Some engines have a timing belt, and some have a timing chain. Similar to drivebelts, timing belts are made of rubber and require replacement at predetermined intervals. Manufacturers have different recommendations for timing belt replacement that vary anywhere from 60,000 kms to 180,000 km depending on the make and model of your car. Generally, around 100,000 kms or 6 years is the most common replacement interval. Your cars log book is the best guide to when timing belts should be replaced.
Why is timing belt or chain replacement important?
The engine constitutes of hundreds of components moving in sync to make the car run. The timing belt or chain joins the crankshaft in the lower end of the engine to the crankshaft in the upper half. In cases where the timing belt or chain has stretched, the car may experience rattling from the engine or lack of responsiveness on acceleration. In cases of severe damage, the engine stalls while driving or doesn’t start.
When to change a timing belt
Some old school mechanics may tell you to replace the timing belt every 100,000 km. While this may have been the case 20 years ago, nowadays we need to do our homework as every make, model and engine has different requirements.
In modern engines manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt from between every 40,000 – 150,000 kilometers, depending on the engine. If you only use your car now and again and don’t do many kilometers, you will still need to have the belt/chain replaced based on the age of the vehicle. Timing belts/chains can deteriorate and/or stretch over time.
If you are replacing your timing belt, we recommend replacing all associated parts of the timing belt including:
- Water pump (where applicable)
- Idler pullies
- Hydraulic tensioners
- Tensioner pullies
- Oil seals in the timing belt area.
Timing belt failure can be due to the following common symptoms:
- Old age
- Oil Contamination
- Poor fitting such as either under or over tightening a replacement belt,
- Seized pulleys or water pump bearings
- Hydraulic tensioner failure
Why does it take so long to fix?
You won’t want to hang around and wait while they do this service. All vehicle types are different, but allow at least 3 to 8 hours for this service, all going well.