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  • Just the Ticket team

Avoiding car-tastrophe – it’s all in the timing (belt)!

The timing - or cam belt – is a vital part of your car’s engine. It aligns and synchronises the cam shafts in the top of the engine with the crankshaft in the bottom. Basically, it controls the timing of all the key moving parts in the engine. Some cars have metal timing chains rather than the rubber belts.

How timing belts can catch you out

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt. But the rubber teeth deteriorate over time and there’s a couple of things you need to remember:

· Checking the timing belt is not part of an MOT

· Given where it’s positioned, it’s unlikely that deterioration in the timing belt will be spotted as part of a standard service

What happens if it breaks?

It can be catastrophic! In short, the timing belt separates the top of the engine from the bottom. If it snaps then the two engine parts smash together. And, sadly, that can be the end of your car.

What are the signs of a faulty timing belt?

The timing belt can fail without any prior symptoms, so if you are within the window for replacement (see below) then you shouldn’t rely on looking out for warning signs. That said, there are a few things worth bearing in mind to help avoid disaster:

· Keep an ear out for unusual sounds from your engine -a high-pitched noise or ticking could indicate a timing belt problem

· Is your car difficult to start? One of the most common ignition problems comes from having a faulty timing belt.

· Are there oil spots where you park?

So, what can you do?

The short answer is – replace your timing belt before it causes you a problem. And exactly when that is depends on the type of car. The manufacturer determines the lifespan of your timing belt. Some cars can need a change in as little as four years, whilst others may run for eight to ten. Generally, it’s by a specified number of years or a certain milage – whichever is the sooner.

The bill for changing a cambelt varies depending on the make of car but is generally around £500-£700.

The main thing is to make sure you know the situation in relation to the timing belt of your car. And it’s easily done, all you need to do is call us at Just the Ticket on 020 8336 1111 or email with the make and model of your car and we can tell you where you are in the life cycle of your timing belt.

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