Most modern vehicles on the road have cam belts fitted. The purpose of a cam belt, or timing belt, is to keep the valves in the engine opening and closing in time with the pistons. When a cam belt breaks, the valves will stop moving and in some engines, the moving pistons can make contact with the open valves. This causes serious damage inside the engine and is often very expensive to repair.
All vehicle manufactures have a specified replacement interval in which the cam belt needs to be replaced. All vehicles are different and the replacement intervals can vary from 45,000km up to 180,000km. Some vehicles don’t cause engine damage when the cam belt breaks, but the majority do, so it is advisable to have your Cam Belt checked if you’re not sure.
When shopping around for prices to have your belt replaced, be sure to ask exactly what is being replaced when to job is done. The cam belt is only one of the components that should be inspected and replaced when doing the job. The belt has to be held tight to avoid it jumping and this is achieved with the aid of tensioner and idler bearings. Some vehicles employ an automatic hydraulic tensioner and many engines now have the water pump driven off the cam belt. Oil seals behind the cam and crank pulleys can also leak causing damage to the belt.
At Eastern Bays Automotive, we always quote cam belt jobs to include all these components. Cam Belts vary greatly in price depending on the vehicle and range from $200 up to $1500, so make sure you know what is being quoted.