How do I know if my timing cover gasket is leaking? Part One

Timing cover gasket leaks can be one of the trickiest leaks to fix. Most leaks leave obvious indications in specific places that make it quick to tell what the problem is– for example when your oil pan is leaking it will leak oil on the ground right under your oil pan. But a timing cover gasket leak can spread oil all over your engine. It can leak at some times and not others and leave drips in odd places, leaving you wondering what the problem is.

Do you even have a timing cover?

First and foremost, you have to determine if a timing cover leak is even possible on the motor in your car. Every car has to keep the timing consistent between certain parts in the engine, in order for it to work properly. But there are two main ways an engine keeps the timing consistent between the crankshaft and the camshafts. Some engines have a belt that runs from the crankshaft and drives the camshaft to keep things in time and others use a chain.

Timing Belts vs Timing Chains

Some vehicles are equipped with a timing belt, which is mounted external to the engine’s lubrication system, so your engine won’t have a timing cover gasket to leak. Other engines have a timing chain, which have a cover over the chain and drive gears to contain the engine oil so it is very possible that is where your leak is coming from.  

If you don’t know which kind of belt you have, you can easily find out from you owner’s manual. To tell which type of engine you have in your car, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If the required maintenance section includes a timing belt replacement between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, then you have a timing belt and won’t have a timing cover gasket leak.

In our next article, we’ll discuss what you should do if you do have a timing belt, and suspect it might be leaking.

At V&F

If you suspect that your timing belt may be leaking, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician at V&F. Our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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