Jacek Krasicki BEng (Hons)
A cambelt or a timing belt is an essential topic for every car owner. In this article, we will give you our best advice on minimising the cost of cambelt or cam chain replacement.
In this article:
First, to understand why cambelt replacement is important, you need to know what it is. And what the difference between a timing belt and a cam chain is. We will keep it as simple as possible.
Your engine has a few pistons (typically 4) that move up and down, spinning a crankshaft. It's like a cyclist spinning a bike's wheels by moving the pedals up and down. In the engine, the force comes from the pressure of burning fuel.
For the correct operation of the engine, the cylinders need fresh air and fuel mix to fill them at the right moment. After the combustion, the burnt fuel needs to go to the exhaust. During the fuel ignition, the cylinders need to be sealed, so the pressure can build up and move the engine parts.
It means that the valves that connect the engine with the air inlet and exhaust, need to open at the right time. The camshaft controls the opening and closing of the valves. The timing belt helps to sync it with the position of the pistons. This way everything happens, when it should.
The cambelt is a rubber belt reinforced with strong fibres i.e. aramid, kevlar or steel. It has teeth that allow the gears attached to the crankshaft and camshaft to spin in sync. It can also synchronise other engine components like a water pump or fuel pump.
The cam chain is a metal chain, it looks similar to a bike chain. It's usually stronger than the timing belt and can last for more cycles.
One of the common myths is that the cambelt needs replacing and the cam chain doesn't. Some cam chains are designed to last for the life of the car, but cam chains can break too. Always check the manufacturer's recommendation to know if the cam chain needs replacing.
Also, you should know that the cambelt or cam chain replacement is a shortcut name. The proper job includes replacing the water pump, pulleys and tensioners. All the components that are essential to keep the timing mechanism in good condition. Timing belt replacement without the whole cambelt kit is a big mistake. It can lead to a serious engine failure and costly repair.
The most important thing to know is that the timing belt replacement should be done before it breaks.
When the timing belt is gone, it's already too late. Most of the engines are interference engines. If the cambelt fails an interference engine will be damaged because of the collision of the valves and pistons. The car can still be repaired but it will be either engine replacement or a complete renovation. Simple fitment of another timing belt won't solve the problem.
This is why, the cambelt replacement is a scheduled maintenance. The cost of cambelt change is much lower than the cost of not changing it on time.
Often there may be no symptoms that the timing belt is about to break. When there are any signs they are usually last-minute warnings and they may include:
It depends. To avoid costly engine repairs after buying a used car, you should check the service history of the car. If there is a clear record confirming that the cambelt changes were carried out on time, you can wait. If there is no record in the car service history or the next scheduled change is coming, you should replace it.
An invoice for the timing belt replacement will increase the value of the car when selling.
Often the cars bought from car dealers have limited warranty or breakdown insurance. To keep it, you need to service the car on time.
Sometimes you get a free service for two years, but it usually doesn't include the cambelt changes. Sometimes when you book your free service, they ask you to replace the timing belt and tell you a high price for it.
What they don't tell you until you ask is that you can perform cambelt replacement at another reputable garage and keep your warranty.
As an independent garage, we can offer you a much lower price and the same high quality. The work is done by fully qualified car mechanics and you get all invoices needed to keep your warranty. Give us a call at 07891 618 992 to see how much you can save.
The timing belt replacement should be done as recommended by the car manufacturer to prevent failure. Each car model has different recommendations, so it's best to check your service book or call us to check it for you. You should also replace the cambelt or cam chain if you bought a used car without the service history.
Usually, the recommended cambelt changes should be done every 40,000 to 100,000 miles or 4-5 years. But some timing belts can last as long as 170,000 miles and up to 8 years.
It's best to refer to the manufacturer's service book to obtain the recommended timing belt replacement intervals, but if you want to quickly check the recommendation for your car, you can download a table with the timing belt replacement intervals created by the timing belts manufacturer Gates.
The timing belt replacement cost depends on the model of the car and the prices start at around £250. The price can go up depending on the cost of the new car parts and the labour required.
The quickest way to find the cambelt replacement cost is to call us at 07891 618 992. We will give you the lowest possible price.
The quote will include the replacement of the cambelt, water pump and tensioners. We always perform proper work and use quality car parts.
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