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.
Groupe Renault is a French multinational automobile manufacturer, established over 120 years ago in 1899.
How popular is Renault in the United Kingdom?
This French marque has around 1.4million vehicles on the road in the UK today. Their numbers peaked between 2007 and 2008 at over 2million vehicles, yet have been on a slow decline ever since.
Sensibly priced options for middle of the road vehicles
Renault makes a wide-ranging selection of respectable vehicles.
As you’ll find with most manufacturers in today’s market, the cream of their crop lies with their SUV models. Other stand-outs are the RS models built for a much more fun driving experience and the electric models that are also sitting impressively in a steadily growing market.
Renault: a constant contender in all manner of motorsports
In the 1970s, Renault set up a dedicated motorsport division that went on to take the winners title in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1978, with the Renault Alpine A442. They have been competing and achieving successes in both rallying and Formula One ever since.
Renault Formula One
Renault debuted their first formula one car (and team) at Silverstone in 1977; it was the first of its kind to include a turbo engine. The team continued until 1986 and shortly after, in 1989, they began to supply engines to the successful Williams-Renault car.
The Benetton team was renamed Renault F1 in 2002, and the team went on to win the constructors championship in both 2005 and 2006 with Spaniard Fernando Alonso at the wheel.
More recently, Renault powered the winning Red Bull Racing team in 2010 and returned to racing as a team in their own right, from the 2016 season onwards.
Renault’s reliability and reputation
Renault ranked 19th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. The highest to lowest scores ranged from 97.7% (Suzuki) to 76.5% (Land Rover), suggesting Renault’s 91.7% rating is probably a little better than the ranking position suggests.
Recent Renault recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Renault models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
05/04/2019 – Renault Scenic, Renault Kadjar and Renault Megane (2018)
Capacitors may crack under mechanical stress of the electronic board and overheat
24/03/2019 – Renault Traffic (2017–2018)
The mounting position of the plastic belt guides may be incorrect
12/01/2019 – Renault Clio and Renault Captur (2018)
The catalytic converter has not been correctly welded
04/01/2019 – Renault Megane RS (2018)
Due to a defect in the engine compartment, the battery wiring could be cut
04/05/2018 – Renault Scenic (2016)
The LED module for monitoring and managing the actuation of the rear lights of the trailer could be damaged
13/04/2018 – Renault Clio and Renault Captur (2012–2017)
The dipped headlamp beams may face downwards as a result of the headlamp beam height correction system not working
13/04/2018 – Renault Clio, Renault Captur and Renault Zoe (2017)
Cracks may form in the front wheel hub
08/04/2018 – Renault Zoe (2016–2018)
A component in the parking brake mechanism may be defective
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.