When Should A Cambelt be Changed?

By David Sholicar

Your vehicle’s cambelt plays an important role in keeping your car on the road. If your cambelt breaks, it will have a detrimental effect on your vehicle’s performance and can prove very costly to replace.


What is a cambelt and what does it do?

The cambelt, also referred to as the timing belt, is one of the most critical parts of the engine. It is usually a ribbed rubber belt that synchronises the pistons and crankcase with the valves and cylinder head. A cambelt regulates how the engine works by controlling how the valves open and close in relation to the cylinders, ensuring the right combustion.

When did you last get your cambelt changed?

Have you owned your vehicle for 5 years, or driven over 40,000 miles? Protyre experts advise getting your cambelt changed or, at least checked for damage. Your vehicle manufacturer guide will provide you with a recommended timing belt schedule but it is worth checking your servicing log book or finding out when it was last changed.

Protyre garages check the schedule of your timing belt as part of their Gold (Major) and Silver (Full) service packages. Use our garage locator below to look for your nearest Protyre garages with servicing facilities – simply enter your postcode and select the ‘Garage Services’ from the tick box options below the search bar to begin:

When should you replace your cambelt?

After time, a cambelt will become damaged either cracking, tearing or in some cases it could even snap. Protyre recommend that you get your cambelt checked once a year to ensure that it in good condition and reduce the risk of it breaking. Depending on your vehicle’s age, this could mean it is more expensive to fix than the value of the vehicle.

Both of our Gold (Major) and Silver (Full) servicing packages ensure the cambelt schedule is checked but if it needs replacing, this will incur an additional cost to your service package.

How do I know that my cambelt needs changing?

Unfortunately, there is no set time that cambelts need changing but most vehicle manufacturers will advise on either mileage or time, depending which comes first.

Due to the position of the cambelt, it is not a simple vehicle maintenance task like checking the level of your oil, therefore, getting your cambelt checked by and expert is highly recommended. Protyre’s trustworthy technicians can ensure that that it is not damaged and will provide you with a realistic timeframe to get it replaced or checked again. Over time the cambelt will stretch which will cause the engine timing to become delayed. Signs of a delayed engine could be a slow pick-up or a lack of power and sometimes the cambelt can make a rattling noise when stationary.

It is always best to check your vehicle handbook and work from the recommendations of the manufacturer but as a rough guide if you have driven between 40,0000 and 100,000 miles, or owned your vehicle between four and six years, then it is advisable to look at replacing your cambelt before you are forced to.

What are the risks, or dangers, of not replacing your Cambelt?

Ignoring vehicle maintenance tasks can result in poor vehicle performance, or mechanical failure and as a result, you could end up incurring large repair costs.

However, ignoring your vehicle’s cambelt servicing schedule could cause serious mechanical damage and expensive repair work, therefore, the recommended intervals provided by your vehicle manufacturer should be treated as a guide and the very maximum time between cambelt replacement.

A snapped cambelt will result in the timing getting delayed which will cause the crankshaft to collide with the cylinder head. When this happens repeatedly at a fast rate (over a hundred times a minute) the damage to the engine can be irreversible.

Looking for more vehicle maintenance advice?

Protyre have compiled a library of useful and informative vehicle maintenance articles covering all aspects of day-to-day tasks to keep your vehicle running at optimum levels. So, if you are looking for a little maintenance assistance then our Car Help and Advice section is the best place to start. Click on the button below to find out more.

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About the author

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By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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