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.
Mini is a British automotive marque that has been owned by the German multinational vehicle manufacturer BMW since 2000.
The Mini brand was originally introduced in 1969 when the vehicle model became a marque in its own right, breaking away from the Austin and Morris brands under the British Leyland umbrella.
How popular is Mini in the United Kingdom?
The Mini Hatch was the 7th best selling car of 2018 in the UK. Mini is a consistent favourite among buyers with a leaning for British cultural icons and retro styling.
There are around 750k Mini cars on the roads, showing that the brand is still as popular as ever due to their compact sizing, attractive styling and its reputation as a classy and classic small car.
Mini: a premium product of British motoring
With its unique and unmistakable styling, Mini is firmly placed as a premium product. Its ownership by BMW has added advantages in production, by being able to lean on the executive luxury German marque for many of the advanced technological systems and specialist industry knowledge used in their manufacture.
A piece of British culture and a Hollywood star
Enhancing its popularity as a household name, the original British Mini became a star of the silver screen when it appeared predominantly in the gold-heist movie ‘The Italian Job’ in 1969, starring Michael Caine and Noel Coward. With a remake hitting the screens in 2003, the new Mini was called on to star once again, and a selection of Mini hatch models continued the tradition by featuring in the film.
Mini: a new competitor to the most popular 3-door hatchbacks
Despite its small footprint, the Mini hatch is providing real competition to the Audi A1 and VW Polo due to its premium quality build. And with the weight of BMW behind them, it’s easy to see why.
Mini’s reliability and reputation
Mini ranked 22nd out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. That might not look so great at first glance, but bigger brand names fell further down the list. Mercedes, Jaguar, Jeep and Land Rover all featured in the lowest 5 places.
Recent Mini recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Mini models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
29/09/2019 – Mini Countryman (2016–2018)
A crash guard is lacking for the high-pressure fuel pump in the engine compartment.
13/07/2018 – Mini Countryman (2018)
The bearings on the front axle could break.
20/01/2017 – Mini (2016)
The side, head and knee protection airbags of the front passenger seat may not work.
05/12/2014 – Mini (2014)
There is a fault affecting the adjustment mechanism (recliner) of the front seat backrests.
31/10/2014 – Mini (2013–2014)
The flange nut on the mounting plate of the emergency spare wheel may become loose gradually.
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.