BMW free timing belt check, made easy

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Our expert insights into free timing belt check

What is included in a timing belt check?

A timing belt check will involve a thorough inspection of the timing belt and its related components. These checks are particularly important to carry out on belts that are over 4 or 5 years old - because the timing belt is made of rubber, it will wear down over time and eventually break.

How do I know if my timing belt needs replacing?

Some common signs that your timing belt may need replacing are:

  • Engine is making a ticking noise

  • Engine struggles or fails to turn over

  • Rough engine idle

  • Engine misfires frequently

  • Drop in oil pressure or an oil leak

Daniel, from LondonDaniel, from London

Hey Fixter, how long do timing belts last?

The lifespan of your timing belt is specific to your car and engine configuration, but is usually between 60,000 and 100,000 miles or 7 to 10 years.

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Upfront, fair pricing, with free collection & return and no hidden costs. Our in-house experts will then choose the ideal garage to work on your car.

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Our in-house experts will keep you updated, and your card is only charged once all work has been satisfactorily completed and approved by our team. Your driver will then drop the car back when it’s convenient for you.

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Want to learn more about BMW free timing belt check?

What is included in a timing belt check?

A timing belt check will involve a thorough inspection of the timing belt and its related components. These checks are particularly important to carry out on belts that are over 4 or 5 years old - because the timing belt is made of rubber, it will wear down over time and eventually break. When it breaks, the engine might stop running completely, or the components will be out of sync, causing serious damage to the engine.

Failing to replace the timing belt at the recommended time could result in engine failure, broken valves, cylinder head or camshaft damage, and cylinder wall damage, all of which are bad news for your wallet!

BMW

BMW AG is a German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer that was established over 100 years ago in March 1916. They also own Mini and Rolls Royce, after taking over the two British marques in 2000 and 1998 respectively.

BMW makes luxury vehicles and is possibly most famous for its sports saloon models. In 2018, BMW had 1.9m vehicles on the roads in the UK, a number that has been steadily increasing each year for the past decade.

As one of the ‘big 3’ German marques, along with Audi and Mercedes, BMW carries a strong reputation for making high-quality stylish vehicles, and have captured a large section of the UK market.

Luxury family and business models for every driver

Probably most popular for the 3 Series and 5 Series saloon models, BMW has got every possible angle covered for the more discerning drivers.

The full range includes everything from the 1 Series city car to the full-size saloons and sports coupes of the 7 and 8 Series models.

To provide everything you’d ever need for family motoring there’s a seven-seat MPV, their range of X model SUVs, and since 2014, the introduction of their plug-in electric i models. Top it all off with their M model high-performance supercars, the Z4 convertible and the i8 Roadster—and you’ve got the full package.

BMW: High performance on and off the track

BMW has a successful history in a range of motorsports.

They have been significant performers in touring car racing and rally driving, enjoyed success in Formula One with the BMW Sauber team, and BMW cars have been regular competitors and winners at Le Mans since the race’s early years.

BMW’s reliability and reputation

BMW ranked 16th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. BMW hasn’t always had the best reputation for reliability but to rank alongside marques such as Honda, Volkswagen and Fiat they’re holding their own alongside plenty of the other big names.

What does a timing belt do?

The timing belt, or cambelt, is a vital engine component with a key role to play in keeping your motor running smoothly. It ensures the top and bottom halves of your engine rotate precisely in time with each other. Essentially, this ribbed rubber belt with teeth synchronises the crankshaft and camshaft's rotation. It controls the sequencing and timing of the opening and closing of the valves on the cylinders in your engine to provide the right combustion.

Camshafts, made up of the main journals, the lobes (or bulges) and the ends, control the valves in the cylinder head. A rocker head takes the spinning motion of an overhead camshaft and turns it into the movement that opens and closes the valves.

Timing chains essentially perform the same function as cambelts but may be slightly noisier. The chains generally last as long as the vehicle (and generally require less frequent replacing), although the plastic guides they run over may not.

What causes the timing belt to break?

The main reasons a timing belt may break are its age and usage, or a failing water pump. Old age causes the materials to lose functionality, and overuse will wear a timing belt's teeth and tension. Contamination over time, from oil, water or other debris, can encourage deterioration. A failed water pump will seize the operation of the gears with such a force it can cause the timing belt to snap.

How do I know if my timing belt needs replacing?

Some common signs that your timing belt may need replacing are:

  • Engine is making a ticking noise

  • Engine struggles or fails to turn over

  • Rough engine idle

  • Engine misfires frequently

  • Drop in oil pressure or an oil leak

How long do timing belts last?

The lifespan of your timing belt is specific to your car and engine configuration, but is usually between 60,000 and 100,000 miles or 7 to 10 years. Because timing belts are made of rubber, they wear down over time and can eventually break. It’s therefore crucial that you have yours regularly checked for tears, splitting and general signs of wear to avoid the inconvenience (and expense!) of your belt snapping.

Is it expensive to replace a timing belt?

At between £200 and £500, it may seem like an expensive replacement cost. However, if you compare the cost to replacing your engine, which a worn or snapped timing belt can lead to, it seems like better value.

What happens when the timing belt breaks while driving?

The short answer is: It will damage your engine.

The long answer is: The camshaft stops turning, leaving some engine valves open. The heavier crankshaft continues rotating, causing pistons to crash into the open engine valves, bending or breaking them and possibly the cylinders. Damaged pistons and cylinders require the engine to be repaired or even replaced.

Will a broken timing belt badly damage my engine?

It depends on your engine type. There are 2 types of engine concerning this issue: an interference engine and a non-interference engine.

If your car has an interference engine then serious damage is highly likely. A non-interference engine is far less likely to suffer engine damage when the timing belt breaks.

Do you need to replace the water pump with a timing belt?

Your water pump has the same estimated lifespan as your timing belt. Although it's not imperative, it's highly recommended that both components are changed at the same time. Their operations are dependent on each other, and when replacing a timing belt, you have to remove the water pump to access it. There is no good reason not to replace one without replacing the other.

Does a new timing belt improve performance?

No. It can only restore the correct function, and timing, of your engine. It will improve your engine reliability, that's for sure, and you might sense your engine performing better if the old timing belt had become worn or loose. An incorrectly tensioned belt can lead to differences in your engine's timing. However, fitting a new belt won't improve your engine performance, only return it to its correct operation.

Can you drive with a broken timing belt?

No. Once your timing belt breaks, your engine will immediately stop running and turn off. Depending on which type of engine system your car operates with, will determine the amount of damage. Your engine won't start again, either way.

How long does it take to replace a timing belt and water pump?

Depending on your car and your mechanic, it can take anywhere between 3 and 6 hours to replace your timing belt and water pump. Given that you must remove the water pump to access the timing belt, and they both have the same lifespan, it's highly recommended to replace both at once. If you chose to replace both separately, you could end up paying almost double due to hourly labour rates.

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