The timing belt is a part of your car’s internal combustion engine. It loops around the end of various shafts in the car to transfer rotational energy moving in one direction to eventually turn the wheels.
It is made of synthetic rubber and looks a bit like a giant elastic band but is usually black in colour. It has a number of teeth on the inside surface of the belt which are used to enhance its grip on the heads of different shafts within the engine.
Without these teeth, the belt could slide off at any moment and damage your engine, either by getting stuck in another moving part or by allowing two moving parts to come into contact when they shouldn’t do.
The timing belt is the key link between the camshaft and the crankshaft. The crankshaft is responsible for changing the vertical energy generated by the movement of the pistons into rotational energy to drive the wheels. The camshaft is responsible for opening and closing valves to allow air into and out of your car’s engine. If the timing belt were not there, or if it were to break suddenly, the pistons and the valves would collide which could cause a lot of internal damage to your vehicle. This is why it is extremely important to monitor the condition of your car’s timing belt and to make sure that you change it before it breaks.
On older cars, if your timing belt snaps you will often find that the bill to repair the damage it has caused will substantially exceed the value of the car itself. In newer cars, you may find that the engine design has been changed so that the damage in the event of a timing belt rupture is not as extensive.