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.
Volvo Cars is a Swedish luxury vehicle manufacturer, established in April 1927, over 90 years ago.
How popular is Volvo in the United Kingdom?
With around 645k cars on the roads in the UK today, Volvo is a considerable contributor to the UK motor industry.
With a steady rise in status from the boxy estate models popular in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Volvo now produces a strong, executive range of luxury, performance vehicles.
Luxurious executive saloons, estate cars and SUVs
Sticking to the market they understand best, Volvo produces a small range of estate cars and a selection of bang-on-trend SUVs, complimented by 2 luxury saloon models. In other words, Volvo makes cars for ‘grown-up’ drivers where it knows its customers inside out.
Volvo: Exceptional aims for in-car safety
One of Volvo’s key visions is to provide a level of unrivalled safety inside their vehicles and has proven to be a dedicated leader in the field. Their current vision is that nobody should be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car by 2020.
Pursuing perfection through Volvo technology
The ethos behind Volvo reaches further than just selling units and making a profit. By putting their customers first, they have committed to creating vehicles where ownership gives quality time back to their drivers, are environmentally efficient and exceptionally safe.
Using modern technology and striving to develop the systems to lead the field, is something they take very seriously. After all, this is the company that brought drivers:
- The 3-point safety seatbelt
- The Lambda Sond emissions detector responsible for reducing harmful fumes by 90%
- Side impact, whiplash, and roll-over protection
- Blind spot systems
- City safety scanning
- Pedestrian detection
Volvo’s reliability and reputation
Volvo ranked joint 20th out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018 with an efficiency rating of 91.5%.
Recent Volvo recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Volvo models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
13/04/2019 – Volvo XC60 (2017–2018)
Due to cold temperatures the tailgate lifting arms could freeze and consequently become loose, bend or completely separate
29/03/2019 – Volvo XC90, XC70, XC60, V70, V60/Cross Country, V40/Cross Country, S80 and S60/Cross Country (2014–2016)
Cracks in the fuel hose may cause fuel to leak into the engine compartment
09/02/2019 – Volvo XC90, XC60, XC40, V90/Cross Country, V60/Cross Country and S90 (2016–2018)
A software problem has been detected in the communication module of the emergency call system
As a result of incorrect assembly, the brake pedal may move out of position
18/08/2017 – Volvo XC90 (2016)
Faulty crimping of the micro-gas generator for the seatbelt tensioner in the third row of seats
21/03/2017 – Volvo XC90, V90/Cross Country and S90/Cross Country (2016–2017)
The bolts that secure the inflatable curtain airbags in place my break
23/01/2017 – Volvo XC90, XC60, V60/Cross Country, S90 and S60/Cross Country/S60L (2015–2016)
The front passenger seatbelt buckle can be incorrectly fastened
15/01/2017 – Volvo XC90, V90, S90, XC60, V60/Cross Country, S60/Cross Country and V40/Cross Country (2016–2017)
Due to a problem with the airbag inflators, the airbags may fail to deploy in the event of a crash
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.