Replacing your cambelt / timing belt – Why is it important?

The cambelt (or timing belt) is often overlooked by vehicle owners. However, it is very important that you keep track of when your cambelt was last changed. Learn more about cambelts below.


 

What does a cambelt / timing belt do?

Cambelt replacement

The rubber cambelt / timing (sometimes called a serpentine belt) is located under your bonnet normally at the front of your engine and is responsible for keeping various engine components running in time.

The cambelt / timing belt controls the opening and closing of your engine’s valves to allow gas to pass in and out. Depending on the type of engine you have, it is very important that these valves open in time so that they don’t hit the engine’s pistons.

When should you change the cambelt / timing belt?

Most mechanics will agree that you should change your car’s cambelt / timing belt at least every 100,000 km. This will reduce the risk of the belt snapping, causing damage to your car’s engine. Consult your car’s manual for vehicle-specific recommendations.

When buying a new vehicle, always check its servicing records so that you know when the cambelt / timing belt was last replaced. The last thing you want is for your vehicle to unexpectedly break down due to a broken cambelt / timing belt.

 

What happens if you don’t have your cambelt / timing belt changed?

bent valve

A bent valve caused by a snapped cambelt.

If you don’t replace your cambelt / timing belt when it is due for changing, you run the risk of seriously damaging your car’s engine. When you consider the thousands of dollars it may cost to replace your car’s engine (and time off the road) it is cheaper to prevent the problem and by replacing your cambelt / timing belt first.

Over time, your car’s cambelt will wear. The more worn a cambelt becomes, the more likely it is to break. Once the cambelt breaks, your car will become undrivable.

The amount of damage a snapped cambelt can cause depends on the type of engine you have. If you have a non-interference engine, you are at minimal risk of serious engine damage. This is because in this type of engine configuration, the pistons and valves do not occupy the same space. If you have an interference engine, a snapped cambelt is likely to cause serious, expensive engine damage due to the valves and pistons hitting each other. A chain-driven engine does not use a timing belt and is not at risk of this damage (but the timing chain can stretch over time causing other problems). If you are unsure about what type of engine you have, consult your vehicle manual or type your engine’s details into Google and look for information. This page specifies the interference type of many common engines.

When you get your cambelt / timing belt replaced it is important your mechanic checks / replaces the belt tensioner, front oil seal, cam seals and water pump.


Cambelt / timing belt replacement and engine repair in Hamilton

Whether you want us to check the status of your cambelt / timing belt or perform cambelt / timing belt replacement or engine repairs, our team of skilled, experienced and qualified mechanics are happy to help. Located on 998 Heaphy Terrace, we provide honest, reliable car servicing. Contact us today!

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