Timing belts are common place in a lot of manufacturers' vehicles but they all have different replacement intervals. At Autohaus Northshore we work mostly on German and Swedish vehicles, so let's focus on those.
What is a timing belt and what does it do?
A timing belt is basically a toothed rubber belt that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft and keeps the two shafts correctly timed together. It usually has another function and that is to drive the water pump.
When we replace the timing belt on Audi, VW and Volvo we will traditionally replace the timing belt, the water pump, and belt tensioner and any idler pulley that the belt runs over. Due to the work required in doing this job, the front engine seals are usually replaced, including the crankshaft seal and camshaft seals.
Why do timing belts fail?
Normally timing belts don't break of their own accord but rather, as a result of one of the components they drive failing.
In our experience, breakage of timing belts in Audi, VW and Volvo is due principally to the water pump, tensioner or idler pulley bearings failing causing the belt to strip or fall off. This often leads to serious engine damage, mostly valves hitting pistons. This requires costly overhauling of the cylinder head(s).
Mercedes Benz and BMW use timing chains (except for early BMWs) which do not have a replacement interval.
Audi, VW and Volvo use timing belts predominately on most of their vehicles. VW and Audi customers are required to change their timing belts at either 80,000km or 120,000km. Volvo customers are required to change their belts at 120,000km.
When should timing belts be changed?
Manufacturers recommend that timing belts be replaced either, every certain number of years or based on mileage, whichever comes first.
In our experience at Autohaus Northshore, we have found that the belts don't wear due to age but due to vehicle mileage. We have seen timing belts replaced on Audi, VW, Skoda and Volvo long before the mileage is due and this is usually an expensive job.
At Autohaus Northshore, we pride ourselves on looking after our customers' vehicles professionally and cost effectively. We look at customer's needs individually, and if the timing belt does not need replacing, we do not replace it; we would consider this 'over servicing' and not in the customer's best interest. We tailor solutions to the individual.
How do we save you money?
The components we use at Autohaus Northshore are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and therefore, we are not compromising the quality of the repair with inferior parts, yet can still pass on a substantial saving to clients.
Autohaus Northshore can help you plan your vehicle repairs while keeping to your budget. Contact Nigel Hook on (02) 9987 4747 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.