Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Timing Belt

timing belt

Bad or Failing Timing Belt Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

Without a fully functioning timing belt, your vehicle would not run. The timing belt is an internal engine component that rotates the engine’s cam and crankshaft in sync and ensure each cylinder fires at the appropriate time. The timing belt is located under a timing cover and is in the front of the engine. It's commonly manufactured out of high-quality rubber with nylon reinforced cords inside to extend the life of the belt. However, it is subject to incredible forces inside your motor and will need to be replaced eventually.

The timing belt is commonly found in foreign cars and SUV's with smaller cubic inch displacement engines. When an engine has a larger bore and stroke, most automotive manufacturers utilize a timing chain system that replaces the rubber belt with a metal chain. Most automotive manufacturers have a predetermined recommendation on when you should replace the timing belt, but there are a few warning indicators that a problem exists.

Listed below are a few of the common symptoms that might indicate that your timing belt is wearing out or has broken – which will require a local ASE certified mechanic to replace the timing belt and inspect other internal engine components for damage.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Ticking noise coming from the engine

The timing belt is attached by way of a series of pulleys to the engine’s crank and cam shaft. The crankshaft powers the engine’s connecting rods which are attached to pistons inside the combustion chamber. The camshaft operates the cylinder head valves and rocker arm assembly, which sends fuel into the combustion chamber and expels burnt gases out of the exhaust chamber. When the timing belt is starting to wear out, it may create a ticking sound inside the motor. This warning sign may also be an indication of low oil pressure or the engine not having the proper amount of lubrication.

Since the timing belt is so critical to the operation of your vehicle, if you notice this warning sign, you should contact a mechanic as soon as possible.

2. Engine won't turn over

If the timing belt has broken inside your motor, the engine will not be able to turn over or ignite. When you turn the key, you might hear the starter motor engage, but since the timing belt operates the crank and camshaft, it will not spin over. Obviously, if the car won't start, a phone call to a mechanic is usually the first step. However, if the issue is due to the timing belt being broken, it may also result in other internal engine compartment damage. In many cases, the timing belt will break while the engine is running. Some of the typical damage done to a vehicle with a broken timing belt may include damage to cylinder head hardware (rocker arms, push rods or valves), damage to crank bearings or oil pump inside the oil pan.

A professional and experienced mechanic will know to inspect all of these supporting components if the timing belt needs to be replaced.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Engine misfires

A worn out timing belt might also impact the engine's fire rate. The timing belt is attached to pulleys that drive the crank and camshaft as we've indicated above. However, sometimes the belt will slip on the camshaft drive and cause one cylinder to open or close earlier than it should. This might cause a misfire situation and if not replaced soon, may result in catastrophic engine damage.

4. Oil leaking from in front of the motor

It's also typical that the engine will leak motor oil from the timing belt cover. The cover is secured by a series of nuts and bolts that may come loose over a period of time. Another issue that will cause oil to leak is when the gasket that is found in between the engine block and timing cover wears out, is cracked or has been improperly installed and is pinched. Leaking oil from the timing belt cover commonly results in engine overheating as well and can prematurely wear the timing belt.

It's very difficult to discover a problem with the timing belt until it's too late and has broken. However, you should check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to determine when the replacement interval is scheduled and have the timing belt replaced by a professional mechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: I'm thinking of buying a 2007 lexus GS450H, its a hybrid with 101829 miles on it, do i have to worry about the batteries? and if s

Hello. First off, your vehicle is equipped with a timing belt. This should be changed soon if it has not already. As for the battery, I typically see these last until about 120,000-150,000 miles. If you need quotes for these,...

Q: whats the cost of replacing timing chains and plugs cover gaskets and plug wires?

Hello. From what you describe it would appear that your timing chain has worn to the point of affecting engine performance. This is commonly caused by worn guides, or a stretched chain, both of which cannot be repaired, only replaced....

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

Automatic belt tensioners usually have a visible tension range indicator on the tensioner. When you install a new belt, check the tension indicator to verify that the arrow on the tensioner arm is pointing to the range on the tensioner...