How Does The Timing Belt Break

How Does The Timing Belt Break

The timing belt is one of the basic parts that keeps all the components of the car engine moving in a synchronized way, ensuring that the valves and pistons are properly coordinated. If this part is damaged, you may find yourself facing a serious problem - replacing it is very complicated and requires many hours of work, leading to big bills at the mechanic's. At we can help you understand how the timing belt breaks.

You may also be interested in: When Should I Change My Car's Timing Belt
Steps to follow:

In most cases, the timing belt breaks due to normal use, i.e., as a result of the natural wear that occurs during operation. If the manufacturer's maintenance instructions are followed, we can make sure that it doesn't snap prematurely and perhaps even extend its life, but there will always come a point where it breaks eventually.

A rough indication in kilometers for how long the timing belt lasts is around 95,000 kilometers (about 60,000 miles). Any further and something might happen to it. In any case, consult your vehicle guide as it varies depending on the model, and in most modern cars the timing belt usually lasts longer.

At OneHowTo we tell you when to change the timing belt.


One thing that often makes the timing belt break is making short journeys by car on a regular basis, or driving in very low temperatures or with a cold engine. For example, cars used for providing taxi services are at risk, as they are in use all day but make frequent stops. This means the engine is cold when the car drives off again.

How Does The Timing Belt Break - Step 2

The opposite situation - driving at very high speeds all the time - also causes the timing belt to break. So, in order to avoid damaging the timing belt as well as ensure your safety and that of other occupants on the road, you should drive moderately and respect speed limits.


There are circumstances that are out of your control that can lead to the timing belt breaking. For example, if you're forced to drive often on very dusty ground, the belt is more at risk of damage since a continuous excess of dust can have an adverse effect on this part of the car engine.


One tip is to change the timing belt as and when the manufacturer indicates. Otherwise, you risk the timing belt breaking as well as the possibility of other basic parts of your car engine failing at the same time.

In general, keep your car well maintained: it's a good investment that can save you trouble later and improve your safety on the road.

If you want to read similar articles to How Does The Timing Belt Break, we recommend you visit our Car Maintenance and Repair category.

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What did you think of this article?
Steve Malcolm
My friend had her clutch changed them 3wks later the timing belt went could this be a fault of the garage that done the clutch
Kelley McCormack
I have a Subaru Legacy 2005. I had a new timing belt put on my car approx. 6 weeks-2 months ago. The other morning on my way to work, without warning, my car lost all power and stopped, that fast. It would not re-start. I had it towed to the repair shop that placed it on. Long story short, it bent my valves. I was told by the mechanic that something internally happened that caused my belt to snap. This makes NO sense to me. My theory is that the belt was not placed correctly, causing it to snap, therefore ruining my valves. About 2 weeks or so prior to breaking, I would smell burnt rubber after parking my car and getting out. I didn't put much on it, just took notice. Can you please give me your opinion on this matter. Thank you much
OneHowTo Editor
Your explanation of the events makes us suggest your theory may be right. Did you take your car to a trusted mechanic? You may want to get a second opinion, especially if you know of a professional you trust and can take a sincere look at it.
If your theory were true then you could be entitled to compensation.
Hope this helps
My timing belt broke at 117,000kms, but the specified period for changing the timing belt was 120,000kms. I own a Mazda BT-50 that I bought brand new. I have kept up the servicing, except on a few occasions I went a bit over the recommended kms for service. Still, people say servicing has little impact on the timing belt itself. My question is: why would Mazda specify such a long period for the timing belt change, when most other car brands go for much lower periods? I am now having to pay for a new engine and I do not know if I will be able to recover costs from Mazda, they will probably blame me for it.
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