While you may not pay close attention to your car’s timing belt, it is a crucial component of its mechanics. The timing belt is an internal engine component that rotates the engine’s cam and crankshaft in sync, ensuring that each cylinder fires at the correct time. The timing belt in your car may be found behind a timing cover near the front of the engine, and because it is most likely made of high-quality rubber, it will need to be replaced from time to time.
Well, in this article, we’ll be going through the most common symptoms of a bad timing belt. In addition, we’ll uncover its importance, if you can drive with a bad one, and how often you should replace it. So, let’s get to it!
Symptoms of a bad timing belt
To ensure your vehicle’s optimal performance and avoid potentially costly repairs, it’s crucial to recognize the telltale signs of a failing timing belt.
1. Your engine is causing a misfire
The timing belt’s most important function is to keep the cylinders in synchronization. If the timing belt fails, the cylinders can become out of sync. This causes the engine to misfire. Another symptom is that the car isn’t performing as well as it used to. This is one of the most serious red flags. It cannot be disregarded because it indicates that you are causing damage to your engine.
Rubber timing belts are sturdy and long-lasting. However, after a long time, it may begin to wear down. High temperatures and continual friction are present in the belt. It will eventually crack if left for too long. This will necessitate its replacement. Here are some of the symptoms to be aware of.
2. You Are Having Trouble Starting the Engine
When you can’t start the engine, it’s one of the clearest symptoms that something is wrong. If this occurs, it could indicate that the timing belt has totally failed. The starter should make a clicking sound. However, because the belt is in charge of the crankshaft, the car will not start.
3. Smoke is coming from your exhaust
If you observe more smoke coming out of your exhaust than usual, it could be because you are forcing the engine to work harder than usual. It can, however, be a symptom of other engine issues. It could, for example, indicate that fluid is leaking and the engine is burning oil. It could possibly be a filter issue, restricting the amount of air flowing to the engine.
4. Your engine is making a ticking noise
The timing belt connects to pulleys in the crankshaft. When it begins to wear out, it will be unable to turn the pulleys effectively. This is what causes the ticking noise. A low level of oil in the engine, on the other hand, can produce ticking. In any case, that’s a significant problem, so have it checked out by a professional.
5. If Your RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) Change
The dashboard displays the number of revolutions per minute (RPM). This figure represents how hard the engine is working. Manual drivers will utilize it to determine when to shift gears. If something is wrong with the timing belt, such as missing teeth, the RPM can behave unpredictably.
5. Your engine is leaking oil
A series of nuts hold the timing belt in place. However, these might become looser over time. This can result in an oil leak near the timing belt cover. As you can expect, this can be a serious issue. When the flow of oil is interrupted, the engine is at risk of overheating. If this occurs, substantial damage and a large repair price may result.
6. The Check Engine Light is illuminated
Depending on the vehicle, a problem with the timing belt may cause the check engine light to illuminate. Even though it is one of the less dramatic warning lights, it should never be ignored. It indicates that something is amiss and that you should contact a mechanic as soon as possible.
7. Your timing belt has been replaced for over 60,000 miles (or 5 years)
It is advisable not to wait until any of these symptoms arise. It’s a good idea to keep track of when you last replaced parts. While the belt will include mileage specifications, it is preferable to judge how long it has been in the engine. You should strive to change the belts every five to six years. This may vary based on how frequently you use the vehicle.
Can you drive with a bad-timing belt?
It’s really simple: your car cannot run without a timing belt. If the belt snaps while you’re driving, the automobile will immediately stop, and your engine may sustain catastrophic damage. Your automobile may not start if the timing belt is broken. The harm has already been done by the time the belt snaps, and you will be unable to drive at all. You will need to have the vehicle hauled to an auto repair facility.
The question is how long you can drive with a faulty timing belt. Can you drive the car if you know your timing belt is bad but it hasn’t yet broken? It is possible to drive the automobile in this condition, but there is a chance that the belt will snap at any time. It is not recommended to drive the car for an extended period of time if you suspect you have a timing belt problem.
How often should you replace the timing belt?
Timing belts, like engine filters and other comparable automotive parts, should be changed on a regular basis. Timing belts no longer need to be changed as frequently as they did in previous decades, but you should still schedule an appointment to replace the belt between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Previously, every 60,000 miles was a firm regulation. However, many automobiles can now travel up to 100,000 miles before seeing substantial wear and tear from these belts.
It’s recommended to consult your owner’s handbook to determine how frequently you should inspect your timing belt, and be sure to follow the guidelines. Timing belts are relatively inexpensive, but if you neglect the timing belt for an extended period of time, you risk causing thousands of dollars in major damage to your car.
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Watch the video below to learn more
In conclusion, it’s critical for every car owner to be aware of the signs of a damaged timing belt. These warning indications act as forerunners of imminent problems, ranging from strange engine noises to subpar performance and potential engine damage. An accurate diagnosis and prompt replacement of a broken timing belt will spare you from expensive repairs and maintain the efficiency of your engine. The longevity and dependability of your vehicle depend heavily on routine maintenance and paying attention to these indications.