Severe Engine Damage Is What Happens When the Timing Belt Breaks

Trust us here at Midwest Auto Care & Transmission Center when we say you never want your vehicle’s timing belt to break. A broken timing belt can cause severe engine damage that could cost you thousands to repair. To avoid this from ever happening, have the timing belt changed at the mileage milestone recommended in your owner’s manual. Let’s flesh this out further and talk about timing belts.

Timing Belt Information

Timing belts are made of rubber and have ridges cut into them. The ridges fit into the camshaft teeth so the belt can operate the camshaft. The camshaft controls the crankshaft and valves. These parts connect to the pistons. The timing turns the camshaft, so the crankshaft and pistons open and close the valves.

Why it’s Called the Timing Belt

The timing belt controls the timing of the valves and pistons. If they do not open and close when it’s their turn in the revolution, they will slam into each other. An automobile engine turns at thousands of revolutions per minute, and if the timing is even slightly off, you’ll have a massive internal collision.

Broken Timing Belt

When a timing belt breaks, you will first hear a ton of noise, and then your engine will die completely, leaving you stranded. Even if you’re driving fast on a highway, your vehicle will literally stop running. What’s worse? You won’t be able to get the engine started again because it’s damaged beyond repair.

First, the camshaft stops moving, and all timing is lost. Then, the pistons crash into the valves, damaging both parts. Depending on how hard the pistons and valves collide, you might also end up with decimated cylinder walls. The broken timing belt basically takes out this entire portion of the engine.

As you can imagine, this isn’t cheap to fix. You will be looking at a partial engine replacement depending on the timing belt damage. Many people don’t replace their timing belt because it costs anywhere from $300 to $500 on average, but it will cost much more if the belt breaks, so don’t get caught in this trap.

When Should I Get My Timing Belt Replaced?

Generally, a timing belt should be replaced every 60,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s make and model recommendation. Whatever that mileage milestone is, don’t push your vehicle beyond it. Remember, it costs much less to replace a timing belt than to allow it to break.

Midwest Auto Care in Lake Station, IN, can replace your timing belt when it’s time to do so. Give us a call today.

Photo by Birdlkportfolio from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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