Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Timing belt needs replacing

asked by on

My car won't start. I think it might be the timing belt.

If your car is not starting, and you suspect the timing belt, the first thing we could do is have the belt inspected. Remember, when the timing belt breaks only half of your engine is turning. This is why you hear a very characteristic sound while the motor is spinning and you don’t hear the "puffs" or coughs you normally hear when a cylinder makes compression. Also, it will spin much faster if there is a brake in the belt. The bad news is that a lot of engines are built in a manner that do not permit this. When a belt breaks the bottom half of the engine continues to spin but the camshafts stop moving. That means the valves stop moving.

Let’s say this happened when both intake valves for cylinder 1 were open. Now, if the engine were an "interference engine," when the piston got to the top it would slam into the open valves because it was not built with enough clearance for valves to be open when piston was at top. In an engine like this, when the belt brakes and serious engine damage occurs, this will usually require an entire engine replacement. So checking to see if your car has an interference engine would be the second thing on our list. An inspection of a mechanic will let you know if your timing belt needs replacement. Sometimes it will be okay to only replace the timing belt, however the best way to do this job would be to replace the idlers, tensioners, and water pump, along with the timing belt to ensure that all new components work well together.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Timing belt needs replacing

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Windshield wipers wont turn on

Hi there. There are many reasons why windshield wipers may not work, ranging from a fuse or electrical relay being blown that powers the wiper module - which relays power from the switch to the motor. You might want to...

Q: My car's timing chain slipped off - 2010 Buick Enclave

A timing chain slipping off is not generally something that is catastrophic in terms of engine failure when it comes to a non-interference engine such as yours. Generally, when the timing chain slips off, this means there is an improper...

Q: Malfunction indicator light stays on, remote start issue

Hello, thanks for writing in about your 11998 Chrysler Aspen. If the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp), also known as the Check Engine Light, is coming on, then there is a hard fault in the engine computer. This fault will need...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.