Car servicing: 6 reasons why you need to change your cam belt

6 reasons to change your cam belt

Your car's engine is a symphony of moving parts working in harmony, and at the heart of this mechanical orchestra lies a vital component - the cam belt (or timing belt). This humble belt plays a crucial role in synchronizing the engine's internal components, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Yet, it's surprising how often its importance is underestimated. Let's unravel why changing your cam belt is an something that you shouldn't ignore.

1. Timing is Everything

The cam belt plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the engine's valves and pistons operate in perfect harmony, maintaining the precise timing required for efficient combustion. A misaligned or damaged cam belt can throw this synchronization off balance, leading to poor engine performance, misfires, or even catastrophic engine damage.

At ourSouthampton based garage we have seen the effects of many failed cam belts over the years and it is not a pretty sight!

2. Cost effectiveness: Prevention is Better Than Cure

A well-maintained cam belt is an insurance policy against costly engine repairs. When a cam belt breaks, it can cause severe damage to the engine, including bent valves and damaged pistons. The cost of replacing a cam belt is a fraction of the cost to repair or replace an engine damaged by a snapped belt.  Changing your cam belt when it's due is a smart and cost-effective preventive measure.

On the subject of cost effectiveness it is also worth noting that most garages and car service stations will often recommend you change your water pump alongside your cam belt. This is because the work involved in accessing the timing belt usually provides access to the water pump. Replacing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt reduces the need for additional labour and dismantling in the future which keeps your costs down. 

3. Resale value and exit strategy 

When it's time to sell your vehicle you will find that its much easier to do so with a good service record. Part of that record includes having the belt changed on time. If this hasn't been done it could negatively impact the price you will get when selling or trading in your vehicle. 

4. Improved Fuel Efficiency

When your engine's timing is precise, fuel combustion is efficient, leading to better fuel mileage. An old or worn-out cam belt can cause the engine's timing to slip, resulting in decreased fuel efficiency. Changing the cam belt at the appropriate intervals can help prevent this and help you save money at the pump.

5. Enhanced Reliability and Peace of Mind

Knowing that your cam belt is in good condition provides peace of mind during your travels. Reliability is a priceless quality in any vehicle, and a well-maintained cam belt contributes to a car's overall dependability. This is especially important for people who travel long distance in their vehicles.

6. Manufacturer Guidelines Matter

Manufacturers provide guidelines for cam belt replacement based on mileage or years of use. It's essential to adhere to these guidelines, as failing to do so can void your warranty and potentially lead to engine damage. Regularly scheduled maintenance, including cam belt replacements, helps maintain your warranty and protects your investment.

Mileage is NOT the only metric when it comes to changing your cam belt either. There is a very good reason that manufacturers put a time schedule on cam belt changes and that's because they are prone to deterioration. Cam belts are typically manufactured using rubber that will degrade over time and become less effective even if you're not covering high mileage.  

In conclusion, changing your cam belt is not just an essential maintenance task; it's an investment in the longevity and performance of your engine. Don't wait for the ticking time bomb; follow the manufacturer's recommendations and change your cam belt at the specified intervals. Your engine will thank you with years of reliable service, and you'll enjoy smoother rides and improved fuel efficiency. Remember, when it comes to your cam belt, timing is everything!

Is your cam belt due?

If the answer to that question is yes or you are unsure, we can help. Contact us today and we will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.

E&J Jarvis are a Southampton garage specialising in car servicing, MOT tests and repair work in the Southampton area and beyond. 

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