The timing belt (or cam belt) in a vehicle is a critical component in an engine as it's responsible for synchronising the rotation of the engine's camshaft and crankshaft, ensuring valves open and close at the correct times.

Replacing it at the right time is essential to prevent engine damage and maintain the vehicle's performance.

We look at five signs that could mean it's time to change your cam belt;

Mileage or time interval
Check your vehicle's owner's manual for the recommended timing belt replacement interval. In most cases, it's typically recommended to replace the timing belt every 60,000 to 100,000 miles (or every 5 to 7 years, whichever comes first). If you've exceeded this interval, it may be time for a replacement, even if there are no visible signs of wear.

Cracking or fraying
Visually inspect the timing belt for signs of cracking, fraying, or damage. Over time, the rubber in the belt can deteriorate, leading to visible wear. If you notice any of these issues, it's a clear indication that the timing belt needs replacement.

Squealing or whining noise
A worn-out or damaged timing belt may produce unusual noises, such as squealing or whining, especially when the engine is running. These sounds can indicate that the belt is slipping or rubbing against other components and it's time to replace it.

Engine misfires or poor performance
A failing timing belt can cause the engine's timing to become inaccurate, leading to misfires, poor performance, and reduced fuel efficiency. If you experience any of these issues, it's possible that the timing belt is the culprit.

Oil or coolant leaks
Timing belts are often located behind covers that protect them from oil and coolant leaks. However, if you notice any oil or coolant leaks in the vicinity of the timing belt, it's important to address them promptly. These leaks can damage the belt and weaken it, ultimately leading to its failure.

A broken or damaged timing belt can cause severe engine damage, so it's crucial to replace it according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule or as soon as you notice any of the signs mentioned above. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of the timing belt can help ensure the long-term reliability and performance of your vehicle's engine.

If you experience any of these signs or if your vehicle has reached the recommended replacement interval, get in touch with our team and book your car in for an inspection.