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Cambelt Replacement

What is a Cambelt?

Also known as a “timing belt” the cambelt ensures the engine values open and close at the correct time by ensuring the camshaft and crankshaft in the engine remain aligned. The belt, made from reinforced rubber, is tensioned between a series of pulleys and tensioners, making sure that the belt does not slip and that it remains aligned, for optimum engine performance. Some vehicles have a timing chain that replaces the cambelt. Timing chains are more reliable and therefore need replacing less often, but are more complicated to replace if they become damaged. 

Why do you need a Cambelt?

Without a cambelt functioning the way it should it can cause your engine to perform poorly or just not at all. A damaged or non-functioning cambelt can cause other damage to the engine and leave you with a far greater repair bill than the cambelt alone.

How do you know when it is time to replace your Cambelt?

Cambelts are a common repair. As belts deteriorate from engine heat, age or general wear and tear, they are likely to begin making a squeaking noise in the engine bay. In some cases the engine may develop a slight vibration if the cambelt is out of sync.

What happens during a Cambelt Replacement?

Replacing the cambelt is a decent sized job. Firstly the mechanic will remove any covers or accessories that hinders their ability to access the cambelt. Once removed, they will need to loosen then remove the tensioner and idler pulley, then eventually the cambelt.

While the cambelt is off it is a good time for the mechanic to take a look at the water pump. The water pump often runs off the cambelt, and it is generally a good idea to replace the water pump during this process to avoid duplication of costs later on.

Once this is completed the mechanic will replace the cambelt with a new one, then reinstall the tensioner, idler pulleys and any covers removed to gain access. Please note, the cost of the cambelt may increase if the tensioner or idler pulleys also need replacing. Finally, the mechanic will test the engine is operating properly.

How much does a new Cambelt cost?

Cambelt replacements are not cheap, starting from around $850. What's more, these are considered part of the manufacturer's scheduled maintenance, and are recommended at specific service intervals (regardless of kms traveled). If you ignore the cambelt the damage that may be caused to your engine is significant, and it's highly recommended to stick to the schedule. 

Is driving with a broken cambelt unsafe?

As a critical engine component your vehicle will not operate without the cambelt. The risk of this breaking and causing massive damage to your vehicle is very real, and its important the scheduled replacement is adhered to.

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