Things To Know About the Timing Belt - Service Information at Subaru Superstore of Chandler

Even if you don't know anything else about timing belts, you probably know that a broken belt can ruin your day. At Shingle Springs Subaru, we want you to have access to information about services your Subaru needs. That's why we've put together this page. Below, you'll find useful information about timing belts, including why it's so important to have them changed.

The timing belt synchronizes the camshaft and the crankshaft, allowing the engine to run as it should

4. What Does a Timing Belt Do?

The combustion process in your engine is complex, and requires moving parts to be precisely timed. The intake valves allow a mixture of fuel and air to enter the cylinder, while the exhaust valves let the exhaust gases from combustion leave the cylinder. The opening and closing of these valves is operated by a camshaft. The timing belt synchronizes the camshaft to the crankshaft, which is moved by the pistons (which are themselves moved by combustion). In other words: the timing belt makes sure that the valves are open and closed exactly when they need to be.

 
In vehicles not equipped with timing chains, the timing belt is a simple rubber part

3. Do All Vehicles Have Timing Belts?

In short: no. While many vehicles have timing belts, other vehicles (including many Subaru models) are instead equipped with a timing chain. This chain serves the same function as the timing belt; however, it will last longer. Indeed, timing chains often last for the lifespan of the vehicle itself. This sturdiness does have a trade-off, though: timing belts, which are made of rubber, tend to be quieter. Some vehicles also have gears that directly drive the camshaft. However, this is uncommon in production cars and typically found in race engines.

2. Why Is the Timing Belt So Expensive To Replace?

The timing belt itself is a relatively inexpensive part, but replacing the belt is far from cheap. That's because it's buried deep within the engine. Replacing the timing belt is a complex task that requires the disassembly of the engine. While the engine is in this state, we often recommend having the water pump replaced since it's more convenient and affordable to do this when it's already easily accessible.

A broken timing belt can lead to massive engine damage, including broken intake and exhaust valves

1. What Happens if the Timing Belt Breaks?

Some vehicles have non-interference engines. This means that the pistons will never occupy the same space that the valves do, even if the piston were to be fully extended and the valves were to be open. If the timing belt in one of these engines breaks, the engine will simply stop running.

However, many modern engines (including most SUBARU BOXER®) engines are interference engines. This means that the pistons, when fully extended, will occupy the space in the cylinder that the valves occupy when they're open. When everything is timed correctly, this is not a problem: the piston and valves will never be in the same place at the same time. But if the timing isn't synchronized, the piston will strike an open valve. This can bend the valve or damage other components like the cylinder head or the camshaft. This makes repairs even more expensive, which is why it's a good idea to scheudle timing belt replacement service when the manual recommends it.

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  1. Subaru Superstore

    1050 S. Gilbert Road
    Chandler, AZ 85286

    • Sales: (888) 859-6735

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Subaru Superstore of Chandler

1050 S. Gilbert Road
Directions Chandler, AZ 85286

  • Call or Text Sales: 480-291-1000
  • Service: (480) 268-2400
  • Parts: (480) 268-2401