When to Know the Right Time to Replace Your Timing Belt


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Replace Your Timing Belt

If you are panicking because you aren’t even sure what a timing belt is, don’t worry, we’ll break it all down for you, in the ultimate guide to car care.

Owning a car means getting familiar with a few key terms, one of which is your timing belt. Knowing what this term is and how it influences your car safety will not only save you from unexpected breakdowns but thousands of Rands. And so, make sure to bookmark this blog so that you can keep yourself safe whenever you are on the road.

What is a timing belt?

There is no need to break out into a panic sweat because you aren’t sure what a timing belt is. That’s okay, as long as you are open to learning. Now, your timing belt is a crucial part of your engine. Think of it as the bike chain of your car. It helps keep all of the essential internal parts of the engine in sync.

It is a strong rubber belt that has tiny prongs that helps keep the movement between the camshaft and the crankshaft synchronized. Again, don’t panic if you don’t know what those parts are either. The important thing to know is that if your timing belt isn’t working, your car will not run correctly.

What happens when my timing belt is worn out?

As mentioned earlier, your car NEEDS to have a fully functional rubber belt. It’s a non-negotiable and a costly choice to ignore. If your timing belt isn’t keeping things in sync, then it will cause serious damage to your engine. Parts of your car will collide and break. Eventually, your engine will completely stop working. And let the record show, replacing an engine is one of the most expensive car costs you will ever incur.

When do you need to replace your timing belt?

It is important to remember that your timing belt is always under immense strain, especially since it is always in motion and operating at high temperatures too. So naturally, they won’t last forever. This means that it is your responsibility to check in on all of your car parts, including your timing belt.

Keep in mind that there is no set time when you need to change your timing belt. It is largely dependent on the model and manufacturer of your car. It also depends on how many kilometres you have driven. If you are purchasing a second-hand car, it's essential that you double check your timing belt before you get on the road.

That being said, there are a few warning signs that will tell you when it's time to maybe get your timing belt checked at your mechanic.

3 signs that your timing belt needs replacing

Your car starts smoking

Generally, if you ever see the front of your car smoking, you panic. But most of the time we aren’t actually sure what is going on. While it is advised that you do go to a mechanic to properly check it out, it's worthwhile knowing that it might be your timing belt.

When your timing belt experiences serious wear and tear, then the rubber is stretched, and damaged. All of your fuel is then no longer directed to the correct place. Instead, a big portion of it accidentally goes to your exhaust system – which is a big no-no.

And so, if you see black smoke coming from the hood of your car, it's most likely that the smoke is coming from your exhaust pipe. That is your tell-tale sign that your fuel is being consumed in the wrong place.

You struggle to start your car

If you are struggling to get your car started every time you put the key in the ignition, then you might want to get your timing belt checked because there could be a major issue. It is important to remember that your timing belt keeps everything in your car working at the correct time. If your belt has worn down it means that your engine cylinder is opening and closing at the wrong time.

This means that the prongs on the belt are skipping teeth on your engine which means that it is jumping certain parts. That is an indication that there is damage to the timing belt. This is your car's unique way to tell you that there is serious desynchronization happening.

Loss of speed

Another major sign that there is something wrong with your timing belt is when your car struggles to speed up. Now, obviously speeding kills, so never do that, but keep an eye out if your car struggles to gain momentum. Essentially, this happens when there is a loss of tension because the timing belt has stretched too much. This means that the groves are slipping out of place which will mean that your engine struggles to keep its speed.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from avoidable car costs is to take out one of our exclusive full car insurance plans. This way you are able to constantly get your car checked for any major issues, by a reputable mechanic, without taking the brunt of those costs. Not only will taking out car insurance help save you thousands of Rands, but it could also save your life on the road.


Yours in finance-saving car insurance,


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