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When do timing belts have to be changed?

When is the next timing belt change due? Intervals, sequences and changes

Every driver knows how important it is to have an engine that runs smoothly in the car. One of the most important prerequisites for this is a perfectly tensioned and assembled toothed belt. Broken timing belts still cause a lot of engine damage. But when exactly should you have a timing belt changed?

Find out more here about the timing belt change intervals, the signs and the consequences of a defective timing belt. Calculate the individual costs for changing your model without any obligation. At the same time, you can reserve the right workshop appointment in your area online.

What is the timing belt in the car?

The toothed belt is a central element in the engine control and is jointly responsible for the exact combustion process in the engine. It connects the crankshaft with the two camshafts. The crankshaft, which is set in rotation by the pistons, converts the linear motion of the pistons into rotary motion. The camshafts control the engine's valves. The exact control of the valves is the basic requirement for the function of the motor.

Why should the intervals be adhered to?

If the toothed belt is not changed at intervals, it loses tension, can skip or even tear. Serious damage to the engine can result. In the worst case, this can even result in a total write-off.

In addition, neglect of care can invalidate the car manufacturer's guarantee and warranty claims. If the engine breaks due to a missing change of the timing belt, the manufacturer does not participate in the repair.

It is therefore not advisable to ignore the intervals for changing the timing belt. Not even if the engine is still running smoothly and you want to get an even longer runtime out of the timing belt. If there is a delay, help usually comes too late.

Have the timing belt checked regularly

In order to save money in the long term and to minimize the risk of a toothed belt break, regular visual inspections by professional auto mechanics are recommended and informative. As a rule, the visual inspection of the timing belt is part of the inspection on many cars. If necessary, the mechanic can re-tension the toothed belt; in rare cases, cracks are discovered during such an inspection. Then the toothed belt must be changed prematurely. Deliberate disregard of workshop recommendations, car mechanics or the manual can lead to the forfeiture of guarantee and warranty claims for the vehicle.

Toothed belt change - only when?

The interval for changing the timing belt can differ significantly from vehicle to vehicle. They are usually between 60,000 km for older models and 240,000 km for modern vehicles. You will find the exact information on the interval in the service booklet of your car. In addition to high mileage, the age of the timing belt plays a major role when changing. High temperature fluctuations and long idle times, e.g. in winter, also affect the life of the timing belt.

How long does a timing belt really last?

The age of the timing belt also plays a role. In addition to the kilometer information, there is always a time limit (years), as the timing belt becomes brittle over the years. Depending on the manufacturer, the first change should be made after about five to six years. Most vehicles have to change the timing belt after ten years at the latest. However, the exact timing of the change also varies from vehicle to vehicle.

What is the interval for the timing belt change based on?

As a rule, the interval for a timing belt change depends on the engine installed and the year of manufacture. Motors all have a different rate of wear. The manufacturers suggest to car owners when to change the timing belt on their car. This is a non-binding guide value for the manufacturer. But the consequences of not replacing the toothed belt at the specified interval must always be considered.

How can you tell when the toothed belt needs to be changed?

A toothed belt consists mainly of plastic, which wears out after a certain period of time. Where and in which position the toothed belt is located in the car can be found in the operating instructions for your vehicle. As soon as you notice any unusual noises, stop the vehicle and have the engine checked. A toothed belt change is required at the latest when fine cracks are noticeable. Changing the timing belt is not cheap, but the investment is worth it.

What happens if the timing belt breaks?

A torn timing belt will inevitably damage the engine. This usually happens when the valves hit the piston. As a result, the car no longer drives and the question arises whether a repair is even worthwhile. There are also motors in which a broken toothed belt does not immediately mean motor damage, but these motors are so-called freewheels. These are mostly older engines with lower compression, in which the movement space of the pistons does not overlap with that of the valves.

Slipping or incorrect assembly of the belt has similar consequences. If the toothed belt is not tensioned enough, there is a risk that it will skip. Therefore, the timing belt should always have the correct tension, not too slack and not too tight. If the toothed belt is tensioned too tightly, all bearings are loaded, which can lead to the belt tearing.

When was the timing belt last changed?

Especially when buying a used car, it is important to inquire about the timing belt changes that have been carried out. If you don't ask, you can end up with engine damage or very expensive repairs. A torn timing belt, with all its consequences, is usually not covered by a used vehicle warranty.

Information on the timing belt changes that have been carried out can usually be found in the service booklet. In addition, a sticker in the engine compartment can indicate that the timing belt was last changed. When buying a used car, invoices can also serve as receipts. If in doubt, a car repair shop can help you find out whether the mileage of your belt or other components has exceeded the mileage. Every now and then it is enough to retighten the tensioning pulley.

What is done when changing the toothed belt?

A timing belt change is associated with a lot of work in almost all vehicles. To change the toothed belt, the toothed belt guard must first be removed. Usually this is only possible by dismantling the front of the entire vehicle or parts of the front of the vehicle. In difficult cases, the engine must also be completely removed. Thanks to the removed parts, the mechanic can more easily access the belt and change it. If the toothed belt is exposed, the old belt is removed. It is important here that the position of the crankshaft and camshaft is at top dead center during the change.

What is changed when changing the timing belt?

Normally, when the toothed belt is changed, the tension and deflection rollers are also replaced. They have the task of guiding and deflecting the belt and keeping it tensioned throughout its entire service life. Since the toothed belt also drives the water pump, it is changed very often. This saves a possible additional dismantling if the pump starts leaking or no longer runs well after changing the timing belt. The new parts are then reassembled according to the manufacturer's specifications. This is very important, as particular consideration must be given to the correct position of the crankshaft and camshafts. After everything is properly seated and the belt is tensioned, the timing belt cover is reattached. Then the change is complete.

Toothed belt or timing chain?

When buying a car, you should see if the engine is operated with a toothed belt or with a timing chain. Because with the respective type of motor drive there are big differences with regard to the change. Changing the timing belt is one of the most common reasons why you have to go to the workshop by car. On the other hand, with a chain drive it is rather the exception that it is changed.

Calculate the cost of changing the timing belt online

The timing belt in cars should be replaced in good time by a workshop and the specialist staff there. Even if you yourself like to save costs, the change usually only occurs every few years. The costs also vary from model to model. The comparison of service offers in your area can pay off here. Calculate and compare the costs for yours on FairGarage without obligation

  • VW Golf 4,
  • VW Golf 5,
  • VW Passat,
  • VW Tiguan,
  • Opel Corsa,
  • Ford Focus
  • and many more models

and arrange your desired appointment directly online.