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A timing belt isn’t hugely expensive to replace, certainly when compared to the cost of a new engine. But, when timing belts go wrong, they cause catastrophic engine damage and a hefty garage bill.

Save yourself the worry and get it changed before it’s too late!

What is a timing belt?

To get your head around the importance of your timing belt, you need to have a basic understanding of its purpose.

In the simplest possible terms, it controls the timing of the crankshaft and camshaft. Ensuring that all the piston and valve movements happen at precisely the right time, so your engine runs smoothly.

These belts are made of an extremely tough reinforced rubber that over time deteriorates. This can cause a risk of a jump or worse, a snapped or stripped timing belt. A jumped belt will cause your car to run awfully, a snapped belt will destroy the inner workings of your engine.

The danger of a snapped or stripped belt is that it often occurs at elevated engine speed causing valves and pistons to clash which then causes engine damage.

Common symptoms of timing belt issues

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How do timing belts break?

Timing belts are not designed to last forever. They break as they are under tremendous strain during certain engine loads.

All manufacturers give recommended replacement intervals that are typically 60,000 miles or 5 years. After this time or distance, it is fair to say that the timing belt is nearing the end of its life and should be changed.

When do I need to change my timing belt?

A general rule of thumb is that your timing belt will last for approximately 60,000 miles or five years but this all, of course, depends on your car’s history. The first step to do is to find your vehicle manual and see if they mention anything about when to look at a replacement timing belt. Can’t find your manual? No problem – give our team a call and we can offer our best advice.

If you have over 60,000 miles on the clock and you haven’t yet had a timing belt change, it’s probably best to give us a call. The simple truth is that a timing belt or cam belt change will be typically 10% of the cost of a new engine.

Cambelt vs cambelt kit vs cambelt kit + water pump

When your cam or timing belt needs changing we will usually talk to you about a ‘cam belt kit’ and a water pump too.

Your cambelt kit comes with idlers and tensioners that are often the root cause of a cambelt failure. As these components have done the same amount of work as the actual belt, it is advisable to change these at the same time.

Then we move on to the water pump which is generally driven by the cambelt. If your belt is due then your water pump is due too. The best repair includes the cam belt, the idlers and tensioners, and a water pump and refreshed coolant.

Timing belt FAQs

This varies from car to car, 1-2 hours being an easy one to as much as 12 hours for the most complex.

Some timing belts are really easy to access whereas others are around the back, under a cover and inaccessible without removing a myriad of parts. Our team will be able to advise how long your timing belt replacement should take. If you need a courtesy car in the meantime, we can arrange that for you.

Again, this varies from car to car. Prices for the part can differ between makes and start at £128. The ease of getting access to the timing belt can typically affect how long we need to spend working on your car.

The moral of the story is that it always costs less to get your timing belt replaced before it breaks!

Yes, we can replace timing chains.

Many modern engines use a timing chain rather than a belt as the chains typically have longer service intervals, usually double that of a timing belt. Pick up the phone and give our team a call to discuss your needs in more detail and we can send you an estimate for the work required.

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