Timing belts are available on our Drive Now, Pay Later Scheme.
Your timing belt
The timing belt (also known as a cambelt) synchronises the movement of the pistons and valves inside your engine. If it breaks or snaps, your engine could be severely damaged.
Each vehicle is different, but every manufacturer will recommend an age or mileage limit to replace the timing belt by. It’s important to follow this recommendation, as it can be very difficult to tell when your timing belt is about to go.
Most manufacturers recommend getting it changed between 70,000 and 100,000 miles . On some vehicles, the timing belt may require additional items to be replaced at the same time such as the water pump.
Why is the timing belt so crucial?
Imagine the conductor in an orchestra for a second and you’ve pretty much got the timing belt’s job. It ensures some of the engine’s most vital moving parts operate in a perfectly synchronised sequence. If the timing belt breaks it’s like the conductor walking off: the result is anarchy and in an engine’s case, things literally grinding to a halt.
What does the timing belt do?
To understand why the timing belt is so important, it’s vital to understand how an engine works. An engine has pistons that race up and down inside cylinders. They are activated by a series of explosions in those cylinders. To supply the cylinders with fuel and air when required, valves must open at precisely the right time. To make this happen, the timing belt unites the camshaft that controls the valves with the crankshaft that is turned by the pistons.
Why it needs replacing
The timing belt or cambelt is a toothed belt made out of a mix of rubber and various other materials such as Kevlar. They’re subject to a lot of heat in the engine bay and may also have to put up with wear caused by dirt and debris. Over time, the belt can lose teeth and perhaps slip or even snap. And that can be fatal for an engine.
When to have it replaced
The manufacturer will recommend when to have a timing belt replaced. These err on the side of caution. Stick by them and you know your engine is unlikely to suffer a cambelt failure. Exceed the limits and you may be OK. But I don’t think it’s really worth taking the risk.
How expensive is replacement?
This obviously depends on the type of car. For a start, the timing belt frequently drives the water pump so while the engine is in pieces, it makes sense to fit a new water pump too. Cambelt kits often include a new water pump and the tensioner to ensure the belt works perfectly.