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    Timing Belt Components

    The timing chain or belt syncs the crankshaft and camshaft, opening and closing valves in time with the pistons’ strokes and allowing fuel/air mixture and exhaust to enter or leave the cylinders. It's recommended to follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule and replace the timing belt and related parts on time to avoid problems. We offer several timing belt kits that contain all the parts you need to complete the job.

    Some people confuse the serpentine belt with the timing belt, but they have two very different functions. The serpentine belt is what drives the A/C compressor, power steering pump and other accessories, and is easily serviced. The timing belt is concealed under the engine's front cover, and it's what synchronizes the camshaft with the crankshaft and allows the valves to open and close in the combustion cycle.

    Older vehicles were typically equipped with a timing chain (and many still are); this bicycle-style chain will usually last the entire life cycle of the vehicle. A timing belt, on the other hand, is a toothed belt that has a finite life and needs to be replaced at a manufacturer-specified interval (usually 60K-80K miles).

    When the piston reaches the top of its travel in the cylinder, the combustion area is pretty tight. In some engines, the piston crown is designed so it's clear of the valves in case the timing belt fails. In other engines, the piston can travel upward and crash into open valves that are now out-of-sync with the combustion cycle, wrecking the engine. That's why it's essential to change the timing belt at the manufacturer's recommended interval - anything past that is running on borrowed time. Many technicians also advise changing the water pump and timing belt tensioner at the same time as the belt, since the front end of the engine is already disassembled.

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