Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Is it time to change the Timing Belt on your car??

Do you know if your vehicle has a Timing Chain or a Timing Belt? Technically, a Timing Chain should last for the life of the engine (although this is not always the case!) However, If your vehicle has a Timing Belt, the manufacturer will advise at what intervals it is due to be changed either in time and / or mileage.
 I have noticed that with some vehicles, at times there appears to be a large difference between the amount of miles that can be covered before changing the Timing Belt and the time intervals. For example if the advice is that the belt should be changed every 4 years or  100,000 miles, it can be confusing for  people who only cover a few miles a year and who may struggle to accept that the belt would need changing after 4 years and only a few miles.It is not easy to tell if a Timing Belt needs changing as it does not necessarily look that much different as it wears, however it is advisable to change the Timing Belt as per the schedule, since the timing belt is made of rubber and perishes over time. This is why there is a suggested time as well as mileage interval.  If neglected, the Timing Belt could break at any time without warning which will result in a catastrophic engine failure.

For those cars where the water pump runs off the Timing Belt, you need to consider whether to change the Water Pump at the same time as the timing belt. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that if the Water Pump needed to be changed at a later date, the Timing Belt would have to be changed again. In addition, whilst the Timing Belt is being changed, 80-90% of the labour required for changing the Water Pump has already been done which rules out having to pay twice for the labour at different times. 

You should be able to speak to a technician who can help you decide whether to change the Water Pump in your particular vehicle. Car engines are not the same and there may be some specific differences that need to be taken into account.You need to be aware that when the Timing Belt is changed, it is not just the belt that needs to be changed; there are also Tensioners and Guide Pulleys (Please check which items are needed specific to your vehicle). When quoting, we at Lakeside Garage always give a price for a Timing Belt kit which includes the extra items required. We also quote for the Water Pump at the same time so that our customers can decide for themselves.
Remember too that even though replacing the Timing Belt is not cheap, the other alternative would be to have to pay for a new engine which does not even bear thinking about!It is good practice when ringing around to get prices, to make sure that the service advisor is completely clear with you about what you are actually being quoted for as it is possible that you will only be given a price just to change the Timing Belt and nothing else. You will also need to ask exactly what parts are being used as these will also impact on the price you pay.

 Remember cheap parts are unlikely to be warrantied and do not pay in the long run!!

I have tried to give an overall idea in this blog, but if you would like any more specific technical information please do contact us on 01784 482158 or via our website at www.lakesidegarageservices.co.uk and one of our technicians will be happy to speak to you!

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