What Is Variable Valve Timing and Why Does it Matter?
Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Explained
Variable Valve Timing is an innovation in engine technology that allows the valves in your engine to speed up or slow down more efficiently based on the speed and load of your vehicle. The purpose of this system is to enhance performance, reduce emissions, and increase fuel economy. Although VVT systems are growing increasingly complicated, they are all built using a couple of standard methods. Vehicle manufacturers all have their own specific versions of this system. You probably recognize some of the labels: VTEC, VVTI, MIVEC, and so on.
In addition to your standard engine parts, the VVT system implements a few key components:
- The Solenoid, which operates the VVT system.
- The Switch, which gives valuable feedback to the engine’s computer to determine when, and to what degree, the timing should be adjusted.
A few obvious symptoms of VVT failure to look out for include
- Check engine light
- Rough idle
- Decreased fuel economy
- Engine stumble under heavy load
- Timing Chain Noise - particularly when first starting the engine
The timing chain, guides and tensioner(s) all play a part in the VVT system and can be “loose” enough to cause noise that sounds like a chain rattling, particularly on a cold engine start-up. The noise may go away within a few seconds but it does indicate wear to one or more of the components.
VVT Engine Maintenance
Simply put, these very advanced technical systems can fail for a myriad of reasons. The most beneficial thing you can do for your engine is to keep up with regular maintenance. Specifically, regular oil changes, which are crucial to your VVT engine efficiency. Variable timing adds intricacy to an already complicated engine system and depends that much more on clean oil lubrication to run smoothly.
What we can do for you:
Regular inspections and maintenance by certified mechanics can keep you on the road by identifying issues as early as possible. At North Hills Auto we offer a 120+ point vehicle inspection with four free oil changes. If you are already experiencing warning signs like decreased fuel economy or a check engine light, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle in before symptoms worsen.