Cam belt

If a cam belt breaks – depending on the age of the car – at worst it may be beyond economic repair

What does a cam belt do?

The cam belt is a toothed belt that revolves around the camshafts and crankshafts of the engine several thousands of times a minute – It is needed to synchronize the camshaft and crankshaft so the valves and pistons will move at a determined rate to each other.

Find out when the cam belt needs changing

All car manufacturers have recommendations for the time and mileage intervals for the cam belt to be changed on their models – these stipulations are for whatever arrives first – If for instance your car is eight years old but has only covered 16,000 miles – and the manufacturer’s interval is 10-years or 100,000 miles – do not try to eke out the belt’s life further – because the belt deteriorates with the passing of time – as well as with mileage.

What happens if the cam belt breaks?

When the cam belt breaks the camshafts which are opening and closing the valves slow down in relation to the crankshafts which are pushing the pistons up and down – the valves and pistons will crash into one another and cause serious damage to the engine – This can easily result in the need for a replacement engine and depending on age may make the car a write off.

When you change your car

If you buy a used car you need to establish when the cam belt is due to be changed – if you are in any doubt that it might not have been renewed at the appropriate time – you should get it renewed.

Remember in most cases when  a cam belt fails – the result is serious damage to many components in the engine – requiring a major rebuild or even the need for a replacement engine.


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