The cambelt on a car often referred to as a timing belt, is one of the most essential components of an engine. Whilst some car manufacturers have switched to metal timing chains, most cars on the road still use a ribbed rubber cambelt. Timing chains sit inside the engine and get lubricated by the engine oil with cambelts usually on the outside of the engine. If you have any concerns about your cambelt, or it’s time for a cambelt replacement, visit or phone Elite Garages Portsmouth and we’ll have you back on the road in no time.
What Does A Cambelt Do?
A cambelt is typically a rubber belt with a set of teeth that synchronises the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft. It has to be in a specific configuration to keep the pistons and crankcase in sync with the valves and cylinder head.
As tough as cambelts are, they don’t last forever and when it fails, you will be left with a hefty repair bill. The damage can be so severe that it’s usually not worth repairing older cars. That is why you have to make sure to book your cambelt service as close to the manufacturer’s recommendations as possible.
When Should I Book A Cambelt Service?
For the most part, there are usually no signs indicating any underlying problems. However, you might hear a rattling or slapping noise before the cambelt fails but even experts can’t predict exactly when that might be. Here are a few additional things that could act as early warning signs:
- The timing belt creates a high pitched noise when starting the car or idling
- Trouble starting your car
- Unusual revs could indicate the timing belt is loose
- Your car starts behaving strangely when your revs are between 2,000 and 4,000 RPM
- Leaking engine oil or coolant
- Vibration and the excessive heat can be caused by misalignment of the cambelt
- Unusual exhaust emissions or more smoke than usual
- Cracking along the cambelt
- Glazing on the shiny underside of the cambelt means it is stiff and inflexible
- Erratic behaviour on longer journeys
- Lost teeth on the belt mean you need to book a cambelt service as soon as possible
How Often Should I Replace My Cambelt?
Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward as it depends on the type of car. Most manufacturers suggest a cambelt replacement based on either time (duration) or mileage change, depending on which comes first.
There are several variations between car manufacturers with some stating 40,000 miles and others up to 100,000 miles or from four years up to six years. It’s best to consult your vehicle handbook to find the specified change frequency but a good garage should also be able to identify whether your cambelt needs changing as some will check it during a routine car service.
Cambelt Service At Elite Garages Portsmouth
When it comes to a cambelt, our experts recommend getting it replaced, or at least having it checked, if you’ve owned your vehicle for 5 years or driven more than 40,000 miles. Always treat the manufacturer’s intervals as the maximum frequency as it’s safer to get it done sooner.
When a cambelt snaps, it delays the timing which causes the crankshaft to collide with the cylinder head. Considering that this happens repeatedly at a rate of over a hundred times per minute, the damage to the engine can be irreversible. The cost of repairs when it fails is astronomical compared to fitting a new one during a cambelt service so it’s not worth the risk.
If you have any concerns about your cambelt, or it’s time for a replacement, visit or phone your nearest Elite branch and we’ll have you back on the road in no time. While you wait for the cambelt service, take some time and explore Portsmouth to its fullest with some amazing places such as HMS Victory, Mary Rose & Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Royal Armouries (Fort Nelson), not to mention beautiful walks along the beach.