Drivers with over 60,000 miles on their car issued 'catastrophic' warning

Drivers with over 60,000 miles on their car in England have been issued a "catastrophic" warning. Motorists face having to replace timing belts for £350 every 60,000 miles they drive, motoring groups and road experts have warned.

The AA explained: "The timing belt is a reinforced rubber belt with teeth on one side. It connects the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft, ensuring the valves open and close perfectly with the pistons. In layman’s terms, The timing belt ensures that everything works together and none of the important engine’s parts hit off each other."

It added: "There is no hard and fast rule that a timing belt needs to be replaced or will break after a certain number of kilometres, so don’t fall for a mechanic saying as much when you’re having a car serviced. A rough rule of thumb is anywhere around 100,000 to 160,000 kilometres. It also depends on the make and model of the car."

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But in most cases, drivers will need to get the timing belt in their vehicle replaced every 10 years or 60,000 miles, with the process typically costing around £350. The AA added: "You can just get lucky, and it can last much longer, but make sure to check the car’s logbook to see when the timing belt was last replaced to get a better idea, especially if you’ve bought second-hand."

Signs it needs replacing include a high-pitched noise, engine misfires and oil leaks near the timing belt. Visible wear and tear and if the engine won’t start are also warning signs. They advised: "Timing belts (or chains) are critical components in an engine, and a failure can cause catastrophic damage."

The roadside recovery experts went on and warned motorists on the website: "Regular servicing, including timely replacement based on manufacturer recommendations, can prevent these issues."