What is a timing belt? What does it do?

A timing belt is flexible like a fan belt but that is where the similarities end. A timing belt actually has ribs that run across the belt at 90* from the edge. The ribs fit into specialty cut and sized gears that allow an engine to stay in time. For an engine to operate properly the correct sequence of actions need to happen. This belt keeps everything in time so the piston does not contact the valves. The valves are the pieces that allow fuel and air into the cylinders. When they close it allows the piston to compress the gas and fuel mixture allowing it to ignite and produce usable power.

What happens if I don’t change my timing belt?

Maybe nothing. Maybe catastrophic engine failure. Engines can be placed into 2 different categories. Interference engines and Non-Interference engines. If a belt breaks on an interference engine the valves will hit the top of the piston and they will bend. To repair the damaged valves the cylinder heads must be removed and new valves installed. This is expensive and avoidable. The Non-Interference engine will not have any damage if a timing belt breaks. There are very few engines out there like this. One of the manufacturers that builds this type of engine is Volvo. Most other car makers make interference engines.

Why do I need to do a water pump when replacing the timing belt?

When you take the cover off a timing belt there are usually other pulleys to help guide and tension the belt. Car makers like to use the water pump pulley as one of the guide pulleys. This means the water pump sits behind the timing belt. If the water pump would fail after the new belt was installed the belt would need to be removed to change the pump. Changing the pump and pulleys while changing the belt also helps prevent pulley failure because of age and wear.

Why do you recommend replacing the Camshaft and Crankshaft seals?

Replacing these seals when doing the timing belt prevents oil leaks from starting. The seals are made of rubber and as they age they dry out causing oil leaks. Changing these seals prevents us from going back in and removing the timing belt just to fix an oil leak.

I have a V6 Honda and you want to put an oil pump seal in. Why?

It is the same as the crankshaft and camshaft seals. The oil pump seal dries out and starts to leak. This happens around 120,000 miles. We strongly suggest replacing the oil pump seals to prevent future leaks. It takes a few more hours to do this and just like the seals and water pump it is a lit less labor intensive to do it while it is apart.