However, like other parts in the vehicle, the timing belt wears down over time. The timing belt is what helps synchronise the movements between the crank and cam shafts within the engine. If the timing belt fails, the moving pistons begin to collide with each other and cause damage to the engine. Most times, the engine is not repairable once this happens. If owners are lucky, the engine simply shuts down before the damage occurs, but this is a risk that is best avoided.
In order to avoid having to buy an entirely new engine, the timing belt needs to be replaced before it breaks or comes out of sync. The Skoda Octavia's owner's manual specifies when the timing belt should be replaced. Most manufactures recommend checking the belt every 80,000 to 145,000 kilometres. The following sections discuss the importance of the timing belt as well as 6 tips to help shoppers find and purchase a new belt for their Skoda Octavia.
About Timing Belts
In order for an engine to run, it has to ignite the fuel and air in order to rotate the engine's crankshaft. As the shaft turns, the pistons move up and down. The downward motion of the car pistons is what pulls in the fresh air and fuel into the combustion chamber.
The upward motion compresses the fuel and air together so that the spark plugs can ignite it. When the mixture explodes, it forces the pistons down again, and then back up. As the pistons move up for the second time, they expel the spent gases out through the exhaust pipe. In order for the gases to move out into the full exhaust system, the valves have to open at the right time in order for the fumes to pass through. The timing belt is what synchronises the opening of the valves with the movement of the pistons.
The Consequences of Timing Belt Failure
If the timing belt is out of sync, or it breaks, the engine cannot run. In most cases, the belt begins to stretch over time and when the engine is turned off, the belt skips a tooth, making it unable to rotate with the crankshaft and pistons properly. When this happens, either the engine fails to start, or it backfires.
When the timing belt completely breaks while driving, damage is inevitable. Without the belt, the pistons usually hit the valves and break or bend them. This also damages the cylinder heads, pistons, and possible the cylinder walls. All of this happens simply because the valves did not open at the appropriate time. Usually if this happens, the engine has to be entirely rebuilt or replaced.
Timing Belt Replacement on a Skoda Octavia
Keep in mind that timing belts are made out of rubber, which can degrade over time. If the engine is leaking any fluids onto the rubber, be sure to get a new timing belt right away rather than waiting until the recommended replacement intervals.
Replacing a timing belt is a time intensive procedure that should not be attempted by those who are unsure of the process. There are other parts in the way to reaching the timing belt that have to be removed and replaced with care. It is always a good idea to hire a mechanic to do the work in order to ensure that it is done properly. Those who still prefer to do the work on their own should consider buying a Skoda Octavia repair manual to be certain that they do everything correctly.
In order for the engine to run properly, special tools have to be used to measure the timing of the new belt. If it is not synchronised, the engine may still run, but it continuously backfires. The tool used to get everything set up measures the timing marks as the engine runs. The repair manual should list the correct position of the marks.
6 Tips on Buying a New Timing Belt
Since most people do not know very much about timing belts, shopping for one can be intimidating. Using the following tips helps to find a timing belt faster and easier.
Tip 1. Always Choose Quality over Affordability
Luckily, timing belts are not that expensive, but they play a major role in how the engine runs. It is never a good idea to opt for a cheap belt just to save money. In the long run, it could end up ruining the entire engine. Read reviews about the belts and see how long of a lifespan the manufacturer guarantees their product to have. Buy a belt that is designed to last much longer than the intended replacement intervals.
Tip 2. Replace the Water Pump with the Timing Belt
Since the water pump is driven by the belt, and it tends to last about as long as the timing belt does, it is recommended that buyers replace the water pump at the same time that the replace the belt. They are located in close proximity to each other, so doing both replacements at once makes sense.
Tip 3. Replace the Tensioners at the Same Time
The tensioners keep the belt tight as it runs. These wear down too so they may as well be replaced along with the belt.
Tip 4. Buy a Kit to Save Money and Hassle
Rather than buying all of the individual pieces separately, there are timing belt kits available that come with all the parts that are needed. Usually, they include the timing belt, water pump, tensioners, sprockets, and other small parts like screws. In most cases, purchasing a kit costs less than buying each piece by itself.
Tip 5. Make Sure that the Parts are Compatible with the Skoda Octavia
This seems like an obvious thing to do, but when shopping for parts it is easy to get distracted by things like prices and the pieces that are included. Always double check that everything is compatible with the car before completing the purchase. In addition, the different models of the Octavia that were made throughout the years have several different engines. Be sure to verify the year of the car and the model.
Tip 6. Consider Buying a Repair Guide
As mentioned before, using a repair manual when replacing the timing belt is highly recommended. However, having that guide on hand to help identify other maintenance issues is also a really good idea. The guide may cost a fair amount of money, but in the long run it is worth the investment to ensure that all work on the Skoda is done properly.
How to Find a Timing Belt for a Skoda Octavia
Shopping for a high quality timing belt requires a little research. Rather than going to an auto shop and having them order in an average belt, try shopping online so that you can compare different brands and manufacturers. If the mechanic shop is doing the installation, you can simply buy your own timing belt and take it to them.
Using the Cgon.co.uk website is very easy, even for those who do not know a lot about computers. There is a search bar that is located on every Cgon page which you can use to find anything you need.
For example, if you type " Skoda Octavia timing belt&" into the bar, and then click on the search button, you'll instantly get access to a long list of timing belts to look at. You can even organise the list so that it shows the lowest priced items first. However, be sure to research the quality of the belts before trying to buy any. Another convenient thing about using Cgon to do all your shopping is that you can look up the seller's reputation using their feedback rating and by reviewing the comments that past customers have left about them.
The timing belt is a part of the combustion engine system that plays a very important role in keeping the engine running smoothly. Without the timing belt, the gases cannot be expelled from engine because the valves that lead to the exhaust system do not open at the right time. Failing to replace the belt in time can cause catastrophe. Since the timing belt is such an important part of of the engine, it should be replaced when the manufacturer recommends it, or if there are any signs of wear and tear. Picking one out is not difficult to do and mainly involves finding a belt that is high quality and has a long warranty.
Buying a timing belt kit rather than individual pieces is more convenient, and saves money in the long run. Installing the timing belt is not as simple as shopping for one is, and should only be done with a Skoda Octavia repair manual or by a professional mechanic.