The timing belt is one of the most important parts of your vehicle because it ensures that your internal combustion engine is able to function properly. The timing belt makes that the valves that are connected to the camshaft and the crankshaft open and close at the appropriate moments. This allows both the intake strokes and the exhaust strokes to be executed properly, which means that the engine will function and not be damaged.
There are two main reasons why the timing belt needs to be regularly replaced, preferably as a part of your vehicle's normal maintenance procedure:
1. The Timing Belt Can Wear Out
The timing belt is used all the time. At any point when the vehicle is moving because of the engine, the timing belt is being used. This means that the timing belt is suffering stress, which can result in it wearing out. Certain parts of the timing belt will wear thin and there is the chance that it will break entirely. The teeth on the inside of the timing belt will also be worn down so that they will no longer be able to properly regulate the valves and pistons.
The longer the timing belt goes without being replaced, the higher the chance that the belt will snap or slip off the machinery. When the belt does snap or slip, the engine will not function at all. There is a very high likelihood that the engine will damage itself, sometimes irreparably. Regularly replacing the timing belt is an excellent way to prevent costly engine replacements.
2. Belt Tension Changes With Use
A slipped timing belt can produce the exact same effects as a worn out timing belt: a damaged engine that needs to be replaced. Aside from the teeth being worn down, another way that the belt can slip is if the tension on the belt is too loose. As the belt is used, it gets stretched out.
When the belt becomes too large for the valves and pistons, it will no longer be able to stay on and will fall. The engine will then begin to grind on itself and will result in catastrophic damage.
In order to prevent these two common occurrences, simply replace the belt every time you have your car serviced for the year. Changing the belt more than once a year is not necessary, and if you work it into a regular maintenance schedule, you won't even have to worry about remembering it.
For more information, contact your local auto repair shop for help with your Toyota repair or any other needs you have.