Timing Belt Symptoms Help You Stay Aware Before Larger Problems Arise
Fearing the day you’re hit with a timing belt replacement cost is as common a driving experience as your first flat or first speeding ticket. It’s a rite of passage that almost all motorists will deal with at some point. Sure, it can be painful but not nearly as painful as noticing timing belt symptoms and leaving them untreated. Admittedly, it can be difficult to notice warning signs that your timing belt is on the way out, so it’s a good idea to stay aware of the suggested scheduled maintenance in your owner’s manual. You can also easily have your timing belt checked for wear and tear during a tune-up. But there are some telltale timing belt symptoms that can indicate that your car needs serviced as soon as possible.
Why Do Timing Belts Fail?
Your timing belt can receive significant and sometimes critical damage prior to the recommended point of replacement. Often this damage is a result of leaking fluids including engine oil or water from your water pump, uneven tension, and the failure of other related auto components. Timing belts can also experience profound stretching from use which can result in delayed engine performance.
Keep an Ear Out for Issues
Certain noises can be a clue into a failing timing belt. Often the sound of a timing belt on its last legs is likened to a high-pitched shrieking or squealing. On the other hand, a pronounced ticking can also indicate issues with your timing belt. This has to do with the mechanics of a timing belt, which uses a system of pulleys to rotate the cam and crankshaft in a specific timing. When this is out of sync, you may hear this ticking sound. Despite the rugged design of your timing belt, a worn belt should be replaced immediately before it has the opportunity to inflict severe damage to your engine.
A Visual Inspection for Timing Belt Symptoms
If you want to look for timing belt symptoms by inspecting the belt itself, it’s typically easy to access. This requires the removal of covers, crafted from either plastic or metal, that are in place to protect your timing belt. If you notice cracks, tears, or even oil blotches on your timing belt, you should waste no time in getting it into a mechanic for replacement.
Signs Your Timing Belt Has Already Snapped
If your timing belt has already snapped, then your engine will be unable to turnover and you’ll need to have your car towed to the auto shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a non-interference damage, your engine will most likely be unscathed. However, if you neglected to replace the timing belt on a car with an interference engine and the belt gave while you were driving, your engine could very well have received a critical cracking in the process. If your belt has yet to break but is worn, you may still experience issues when trying to start your car. While struggles starting your car could be credited to a variety of problems, it’s in your best interest to rule out issues with the timing belt first. The replacement of a timing belt is definitely one of the worst repairs to delay.
Since timing belt symptoms can be tricky to diagnose, especially considering their similarities to other car problem symptoms, your best course of action for preventing timing belt issues is to remain aware of suggested maintenance schedules for your car model. It’s easy to balk at the thought of the timing belt replacement cost, but that cost can quickly become astronomical if the belt isn’t replaced as soon as the slightest sign of wear is detected. If you’re unsure about the condition of your timing belt, a trained mechanic can easily access and inspect your belt for peace of mind.