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.
The Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automotive and motorcycle manufacturer, established in 1909, over 100 years ago.
How popular is Suzuki in the United Kingdom?
Possibly better known as a leading motorcycle manufacturer, the cars from this marque are becoming a well-known household name in UK motoring. The Suzuki Swift and Suzuki Vitara have made a real impact on UK drivers, being responsible for over half of the 408k Suzuki models on the roads today.
Good value small city cars and SUV driving
Suzuki’s success has been dependent on their provision of small, well-priced cars that offer excellent value and good fuel economy. They offer a selection of city cars and small hatchbacks, with added hybrid fuel options for green drivers and those who want further economy from their motoring.
It’s possibly the Vitara, Ignis and the SX4 S-Cross SUV and crossover models that are making the most impact for this brand, despite not achieving quite the same impressive sales figures as the Swift.
Suzuki provides great technology for budget brand cars
For cars at their price-point, Suzuki crams in a lot of tech. The Vitara, for example, comes with Suzuki’s Boosterjet turbocharged engine and Allgrip 4-wheel drive system for performance, and a host of additional technology for drivability.
It also incorporates driver assistance features such as a lane departure warning that includes visual signals and a vibrating steering wheel, cruise control and fully integrated smartphone connectivity—features you’d tend to expect to find on much higher priced vehicles.
The Suzuki SHVS hybrid system
In the current climate where ecology and green motoring has become prevalent, the ‘Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki’ advanced driving system reduces CO2 emissions and lowers your running costs. What Suzuki has done here, is create a lighter and smaller system than the standard hybrid arrangement. Combine that with their cars’ lightweight chassis and nimble performance, and the efficiency becomes even more impressive.
Suzuki’s reliability and reputation
Suzuki came top of the pile out of the 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. Followed closely by Lexus and Toyota, it was the Japanese and Asian marques that proved to be the most reliable vehicles being driven in the UK.
Recent Suzuki recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Suzuki models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
30/11/2018 – Suzuki Swift (2013–2015)
Due to the engine vibrations, the brake lines and the support on which the motor is mounted may come into contact
01/06/2018 – Suzuki Celerio (2018)
The front seat’s side airbag webbing bracket may be defective
30/03/2018 – Suzuki Ignis, Suzuki Swift and Suzuki Baleno (2015–2016)
The engine auto stop-start system might become inoperative
04/01/2017 – Suzuki Jimny (2014–2015)
Resin fragments inside the brake hydraulic control unit might get stuck in the hydraulic control valve
23/09/2016 – Suzuki Jimny (2013–2014)
The brake booster does not work adequately, and thus the brake pedal operation can be harder
19/03/2016 – Suzuki Swift (2013–2015)
The adhesive force of the double-sided tapes which fix the front seat heater to the seat may deteriorate
29/07/2016 – Suzuki Swift/Swift Sport (2014–2015)
A defect in the rear wheel brake may cause a sudden decrease of brake force
10/06/2016 – Suzuki SX4 S-Cross (2013–2016)
The seams of the front seat back covers may have been sewn incorrectly in the area of the side airbag.
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.