Camshaft timing belt failure - help from Southern Engine Services

The most common cause of timing belt failure is due to the cars owner having missed the timing belt replacement service. This is normally due to the car having changed hands and the new owner not being aware that it has not been done. Warning all new car owners, has your belt been changed?

The bearings in the rollers and tensioner can fail along with the fibers in the belt degrading and breaking. It is very common for people just to replace the camshaft-timing belt so they save £150 but this is very bad practice and in most cases will be money lost. The result of any form of timing belt failure is catastrophic especially on diesel engines. The minute the belt fails or one of its components such as rollers tensioner or water pump the valves in the cylinder head will be mistimed and contact with the pistons is inevitable. This will in almost every case result in bent valves and if thatís not enough it is possible to break the valve heads of and then the piston will punch the valve through the cylinder head.

On diesel engines the damage is always more severe the valve to piston clearance is much closer than a petrol engine so the contact is heavier. It is very common for diesel cam belt failures to render the cylinder scrap. They can break the camshaft and camshaft retaining caps. They will certainly destroy the valves, valve guides and hydraulic lifters.


Replace camshaft timing belt kit and water pump if it runs off belt at intervals as laid out by the manufacturer. Its better to do it before rather than after they say.

This can cost from £175 x vat on say Peugeot 106 to £400 or £500 on some more specialist cars. This may seem expensive but not when you are talking £1500 plus for most modern diesels to replace the cylinder head and belt kit.

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