The timing belt, also known as the cambelt, is a black toothed rubber belt. Its function is to accurately control the timing of a car’s combustion engine. In order to do this it connects the camshaft to the crankshaft. This maintains the opening and closing of the engine valves in precise alignment with the pistons.
Your cambelt will wear with time, and it’s important to get it checked regularly. If your belt snaps the cylinder valves will stop working, but the pistons will continue. This can cause serious damage to the valves, and the camshaft. You’re looking at expensive repairs, and possibly a new engine.
A CVS timing belt inspection will determine whether the part needs replacing, using the manufacturer's guidelines on mileage and age. Most manufacturers recommend a replacement every 40,000 to 60,000 miles.
A timing belt is likely to last for years but natural wear and tear will eventually mean a change is needed. There are a number of tell-tale signs that indicate there's a problem:
• Unusual Sounds. If you hear a 'squealing' sound on start up, it could be that your cambelt is loose and needs adjustment.
• Car Doesn't Start. If the belt has snapped the camshaft won't rotate when the crankshaft turns, which means the engine won't run.
• Visual Signs of Wear. The belt should be soft and flexible. If it feels hard, or the underside looks shiny, it's a sign that the rubber is getting hard and needs replacing.