A timing belt or cam belt is a toothed belt, generally made of rubber and webbing. It’s there to synchronise the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft(s), ensuring the efficient and smooth running of an engine.  Each make, model and engine type has a recommended replacement interval. It’s important to change the timing belt kit at the recommended intervals, here’s why:

The timing belt has to work quite hard as it runs over a tensioner and toothed pulleys to keep the engines valves opening and closing at the proper times. Over time the rubber and webbing of the belt can perish or stretch. In worst case scenarios the belt can snap, which often causes expensive internal damage to the engine.

Tensioners and idlers can also deteriorate over time as the bearings wear. This can cause a belt to ‘jump’, meaning the timing is not running in synchronicity. This can result in poor running or possible piston and valve damage.

We always recommend replacing the whole timing belt, tensioner kit and sometimes the water pump, rather than just the belt. This is also because manufacturers will not warranty a belt changed on its own. So if the idlers are worn and cause any damage, there is no comeback. Not a great scenario!

Everyone knows the difference between a quality and budget tyre. So because timing belts are made from similar materials the quality can differ in the same way.

Gates are one of the market leaders in original equipment timing belt kits which is why we fit them. You can find out more about them here

It’s not easy to check timing belts either because they are hidden under a cover. A visual inspection may not be enough anyway. This is where the recommended replacement intervals come in. These intervals differ from make, model and engine.

However, not all vehicles have timing belts, some have timing chains and these have a much longer replacement interval.

You can usually find information about your vehicles recommended replacement intervals in the owners handbook. If not, contact us here with your vehicle details and we’ll look it up for you.


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Published by Yvonne Garman

Since 2002 I've helped my husband Scott run 'The Organic Mechanic', our garage in Devon. I mainly take care of the admin and accounts side of the business and leave the mechanical wizardry to Scott, although it's not unknown for me to help him out from time to time. I came up with the idea of Auto Snakpax when I realised that many people didn't know what oil they should be using to top up their cars and the importance of it. When I started the website It lead me to the idea of this blog to address some of the things that our customers have asked about over the years, whether it's how to check their oil and other relevant maintenance they can do, or about cars that we've had in for repairs that have sparked interest. So here it is. I hope that you'll find something useful or interesting here and thanks for visiting our blog.

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