Timing belt replacement can be on the costly side, which makes people want to avoid getting it done. We can’t blame them; it’s normal not to be a fan of expensive repairs. However, the concept of “expensive repair” is relative. When you consider the damage a bad timing belt can do to the rest of your vehicle, suddenly, replacing just the belt doesn’t seem so expensive. In fact, it’s a smart way to avoid massive car projects and the high fees that come with them. We want to take today’s blog to discuss signs of a timing belt in trouble so you don’t get taken by surprise.
First, what does a timing belt do? The timing belt is an essential part of your engine’s function. It ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft rotate at just the right rhythm to synchronize the engine’s valves with the intake and exhaust strokes. When the timing belt isn’t happy, your engine cannot function right, and nobody is happy!
Signs Your Ride Needs a New Timing Belt
Because the timing belt plays such an important function, its distress signals are hard to miss. Here are some warning signs to watch for.
Your engine won’t turn over.
- This issue can turn up due to several issues, but a broken timing belt is one of the most common. When the belt is broken, the engine simply cannot turn. You might hear the starter motor when you turn the key, but the engine won’t respond at all. You’ll need to give us a call. Keep in mind that timing belts often break while the engine is running, which causes further damage. If we find that your timing belt is broken, we will carefully inspect the cylinder head hardware, crank bearings, and oil pump to make sure we catch everything that needs repairs.
You hear a ticking noise while the engine is running.
- Because the timing belt ensures that every motion within your engine is orchestrated perfectly, when it starts to have trouble, the engine will start making weird noises. A ticking sound is common and indicates low oil pressure or insufficient lubrication within the engine. If you hear a ticking noise, bring your car to our Fort Collins auto repair shop as soon as possible.
Oil leaks from the front of the motor.
- The timing belt is located on the front of your motor, and when it starts to wear down, it’s common for the cover to leak. Because the cover is attached by nuts and bolts, they tend to come loose over time. Additionally, the rubber gasket that makes a seal between the engine block and the timing cover eventually dries out and cracks, which can also cause oil leaks. The main issue here is the loss of oil, which can lead to an overheated engine and a prematurely worn timing belt.
Your engine misfires.
- Engines are designed like clocks. When the timing belt wears out, it tends to slip on the camshaft drive, causing cylinders to open or close sooner than they should. This is called a misfire, and it can total an engine, so don’t ignore it!