Your vehicle’s timing belt is a vital part of the normal function of the engine. In short, it co-ordinates the rotations of the camshaft and crankshaft, so that the engine’s valves and pistons move in sync. Without it, your car will not run, and if it is damaged, it poses a serious risk to the function of your vehicle.
You can perform a few quick observations to see if your vehicle’s timing belt is nearing the end of its life. When the car has been parked for some hours so that the engine is not hot, open the bonnet with the engine turned off and find the timing belt. Look for any signs of wear and tear. These might include cracking, abrasion, general wear, a shiny or glossy underside, pilling of lost material on ribbed sections of the belt, slackness or misalignment. Also note your mileage: if the vehicle has travelled in excess of 100,000 miles since new or since the belt was last changed, that alone is reason enough to change it.
With the bonnet still open, start the vehicle and let it run idle. If the engine has started running hotter, or making louder noises while idling that possibly vibrate or shake the vehicle, this could indicate that the timing belt is wearing out.
Close the bonnet and drive the vehicle for a short distance, away from any main road or built-up area, to assess whether is it backfiring. This will be indicated by an occasional distinctive gunshot-like noise, especially when decelerating. In addition, if the engine revs faster or slower than usual when the accelerator pedal is depressed, this may be an indication that the timing belt is running too fast or slow.
With something as important as the timing belt, prevention is better than cure, so ensure it is replaced before this becomes a desperate necessity. Replacement of the timing belt is a job for a qualified mechanic, so if you have any doubts or have detected any of the above symptoms, be sure to mention it to your mechanic.
For further information on your timing belt and other servicing issues in Kent, take a look at Beadles Group.
Common symptoms of a worn timing belt
Your engine may have a chain belt (otherwise known as a timing chain), which is very hard-wearing because it’s made of metal, but most modern engines used a rubberised belt. These degrade over time, and your car’s manufacturer knows roughly how long you can expect it to last.
Every make, model and engine variant has a different lifespan, and it is strongly recommended that you have the timing belt replaced in line with the suggested schedule, which will say ‘every * years or **,*** miles’.
It is especially important to ensure the timing belt has been changed in line with the schedule if you’re buying a used car. Even if you’re buying a used car with low mileage, you mustn’t forget that it could be due a change because of its age.
It’s also important to note that a timing belt can even snap before it’s due. This can happen if you force the engine to run at sky-high revs – say, trying to get out of a snow drift or deep mud. Be careful of the way you drive if the timing belt is due within two years or 20,000 miles.
How to maintain your timing belt:
You can find the suggested schedule for your model in your owner’s manual, or by doing a quick search online.
Changing a timing belt is not something that can generally be done at home, so if you think it’s due you should book it in with a mechanic ASAP. It can cost a couple of hundred pounds, but this is still significantly cheaper than an engine re-build in the event it snaps.
Get in touch with Beadles today to book in your car for a timing belt replacement or inspection.
This won't take long...
Your enquiry has been sent and we will contact you using the details provided as soon as possible!
Please complete the form below:
When you give us your contact details, Group 1 Automotive companies, our authorised dealer network or our agents may use your data to email or phone you about Group 1 Automotive products, services and offers which we believe may be of interest to you. We may also contact you to conduct market research, so we can improve our service to you. We never sell or share your information with third party organisations.