When a timing belt needs to be replaced and what the costs are

The timing belt is a crucial part in a car engine. The timing belt drives parts in the engine that can be seriously damaged in an instant if the slightest deviation occurs in the movement of the parts relative to each other.

That is why it is extremely important to replace a timing belt on time. However, the timing of the timing belt replacement is not the same for every car. Moreover, not only the number of kilometers driven is decisive.

What makes a timing belt replacement necessary

The timing belt is an important part of the engine and is subject to wear. An overly worn timing belt can cause serious damage to the engine. This means that this part must be replaced on time.

In a car engine, the timing belt ensures that the valves that add fuel to the engine and the valves that drain burnt fuel from the engine open and close exactly in time and that all valves are closed when the fuel in the engine is burned.

However, if the parts inside the engine do not keep moving simultaneously and to the same extent, it can lead to serious damage to the engine and expensive repairs.

Excessive wear of the timing belt can cause it to jump, as it were. As a result, parts in the engine that normally do not touch each other can suddenly hit each other, making it a huge mess in the engine of a car in the blink of an eye.

Many problems you can have with a car make themselves known in one way or another. For example, due to noise, less functioning than before or a message in the on-board computer.

However, you will not notice anything at all from a timing belt that is already worn too far. Until just before it breaks, it will do its job as it always has done. A momentary loud thumping noise and then the engine running poorly or not running at all is a sign that the timing belt has failed and the engine of your car may have suffered serious damage.

This fact alone makes it unwise to drive for too long with a timing belt that should have been replaced already.

Because replacing a timing belt may not usually be cheap, a major engine repair can quickly cost many times that amount.

When a timing belt replacement is needed

When a timing belt needs to be replaced, you can find out in the maintenance schedule of your car. For many cars, this maintenance schedule can be found in the documentation that comes with the car.

However, as the car changes hands more often, the more likely this documentation will no longer be supplied with the car.

Fortunately, there are also other ways to find out when the timing belt needs to be replaced. For example by:

  •  Enter the brand, type and year of your car in Google, plus the addition “when to replace timing belt”
  •  To call a dealer or specialist of the brand of car that you own.

A Volkswagen Golf, for example, can have a 2 liter Diesel engine. but can also be equipped with a 1.6 liter Diesel engine or a 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 liter petrol engine.

This means that with exactly the same Volkswagen Golf of exactly the same year of manufacture, the timing belt must be replaced at a different time if they do not also have exactly the same engine.

Because with the 2-liter diesel engine of the Volkswagen Golf, the timing belt will have to be replaced at different times than with the 1.8-liter petrol engine of the Volkswagen Golf.

In general we can say that the replacement of a timing belt depends on:

  •  The make and type of car.
  •  The type of engine your car has.
  •  The year of construction of your car.
  •  How many kilometers have been driven since the timing belt was last replaced.
  •  How long has it been since a timing belt was last replaced

Globally, a timing belt should be replaced every 90,000 to 120,000 kilometres or every 4 or 5 years.

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