Mechanic Tips

Is It Time to Change Your Car Timing Belt? Signs to Watch Out For

The timing belt is one of the most important components behind the functionality of your car. It is responsible for synchronising the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft. Along with that, the serpentine belt ensures that the valves of your car engine open and closes at the right time. It will eventually help the engine to deliver optimal efficiency and performance. Similar to other moving parts, the timing chain will also go through wear and tear. This is where you will come across the need to change it. Let’s take a look at the signs that will indicate you to change the car timing belt. Every North Brisbane car owner should keep these signs in mind and act promptly.

You hear unusual noises 

One of the earliest signs of a failing car timing belt is unusual noises. When the belt is done, it will start slipping. Or else, it can also tick or slap while the engine is idling. This will result in a non-interference engine. That’s the reason why you should proceed with changing your timing belt. However, a loose or misaligned timing belt can also lead you to unusual noises. That’s why it is better to inspect it by an expert. Then you can confirm what exactly the issue is. 

You notice engine misfires and rough idling 

If your timing belt is skipping teeth or worn, it can cause the valves to open and close at the wrong times. This will eventually result in engine misfires. Such engine vibration can disrupt the proper timing of the engine as well. As a result, you will end up getting decreased engine performance. It can also reduce fuel efficiency and increase emissions. In some instances, you may even experience trouble starting the engine.

You experience unusual engine vibrations 

When the timing belt wears down, it can also cause the valves to open and close at the wrong time. This will make the camshaft and crankshaft to be out of sync. That’s where you will get unusual engine vibrations. You will notice these vibrations when your engine is idling. Moreover, you will experience them during acceleration as well. It is a sign for timing belt maintenance, and you need to go to a mechanic.

You experience a reduction in engine performance 

A worn timing belt can affect the ability that your car engine to generate power. This will reduce the acceleration power that you are getting. On top of that, you will also experience a reduction in fuel efficiency and a drop in overall performance. This happens due to disruptions in the valve timing of your engine. It can also impact the air-fuel mixture and the combination process. If you don’t take preventive maintenance measures, you may end up with more serious problems. Engine oil contamination would be a good example of such a serious problem. 

You have difficulties in starting the engine 

Do you experience difficulties in starting the engine? It can be due to a failing timing belt. The timing belt plays a major role in starting the engine. But when it is stretched or worn, you will not be able to get the engine to turn properly. It will be possible for you to confirm this after a proper timing belt inspection. A timing belt failure can also cause the camshaft and crankshaft to be misaligned. This can make it even more difficult to start the engine.

You experience oil leaks or contamination 

In some instances, a failing timing belt can cause oil leaks or contamination. If the belt breaks or pieces of the belt become dislodged, they can enter the engine’s lubrication system. This will lead to oil contamination and potential damage to other engine components. This is where you must act without considering too much about timing belt replacement cost. Otherwise, you will end up with even more significant damage to the vehicle engine. 

Age and mileage of your car 

It is important to consider the age and mileage of your vehicle. You should do this even if the timing belt is not giving out any signs of failure. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt every 60,000 to 100,000 miles or every 4-7 years. You need to do this whichever comes first. Neglecting to follow these recommended intervals can put your engine at risk of serious damage.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I replace the timing belt on my own? 

Most people often wonder whether they can change the timing belt on their own. It may be possible for an experienced DIY mechanic to proceed with the replacement. But timing belt replacement is a complex task. It requires precise alignment and proper tension settings. If you make any mistake, you will end up with engine damage. Hence, it is best if you can work with an experienced mechanic to get the job done. Make sure that you always keep an eye on the important warning signs mentioned above. When you see any of the symptoms, you should rush to a mechanic. 

How do I know if my car has an interference or non-interference engine?

The easiest way to do this is to consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle. Alternatively, you can ask a qualified mechanic. A mechanic can inspect your engine and provide you with this information. Knowing whether you have an interference or non-interference engine is important. That’s because it determines the potential for damage if the timing belt fails. 

How often should I inspect the timing belt? 

You need to inspect an ageing timing belt once every 2 to 4 years or every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. A complete automotive checkup can help you to identify any underlying issues. It will not be an easy task and you need to get the help of an experienced mechanic. The mechanic will examine the timing belt for signs of wear, cracks, or damage. You can also expect the mechanic to inspect other components linked with the timing belt. They include the tensioner and idler pulleys as well. 

What other components should I replace with the timing belt? 

Along with the timing belt replacement, you should replace a few other components as well. They include the tensioner, idler pulleys, and water pump. These components are wearing out at a similar rate. By replacing them together, you can save money from potential breakdowns in the future. 

Final Words

Now you have a clear idea about the functionality of your timing belt and how to determine if it is failing. If you are searching for a mechanic in North Brisbane for timing belt inspection, you should contact SNC Automotive. Regardless of the make and model of your vehicle, our experienced mechanics can inspect it. We make it easy for you to go ahead with the timing belt replacement if needed. With the use of expertise and the right tools, our mechanics can complete the job within the shortest possible time.

While driving your car, always keep an eye on the warning signs as above. Then you will be able to protect your car from expensive repairs that could happen. If you notice anything wrong, feel free to contact us at SNC Automotive today. 

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