Replacing the timing belt is one of the most important bits of maintenance you need to keep up with. If you don’t and the belt breaks or the tensioner fails on your Alfa Romeo Brera, you could be looking at some seriously expensive repairs.
In this quick guide we are going to tell you when to replace the timing belt on your Alfa Romeo Brera, along with some other timing belt related info as well.
Table of Contents
Does the 2005 to 2011 Alfa Romeo Brera have a Timing Belt or Chain?
Not all Alfa Romeo Breras are belt driven, so check the following table to see if your car’s engine has a belt or chain:
|Timing Belt or Chain
|3.2 V6 JTS
When Does the Timing Belt Need to Be Replaced on an Alfa Romeo Brera?
If you have a petrol model with the 1.75 Tbi engine the belt should be replaced every 60,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years. The original specified interval was every 105,000 – 120,000 km (65,000 – 75,000 miles) or every 5 to 6 years (depending on when and where it was sold), however, many owners and experts believe this is to long between changes.
Diesel models have a slightly longer distance interval of every 96,000 km (60,000 miles), but they keep the same time interval of 4 years. Once again, the original interval was slightly longer at 116,000 km (72,000 miles) or every 5 years, but it is best practice to change it earlier in case of a failure.
Part of the reason for the earlier intervals is that Alfa Romeo has been a bit too generous with change intervals in the past (quite a lot of Alfa’s experienced premature belt/tensioner failure, especially with previous generation cars).
|Recommended Change Interval (KM)
|Recommended Change Interval (Miles)
|Change Interval (Time)
What Happens if the Timing Belt Breaks on an Alfa Brera?
All engines in the Brera range are interference, so a belt or tensioner failure will almost certainly lead to catastrophic damage when the pistons and valves collide. This will obviously be very expensive to fix, so change your timing belt!
To get a bit of an idea of health of both the belt and the tensioner, you can try to listen for any abnormal rubbing, squeaking, tapping, or ticking sounds originating from the timing belt area. The presence of such noises may signal that the belt and tensioner have surpassed their intended lifespan on your Alfa Romeo Bera. However, if you want to get a good idea of the condition of the belt and tensioner they will need to be physically inspected (and then it’s probably better to just get them replaced).
What Else Should be Replaced with the Timing Belt?
You should replace the following components during a timing belt service on a 2005 to 2011 Brera:
- Aux belt
- Water pump
What About the Timing Chain on JTS Breras?
While you don’t have to worry about changing the chain at a specified interval on chain driven Beras, failure can still occur, so it is important to be mindful of the following issues that can cause premature chain failure/stretch:
- Incorrect tension/problems with the tensioner – incorrect tension (both too tight and too loose) will lead to increased strain on the chain, which can lead to premature failure.
- Engine seizure – if the engine seizes it can lead to chain stretch or possibly even total failure. Most of the time engine seizures are oil-related (lack of oil, wrong oil, etc.).
- Insufficient lubrication – the chain is lubricated by the engine oil, so if there is not enough of it or the oil is not changed regularly, it can lead to chain stretch/premature failure.
- Age – Despite claims that timing chains never need to be replaced, they can eventually succumb to wear and tear over the years even if the car is serviced well.
When Do Timing Chain Issues Usually Start to Occur?
There is no hard and fast rule for this, but once a chain driven car starts getting well past 160,000 km (100,000 miles) we would expect timing chain related issues to become a bit more frequent. Another thing to keep in mind is that the 2.2 JTS is quite susceptible to timing chain stretch, especially if regularly maintenance (oil change, etc.) has not been carried out. This means that chain failure can occur quite a bit earlier than on other chain driven engines, and some owners have had issues at shockingly low miles.
The 3.2 V6 JTS isn’t as susceptible to chain stretch as the 2.2 JTS Brera, but there are still quite a few owners who have experienced the problem.
What are the Symptoms of Timing Chain Failure/Stretch on an Alfa Romeo Brera
Luckily, unlike a timing belt, chains usually give a bit more warning that there is an issue before they fail, so watch out for the following symptoms:
- Rattling noise from around the timing area, especially at idle
- Misfires and general rough running
- Metal shavings in the engine oil
- Check Engine Light (CEL) warning
If you suspect that your Alfa Romeo Brera’s timing chain is failing, get it checked out and replaced as soon as possible. A failed chain can lead to much more serious damage that can be extremely expensive to repair.
To Sum Up
For the petrol 1.75 TBi a timing belt service should occur every 60,000km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years. For diesel models this should occur every 96,000 km (60,000 miles) or every 4 years. These engines are interference, so a belt or tensioner failure will probably lead to catastrophic engine damage. Lastly, the belt should be replaced along with the tensioner, idlers, Aux belt, and water pump.