Timing Belt Gone Bad! Learn why and when to change yours.

Lack of changing timing belt turns into costly repair!

See how not changing your timing belt can cost you money! As we have shared before, preventative maintenance is the key to a healthy wallet. By staying on top of your vehicle’s maintenance, you are helping to save yourself money by avoiding future repairs.

This week we witnessed a costly repair on a vehicle brought in. The customer complained of a high pitch noise when she was driving down the highway. When she pulled over she turned the vehicle off then back on. When she started it again, the car had difficulty starting. She decided to have the vehicle towed in (good choice); but unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

Upon inspection of the vehicle we discovered that the timing belt was warped, there were numerous teeth missing from the belt. The vehicle has approximately 110,000 miles on it. The manufacturer recommends that the timing belt should be changed between 60,000 – 70,000 miles. The customer was brand new to V&F so we did not have any records but upon conversing with the customer, we learned they had never changed their timing belt.

Symptoms:

  • A high-pitched sound: As the timing belt wears out, it tends to create a high-pitched shrieking sound. More predominately heard as you start the engine. When the engine is idling you may hear the sound as well.
  • Difficulty starting: If damaged, it may cause your vehicle to struggle when starting. If it takes several attempts for the engine to catch, there are many potential problems that could be responsible. The timing belt is one most likely the cause.

If the belt was changed at the recommended mileage, they would have avoided replacing the vehicle’s engine, preventative maintenance. 

Why is the timing belt important?

The Timing Belt connects the crankshaft at the bottom of the engine with the camshafts at the top of the engine. Its main responsibility is to ensure all the various parts of the engine are synchronized.The teeth on the belt in conjunction with the teeth on the crankshaft and camshaft ensure that the engine’s valves open and close at exactly the right times.

Below is the customer’s engine. You are able to see the warped belt along with the damage it caused the engine.

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Written by Nicole Palange

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