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Jul 15 2019

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Timing Belt

The timing belt is a crucial component in your car. It upholds the rhythm of the engine. It is a costly component which may cost significantly if it has to be replaced. In addition, a broken or worn out timing belt can cause trouble for you in the middle of the road.  So, it is important to understand “what is a timing belt?”, “What does it do?”, “What are the bad timing symptoms?”

What is a Timing Belt?

The timing belt is also referred to as a cambelt. It plays an integral role in the working of all the internal combustion engines.  It is located in front of the engine and under a timing cover. A timing belt synchronizes the camshaft to the crankshaft so the valves work open and close in harmony. To increase its lifespan, it is made of strong rubber with nylon-reinforced cords inside to increase the lifespan. Timing belt requires replacement after some time as it deals with incredible forces inside the motor.

Not all cars have a timing belt.  Many cars use a timing chain instead of a belt. A timing belt needs replacement as it wears out over time. A timing chain can last as long as the engine itself and does not need to be replaced unless it has a problem.

Now that you know what timing belt is and what it does in your car, it is time to know about some common symptoms your car has a worn-out or broken timing belt.

•    Ticking Noise from the Engine

Ticking noise coming from the engine is one of the broken timing symptoms you should know. The timing belt is attached by way of a series of pulleys to the engine’s crank and camshaft. The crankshaft powers the engine’s connecting rods which are attached to pistons inside the combustion chamber. The camshaft steers the rocker arm assembly and cylinder head valves, which dispatches the fuel into the combustion chamber and draws burnt gases out of the exhaust pipe. Any problem with the timing belt prompts a ticking noise from inside the motor.

•    Oil Leak

It is also typical that an engine will motor oil from the timing belt cover. The cover of the timing belt is secured by a series of nuts and bolts that may come loose over a period of time. Alongside it, oil leaking may happen if the gasket between the timing cover and the engine block is worn out, cracked or has been improperly installed and is pinched. Leaking oil from the timing belt usually results in engine overheating and can prematurely wear the timing belt. The warning sound may also occur if the engine has low oil pressure or it has not a proper amount of lubrication.

•    Engine Misfires

Engine misfire is another bad timing belt symptom. If the timing belt wears down the fire rate of the engine could be exposed to danger.  As described above, the timing belt is attached to the pulleys that drive the crank and camshaft. Sometimes the timing belt will slip on the camshaft and will result in one cylinder to open or close earlier than it should.   It might lead to a misfire situation. If you do not replace it soon, it may catastrophic engine damage.

•    Engine will not Turn Over

In case the timing belt has broken, the engine will not be able to ignite or turn over. When you turn the key, you may hear starter motor enrage, but it will not turn over. If the issue is caused due to a broken timing belt it may also lead to other internal engine compartment damage. In many cases, the timing belt will break while the engine is operating. Some of the typical damages noted from a car with a bad timing belt are damage to crank bearings or oil pump inside the oil pan and damage to cylinder head hardware (pushrods, valves or rocker arms).

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




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