Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is it Necessary to Replace the Tensioner With the Timing Belt?

tensioner new

Is it necessary to replace the tensioner with the timing belt?

A faulty timing belt has to be replaced, and the sooner the better. The best course of action is also to replace the tensioner at the same time.

What causes a timing belt to fail?

Timing belts can become damaged due to excessive wear as a result of old age, or because of contamination from water or oil leaks. If a new belt is over-tightened, it could fail prematurely, or even break. When that happens, the broken timing belt can also cause neighboring components to fail.

Additionally, the timing belt’s teeth can develop stress cracks, or even detach. If the belt looks worn or damaged, it needs to be replaced.

Full timing belt change

When the timing belt is replaced, other parts, including the tensioner, should be replaced at the same time. This is because these components wear out at essentially the same rate as the belt. For instance, the tensioner bearings could dry out or even seize. It would be a shame if you had the timing belt replaced, only to have a tensioner seize and throw the belt off its pulleys. There’s no good outcome here – you could end up with bent valves, or even holes in the pistons.

Prevention

Even if your timing belt isn’t looking all that bad, it should still be replaced approximately every 60,000 miles. Sometimes, signs of wear aren’t immediately apparent. When you replace the timing belt and tensioner, your mechanic may also recommend replacing the idlers and the water pump. Because the water pump is likely the same age as the belt, and is usually hidden behind it, it’s best not to wait. You could replace the belt and tensioner, only to have the water pump go shortly afterward. Then the belt and tensioner are going to have to be removed to get at the water pump, and that can be more costly than simply replacing it at the same time as the belt.

To reiterate, have the timing tensioner replaced at the same time as the timing belt. And also have any other parts replaced that are associated with the timing belt. That way, you can be assured of many more miles of worry-free driving.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...


Related questions

Q: Air conditioning compressor tight; belt squeaks

Hello, Your Dodge Dakota has a single belt that runs all of the engine accessories. If you are experiencing a belt squeak, it is important to enlist the help of a certified mechanic to diagnose the cause of your issues...

Q: Camshaft failed two months after timing belt replacement

Although it is not extremely common for a camshaft to fail within the 100k mile range, it is not impossible. If indeed the camshaft has snapped or potentially has a bad bearing, this can in fact cause an enormous vibration....

Q: Squeaking on car starting

You need to check the belt and tensioner to make sure it is tight. The belt may be stretched to its limit. It would need to be replaced if this is the case. If you'd like to get this fixed,...