eNews from Charles Gabus Ford
December 2011
    mobile menu  
 Bookmark & Share:                   
HOME
Inspection Special

 
Detailing Special

 
Brake Special

 
Repair Special

 
Dealership Homepage
New Vehicles
Pre-owned Vehicles
Schedule Service
Parts
Contact Us
30 second credit app

 
CONTENTS
Now on DriveLiveTV: The 2012 Ford Escape
Ford Finds a New Purpose for Plastic Bottles
Ford Joins the Food Day Celebration
Preventing and Treating Minor Burns
Snowflakes and Fun in Iowa
The Envelope, Please…
Car Care: Caring for Your Timing Belt or Chain
Vehicle Profile: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Vehicle Profile: 2012 Ford Flex
Keep that Resolution Alive
Inspection Special
Detailing Special
Brake Special
Repair Special
Year End Celebration
Subscribe to our Newsletter
 
Tell A Friend
Car Care: Caring for Your Timing Belt or Chain
A little time can save you a lot of money.

The timing belt or chain is one of the most important maintenance items on an automotive engine, yet it is frequently the most neglected. Failure to follow the required maintenance schedule for the timing belt or chain can lead to very expensive repairs to other engine components.
 
One reason so many drivers neglect timing belts is the long service intervals. Unlike oil changes that typically occur several times per year, timing belts typically last at least 50,000 to 60,000 miles, and timing chains can go 100,000 miles or more before needing replacement.
 
Why is the timing belt or chain so important? Like a runner, an engine needs to breathe in order to produce power. Athletes alternately inhale air and exhale carbon dioxide. Engines also draw in air and then exhale exhaust gases. Every cylinder in an engine has from two to four valves, half of which allow air and fuel in and the other half providing a path to let exhaust out.
 
Each valve has a spring attached to it, keeping it tightly closed. The valves are opened by a rotating camshaft with lobes that push down on the top of each of the valve stems in turn. As the lobe passes, the spring pushes the valve back up.
 
For an engine to work, the opening of these valves must be carefully synchronized with the rise and fall of the pistons. If the valves open too early or too late, the engine can run poorly or not at all. Worst of all, because the valves must open as the piston falls, if the valve timing is too far off, the pistons and valves can collide, causing severe damage inside the engine.
 
In order to keep everything in sync, the camshafts are driven by the crankshaft.
With just a few notable exceptions, the camshafts on virtually all modern engines are mounted on top of the cylinder heads at the opposite end from the crankshaft, an arrangement referred to as “overhead cam.” The result is a fairly long drive mechanism that is typically either a toothed belt or a chain drive.
 
Chains have a durability advantage over belt drives, but they are noisier than belt drives. A toothed rubber belt can stretch as it ages; this can leave the camshaft out of sync with the crankshaft. Chains can also stretch or break, but they generally last about twice as long as belts.
 
Whether an engine has a belt or chain drive, the service interval will be listed in the owner’s manual and manufacturers strongly advise that drivers follow the recommendations. Unlike changing oil or an air filter, replacing a timing belt or chain is generally not the type of service most people can handle at home. It typically requires removing most of the parts at the front end of the engine such as the alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. In a front-wheel drive vehicle with the engine mounted left to right, this area can be very tight and difficult to work in.
 
When the time comes to replace the timing belt or chain, it’s best to bring the car to a qualified service facility such as the dealer that sold the car. The technicians there will have special training on how to do this operation and all of the specialized tools that may be needed. They will also know how to make sure that the crankshaft and camshafts are all correctly aligned so the engine runs properly.
 
Modern engines can run for many miles and years with the original timing belt or chain. When it is time to replace it, however, it’s best to get the job done promptly and properly by a professional who offers a warranty on the work. Whatever option you choose, delay can be costly. 
 
Contact us today and we’ll help steer you in the right direction.

[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION]

Schedule your service appointment today by clicking the button below.

By submitting this request, you are sending us your request for service, and you will be contacted shortly by one of our representatives.


LETTERS

There are no letters for this article. To post your own letter, click Post Letter.

[POST LETTER]
Published by Charles Gabus Ford
Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.
TELL A FRIEND
    mobile menu  
 Bookmark & Share:                   
Powered by IMN