Schaeffler also delivers these same parts to the independent aftermarket as INA branded Timing Belt and Front End Auxiliary Drive (FEAD) KITs. As a result of this combined OE and aftermarket know-how, the REPXPERT team is currently raising the issue of FEAD servicing and replacement with the garage owners and technicians they engage with on a daily basis.
Although the aftermarket is now aware of the necessity for the replacement of all the components in the timing belt system under recognised scheduled service requirements, few vehicle manufacturers dictate or even advise a replacement interval for the FEAD system, despite the belts and pulleys in the two systems covering the same mileage. In fact, the FEAD system is more prone to wear as it is not protected by a case or cover like the timing belt system, so is exposed to the full range of hostile conditions found inside the engine bay, including road debris, making it even more vulnerable to potential damage and subsequent failure.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the FEAD system powers many engine and safety critical components, such as PAS, Vacuum Pumps, Alternator etc., so the message from Schaeffler’s experts is that garages should be checking the condition of the auxiliary belt, as well as the tensioners and idlers in the FEAD system, on a regular basis.
This best practice principle should especially apply when a vehicle is booked in for a timing belt replacement, as the auxiliary belt often has to be removed to provide the access to the timing belt drive system. So, installing an INA FEAD KIT at the same time as a Timing Belt KIT is not just a sensible approach in terms of the engine’s reliability, it’s also the most cost-effective outcome for the vehicle’s owner, as they will only have to incur the cost of the parts, rather than pay for extra labour.