How to choose a timing belt and not to buy a fake
How to choose a timing belt and not to buy a fake

How to choose a timing belt and not to buy a fake

Changing the timing belt on any car is never sudden and unexpected. Unless, of course, it is an emergency case when the belt breaks and the valves meet the pistons. The average life of any belt, even the most expensive one, does not exceed 60-70 thousand km. No, it can run for 100 or even 120 000 km, if the quality and driving conditions allow it. However, experienced drivers do not recommend procrastinating with this business. Liquidation of consequences of carelessness will cost too much.

What affects the wear of the timing belt and when to change it

The schedule of camshaft drive belt replacement depends primarily on the design of the block head and the type of timing mechanism. If we don’t want to get into the engineering details, it is enough to know the recommendations of the car manufacturer.

And in most cases, he recommends replacement not later than 60-70 thousand runs. However, the manufacturer does not know us personally and does not know in what conditions we operate the car.

ремень ГРМ
Diagram of a typical timing belt drive

The period when it is time to change the timing belt depends on a mass of conditions, it is quite difficult to list them all, but the main – please:

  • Incorrect tensioning of the roller during installation of a new timing belt, overtightening, too high loads on the belt will lead to cracking and splitting, stretching the belt, and this is already fraught with the risk of missing the gear teeth;

  • Replacement of the timing belt without replacing the pulleys is a very common mistake of overgreedy drivers, it is not safe to economize on pulleys, because worn-out roller bearings can finish the new expensive belt just in 3-5 thousand km;

  • High temperatures, constant engine overheating, which are typical to the southern regions, lead to the drying and cracking of rubber materials, so in such climatic zones the replacement of the timing belt should be done more often;

  • Damage to the timing belt cover, leakage, and engine operation with a broken cover will cause dirt, road reagent, water, antifreeze, oils, and other unwanted dirt to get on the belt and shaft pulleys;
  • Poor belt tension can lead to teeth shearing, so checking belt tension periodically is obligatory, it does not apply to cars with automatic belt tension adjustment.
Timing belts are subjected to severe tests

The conclusion: no matter how careful and watch the belt, no matter how beautiful it looks, the optimal replacement period in practice should not exceed 40-45 thousand km, with the replacement of rollers is included in the list of works.

How to choose a timing belt and not to overpay, let’s figure it out together.

Understanding the brands and prices of timing belts

timing belt
Diagram of timing belt construction, structure, and materials.

There is a certain segment of the aftermarket in which competition is at an all-time high. The most purchased parts are oil filters, air filters, cabin filters, brake pads and, of course, drive belts. There are thousands of offers, and there is simply no time to go through each of them.

So we decided to go through the sales ratings of online stores and see what timing belts are the best to buy and what reviews about them. In addition, to make the choice easier, we weeded out the obvious junk from China and distributed the belts by price. This is what we got.

Belts of the low and medium price category

The price of a timing belt will hardly affect its quality, although big-name brands will not sell their products cheaply in life. However, a major manufacturer can afford a budget line of products. Here are a few examples.

  1. Lemforder. Lemforder is a large German company, which is one of the five subsidiaries of the famous ZF Corporation. In principle, if on the package we see the words Sachs, Boge, Zf Parts, there is no need to worry.
    ZF guarantees excellent quality, and the average price is achieved through mass production. Lemforder produce belts not only for German cars, but also for the Koreans, almost all Japanese and low-cost Chevrolets. Lemforder practically do not counterfeit, if the original, you can buy safely.
  2. Bosch. It is not necessary to introduce this company. There are also Bosch timing belts, but it is worth taking a closer look. As a rule, parts made in Asia, China or India are supplied to developing countries. Eastern European (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland) belts are much preferable.
    The price range is very wide and depends on the engine brand. For example, a timing belt for Dacia by Bosch will cost $8 without a set of rollers and bolts, and a belt for Audi 80 with a set of rollers will sell for $150. There is a difference, right?
  3. Quinton Hazell. Kind of an English brand in the medium price range. The problem with it is that you never know what belt will be in the package. This company is a packer, but tries to sell original belts at a discounted price for some reason. Lottery. Luckily, you’ll get a good belt. The price of a Quinton Hazell timing belt starts at $10 and also depends on the make and year of the car.

Premium quality timing belts

The clear leader in the virtual and physical auto store sales rankings for 2018, just like last year, is Gates. But we won’t touch it just yet. Gates is not the only one.

  • Dayco, USA. The problem of these manufacturers is that in our market up to 70% of Dayco products are counterfeit. But if you manage to buy an original US-made timing belt, you will forget about the camshaft drive at all for the entire 60 thousand warranty period.
    This company supplies belts to assembly lines of auto plants, in addition their production is present in equal proportions in the afermarket segment, in stores and at official dealers. The price of Dayco set, for example, for Peugeot Expert 1,6 liters will make $18, and the belt for Renault K4M with a set of rollers will cost $35.

  • Flennor. The good quality of belts is determined by the company’s specialization – they only produce belt drives for cars and special machinery. It is part of the German Walther Flender Groupe. Belts can not be called cheap, but the average price can be kept due to the coverage of a large number of models. Price of Flennor timing belt for Ford Focus 2 with a set of rollers – from $50, for diesel Peugeot 307 the same set will cost about $40.

  • Contitech. The German branch of Continental. Very good quality, decent price, coverage of the most popular car models. Judging by the reviews of owners, some belts require lapping on the profile for 300-400 km. The price of a Contitech belt for an Audi 80 B4 1.6L (set) will be $32, and for a Volkswagen Polo sedan – $45 per set.

  • Gates, Belgium. Excellent quality and the widest coverage of the model range of leading companies allowed the company to become a market leader last year. In 2018, Gates has not lost its position and, according to owners’ reviews, continues to hold the bar of quality. The most inexpensive timing belt replacement kits are available for cheap models (from $12), and for a set for the new turbodiesel Volkswagen Passat 2.5 TDi will have to pay at least $220.

Let’s summarize. How not to fall for a fake

Let’s assume that we have chosen a brand or for some religious reasons we only buy belts from one manufacturer and rollers from another. It remains to make sure that the product is not counterfeit and we do not pay money for nothing. There will be a hologram on the box of all of the above brands. It is very difficult to forge it, and the Chinese self-makers have not yet reached this level of professionalism.

Pretty one? But it’s 99% fake.

Look at the belt itself – the print logos, codes and articles should be clear and high quality, and in addition, the belt itself should not have any suspicious artifacts (cracks, delaminations, foreign particles in the rubber).

[stextbox id=’info’]And one more trick. Branded belts are cut from one large wide billet on which the markings have already been applied. So repeating whole indices, logos and numbers is unlikely. If the inscription is not cut, it means that the belt has been made by an artisanal method.[/stextbox]

Choose the right timing belts and spare no money for the car you love. And it will surely return the favor. Good roads and quality parts!

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