BELT-UP! Don't Let Your Car Get Caught With It's Trousers Down!
Your car’s timing belt, sometimes called a cam belt, tells the valves in the engine when to open and close. It keeps everything moving in exactly the right order and at the right time. And, just like the belt that holds your trousers up – if it snaps or comes apart, you’re exposing yourself to a whole load of trouble.
Despite doing a vital job, a timing belt is basically a metal or rubber band with grooves in it. So, it’s a cheap part, sometimes costing as little as £30.
The problem is that they’re often buried deep in the workings of the engine, making them difficult to get to, so replacing them involves some labour costs.
They don’t last forever though – every make and model of car has it’s own expiry date for the timing belt – we advise knowing when yours is due.
If the car’s still ticking over, it can be tempting to ignore the manufacturer’s guidelines – nobody likes having to use their hard-earned cash on repairs that might seem unnecessary – but be aware of what can happen when it begins to fall apart.
Always replace it when it’s due – don’t wait for it to break down!
Give us a call and we’ll look it up for your car – each make and model is different and some last for a long time whereas others have a much shorter lifespan.
If you have your car serviced with us, we will tell you when it’s due.
A failed timing belt can mean a catastrophe for your car.
If the belt breaks, the pistons and valves will start to crash into and grind against each other, which bends and dents these more costly parts. Bits of metal can fly off completely and damage the cylinder head and have been known to work their way into turbos, causing further damage. A broken timing belt can mean a completely broken car, and possibly a broken bank balance too!
Don’t ignore the engine management sign – it does come on for a reason! However, with the timing belt, you may not get much warning. Most of the time they just fray, then very quickly snap, leaving you with a car that just won’t move.
Unfortunately, it’s not one of those jobs where we can just ‘check under the bonnet’ for you – because it’s so well buried in the mechanics that it takes time.
The actual timing belt is a cheap piece of kit but it’s the labour to change them that bumps the bill up when they go wrong.
At Orchard Garage in Dartford, our experienced mechanics have loads of experience with timing belts. Yes, you might find that yours need replacing, and that’s a pain, but it’s a lot better than risking your beloved motor becoming a complete write-off if it does snap and causes problems elsewhere in your car.