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A cambelt, also known as a timing belt, regulates the combustion process by synchronising your crankshaft and camshaft which, in turn, open and close the cylinder valves. A cambelt problem can be disastrous for your engine. Your car can’t work properly without this toothed belt - your engine parts will smash together more than 100 times a minute, causing irreversible damage.
That’s why you need to look after it properly and book a timing belt replacement when your car needs it.
You probably need a cambelt replacement if you notice any of the following warning signs:
However, your cambelt may not give any warning signs before failing. If it snaps, you will not be able to drive your car and you should not attempt to do so. Driving without a cambelt can cause serious engine problems, leading to a more expensive repair or irreversible damage.
The average UK cambelt change cost is £350. However, the make and model of vehicle you own does affect this price. For example, a Mercedes or Jaguar cambelt change costs more than Ford, VW or Vauxhall. In fact, it can cost as much as £1,200.
There are several reasons why a cambelt can fail but the main cause is old age. Every timing belt has a distinct lifespan and it is likely to snap when it reaches this mileage.
However, a cambelt can also fail due to:
While these problems can be caused naturally, an ineffective cambelt change can also lead to extra problems and expense. That’s why you should always choose a reputable garage near you for your replacement.
A cambelt change can be expensive, but only if you choose the wrong garage. When you need a timing belt replacement, compare and save with BookMyGarage. Just enter your reg number and postcode to see prices from garages near you and choose the best deal. Then, select a time and date to suit you to confirm the booking.
You can filter by reviews, distance, availability or price to keep you in control of your booking. What’s more, you always deal with the garage directly, there is no sign-up, unnecessary repairs or hidden extras and you never pay a penny until after your timing belt change is complete. Compare cambelt change costs on BookMyGarage and save up to 70%.
A timing belt usually lasts between 40,000 and 100,000 miles or 4-6 years. Each manufacturer recommends a different interval for a replacement, so you should check your vehicle handbook or manufacturer forums to find out yours.
During a car service, a mechanic will also advise you on your timing belt replacement intervals. If it is coming to the end of its lifespan, they will suggest a cambelt change as soon as possible.
A cambelt change takes between 3-6 hours. It is buried deep within the engine and so isn’t very accessible for the mechanic. This means that much of your timing belt cost is made up of labour costs.
Some vehicles use a timing chain to regulate the combustion process rather than a cambelt. This looks like a metal bicycle chain and requires lubricant to work. It is much more durable than a timing belt, lasting more than 200,000 miles if looked after well. However, you should book regular oil and filter changes and a timing chain service after 125,000 miles to keep it in good condition.
If your oil pressure falls too low, you may need to book a timing chain replacement. Common warning signs of this are:
Consult your vehicle handbook to find out whether your vehicle uses a timing chain or timing belt. Failing that, you can check your engine bay for a plastic cover on the right- or left-hand side of your engine. If you see this plastic cover, your car uses a timing belt. If not, it uses a timing chain.
To book a timing chain replacement near you, enter your reg number and postcode into our booking tool and compare garages in your area.
How to be a better driver
Whether you’re driving in Brackley or further afield, think about road user etiquette. Showing respect for other road users makes driving more pleasant for you and safer for everyone. For example, if you have to make a last minute change of lane, make your request to change clear to the driver who will need to let you in - and signal your thanks if they do. Be ready to abandon the change of lane if they won’t play ball - your safety (and that of other drivers and pedestrians) is more important than getting to your destination in the shortest time possible. When the position is reversed and a driver asks your permission to change lanes, allow them to as long as it is safe. If you get frustrated, avoid using your horn - it won’t improve matters and might make them considerably worse.
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