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.
Seat S.A. is a Spanish automobile manufacturer, founded over 65 years ago in 1950.
In 1986, the German Volkswagen Group bought Seat from the Spanish government to become the owner and operator of this established marque.
How popular is Seat in the United Kingdom?
Since the VW takeover, the number of Seat cars on the roads in the UK has grown steadily to over 500k.
Marketing similar cars to different markets
Although the structure and engineering behind all of the Volkswagen Group’s cars are closely related, based on very similar systems and practices, VW has aimed Seat at a market that offers something a bit different to Audi and VW.
Seat: Affordable, youthful versions of established models
Given that the brands under the VW umbrella (not forgetting Skoda too) all carry similar architecture, what sets the Seat models apart from their counterparts is their character, price-point and their ability to deliver slightly sportier handling due to their tuning. When you think of Seat, you think fun. VW: solid. Skoda: value. And Audi is for the executive.
So despite all being very similar machines under the hood, VW has created each of them to sit in quite different marketplaces. The Leon, for example, will appeal to a different type of driver to the Octavia or the Golf (and the Audi A3) despite being almost the same car. The same goes for the Ibiza, the Arona and the rest of the models in the Seat range.
Seat’s reliability and reputation
Seat ranked 10th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018.
Pitted against the other makes under the VW umbrella, it was Skoda who ranked highest in 7th place, with VW and Audi performing less admirably at 17th and 20th respectively.
Recent Seat recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Seat models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
26/04/2019 – Seat Ateca (2018)
The locking pin for securing the head restraints may be missing from the central rear seat
13/04/2019 – Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona (2016–2018)
Due to an incorrect setting, the handbrake may have to travel further to ensure immobilisation
17/02/2019 – Seat Ateca (2018)
The fitting of the headrest in the rear seat’s backrest may be defective
24/08/2018 – Seat Ibiza TGI-CNG (2018)
The nuts of the gas pipes may not be sufficiently tightened, causing a leak of gas
27/07/2018 – Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona (2018)
The seat-belt buckles may open unexpectedly
23/03/2018 – Seat Alhambra, Seat Ibiza, Seat Leon and Seat Altea (2011)
The spring on the starter relay may remain in the wrong position
04/03/2018 – Seat Alhambra (2016–2017)
The passenger airbag module may have been produced with an inadequate welded connection
04/03/2018 – Seat Leon (2014–2015)
In the event of deployment of the passenger airbag, the casing of the gas generator could be damaged
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.