Have you ever seen the high-flying acts of trapeze artists? If you think that plummeting to the ground is the only way that they can get hurt, then think again. Performers can have their arm muscles overstretched or even tear. They can even dislocate their shoulders. This is why every swing needs to be perfectly timed and coordinated. More than making the act look effortless and graceful, clockwork-like precision decreases the risk of injury. Just like those artists, the components of your Honda engine perform a trapeze act of their own. Within the cylinder, the intake and exhaust valves take turns sticking their necks out while the piston is down. But before the valves get hit by the returning piston, they retreat so that they can repeat the process all over again.
Coordinating this intricate act in your Honda is the Honda timing belt. Usually made of plain-looking silicone-enhanced rubber, Honda timing belts are actually integral to engines that utilize them. Honda timing belts are toothed straps that transfer the rotation of the crankshaft (the piece that pumps the piston up and down) to the camshaft (the piece that opens and closes the valves) in such a way that the pistons and valves never collide. However, a missing belt tooth can set this coordination off. Also, if the Honda timing belt shows cuts, cracks, or excessive wear, it can break and cause the camshafts to stop turning. Either scenario can make valves stay open, long enough to get hit by the piston. This can result in bent valves, damaged pistons, or busted cylinders?any one of which will cause the engine to stall and leave you stranded.
Do not wait until you run up your bill with costly repairs and expensive engine part replacements. Replace compromised belts immediately with new Honda timing belts. Just like with trapeze acts, engine performance can end abruptly with the loss of timing.