What does a timing belt or chain do? The easiest way to understand what your timing chain does is to picture a bicycle. Your timing chain is similar to a bicycle chain, the pedals are the crankshaft and the rear wheel is the camshaft. As your engine runs, the intake valves need to be opened to allow air into the engine. The camshaft makes one full rotation for every two rotations of the crankshaft. As it rotates teeth on the shaft push against the valves in your engine to open and close them. When the valves are closed, air and fuel are compressed and ignited powering the piston. The exhaust valves then release, letting out exhaust. The timing must be very precise. The timing belt or chain is responsible for keeping everything in sync.
What can go wrong? Even though timing belts are made to last tens of thousands of miles, there are some issues that arise that can need repairing. Timing chains are made out of metal and are very durable. The chain runs on sprockets on the crank and camshaft. A broken tooth on a sprocket can cause the chain to slip. If this happens, your engines timing is off, resulting in your engine running rough. If the timing chain is off enough, your engine won’t run at all and your engine can be severely damaged. There is also a tensioner that keeps appropriate pressure on the timing chain. It’s responsible for keeping the chain tight while allowing it to absorb pulsations from the engine. The tensioner can wear out over time. Guide rails that keep the chain on the proper track can also become worn over time.
Timing chains are lubricated by engine oil. Staying current on your oil services can greatly prolong the life of your Timing chain. Remember to always use a high-quality oil filter and oil! It is important to have your timing chain/belt and the components that are included in that system replaced when they become worn or when your manual suggests for the mileage of your vehicle. If you’re not sure when that is reach out to one of our friendly Service Advisors, they’re always happy to help!
Safe driving from us here at Eureka Brake & Automotive!
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant