The cambelt - or timing belt - is an important component of your car’s engine.

It allows the engine’s valves to open and close at the right time so that the car runs smoothly. But how often are you supposed to replace your timing belt? And how can you tell if it needs replacing sooner?



You should replace your timing belt every 40,000 to 100,000 miles, or every 4 to 6 years, depending on a variety of factors, such as the make and model of the car. You can find the manufacturer's recommendation in your vehicle’s handbook.


When Should a Timing Belt Be Replaced?

A timing belt should be replaced every 40,000 to 100,000, or every 46 years. It does differ from car to car, so take a look at your vehicle handbook for the manufacturer’s recommendation. Once it reaches the end of its lifespan it is likely to snap, so it is important to get it replaced before this happens to avoid accidents.

You may need to replace your timing belt sooner than this if you have an issue with it. If it is damaged, misaligned, under-tensioned, or stiff, you may want to get a professional opinion from a qualified mechanic.


What Does a Timing Belt Do?

A timing belt rotates whilst the engine is on and synchronises the timing of the camshaft and the crankshaft. This allows the cylinder valves to open and close at the same time, allowing the engine to generate enough power to drive the car.

The belt is attached to the outside of the engine, but it is still considered a component of the engine itself. It is a vital part, and without it, the car will not run.


How Is a Timing Belt Replaced?

The timing belt is spread over a series of sprockets at a certain level of tension. It is absolutely vital this is correct otherwise the timing belt will not work.

The timing belt is usually quite deep under the car's bonnet, and replacing it requires taking various parts of the engine off to reach it. Because of this, it is not recommended you attempt to change the timing belt yourself – the replacement should be carried out by a professional mechanic.


What Are The Signs That I Need a Timing Belt Replacement?

Sometimes a timing belt will need replacing sooner than its expected lifespan. Here are a few things that may indicate that your timing belt needs changing.

  • A slapping or grinding noise
  • An oil leak beneath the engine
  • The car won’t start, or it starts but cuts out and then won’t turn over when you turn the key in the ignition
  • High-pitched rattling when the engine is idle
  • A glossy appearance, or visible cracking or fraying


Why Might I Need to Replace The Timing Belt Early?

Although the most common reason for needing a timing belt replacement is old age, there are some reasons why you may need to replace It early.

  • If the timing belt becomes misaligned it will not allow the cylinders to open and close properly. One of the biggest causes of misaligned timing belts is uneven or excessive wear.
  • Not being used enough. If the car isn’t used frequently, the timing belt will stiffen. This causes to premature weakening.
  • Oil or water leaks, or debris on the belt. These unwanted substances on the timing belt will reduce its effectiveness, by causing slipping and deterioration.
  • Under tension. If the belt is not tight enough, you may find it is worn much quicker and will make a lot of noise.
  • Damaged belt. If the belt is overworn, it will need replacing.

A mechanic will be able to see what is causing the problem by visually inspecting it. If you notice any of these signs, it is well worth booking yourself a slot at your local garage.


How Can I Save Money on My Timing Belt Replacement?

Timing belt replacements can be a costly job, depending on your car – they can cost as much as £1,000 for higher-end makes and models, and £350 on average. There are some things you can do to save yourself some money.

Servicing your vehicle regularly is a good way to save yourself money. You should be booking a full service every 12 months, and a major service every 24 months, to ensure the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Your timing belt is checked in all our interim, full, and major services. If your car requires a repair or is due a service, book one online today.


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