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What is a cambelt?

A cambelt (also known as timing belt) is a crucial part of your car's engine. It’s a rubber belt with teeth on it which keeps the crank and camshaft timed properly and ensures that the two halves of the engine are synchronised. It ensures that the engine’s valves open and close at the correct times during the cylinder intake and exhaust strokes. It’s extremely important that these valves open in time, so they don’t hit the engine’s pistons (which would severely damage the internals of the engine).

How long does a cambelt last?

Cambelts should be replaced at certain mileage or time intervals. This could be anything from 40,000 miles up to 100,000 miles or 5 years; your car’s manual should specify the recommended change frequency for your specific vehicle. We strongly advise that you adhere to this guidance, which varies from car to car. If you've purchased a second-hand car and are unsure about when the cambelt was last changed, don't delay - have a garage check its condition. On the BookMyGarage service schedule, which is followed by all garages booked through BookMyGarage, the cambelt is examined on the Full and Major service intervals.

What are the possible signs that a car needs a new cambelt?

Unfortunately there aren't any particular warning signs that a cambelt needs replacing; they can wear out over time or they can suddenly fail. However, if you do hear any strange noises from your engine, don't run the risk; use Book My Garage to find a reputable, trusted garage near you to check it out.

Some signs to look out for:

  • Your engine stops suddenly, and the engine will not turn over on the key.
  • Your car will not start, accompanied by a clunking noise from inside the engine.

What's involved with cambelt repair?

It is usually a straightforward job to replace a cambelt / timing belt, but it can be quite labour intensive, and you may find you need to have your water pump replaced at the same time. Furthermore, if your cambelt does break, it can cause major damage to other parts of your engine.

What causes cambelt problems?

There are many different reasons as to why a cambelt may fail. It’s important to have your cambelt examined for the following things:

  • Misalignment. This is one of the main causes of a cambelt failure. This can be caused by uneven or excessive tooth wear.
  • Under-tensioned belt. This can cause uneven tooth wear and excessive drive noise. A tension gauge can be used to set the correct tension on the timing belts.
  • Damaged belt. This will cause wear and/or damage of the belt and significantly reduce belt life. Have the belt inspected and replaced if it shows any signs of wear or damage.
  • Debris. This is often overlooked, but debris can cause many different problems. Dirt can rub on the belt and oil can attack the belt materials.

Can you drive your car with a snapped cambelt?

You will not be able to drive your car with a snapped cambelt. It is therefore very important to have your cambelt checked annually at the very least, as if your cambelt snaps it can cause serious irreversible damage to your car’s engine. You will need to have it fixed by a mechanic before driving the car again.

In most instances, drivers will have no warning that the belt is going to snap. When it does it happens suddenly, often resulting in an instant loss of power, as if you have run out of fuel, regardless of how fast or slow you are driving.

Although it can seem expensive to replace a cambelt, it will be a lot cheaper than trying to resolve any engine issues caused by a snapped cambelt.

How long does a cambelt replacement take?

It’s often a big job as it can involve taking part of the engine apart and putting it back together, so replacing a cambelt can take a few hours.

How much does a cambelt replacement cost?

The cost of a cambelt replacement can vary between £200 and over £1,000. It all depends on the make of your vehicle and the garage that you choose to do the work.

We strongly recommend booking your car in for a service at least once a year to ensure that your cambelt is checked annually (amongst many other crucial components of your car). As mentioned above, all of the servicing bookings made through BookMyGarage will follow our industry approved service schedules. You’ll see that cambelt checks are included in Full and Major services. Enter your car registration number and post code into our comparison tool and instantly compare prices from the garages in your local area. You’ll also be able to see their reviews, location, availability and other serviced offered. When you have selected a suitable garage, choose a day and book your service online. If your cambelt has snapped, select ‘A car problem or repair’ from the list and you can choose a garage to replace your cambelt, based on their hourly labour rates.

Coventry

Coventry is the 10th largest city in England, harbouring a population of more than a third of a million inhabitants. It was once the country’s capital, and its rich heritage includes the Lady Godiva legend and St. Mary’s Guildhall where kings and queens were entertained. Coventry has been through its economic ups and downs, but has flowered in recent decades into a thriving and culturally rich city, unrecognisable from the ‘Ghost Town’ referred to by The Specials in their 1981 hit.

The 14th century St. Michael’s Cathedral is the city’s best-known landmark, and German bombing during the Second World War left only the outer walls and soaring spire intact. This evocative space remains one of the most important international symbols of peace and reconciliation in the world, and Graham Sutherland’s celebrated tapestry, ‘Christ in Glory,’ poignantly echoes this sentiment. Nearby, the Cathedral quarter connects Coventry old and new. Regeneration has revived original and reconstructed buildings with a range of excellent pubs, cafes and restaurants.

A number of chain and art house cinemas, plus a diverse range of theatre and arts centres provide regular, traditional and cutting-edge entertainment. Following a recent multi-million pound expansion, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is a great place to go with all the family, and The Coventry Transport Museum holds the largest collection of British transport in the world.

Much of Coventry city centre is pedestrianised but you’ll find on-street, short and long stay car parks in the centre. For specialist shops go to medieval Spon Street, Hertford Street and in the City Arcade. If you’re looking for a more distinctive browsing experience, you’ll find independent shopping and creative arts at Fargo Village on Far Gosford St.

Coventry is served by the M45, which connects to the M1 and to London. The M40, served by the A45 and A46 dual carriageways, is ten miles south of the city and offers an alternate route to London. A dual-carriageway runs north–south and links the city centre with the M6 motorway. The inner ring road circles the city on concrete stilts, and can be confusing for drivers visiting for the first time.

The roads around Coventry, however, are some of the safest in the country, showing no medium- to high-risk roads at all. The motorways and single carriageways of the West Midlands have the greatest in-built safety of any region.

Find the best garages for a service or repairs in Coventry at BookMyGarage, or call our Concierge service on 03304 004439 for free advice from an expert mechanic.

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