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.
Fiat Automobiles is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, originally established over 100 years ago in July 1899, and is a subsidiary of FCA Italy (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).
How popular is Fiat in the United Kingdom?
There are around 890k Fiat cars on the road in the UK. Their popularity as a modern car supplier grew through the 1990s and peaked around the current number in the mid-2000s, where it has remained constant over the past 10 years.
As a long established and easily recognised brand, a large part of their success can be put down to their historical models and retro styling.
Attractively priced fun and funky cars
Fiat is renowned for providing unique styling associated with Italian car design, yet without the hefty sports car price tag.
The Fiat 500 is possibly one of the most easily recognised cars in the world and a true piece of iconic car culture. Despite looking virtually the same as it did at its introduction in 1957, the latest model featured over 1,800 updates to its previous version, making sure it stands its ground in a modern car buyer’s market.
Colourful cars for colourful people
When you visit Fiat’s website, you’ll be presented with bright, punchy colours and slogans, suggesting a younger feel and a driving culture based around a carefree life in the now. Riding the on-going success of the 500 and their strength in the city car market, Fiat has added the 500L and 500X to their current range; mini SUV and MPV offerings that build on the styling and popularity of the 500. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a smart way to break into new markets with a trusted and recognisable brand.
Fiat’s reliability and reputation
Fiat ranked 14th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. They are a well-established manufacturer who carries a reputation for style and keeping up with current trends, but under the watchful eye of a parent company who also owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Jeep and Maserati, their experience and wealth of industry knowledge is greater than first appears.
Recent Fiat recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Fiat models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
26/04/2019 – Fiat Talento (2018)
The handbrake efficiency could be lost
12/04/2019 – Fiat Panda (2016–2018)
The steering column adjustment could release
07/09/2018 – Fiat 500X (2015–2018)
If rear seat belts are not fastened and pretensioners are deployed the latch could be released
24/08/2018 – Fiat Panda (2018)
Engine suspension reaction bracket not fitted on the transmission side
30/04/2018 – Fiat Fullback (2016–2017)
Door locks may malfunction and allow doors to open unintentionally
16/03/2018 – Fiat Ducato (2016–2017)
Intercooler sleeve may detach from the throttle body
02/03/2018 – Fiat 500 (2017)
Instrument cluster may display incorrect information
19/12/2017 – Fiat 500 (2017)
Replace electrical power steering
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.