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.
Skoda Auto is a Czech automobile manufacturer originally founded in 1895 as Laurin & Klement. In 1925 Laurin & Klement was acquired by the industrial conglomerate Skoda Works, which itself became state-owned in 1948.
In 2000 Skoda became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
How popular is Skoda in the United Kingdom?
Skoda’s growing success has been down to strong support from its parent VW Group and its credibility as a mainstream supplier of great value sensible cars.
The number of Skoda cars on the road in the UK has grown consistently over the past 20 years to over 740k and rising.
Great value, solid, sensible motoring
With models so closely related to those of Volkswagen, Audi and Seat, it’s no surprise that the mechanics behind Skoda’s straightforward range of practical town and city cars has proven so reliable and increased in popularity over time.
They deliver models from city car to saloon, and as you’d expect in today’s market, there’s a couple of SUV models thrown in to complete the set.
Skoda supply an abundance of choice and trim for differing budgets
There are a plethora of trim levels available for every model—and that’s not forgetting Skoda’s entry into the electric car market too.
The Skoda Citigoe iV
Skoda’s 4-seater city car electric model is powered exclusively by a 36.8kWh lithium-ion battery allowing for a range of 265km. With zero emissions and compact dimensions, the Cititgoe iV is the ideal city car, taking into account its practical interior storage, nimble footprint and ecological performance.
Skoda’s reliability and reputation
Skoda ranked 7th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018.
Given that most of the marques to make the top 10 were Japanese or Asian manufacturers, it’s quite an achievement for this budget brand to attain such a high rank and efficiency score—only 2.1% behind the number one spot (Suzuki: 97.7% efficient).
Recent Skoda recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Skoda models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
17/05/2019 – Skoda Karoq (2018)
The locking pin for securing the head restraints may be missing from the central rear seat
15/02/2019 – Skoda Octavia and Skoda Karoq (2018)
The fitting of the headrest in the rear seat’s backrest may be defective
02/03/2018 – Skoda Karoq (2017)
In the event of the curtain airbag being deployed, parts of the covering of the A-pillar could break off
09/02/2018 – Skoda Citigo (2017)
The towing eye fitted to the vehicle may be defective
26/01/2018 – Skoda Octavia and Skoda Superb (2017)
The strength of the rear wheel bearing housing may be insufficient
14/07/2017 – Skoda Octavia (2008–2009)
A thermal overload can lead to an insufficient earth connection and interrupt the current flow to components int eh ABS/ESC control unit
15/04/2017 – Skoda Superb (2016)
Due to abnormalities in the chemical composition of the initiating device, the seat belt tensioner on the passenger seats may fail to trigger in the event of an accident
19/11/2016 – Skoda Citigo (2016)
The front panel of the sunroof may become detached on account of inadequate bonding and may fall on to the road
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.