The timing belt of your car is (often) at the front of the engine. It is made of strong rubber with nylon-reinforced cords, which maintains the life span of the timing belt. Usually the life span is 5 years or maximum kilometres.

When a timing belt is in motion, it is under a lot of stress, which wears it out. Car manufacturers that use a timing belt such as VW, Audi, SEAT etc, prescribe an interval according to age and maximum mileage. If you wait to replace a timing belt, this can cause a lot of damage to your engine. You will end up spending much more money on repairing your engine than the initial cost of replacing the timing belt.

How do you know apart from the interval that the timing belt needs to be replaced?

If you think there are problems with your timing belt, or that it has gone bad or is starting to wear out, here are some clear signs you should look out for.

Broken valves

One of the worst symptoms a car owner can experience is that the timing belt has been cut or has completely broken. In this case, the crankshaft will rotate on its own and not be in synch with the camshaft. If this happens, the piston will hit the valves when opening, which can lead to bent valves or a damaged piston.
You can hear this clearly when you open the bonnet and your car is not moving. In this case, it is very unwise to turn on the car, the damage will increase.

Pinging engine

Timing belts have teeth, which are designed to grip gears as they turn different engine parts and components. When these teeth weaken, the timing belt slides over the sprockets (compare it to a worn sprocket on a bicycle, when you turn on the chain it slides over the sprocket). When this happens, it will cause a jolt in the engine. This also causes the engine to ping when idling.

The motor skips

Combustion in the engine can be endangered by a worn timing belt. The timing belt begins to slip away from the gears and falls on the camshaft, one of the cylinders opens and closes too quickly. If this happens, an engine failure will occur and you should have the timing belt replaced immediately.

How much does it cost to replace a timing belt?

Replacing a timing belt is something that all car owners dread, the average cost of a timing belt change is between 300 and 700 euros. As always, the price depends on the age, make and model of your car. There is also often a difference in whether or not the water pump is also replaced. It is advisable to replace the water pump, because the parts are not the biggest cost item, but the labour costs. And when the timing belt is replaced, you can easily reach the water pump, which saves on labour hours.