Two mechanics at Westbury Toyota on Long Island replacing a worn out timing belt.

Five Signs of a Failing Timing Belt

Posted at Fri, Aug 28, 2020 12:00 AM

Your vehicle’s timing belt is a crucial part of the internal engine. It works by rotating both the crankshaft and camshaft in synchronization, ensuring that the cylinder fires simultaneously. While the belt is made of high-quality materials in order to increase its lifespan, it will eventually be subject to wear and tear and need to be replaced. A vehicle cannot function without a timing belt, so it is important to be aware of the signs of impending failure, especially if your favorite older Toyota has a few hundred thousand miles on the odometer. If you are not already familiar with these signs, our Westbury Toyota experts have written up a quick overview of timing belt failure indicators to ensure that you get out in front of this problem before it becomes a serious issue.

Excess Exhaust Smoke

Any time you see smoke coming out from your vehicle, it is usually never a good thing. If you see an excess of smoke, the cause may be a timing belt that is unsynchronized. It can be tough to tell sometimes if the vapor you see coming out of your vehicle’s exhaust is normal or not (particularly in the winter), but if you suspect the amount is greater than usual, trust your instinct. Even if it is not due to the timing belt, it may be a sign of something else, so be sure to book your car in with one of the experts here at Westbury Toyota.

Rough Idling and/or Misfiring

A timing belt that is starting to wear out will impact the fire rate of the engine. Being as it is attached to the pulleys that power the crankshaft and camshaft, if it slips while the car is running, it can cause cylinders to open and close out of synch. When this happens, it leads to misfiring and may eventually result in irreversible engine failure.

Knocking/Ticking Sound Coming From the Engine

You should always be alert for any sounds that are out of place when your car is running, and a knocking/ticking sound is definitely one to take note of. If you are hearing this sound when the vehicle is turned on, it could be because the timing belt is on its way out. The belt, which is attached to the cam and crankshafts via a collection of pulleys, works by moving both the rocker arm assembly and the cylinder head valves. By doing this, fuel is sent into the combustion chamber. When a knocking sound inside the motor starts to occur, it could be because the timing belt is failing to do its job properly. In order to prevent serious damage, book your car in for an inspection as quickly as possible.

The Engine Will Not Turn Over

Once the timing belt has broken, there is no way the engine can ignite or turn over. Turning the key may result in the starter engaging, but without the belt to work the crankshaft and camshafts, the engine will not start. If the timing belt is indeed the issue in this scenario, there will likely be other damage in the internal engine. Most of the time, the timing belt will actually break while the car is running, which can lead you to being stranded on the roadside. Obviously, this is far from ideal for drivers here on Long Island.

Oil Leak

Another standard sign of a timing belt failure is motor oil leaking from the cover of the timing belt. The oil leaks when the gasket that is located between the timing cover and engine block cracks or is otherwise worn down. An oil leak can also occur when the timing belt cover comes loose over time. When oil is leaking from the timing belt area, it can result in the vehicle overheating and in addition, can put additional strain on the timing belt itself.

Pay Attention to the Signs

If you are noticing one or more of these indicators when starting or driving your car, you should definitely make a point to take it in for an inspection and possible repairs. Ignoring these signs can lead to a bigger and far more costly problem later on, so be sure to nip it in the bud as soon as you can with help from the team here at Westbury Toyota.

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