5 Cobden Centre Hawksworth Didcot, OX11 7HL

reception@didcotautocentre.co.uk | 01235 816 192

Experienced Technicians

All our technicians are very experienced in the Motor Industry, which means you get the very best in knowledge and skills being used to fix your problems. We are part of the Motor Industry code of practise find out more below.

Repair Warranty

In October 2003 European legislation affecting the motor trade came into force - its full title is Block Exemption Regulation 1400/2002 (BER for short).

The legislation now changes the way cars may be serviced, it gives the motorist a lot more freedom in deciding who should look after their vehicle. We can now offer you that freedom by:

  • Servicing your vehicle in accordance with the manufacturer's service schedule
  • Fitting original parts or parts of matching quality
  • Offering high standards of workmanship with significant savings compared to a franchised dealer
  • Retaining a full service history to your vehicle for resale
  • Preserving your manufacturer's warranty

In short, any work carried out by Didcot Autocentre will not invalidate your manufacturer's warranty AND will provide you with significant savings compared to a main dealer..



Didcot Auto Centre covers the surrounding areas including Covering Didcot, Wantage, Wallingford and Abingdon, delivering great garage services.

Cam belt replacement

Why do I need my cambelt changing?


Engine design used to use exclusively chains to drive the engine camshaft which were very durable but noisy. Designers were able to use a toothed cambelt to do the same job and this made engines more refined and quieter. However, a rubber cambelt is not as durable as a chain. Earlier cambelts should be changed at around 5 years or 70,000 miles. Later ones can last longer so it is best to check you own car to see what the recommended cambelt life is. Most cambelts use a tensioner which keeps them running at the optimum tension and it is best to do this at the same time.

As chain technology has improved, some manufacturers have returned to chains and still been able to achieve the same level of refinement as cambelts. Some of these chains are also subject to replacement so just ask and we will let you know what the manufacturer recommendations are.

Why do I need my cambelt changing?


Cambelts fail in two ways – the rubber teeth that drive the cogs on the camshaft strip off or the belt breaks. In both cases the engine will stop and it is best not to try and re-start it. The cambelt and camshaft co-ordinate the timing of the mechanical parts of the engine. When the timing goes wrong they crash into each other and can cause a lot of damage to valves. Some engines are designed 'safe' and can cope with such a failure but most don't and this will need expensive repairs.

Why do you suggest you change the water pump?


The water pump is often but not always, housed within the cambelt and driven by it. It too sometimes acts as the tensioner. Water pumps wear out – seals are subject to rotation and hot water and over time they can leak and also corrode. They are generally not too expensive, so whilst you can access them, it is a wise precaution to change it and avoid future trouble which would require the cambelt to be removed again to fix it.

How do you change the cambelt?


On most front wheel drive cars we have to disconnect an engine mount and lift the engine up, remove the cover in the tight space on the left hand side of the engine, and then work in the space to remove the cambelt, tensioner and water pump, which also requires us to drain the water and antifreeze. On some older cars access is good, but on later ones, even though they are designed to change the cambelt, there are inevitably a lot of things in the way.

It is important to line up all the gears when fitting the new cambelt, and we have the special tools to help do this accurately for most common makes of engine. Without them, the timing may not be right leading to poor engine performance or in the worst cases damage. It is also essential to set the tensioner correctly, so we use the recommended sequence to tension the cambelt for each model.

Note that no two cars are the same and we would rather take the trouble to quote you exactly before we let you know the cost to replace the cambelt.