Familiarizing yourself with the mechanical features of any prospective vehicle helps make better buying decisions. Certain engine component options have advantages over others, and knowing what is under the hood of the vehicle you're looking at makes your investment easier. When it comes to the Mercedes Sprinter, you might wonder if it comes equipped with a cambelt. We researched this popular passenger van from several professional sources so that you'll know the answer before you commit to purchasing it.
The Mercedes Sprinter does not have a cambelt; it is equipped with a timing chain. However, two Mercedes models with the 1.5 Renault diesel engine are equipped with a cambelt: the Class A and the Citan—these are the only Mercedes vehicles with a cambelt, as all other models are presently manufactured with timing chains.
Now that we know that a Mercedes Sprinter has a timing chain, we'll look more in-depth at what a cambelt is and how it works. You might also be curious if cambelts are better than timing chains or if this model van is an expensive one to maintain. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.
What does a cambelt do?
The cambelt's sole function is to synchronize the rotation of your engine's camshaft with the rotation of your engine's crankshaft.
This is sometimes confused with a serpentine belt, which is a belt that rotates to operate multiple components under the hood of your vehicle. A serpentine belt powers the cooling fan, air compressor, alternator, and more.
When the cambelt stops, the engine stops. And when a cambelt breaks while the engine is running, it's not good news. A broken cambelt won't keep the engine in sync, which means the pistons and valves collide.
As this is a costly thing to repair or replace, owners generally opt for a new engine if this happens.
You can routinely inspect your vehicle to avoid this happening, according to the manufacturer's guidelines. At the proper mileage intervals, you should consult a trusted mechanic about replacing the cambelt. This will keep you from driving a vehicle with a worn belt.
Does a Mercedes Sprinter have a timing belt?
The Mercedes Sprinter has a timing chain. The timing belt or cambelt is only available on certain Mercedes models equipped with a Renault 1.5 diesel engine. We'll delve into that ahead in this post.
Are timing chains better than belts?
Timing chains and timing belts both have their advantages and disadvantages.
While timing chains were more common in the past, they are slowly being replaced on newer model vehicles with timing belts. Which one is best for you? Let's take a look at each one, along with their pros and cons:
The major advantage of a timing chain over a timing belt is the lifespan. A timing chain will last between 150,000 and 200,000 miles.
This far surpasses the average mileage we put on our cars over their useful lifetime. Most vehicle owners won't even need to worry about ever replacing their timing chain.
Timing chains are a lot more expensive to produce. As a result, vehicles with timing chains tend to cost a bit more money. These chains also need to be properly lubricated to operate without any slippage.
So if your vehicle experiences a sudden decrease in oil pressure, then your timing chain can slip and cause damage to your engine.
This metal component is also a lot noisier than its belt counterpart. This is especially noticeable if your engine is idling with the hood up.
Timing belts are much quieter and a lot more shock-absorbent than timing chains. They are much simpler to replace and do not require any lubrication to stay functioning. They do not require any manual tension adjustments.
The lack of longevity is the major drawback to the timing belt. Most auto manufacturers set the lifespan of their timing belts at 60,000 to 100,000.
So if you are a high mileage driver, this could mean replacing it every few years. As they are a bit complicated to replace, many handy types and gear heads opt to have a professional do this.
They aren't exactly cheap to replace, either. On average, a timing belt costs over $1,000 to get professionally replaced.
So, what you might save upfront when buying a vehicle with a timing belt might cost you as much or more on the back end when it needs to be replaced.
Warning signs of a faulty timing belt
So are there any signs that your timing belt, or cambelt, is nearing the end of its useful life? In many cases, yes.
If you notice that your engine is beginning to run with a lot more noise than normal, it could be a sign that your timing belt needs inspecting.
Timing belts tend to stretch a bit over time. When they are stretched too much, they make the engine run loud.
And if they stretch too far, they'll either snap or slip out of place. As we pointed out earlier in this post, you don't want this to ever happen.
Backfiring can also be a sign of your timing belt malfunctioning. Automotive technology these days is so advanced that backfires are pretty rare. But if your vehicle does this, be sure to have it checked as soon as possible for a worn timing belt.
Lastly, your check engine light coming on could be a sign of a faulty timing belt. This light comes on for a lot of reasons. But if your timing belt is nearing the manufacturer's life expectancy for it, it's a good idea to have it checked out.
What year Mercedes Sprinter is best?
According to Copilot Search, the 2021 model Mercedes Sprinter is the best one available for purchase.
While this model passenger van didn't undergo any major changes since 2016, the slight tweaks with onboard technology and some enhanced safety features make the 2021 Sprinters a bit better of a vehicle.
All in all, the Sprinter has proven itself to be a solid and reliable passenger van. Mercedes prides itself in staying ahead of the competition by rolling out the latest models with the newest proven technology. The Sprinter is no exception to this.
Do Mercedes diesel engines have Cambelts?
Until recently, all Mercedes vehicles were manufactured with timing chains instead of cambelts. The exception here are models that are built with a Renault 1.5 diesel engine.
These are the only Mercedes models on the road not to have a timing chain. The Sprinter, however, does not have this type of diesel engine.
The model Mercedes vehicles that have the 1.5 Renault diesel engine are the Class A and the Citan. As of today, these are the only two models of Mercedes that come equipped with a cambelt.
Are Mercedes Sprinter vans expensive to maintain?
According to Car Edge, the typical Mercedes Sprinter will cost a little over $18,000 to maintain and repair over the first ten years of road life. In comparing the Sprinter to other passenger vans in its class, the Sprinter costs over $1,500 less for these types of expenses.
However, there is a better than 50% chance that the Sprinter will need a major repair during the first 10 years of service. This is higher than others in its class, by 17%.
Keeping a rigid maintenance schedule is strongly recommended for any vehicle. Improperly maintaining your Sprinter will cause a myriad of issues, leading to even more costly repairs.
Mercedes provides a comprehensive service booklet with their Sprinter vans, which details when you should get service.
The Mercedes Sprinter has remained one of the most popular passenger vans on the market. The durability of this model outpaces the competition, making it stay on the road longer than the standard.
Maintenance costs are significantly lower; just be certain that you are getting your Sprinter regularly serviced to avoid future costly repairs and replacements.
If you found this post on the Mercedes Sprinter to be helpful, we recommend reading the following posts on this popular passenger van:
How Big Is A Mercedes Sprinter Van? [And Can It Fit In My Garage?]
Best Oil For Mercedes Sprinter [And How Often To Change The Oil]