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  • Geoff Colwill

Servicing Your Vehicle - Timing Belt

IMPORTANT: Most modern vehicles have what’s known as a timing belt or cam belt, (this belt is not the rubber belt you can see under the bonnet). It’s a belt hidden behind lots of covers and pulleys. This belts’ job is very important. It’s a belt with lots of rubber teeth on it, which is timed up exactly to the engine. If this belt slips a tooth or breaks, the timing will alter and your engine will stop. In a lot of cases this will cause severe engine damage, which can run into thousands of pounds.

Most vehicle manufacturers have a mileage recommendation. This can vary from as low as 36,000 miles up to 100,000 miles, or a time duration for replacement, (most manufacturers recommend replacement every 5 years), this is because the rubber will age, rot and perish. Also bear in mind if you have had an oil leak in the past and it has leaked onto the belt this will soften and shorten the life of this belt.

If you would like to know when your belt is due for replacement please call us, as we have a full listing on the computer for when these belts are due for replacement. Most manufacturers also advise the replacement of the tensioner and idler pulleys at the same time. This is because if either of these were to fail the belt would probably fail too, causing engine damage. Also be advised that the water pump is driven off the timing belt, so if when replacing the belt, it shows signs that the water pump is leaking, then now is the time to replace it as 75% of the work is already done. Unfortunately sometimes timing belts are replaced and the water pump looks ok but a week later the water pump starts to leak, this is because the new belt is tighter than the old one, there’s nothing you can do except replace the pump.

IMPORTANT: Whenever you buy a second hand car always find out the history of the timing belt or if in doubt fit a new timing belt.

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