Does my cambelt need changing?

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I have an 06 reg Fabia vRS, BLT engine, on 47k miles, and I'm concerned that the cambelt needs changing. All my manual says is that it should be changed every 120000km (~74000 miles), however I've seen a few other intervals mentioning a number of years on this forum and was hoping if someone could clarify it for me. I took a picture of the belt if that helps.

20130321_215243_zps8157b5db.jpg

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Firstly, that is a pic of the auxiliary belt. You have to take the top cambelt cover off to see the belt.

But looking at it does not really tell you much.....If your 2006 car is on it's original belt then you should change it.

As you say there are a lot of intervals mentioned. Skoda in the UK say 4 years or 60,000 miles....whichever comes first.

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thats not the cam belt its the aux belt the cam belt is under a black plastic cover to the left hand side of the rocker cover ( as your stood looking at the engine

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Ah OK sorry thought it was the cam belt. It's definitely on the original belt. There's nothing in the service history saying it's been changed. I bought the car with 29k on the clock in July 2011, so it was 5 years old then, now coming up to 7 years old. Driving to the south of France in the summer too so I'm thinking better get it changed just in case. Am I right in saying that the water pump should be changed at the same time?

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Yeah change it, look at it this way you will have to do it at some point, so the sooner you do it the more use you will get out of it. Or to put it another way, of you changed it just before you sold it you would still spend the same money but get no benefit. Also it will put the 2nd hands value up a bit.

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If the age of the car doesn't say replace then, the mileage will !!
Belts do deteriorate so, advise get both belts (timing & auxiliary) + the water-pump replaced for around the £350 mark in total.
Why the water-pump, there is almost the same amount of work/labour charge involved, you might as well lash-out extra for a new pump at this time.

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^ +1 with you guys & did mine tail end of last year. Age is often just as important as a factor, especially as I found with an old Mazda some years back that didn't break but slipped due to oil contamination! Luckily on that occasion the engine lived to tell the tale. ;)

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Thanks for the replies. Rang round this morning for quotes. Skoda dealer in Darlington quoted me £369. They also said that the interval is every 4 years/75000 miles. Local indy quoted me £275 so going with that on Monday.

One thing I'm pretty annoyed about is that the manual got the mileage correct (albeit in kilometres (120000km)), but there was no mention of the amount of time between changes. Is 4 years a pretty standard amount of time for all cars, or just Skoda/VAG? Also, when I had a Clio, Renault contacted me to remind me that the cambelt needed doing. No such communication from Skoda, although when the car was 4 years old I didn't own it, so I'm not sure the previous owner got contacted or not.

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Thanks for the replies. Rang round this morning for quotes. Skoda dealer in Darlington quoted me £369. They also said that the interval is every 4 years/75000 miles. Local indy quoted me £275 so going with that on Monday.

One thing I'm pretty annoyed about is that the manual got the mileage correct (albeit in kilometres (120000km)), but there was no mention of the amount of time between changes. Is 4 years a pretty standard amount of time for all cars, or just Skoda/VAG? Also, when I had a Clio, Renault contacted me to remind me that the cambelt needed doing. No such communication from Skoda, although when the car was 4 years old I didn't own it, so I'm not sure the previous owner got contacted or not.

There's often opposing views on the relative time interval. I wouldn't necessarily say 4 years is absolutely set in stone but from a statistical perspective it appears to be a sensible time frame. Although now retired, the guy who used to do a fair bit of my Skoda work basically endorsed the recommendation stated here and that's from someone who'd worked almost exclusively on Skoda's for 40/50 years! I suppose if an individual wants to go their own way then it's up to them. :)

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4 years is in fact a VAG Milton Keynes con going back at least 11 years, no one in Continental Europe mandates this, and service schedules over past 11 years never listed time interval for timing belt replacement, always mileage interval. Inspect/replace timing belt at mileage specified, I think there are 1 or 2 inspections listed in service schedule prior to replacement, if inspection shows belt below wear limit you will replace it earlier anyway. Far more important to stick to correct oil and regularly change it on these engines.

Tensioner wear mark on the auxiliary belt shown happens often, I would not replace it until the next timing belt job (then replace timing and aux belts, and water pump). Even if aux belt snaps, it's just an inconvenience rather than engine destroying event, and in any case probably best to replace it with the aux belt tensioner if the wear gets visibly worse.

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just out of interest what indy did you get that quote from? i work in darlo, mines not due but just for future ref.

thanks.

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Abraham's Vehicle Services in St. Helen Auckland (where I live) near Bishop Auckland. Got a quote for £300 from Fastfit on McMullen Road.

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Was the 275 price quoted for just the cambelt or water pump to? Just I may be getting mine done in future and currently working near darlo thanks

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^ That's not bad tbh. I paid just under 200 notes but that was for a Felly ;)

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Had my cambelt and water pump changed by the garage mentioned above. Went to drive the car away from the garage then BEEP BEEP coolant warning light came on, so popped the bonnet and found the coolant level a good inch lower than the Min mark! Went back in to tell the lass in the office, who remarked "What's coolant?", and just about managed to stop one of their mechanics putting water in it, rather than the correct red antifreeze! Does seem to drive OK and the idling is less lumpy, but had the coolant warning light come on again this morning though. Looked under the car and didn't see any puddles, so topped up the coolant and got to work this morning. Bottle of coolant is in the back of the car just in case it comes on again, if so then it's back to the garage!

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Top coolant hose was not refilled and is airlocked, engine head is part empty and overheating. Top coolant hose does fill over time, but by then the head gasket is overheated. Expect a costly head gasket job in under 2 years down the line. It starts with having to top the coolant every 1-2 weeks.

That is exactly how Vindis Cambridge messed up my car back in 2006 and never owned up to it. Cost me £500 to sort out leaky head gasket 1.5 years down the line. Engine was running exhaust into coolant under load, just before the gasket was replaced, entering motorway on an uphill was enough to lose 2l+

The independent (who replaced the gasket very well) did not torque 1 injector nut properly, resulting in fuel spraying all over exhaust and the engine. I was lucky that the next drive of this car was to MOT, and they refused testing on safety grounds,as there was a stench of diesel around the car.

The only other failure mode I heard of more than once around TB job is the coolant hoses next to aux belt touching the belt and getting cut, worth looking in the gap next to aux belt with a torch.

After these experiences, my next car (Mk1 Superb) never saw a dealership workshop, I DIY everything including the double timing belt job. 110k+ miles of happy motoring since.

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I'm going to try running the engine with the expansion tank cap off and top it up when necessary, see if that helps. Beginning to get well annoyed with the local garages now!

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With the system pressurized, feel the top hose coming out from radiator, if it is not "squishy", pressurized air is in there.

You can try squishing the air out, but the only sure way to refill the head and let the large airlock clear is to disconnect top radiator hose (after you removed the coolant cap and there is no pressure in the system) and keep adding coolant to the expansion tank, then reconnect. It was standard procedure in Europe and US, yet most UK workshops never heard of it.

Or you can only slightly disconnect it and bleed air out. You need clamp pliers to do this. Make sure coolant cap off first, otherwise hose will jump off and scald you.

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I've checked the top radiator hose when I got back from work, and it was squishy and warm to the touch.

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