Get to Know Your Honda Accord Timing Belt

The key to protecting your investment in a car is routine maintenance. Your car is a complicated machine and a compilation of carefully designed parts, many of which are moving together to produce a running vehicle. The bits and pieces that make your car work can and will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Your Honda Accord timing belt is one of the many things in your car you should be educated about. You need to know what it is, where it is, and how to maintain it.

What is a Timing Belt?

The timing belt is an integral part of an internal combustion engine, which is the type of engine that your car has. Essentially, the belt synchronizes the rotation of the camshaft with the crankshaft, opening and closing the valves inside of the engine at the correct times. The opening and closing of the valves happens during the exhaust and intake strokes of each cylinder. In many cars, the timing belt is an integral part of the mechanism keeping the piston from crashing into the valves themselves.

Are Timing Belts the Same in Every Vehicle?

Timing belts vary from model to model in detail. Some cars or trucks have chains in the place of a belt and others have an actual belt, typically comprised of rubber with fiberglass or Kevlar fibers running the entire length of the belt. Some belts have “teeth” used to control friction and even the teeth vary a bit from car to car. Your Honda Accord Timing belt has teeth and is not a chain.

What Happens if a Timing Belt Breaks?

When a timing belt fails, catastrophic damage may occur to your car’s engine. It is not possible to say what damage will occur from a timing belt break, as several different factors come into play, including how fast the car was going when it happened. One thing is certain though; the worst case scenario would involve you needing to replace your entire engine, rather than just the timing belt. If the piston collides with the valves, the valves will become bent. If the bend is severe enough, the valves will not move at all, requiring the engine to be torn apart and replaced entirely. Even minor bends in the valves will prevent them from operating at peak efficiency, which could spell bad news for other systems in your car down the line.

How Do You Know when to Change out a Timing Belt?

Knowing when to change your Honda Accord timing belt is a simple matter of reviewing your owner’s manual. It is a wise idea to keep an eye on the mileage of your car and change that belt according to the manufacturer’s mileage instructions. Changing the belt is not free but it certainly costs less than replacing your entire engine.

Can You Change a Timing Belt Yourself?

Paying someone else to change your timing belt might sound like an expensive venture but it is usually worth it. It is possible to change the timing belt yourself; however, do so only with caution and if you are very experienced with car mechanics. The belt replacement itself is simple but it is imperative that you get the timing markers set correctly on your engine. Remember, the timing belt synchronizes the movements between the crankshaft and camshaft. If the timing is off even just a little bit, your car will not work properly, and you can do serious, irreparable damage to it. Furthermore, in most cars, you really have to dig to get to the timing belt. Because of this, what would otherwise be a 15 minute job will take an inexperienced person hours to complete. Yes, it can be done, but for most drivers, it is well worth the expense to pay a professional to complete the task.

Now that you know what your Honda Accord’s timing belt is for, you understand the importance of having it routinely replaced. You may not wish to have yet another minor expense on your hands but the reality is that if you do not replace it, it will eventually break and may total your car in the process. Routine maintenance of all your engine’s moving parts is the key to protecting your investment and prolonging the life of your car. Check your owner’s manual for guidelines on how often you should have the timing belt serviced and make a note to yourself to do so in a timely fashion.