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Timing belt change interval



  Renault Clio RS 182
Like many of us on here now, I use my 182 sparingly. 3 years and just under 3000 miles ago I took the engine/transmission out of the car and replaced just about everything. Among the many items I replaced were all the belts. I used brand new genuine Renault ones. Now the change interval for the timing belt is the sooner of 5 years or 72,000 miles.
I fully get the mileage limit. The belt will have been under load, experienced the effects of wear, friction etc... and will become fragile. But like many of us on here, I won't have done a tenth of that mileage in the 5 years. So my question is why would I still need to change it ?

I've read that the belts perish with age. But given that the belt doesn't have a use by date on it, and is quite likely to have been manufactured years before it was sold, the elapsed time to failure is surely indeterminate ?

A second thought is to do with the fact the belt is under slight tension when fitted to the car and is not when it's sitting in a box. However, although rubber is used in the manufacture of the belt, the tensile strength is borne by kevlar bands which will only deteriorate if subjected to repeated load. So it can't be that.

A third thought I had is to do with the fact that when in the car the belt is exposed to climatic variations - cold, hot etc.. but again, there isn't anything on the packaging to say it must be stored between a certain temperature interval prior to use so in essence could have lived a life of temperature extremes in a warehouse prior to sale.

If it were a trivial job to do, then of course I'd do it as a matter of course... and I am aware that it's not worth the risk of failure... but I would like to properly understand why we will alll be undertaking this godforsaken pain every five years with these cars that will have done little to no mileage in between. Maybe somebody more learned than me can explain.
 

obcuz

ClioSport Club Member
Indeed, I am in the same situation, my car has done about 600 (yes six hundred) miles since 2017 when last cam belt change!! also with dephaser, aux belt and water pump done at same time at specialist, and guess now due again, been standing most of time and only very occasional use envisaged in future, as the op says no easy/cheap job, so do we risk it....
 

Martin_172

ClioSport Club Member
as above, seized aux tensioners seem to be the killer of the belts. I've no idea how old the belt is on my van, ill do it next time the engines out, but now that its an older motor and doesn't do many miles, id happily leave and inspect up to 10yrs
 

Yarp

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 182
This was my aux belt at about 6 years old. As above, inspect that and change as needed. My timing belt is now about 8 years old but looks spot on and has covered about 8k miles. No chance is it being changed

1701468581212.jpeg
 

jameswrx

ClioSport Club Member
As above, aux belt is the real enemy, also the aux belt tensioner seizing on its pivot. The aux belt snapping will kill these engines by wiping the timing belt out as they let go.
 
  03 clio sport asc
Bumping for more feedback, as I am also in the same position, did less then 200kms last year! really dont feel like changing these just for the lols! I was told the plastic pulleys are what fails on the timing side, is this true? Any one seen this?
 
  Clio 3 1.2 Extreme
I'm certainly not more learned :) , but when I got my Clio (13 years/50k miles) there was no evidence of the belts ever being changed so it was one of the first jobs. The belts had Renault markings but were not particularly cracked. However I would not feel happy revving any engine to the limit with an old belt way beyond age spec, so would change it. Otherwise I would be tempted to inspect and review, which is the policy I used on the Clio's predecessor, an old Civic.
 
  Renault Clio RS 182
As @jameswrx mentioned above, the problem is more related to the aux belts than the timing belts. Aux belt failure will take out the timing belt. A guy who runs a business specialising in Clios made an FB post a while ago advocating replacing everything within date. When I quizzed him on the basis of my original question above, he made two points. First having the belt in tension in a fixed position causes the belt to retain that position leading to fatigue in the carbon threads. Second, the belt is in the firing line of detritus coming through from the front wheel well - particularly in wet weather and with salt etc... I'd be interested to hear people's opinions on this. BTW he said that he had seen belts fail on cars with very low mileage on the belts. I'm not saying I agree with any of this but he does this for a living so I guess it holds some weight.
 

Brigsy

ClioSport Club Member
  T.Turbo
My 8 year old gates cambelt off my dci that had done around 40k looked ok when fitted could still almost see the writing.

When inspecting it properly, deteriorating/well passed its best. Tensioner still appeared to be fine.
20240217_211240.jpg


i dont doubt they can run a couple of years longer if car is stored indoors and mileage low, but how long do you push it for is anybodys guess.
 
  Renault Clio RS 182
40K miles is still a fair old amount... we're talking hundreds or low thousands of miles here though. In my case I've done 2500 miles since I changed them 4 years ago in 2020.
 

Brigsy

ClioSport Club Member
  T.Turbo
40K miles is still a fair old amount... we're talking hundreds or low thousands of miles here though. In my case I've done 2500 miles since I changed them 4 years ago in 2020.
Change the aux kit and inspect the belt. Its a tough one, i reckon it will run over a couple of years if garaged.
 

MLB

ClioSport Club Member
As @jameswrx mentioned above, the problem is more related to the aux belts than the timing belts. Aux belt failure will take out the timing belt. A guy who runs a business specialising in Clios made an FB post a while ago advocating replacing everything within date. When I quizzed him on the basis of my original question above, he made two points. First having the belt in tension in a fixed position causes the belt to retain that position leading to fatigue in the carbon threads. Second, the belt is in the firing line of detritus coming through from the front wheel well - particularly in wet weather and with salt etc... I'd be interested to hear people's opinions on this. BTW he said that he had seen belts fail on cars with very low mileage on the belts. I'm not saying I agree with any of this but he does this for a living so I guess it holds some weight.

Fair points, either use it a lot and belts get battered by the weather or don't use it a lot and it'll stiffen in a certain position.

I use mine on the road and on track, would rather not find out if the belt is OK at 7500 rpm so it's in as we speak for belts after 5.5 years and 21500 miles.

Also what's the realistic cost saving?

£1000 per 5 years is 200 per year. Per 8 years is 125 a year.

If £75 a year makes a significant difference then maybe this is not the car to own.

Edit: Might have come across a bit strong, not meant that way, it's just pointing out that for me personally the money wouldn't be a reason to not change it and I don't do it myself so for me the only inconvenience is that the car needs to be in three or four days for a service every 5 years instead of 1. It's just peace of mind.
 
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hopgop1

ClioSport Club Member
I'm planning on doing my timing belt after 6 years to line up with the aux belt, did the aux and tensioner last year (3 years after cam and dephaser). Makes more sense to me, if I lose my engine I'd be upset but I'm not massively worried.
To be honest I'm more worried that by 2026 there won't be any aux/timing kits available.
 

Yarp

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 182
I should probably do mine at some point. Just don’t trust anyone not to make a right b****cks of it 😂
 


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