Throughout most of automotive history, vehicle manufactures elected to build their engines with metal timing chains to control the valves and camshafts in their engines. But then 30, 40 years ago somebody came up with a brilliant idea to use a rubber belt. They found out over time that had some limitations and now virtually every manufacturer is back to using a metal chain. Seems they had it right the first time around.

But that’s not out issue. Our issue is timing belts because there are still many of millions of cars on the road that have timing belts. And those timing belts need to be replaced on a regular basis. Look in your owners manual, see if they have a listing for time or mileage.

You replace the belt based on whatever comes first. The time or mileage. This is important because there are two types of engines. Interference engines – these are engines where if the belt breaks it does internal damage to the engine. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

And non-interference engines which doesn’t damage the internal of the engine but it leaves you stranded. Five to six years. That’s all the life you can expect out of a rubber part. It’s complicated. There are pulleys and various parts to keep the belt tight and parts to keep the belt moving in the proper direction and so on. These are idlers and tensioners.

They all have the same amount of wear on them. That means you need to replace them when you replace the belt. It used to be you had to make up a kit. But today, Continental has a solution for you. Of course you could buy a basic belt, not recommended. But you could also buy a kit and the kits going to include any type of tensioner, idler. Anything like that that moves or has a bearing in it that’s subject to wear.

But you could take that a step further to a kit that includes everything. Even the oil seals for around the camshaft and crankshaft and so on. All of these things are prone to wear and should be replaced with the timing belt.

And always when you replace a timing belt you do a water pump. So, Continental includes a water pump in one of these kits but they also give you the option of standard water pump with a plastic impeller on it, or an upgraded water pump that has a metal impeller. I would opt for the top of the line, metal impeller, which is going to give you more durability and more reliability. But the big thing is, you do the complete kit.