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.
How often should a timing belt need replacing?
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for how often to replace yours—a lot depends on your motor’s age and condition.
There’s also huge variation between manufacturers and different engines. So you might need a new belt after 4 years, or 6, or after driving 40,000 or 100,000 miles. Consult your car’s manual—most manufacturers’ recommendations are based on time passed or miles driven, depending on which elapses first.
However, we’d always suggest treating these recommendations as a maximum, and erring on the side of caution.
The law, vehicle regulations, and your MOT
The timing belt will not be examined at your car’s MOT, but the associated issues of running a car with a faulty timing belt can lead to severe engine damage, which can.
What causes a timing belt to stop working correctly?
Like most car parts, your timing belt will wear out eventually due to cracking, snapping or tearing. Timing belts are also unpredictable, with few warning signs of damage. (Although starting issues and noise may offer clues.) Driving your car infrequently, oil leaks and temperature changes, among other factors, can all play their part.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning timing belt
You hear unusual noises coming from the engine
If a grinding or squeaking noise is being emitted from your engine, it could be a malfunctioning timing belt.
The car won’t start
If your timing belt has broken, this can cause problems with your engine that lead to the vehicle not starting.
Citroën is a French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group since 1976, established over 100 years ago in March 1919.
Citroën produced the world’s first mass-produced front-wheel drive car and one of the first to feature a unitary type body, with no chassis supporting its mechanical components.
How popular is Citroën in the United Kingdom?
Citroën is probably better known for its quirky design and fun fashion styled brand of cars. Offering something different from more traditional sporty looks, they are a brand that provides value without being cheap.
There were 1.3m Citroën cars on the roads at the close of 2018; a figure that peaked in the early part of 2015 and has maintained a very similar number ever since.
Good value vehicles for family driving
Citroën offers a range of fun-looking smaller city cars and family cars for every ilk. The smallest starts with their C1 city model, growing into the C3 mini-MPV and SUV models, then the C4 subcompact and compact featuring crossover and SUV styles, up to the C5 family saloon, that is also available as an SUV sporting Citroën’s Aircross moniker.
With models featuring up to 7 seats, Citroën doesn’t just create cars for everyday family motoring—they supply cars for the biggest of families.
Citroën’s reliability and reputation
You wouldn’t instantly think of Citroën as one of the technological leaders of the automotive industry, but as well as being the first to introduce front wheel drive and unitary body type vehicles, they were also responsible for producing the first hydropneumatic self-levelling suspensions system in 1954. Just one year later they introduced another milestone in motoring history, producing the first mass-produced car with modern disc brakes.
Citroën ranked 25th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. Probably not a figure to earn them too much confidence and an increase in sales, but when you consider that they still featured higher than Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Land Rover then maybe the competition is a little tougher throughout that survey than it first appears.
Recent Citroën recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Citroën models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
25/04/2019 – Citroën Berlingo
The handbrake mechanism may not be correct
27/02/2019 – Citroën C4 Aircross (2011–2015)
The battery charge program may not be to specification
12/02/2019 – Citroën C3 Aircross (2016–2018)
The wires of the seat position sensor may not be correct
01/02/2019 – Citroën Spacetourer and Dispatch IV (2015–2108)
The loosening of the front wishbone lower ball joints
01/02/2019 – Citroën Spacetourer and Dispatch IV (2016–2018)
The fixing bolt of the front suspension wishbone
01/02/2019 – Citroën Spacetourer and Dispatch IV (2015–2018)
The air conditioning compressor pulley could break
01/02/2019 – Citroën Spacetourer Dispatch IV (2016–2018)
Rear suspension wishbone mounting bolts
14/01/2019 – Citroën C3 (2018)
The steering column universal joint clamp may be incorrectly fitted
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.