Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Timing Belt: Warning Signs to Replace Your Car Timing Belt
- As a general rule of maintenance, cars that have reached the 70,000 - 100,000-mile range should be considered for a timing belt replacement.
- There are some surefire warning signs you should look out for that could indicate that your timing belt is about to fail: this includes ticking noises, car not starting, piston misfires, exhaust smoke, excess vibrations and oil leaks.
- Most cars will have a labour cost of £250 to £500 to replace a timing belt at a professional shop. If you’re mechanically inclined and willing to invest the time to do the work yourself, you can save a lot of money on a timing belt replacement by only paying for the belt itself.
- Ticking Noises: There is a system of pulleys that is responsible for holding the timing belt in place and allowing it to operate properly. When your timing belt starts to wear, a ticking noise might be heard coming from the motor. This could also be an indication of low oil pressure or poor lubrication, but you should still visit a mechanic to have this issue diagnosed immediately.
- Car Not Starting: In the event the timing belt has completely broken, your vehicle’s engine won’t turn over at all. You will probably turn the key, hear a “click,” and then nothing. You might notice the starter motor engage, but the engine will not turn over since the belt is broken.
- Piston Misfires: These are less noticeable to the average driver, but can result in excess smoke and engine damage. If a timing belt is too worn, the engine won’t fire properly. This could result in serious damage to valves, push rods, rocker arms, and other engine parts that could lead to the need for expensive and complicated repairs.
- Exhaust Smoke: If there is smoke coming from your tailpipe, it means the engine isn’t burning fuel properly. This could be the result of the valves not opening and closing like they should, due to a timing belt that is stretched or worn. Whether it needs a timing adjustment or a full replacement, it needs immediate attention.
- Excess Vibrations: If the timing is off on your engine, there could be an increased amount of shaking or vibration coming from the engine. This can result from having bad spark plugs, but it can also be a sign of a timing belt issue. If your spark plugs are in good repair, you need to check your timing belt as soon as possible.
- Oil Leaks: If you notice oil leaking on the front of the motor, it could be coming from the timing belt cover or the gasket that is between the timing cover and the engine block. This could be a sign of a wearing belt, or the leaking could lead to engine overheating and cause premature wear to the belt. Either way, it needs repair immediately.