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When is it time to change your timing belt?

If you are planning a long journey it is a good idea to check you will not go over the advised mileage before getting your timing belt changed, it’s better to get it done before you go.

Most cars have a need to change their timing belt between 60000-120000 miles, the exact figure will be in your car’s service manual.

It's a little expensive to change the timing belt. Not because the timing belt itself is expensive, but because it can be difficult and time consuming to change.

Often the water pump is replaced at the same time as the timing belt, just because it's hard to get to. With more time consuming jobs there are certainly savings to be made by shopping around.

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447,247 happy car owners have used our free service


Sean Tither

Toyota Yaris (2007)

Brilliant! Set up a free account, posted the job, got the quotes. Accepted a quote, job done, car well again. Garage was a distance away, but given the quotation price, not an issue. Saving me over £550 on a dealer repair. Autobutler... where have you been all my life. Will certainly use again


Cal Roscow

Vauxhall Corsa (2005)

Used autobutler and found a garage round the corner from my house that had lots of 5* reviews and quoted £600. Saved me loads of money and put me in touch with a fantastic garage so close to my house. Staff at autobutler were also really helpful when accepting quotes.


Richard Paris

Audi A4 (2008)

Do what they say they will do - customer service par excellence. Why did no-one do this before. Trusted garages, quick service, reliable quotes - might even drive the 'Arthur Daley's' out-of-business.

Don't take our word for it - see what other car owners are saying about Autobutler

26 ratings
Volkswagen Golf – 2008
I changed timing belt and water pump golf 2008. Excellent service, best price, convenient time an...
Garage Services
E10 6JT Walthamstow, Greater London
Nissan Navara – 2007
Very friendly no wot there talking about would recommend
Parkside Garage Leeds LTD
LS11 5SF Leeds
Skoda Octavia – 2010
Very competitively priced. Freindly garage willing to try and accommodate customers requests. O...
M8 Car & Van Servicing Ltd
DY4 7AD West Bromwich, Sandwell
Volkswagen Golf – 2008
I changed timing belt and water pump golf 2008. Excellent service, best price, convenient time an...
Garage Services
E10 6JT Walthamstow, Greater London
Nissan Navara – 2007
Very friendly no wot there talking about would recommend
Parkside Garage Leeds LTD
LS11 5SF Leeds
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Read more about timing belts and chains

The timing belt controls one of the engines main functions, namely the interaction between the pistons and valves. If they are out of sync, it can have disastrous consequences, in addition to an irregular and wasteful operation.

The timing belt is a transmission belt operated by the crank shaft and also operates the cam shaft. It ensures that the valves and pistons in the engine are in line. Technically, what happens is that the intake valve opens and the piston draws air into the chamber. Then the valve closes and the piston depresses.

The fuel containing compressed air ignite and explode. It pushes the piston and drives the process in the other chambers. When the piston is fully open, it is pulled back again, while the exhaust valve is open. Then the process starts all over again.

The valves must be open at the intake and exhaust, and the pistons must have exactly the right position when the fuel-containing air ignites. Therefore, the timing belt consists of teeth that fit with the wheels that pull and are pulled by the timing belt.

A cam belt also operates the same processes, but here it is not as important whether the process is precise.

The cam belt is a belt and usually has (slightly) sloping sides. The cam belt wedges into the pulley groove, to get a firm hold. They do the same job, but operate ever so slightly differently, that’s why people sometimes say they are the “same thing”.

At Autobutler you get 3 quotes for a timing belt change, and can compare the garages both on price but also on other car owners reviews. You can even select your usual garage for a quote. We assist you in clear and simple way, to find the best garage for your budget.

All about Timing Belt and Cam Belt

There is some wear on the timing belt, so in the service manual says when it needs to be changed in relation to the mileage. If you do not drive very much, there is also a risk that the timing belt becomes weathered and damaged.

The timing belt consists of steel wire, fiberglass, polyester and Kevlar cables. If you do not change the timing belt, you risk that it frays, and bits swirl around in the engine compartment and out onto the road. Here it may contribute to cause Flash Rust.

The most dangerous thing that can happen is if it becomes so worn or defective that it no longer synchronizes pistons and valves. Some engines have plenty of space, while others are built so that there is no room if the pistons and valves are positioned wrong. The piston simply hits the valves if they are open when the piston is depressed. If that happens, it could mean that you need a new engine.

It's almost up to the seller which warranty there is on the car when sold second hand. Most have a 3 month warranty, but it is not always on all parts of the car. You should make sure when the timing belt was last changed, and if it cannot be disclosed, you should get it written into the contract as part of the warranty.

Good advice when buying a used car

  • Check in the service booklet that the timing belt is changed according to the requirements
  • Contact the garage which performed the job, and check that it went as planned
  • If in doubt, you should have it checked over at a garage
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