Are You Keeping an Eye on Your Serpentine Belt?
While the inner workings of a car engine may seem alien to many, most will understand the basics. They know that petrol and air needs to be delivered to a special chamber, which will then ignite and depress a piston. When this activity is repeated in rapid succession, those pistons will turn the crankshaft and deliver energy to the transmission. Yet how is all of this controlled so precisely? The answer is the timing belt, and this is probably one of the more important parts of the entire vehicle. As it is something that you need to keep an eye on very carefully, what do you need to be aware of?
Belt in Motion
A timing belt is often known as a serpentine belt because it twists its way between various parts of the engine. It is made from toughened rubber and has teeth along its inner edge that interact with various gears. Two of these gears are critical — the one that is fixed to the end of the crankshaft, and the other fixed to the end of the camshaft. These two shafts control how the pistons move up and down and how the valves that regulate the mixture open and close. The belt will also turn the alternator, water pump and other ancillaries to make things happen on the periphery.
As you can imagine, if this belt were to malfunction, then major problems could arise. Engine timing would be out, and this would severely affect performance. In the worst-case scenario, a complete failure could cause catastrophic damage.
This is why it is so important for you to keep an eye on the belt. Crucially, you need to ensure that a qualified mechanic services it in accordance with manufacturer instructions. They will have a look at its condition and repair or replace it if necessary, or they may be able to carry out minor adjustments instead.
Specifically, a mechanic will be looking for the presence of oil, which could cause the belt to slip in place. Sometimes this oil may leak from other parts of the engine and cover the timing belt, and this will need to be cleaned up and rectified as soon as possible.
If your vehicle is sluggish or does not want to start in the morning, your belt could be in need of adjustment. If the vehicle does not start at all, then the problem could be more serious, and you will certainly want to consult with a mechanic right away.
For more information, contact a local car service.