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Timing determines almost everything about how an engine performs, from when the exhaust valves open to the amount of power available during low, mid and top-range performance. Variable valve timing is a solution to the problems presented with traditional fixed engine timing where the timing stayed the same throughout engine operation. With VVT, the engine’s timing adjusts minutely during operation to meet the needs at the time, predominantly during mid and peak performance situations. It also helps to provide the smoothest idling, and ensures good “all around” performance. The variable valve timing actuator is one of several critical components, and is located on the camshaft. It receives a signal from the engine control module to advance or retard the timing in small increments. If the variable valve timing actuator is faulty, the timing will not adjust as it should, and you will experience poor engine performance and decreased fuel economy.
The variable valve timing actuator is designed to last the life of the car. Failures are rare, but not unheard of. The prime opportunity for VVT actuator inspection is during timing belt replacement, so make sure to follow your automaker’s scheduled service recommendations. It’s important that you maintain your engine properly with basic maintenance like oil changes, as oil quality, cleanliness and viscosity can affect the VVT actuator. If you suspect a problem with your variable valve timing actuator, have one of our expert mechanics diagnose it and replace it as necessary.
If the engine’s timing is off, operating it can cause catastrophic damage to your car. If your variable valve timing actuator needs to be replaced, do so quickly to prevent further damage.