What is my timing belt interval?
This is one of the most popular technical questions that our members ask. The answer is both mileage and time dependent. Here are our top five tips on timing belt intervals:
Some car manufacturers state an over-long replacement interval, mainly to appease fleet customers, when the cars are new. Premature timing belt failures may lead manufacturers to revise and reduce the replacement interval at a later date.
2. Check replacement schedules twice
Therefore, while checking the replacement interval in your handbook, it is worth consulting your main dealership’s workshop to see if the manufacturer has reduced the replacement interval. Some carmakers reduce mileage and time requirements, if the car has been used frequently in urban conditions. Ask your local independent garage as well, to see if their technical data recommends a different replacement interval – it can happen.
3. Whichever comes first
Most carmakers provide a mileage and date interval, with the codicil that the belt should be replaced after the time limit has elapsed, even if the mileage has been reached. This is because the timing belt degrades over time and is subjected to more wear during stop-start driving than long motorway journeys.
4. Use quality parts, the correct tools and procedures
Whether doing the work yourself, or paying a garage, never buy cheap parts, or components from a spurious supplier. Low quality, or old parts could wreck your engine. Ensure also that you can trust the garage’s workmanship.
5. Other components
If a garage recommends that other parts are changed, do not think that they are trying to rip you off. While this blog refers to the belt alone, a kit of parts should be replaced, which includes any idler, or tensioner bearings. If driven by the timing belt, consider replacing the water pump, too. Any auxiliary belts should be renewed as well (not forgetting the associated components in the FEAD drive). Even though replacing all of these parts will add to the final cost, should any of them fail, they can take-out the timing belt, which is very likely to result in serious engine damage.