The timing belt on a car is an essential part of the engine that keeps the camshafts spinning in sequence with the crankshaft. If the timing belt fails or jumps a tooth, your vehicle’s engine will no longer run properly. There are two types of engines, non-interference and interference. In a non-interference engine, the timing belt can be replaced and you can be on your way. In interference engines, however, there is a possibility that the piston could hit the valves, requiring extensive engine repairs. In either case, knowing how to check the timing belt could save you an expensive repair.
If you have reached the recommended maintenance interval for the timing belt, it should be replaced, no matter what its condition. If you purchased a used vehicle, check the maintenance history to be sure that the timing belt was changed according to the proper schedule, and if unsure, have it changed.