'What do I need to know about cambelts and timing belts?'

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cambelt system on stand

Belts are a crucial part of a car’s engine design. The cambelt is like a mechanical pacemaker, ensuring that your car’s heart is running on time on all occasions.

Though it’s such a core part of a car, cambelts are something that very few people know much about. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about cambelt maintenance.

Is a cambelt the same as a timing belt?

In a word, yes. You might see the terms cambelt and timing belt used when referring to a car, but they mean the same thing.

But what does a cambelt do?

A cambelt is a crucial component of your car’s engine. It’s a ribbed ‘belt’ that is placed in the engine to ensure that the crank and camshaft are ‘timed’ properly. Placed in a set area of the engine, the belt keeps the bottom half of your engine in time with the top half.

Does my cambelt need replacing?

A cambelt is a consumable part, so it will wear out gradually over time. That means that, eventually, it’ll need replacing. They tend to ‘stretch’ through use, which diminishes their effectiveness.

close up of a engine and a cambelt
close up a cambelt system

How can I tell if I need to get my cambelt replaced?

You’ll know if you need to get a new cambelt when you hear a knocking sound coming from the area where the belt is located when the engine is idling. You might also hear a squeaking or slipping noise when starting the car, and there could be more smoke coming from the exhaust too. Look out for the engine’s revs behaving erratically, as well - they might go up and down intermittently, particularly at mid-way up the rev range.

Should I check to see if a car I’m buying has had its cambelt replaced?

Depending on the age of the vehicle, it’s worthwhile checking to see whether or not the cambelt has been replaced. Particularly for older cars, it’s worth noting whether the work has been conducted in order to save yourself money down the line. You can easily find out a car manufacturer’s recommended cambelt changing time online, too.

How much does replacing a cambelt cost?

How much it’ll cost to replace your car’s cambelt will vary from vehicle to vehicle. On smaller-engined models, you might be looking within the region of £200, whereas on a luxurious car with a large engine it could be close to £1,000. However, for most cars in the UK it’ll be somewhere around the £300 to £400 bracket.

Book your Cambelt Replacement Today

At Swansway, we understand how important it is to have your car in full working order and want to help you avoid any surprise bills or breakdowns. Contact one of our Swansway dealerships to book your Cambelt change.

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