What Are Timing Belts?

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Timing belts are contained within a car's plastic cover on the front, and they connect the crankshaft to the cam shaft. Learn about how a timing belt keeps the cam timing correct with help from a certified master mechanic in this free video on car maintenance and auto repair.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Hello. My name is Mark Blocker. In this segment we're going to cover, 'What are Timing Belts?' In the timing belt on a vehicle is usually contained inside the plastic covers on the front of the vehicle, and what it does is it connects the crankshaft to the cam shaft. The cam shaft in the engine, on a four stroke engine, turns at half the speed of the crankshaft, and they need a way of connecting those two together and make sure their accuracy and timing stays correct. They stay in direct relation of each other at all times, so that the valves, in firing order, open and close at the correct time in relation to....in relationship to the position of the crankshaft. So what it is is a rubber drive belt that connects those two devices together, the crankshaft and the cam shaft. And that keeps that cam timing correct. That's how it got it's name, timing belt. The timing belt is a rubber belt. It usually has ribs on it to make sure that the sprockets don't slip, or jump out of alignment. It also uses high nylon fibers that hold the belt together to give it added strength. Now the belt itself all have limitations. They're designed to last, on some vehicles, sixty thousand miles. Other manufacturers, ninety thousand miles. That information can be found in your owner's manual. And you need to even make sure that you replace that at the recommended service intervals, because if the belt breaks, depending on the type and design of your engine, your valves may run into the pistons on the crankshaft and causing internal engine damage. So that's what a timing belt is.


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