing system you have take the time to find out which maintenance schedule your manufacturer suggests.
  • The next step is to contact us here at Gary’s Automotive service to do this repair or replacement for you. It is not advised to try this yourself. This involves the inter workings of your engine and should be handled by a professional.

Serpentine Belt

What serpentine belts are and how to stop yours from breaking.

Most people are well aware that they will need  a serpentine timing belt replacement every so often but are far less aware of the role a serpentine belt plays in their car.

First used on the Ford Mustang in 1979, a serpentine belt operates multiple secondary parts within the engine including the air, water, and power steering pumps, the alternator, and the A/C compressor. It took the place of a number of smaller belts used in older vehicles.

While this innovation has been used in most new cars, it is not without its drawbacks. If the serpentine belt breaks, all of the important parts that it powers will no longer operate until it is replaced. This is contrasted to older cars that were still able to operate the majority of their parts if only one belt broke.

serpentine belt

check your engine service light

To make sure that your serpentine belt doesn’t break, you should have it checked during your next Gary’s Automotive Service visit.

The serpentine belt will generally show significant signs of wear before actually breaking, so you can also check your own belt regularly during normal maintenance.

Look for small rips and tears, or even small chunks that have fallen off the belt. Additionally you can listen for excess noise that may signal a problem with the belt.

To get optimal performance from your serpentine belt, replace it every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or consult with your owner’s manual.