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Rothersthorpe Road, Northampton, NN4 8HZ


A Cam belt plays a vital role in keeping your car on the road.
If it breaks, it can have catastrophic effects, both in terms of the damage to your car and your wallet.

What is a Cam belt?

The Cam belt, also known as the timing belt, is one of the most crucial bits of kit in the engine.
It’s basically a rubber belt with teeth on it which synchronises the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft.

What does it do?

In a nutshell, it regulates the way your engine works.
It controls the opening and closing of the valves to the cylinders in time to ensure correct combustion in the engine. Its primary role is to control the timing and sequence of the opening and closing.
Like most bits of kit, it will eventually wear out. If it cracks, tears or snaps, it can cause a whole heap of expensive engine damage. With older cars this usually means they won’t be worth repairing.

How often should you change it?

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ rule when it comes to how frequently a cam belt should be changed, as a lot depends on the car.
Most manufacturers suggest either a time- or mileage-based change, depending on which comes first.
There’s a lot of variation between both manufacturers and engines when it comes to when a change is due. This could range from 40,000 miles up to 100,000 miles, and from four years up to six years.
The vehicle handbook will specify the change frequency, Our Service Manager will let you know if a cam belt change is due when your car’s serviced.
Manufacturer’s intervals should be treated as the absolute maximum, as failure of the cam belt can cause serious mechanical damage.

How much does a Cam belt change cost?

The cost for changing a Cam belt can vary from around £200 to over £1,000 depending on the make and model of car.
It’s also one of those jobs where, while the part itself may not be hugely expensive, it’s very often a time-consuming job.
Replacing it can take several hours’ work. our service centre in Northampton can advise you on the cost of Cam belt replacement.

Any early-warning signs?

Often there’s no sign the Cam belt’s reached the end of the road as it’s so deeply embedded in the engine.
You may be lucky and hear a rattling or slapping noise prior to failure. But in some cases even an expert may not be able to predict a Cam belt failure.
And unlike new brakes or other replacement parts, you may not notice any difference in the way your car drives.
If you think it’s time to have your car’s Cam belt checked please let us know when you book your next service with us.