How to Adjust a Timing Belt

by Contributor

A timing belt is one of the most simple, but crucial, parts of your vehicle's engine. Also known as cam belt or timing chain, the timing belt runs throughout your engine, ensuring that the valves work in timed coordination with each other. Though the mechanism itself is rudimentary, its function is so critical that you may need the help of a professional before you decide to adjust a timing belt.

Park your car in a safe environment for you to work on it. Use a garage or a quiet neighborhood street. Make sure all your tools are handy and you have plenty of light.

Pop the latch and open your hood. Secure it in place using the locking rod.

Disconnect your car's battery.

Locate the timing belt and related apparatus. You may need to consult your vehicle's manual to find where the timing belt is located within your engine.

Remove the timing cover.

Relax the timing belt's tensioner. To do this, you'll need to loosen the bolts that hold it in place. Allow the tensioner to release so that it comes into easy contact with the timing belt.

Adjust the timing belt as necessary. If its course has been disturbed, locate the problem and correct it. To complete this step, you'll need to consult your car's service manual or ask for some assistance from a pro.

Compare the timing marks to make sure that the timing belt is on the right course. Look for timing marks on the crank, the cam and the sprockets. Make sure that they are all aligned evenly.

Turn your engine manually by using a wrench to manipulate the crankshaft pulley. You should complete a couple of engine revolutions to make sure that the timing belt is properly seated in relation to the sprockets. Make sure you're not experiencing any resistance as the belt turns, and check to make sure that the pistons and valves do not touch each other as the timing belt completes its cycle.

Tighten any of the bolts you've loosened along the belt's tensioner. Make sure that they fit snugly, but don't over-tighten them. That will make it more difficult to remove them the next time you need to adjust your timing belt.

Reconnect your car's battery. Slam the hood and make sure it locks into the closed position.

Turn your car's engine on and check to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

Warning

  • close You should never turn your crank or camshafts once the timing belt has been removed from the engine. You may need to crank the shaft to help correct an alignment problem with your timing marks, but this should only be performed by an experienced mechanic.

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