Cambelt Maintenance

The cambelt is one of the most important serviceable items on your vehicle and you will be very surprised how very little is known about them.
Do you want to know more? Follow me…
The topic of cambelts is an extremely serious one, there is no room for error when replacing them and it is strongly advised that the replacement interval is not exceeded.

Cambelt Maintenance

Essentially it is a ribbed belt that is it, nothing more nothing less, it is the role it plays and the job it has to do that is important. From a technicians point of view it has to be installed correctly so that the top half of the engine we call the cylinder head which has our valves and the bottom half of the engine which has our pistons, are all timed in sync with one another.
Correctly syncing the top of the engine and the bottom of the engine allows for correct combustion to occur, thus turning the chemical energy from combustion into kinetic energy which is the movement of our wheels via the gearbox/driveshafts.

What happens if it did snap?

If the timing belt does snap there is serious potential for bent valves which is the most common issue, damage to the cylinder head or/and damage to the camshafts which are used to open and close the valves and you also have the potential for the pistons themselves getting damaged. The cost of repair is definitely not cheap and is often labour intensive. In most cases resulting in a full strip down of the engine. Leaving you with an expensive repair bill and in most cases a few days off the road.

Potential damage:

Does It really require changing?

Yes. There is no question about it, the cambelt is a serviceable item. This belt is under a lot of stress and is constantly operating under harsh conditions, over a period of time the ribbed belt does begin to weaken and deteriorate hence why we have replacement intervals to prevent us reaching the point where the cambelt deteriorates. This is the point where your engine is in serious danger. We now know from the previous section, that our timing belt connects the upper section and the lower section allowing them to move as one. Imagine if the timing belt was to snap the two sections of the engine would now move out of sync, potentially causing the piston to smash off the much smaller valves. Meaning instead of a cambelt replacement you are now paying for a engine repair costing potentially ££££’s.

When does my vehicle cambelt need changing?

The correct method to check when your cambelt is due is to use your vehicle details which includes your registration, Vin number and engine code. It is all about accuracy. An Audi A3 for example could be a petrol or it could be a diesel it could be a 2.0litre or a 1.9. There are so many variations that could dictate the replacement interval and they do vary based on these variables. It is extremely important that we do not guest the interval or presume we know. I can not stress this enough it is super important to know exactly when your car cambelt is due for replacement.
Once we have the correct details we now head over to the vehicle manufacturers information portal, enter the vehicle details and then observe when the replacement interval is. Now it’s important to note that on some engines as well as your cambelt, the timing belt tensioner will be replaced at the same time, also on some engines you may find that the cambelt drives your engine coolant pump, if it does it is strongly advised to replace this pump at the same time as the timing belt.

Buying a new car

Ok, I have added this section, to hopefully help you when it comes to buying a vehicle. Two questions I want to arm you with for the next time you buy a vehicle.
Question one is super important, if you buy the vehicle and the cambelt hasn’t been done, you now need to pay more money out to get the cambelt replaced in order to keep your vehicle correctly maintained. Research prior to buying a vehicle is essential, find out what vehicle you are looking for, find out when that cambelt is due and then reference the information against the vehicle you are about to buy. It may be worth asking the company to replace the cambelt as a part of the deal but of course they are not obliged to do so.
Question two is just as important, you need evidence that the timing belt has been replaced and you need to see it. You need to physically see the stamp or request a print out from the dealer online portal that shows who has done the belt and when it was done.
As a rule of thumb any professional technician will tell you if you do not see a stamp in the maintenance book or you have not seen the evidence on the online portal it has not been done. You can never presume or take someone’s word for it. EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE.
Forgive my seriousness and how direct I am during this blog but I can’t stress how important it is to get your cambelt checked In order to avoid unnecessary costly repair bills. The consequences if your timing belt snaps can be cataphoric to your engine.
Remember we are here to help you, if you would like to know when your cambelt requires replacing or if you would like more information contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and it has provided you with new information. Until next time take care and i’ll see you soon.
Martyn Hetherington