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Prevention is better than cure, that is why timing belts should be changed at (or before) the recommended mileage.

The problem is that if a belt breaks, the camshaft(s) stop rotating, but the crankshaft continues to turn, so the pistons still go up and down - This may be OK on cylinders in which the valves are closed, but where valves are open, then they are bound to be struck by the piston, resulting in bent valve stems and possible piston and even cylinder head damage.

Even if you have got the timing set correctly, with bent valve stems, there will not be any compression, something that can easily be diagnosed by carrying out a compression test.

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