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Timing Belt Vs. Serpentine Belt: What Is The Difference?

Most car owners are unaware of the distinction between serpentine and timing belts. People may use these two terms interchangeably. However, the serpentine belt and timing belt perform entirely separate functions.

However, both are essential components of an internal combustion engine. In fact, the engine must be operating in order for these belts to operate. While operating, they aid other vehicle components.

Here are the primary distinctions between these two belts.

They perform different functions

The serpentine belt transfers mechanical energy from the engine to the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, air pump, oil pump, and air conditioning compressor, among other peripheral components. In contrast, a timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the camshaft and crankshaft motions.

Serpentine belts are visible

When you open the hood to inspect the engine block, you should be able to see the serpentine belt, which is a thin rubber belt that coils around various engine components like a snake (thus the name). In contrast, timing belts are concealed within the engine block and cannot be seen from the exterior.

Timing belts have teeth

Timing belts are made of durable materials such as neoprene or molded polyurethane and have small teeth that grasp components of the crankshaft, which subsequently spins the camshaft. These engine components help to open and close the engine's valves. The gap between teeth is known as "pitch."

It is more costly to replace timing belts

Timing belts are not always expensive; nonetheless, the engine damage caused by a broken timing belt is sometimes practically irreparable. If the timing belt breaks, the pistons, valves, and cylinder heads will be severely damaged, in some circumstances necessitating the replacement of the engine. Because the timing belt is located within the engine, labor costs might be expensive if you only need to repair it. In contrast, if your serpentine belt breaks, you will typically be able to replace it without causing significant engine damage.

Whereas both serpentine and timing belts are critical to the operation of your car, they differ greatly in look, shape, and function, not to mention maintenance cost. Your mechanic can assist you determine whether or not you should consider changing these belts. If you require serpentine belt repair, please bring your car to Complete Automotive as soon as possible.

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