Engine Parts 101: 10 Parts That Control Engine Timing

Engines are made up of many different car parts, each working together to ensure the function of the engine with other parts beneath the bonnet. One of the most important roles of these Renault parts is timing. Engine timing, also called ignition timing, is essential to ensuring your Renault not only runs, but is capable of starting. If the timing is correct, the engine will be able to generate the right about of force from the fuel injected into the crankshaft. When you turn the key, the engine will be responsive and ready to go.

Timing that is too early or too late has the opposite effect. Instead of feeling responsive, the engine will feel sluggish, like it doesn’t want to cooperate. This is because there isn’t as much energy from the fuel being used. Much of it is being wasted.

Maintaining and replacing the Renault parts responsible for engine timing is essential to getting the most use out of your car. Not sure which parts play a role? Here are ten you should know about.


Car Parts in Charge of Engine Timing

  • Camshaft- This car part is a rotating shaft that controls the amount of vaporised petrol entering an engine. They are responsible for ensuring fuel injections are accurately timed. These Renault parts have multiple cams, or lobes, on them, which open valves using pushrods or direct contact. The camshaft works hand-in-hand with the crankshaft to ensure the valves are opened at the right times. When the camshaft spins, the cams open and close the valves controlling intake and exhaust, allowing air to enter the cylinders and result in explosions that move the Renault’s wheels.


  • Crankshaft- Crankshafts turn linear energy into rotation energy to propel the wheels of a car forward. The pistons within the engine are attached to the crankshaft, which is connected to a flywheel. The crankshaft is responsible for moving the pistons up and down inside the cylinders within the engine. As it rotates, the camshaft rotates with it to provide synchronised movement of the pistons and valves.


  • Distributor- Distributors are responsible for several roles within the engine. First, it delivers the right amount of voltage from the ignition coil to the corresponding cylinder. It’s made of up of two parts that perform this action, the rotor and the cap. The rotor is a rotating arm located inside the cap. Once the rotor goes by the contact point of each cylinder, the high voltage it carries is passed to the contact point to provide the spark plug within the cylinder with an electrical pulse.


  • Timing Belt- When it comes to ignition timing, one of the most important job for the car parts in your engine is synchronising the camshaft and crankshaft to ensure the right fuel and air mixture. The timing belt, or cam belt, is responsible for this.


  • Push Rods- In some engines, small car parts called push rods are attached to the camshaft. These rods are in charge of pushing the valves on the cylinder head open.


  • Spark Plugs- These car parts are small, but can wreak havoc on engine timing when they wear down or stop functioning altogether. They are in charge of forcing electricity from the distributor to the cylinder head, or combustion chamber, of the engine. They literally create a small bolt of lightning that can carry a voltage of 20,000 to 100,000 volts of electricity.


  • Tappets- Tappets, also called rockers or cam followers, are small Renault parts nestled between valve lifting mechanisms and cam lobes. They are typically offset in relation to the lobes. As the camshaft rotates, the cams on it produce both vertical and side thrusts. The side thrusts are not needed and provide to benefits to the engine timing. That’s where the tappets come in. They are positioned in such a way that they stop the side-thrusting motion of the cam so that only the vertical motion is used to push the push rod or valve.


  • Intake Valves- There are two types of valves on an engine’s cylinder head. The first of these car parts is the intake valve, which is in charge of letting air in. As the pistons move up and down inside the cylinder, the valves are controlled. When the pistons are located at the bottom, the intake valves open to let air come into the cylinder. This valve is then closed to keep the air inside.


  • Exhaust Valves- These valves do the opposite of intake valves; they let air out. This occurs when the pistons complete a compression and firing stroke. All the exhaust from the cylinder moves out, then the valve is closed so the process can begin again.


  • Pistons- Inside the cylinder are pistons, small car parts that create pressure within the cylinder to move up and down, opening and closing the exhaust and intake valves. These Renault parts come in a variety of sizes and materials depending on the type of motor and cylinder they are used with.  They are responsible for maintaining the compression ratio within the cylinder, which helps to control the engine timing.


How Can I Tell if My Engine Timing is Off?

If just one of these car parts doesn’t function the way it should, the engine timing experience problems and your Renault won’t run as it is supposed to. There are some obvious signs you can watch out for, however, to help you diagnose this issue before it damages your engine. Some of the most common are:


  • Thick smoke exhausting from the tailpipe


  • Car operating at a high temperature


  • Engine vibrations


  • Fluid leaking


  • Pinging noises from the engine


  • Poor fuel economy


  • Poor car performance


Most cars will simply need to be taken to the mechanic to diagnose which car parts are causing the timing issue. New vehicles, however, may need a bit more help. The timing in newer models is often controlled by a computer chip, which will need to be reset or replaced by a professional.

Is your engine timing off? Know the car parts responsible for this important function of your Renault and know what symptoms to look out for.

By GSF Car Parts