The timing belt is a vital part of the engine that allows the crankshaft and camshaft to work in perfect harmony. Comprised of reinforced rubber with internal teeth to grip gears. Even with the industrial-strength rubber, the timing belt is under immense pressure, so it's important to know what to look for in case of failure. So here are 5 signs of a failing timing belt!

1. Engine Noise

One of the tell-tale signs of a worn timing belt is a ticking sound coming from your engine. Low oil can cause a ticking sound to emanate from the engine because the oil pressure controls the timing belt tensioner. Tracking the oil level can inform you if your ticking noise is compounded by low oil or a different issue.

2. Engine Misfiring

The teeth that grip the gears may become loose as the timing belt wears. This causes the pulleys that operate the camshaft and crankshaft to open randomly, ruining the firing order and causing a misfire. Engine misfiring can be a potentially serious issue for your vehicle, so it's essential to check as soon as possible.

3. Smoke

The color and amount of smoke you see can signify that there may be a timing belt issue. The cam and crankshaft control the intake of air and exhaust. The amount of air intake is a delicate balance; too much or little can cause your car to perform excessive work, leading to increased smoke!

4. The Condition of the Belt

Depending on the vehicle, you should be able to at least get a good visual of the condition of your timing belt. A worn timing belt will begin to crack and wither as a wearable item. In some cases your timing belt may have a missing tooth which can be an entirely different set of problems.

5. Starting/Idling issues

While several things could prevent your car from starting, it would be wise not to overlook the timing belt. The starter motor may engage, but the car just won't turn over. If the timing belt is severed or broken, you aren't going anywhere.

The timing belt is the type of part you want to replace before it begins to fail. Your belt breaking while driving can be a catastrophic issue that can lead to a costly repair. Most manufacturers recommend a timing belt replacement between 60,000-100,000 miles. While we don't recommend it, if you're not going to replace your belt in this window, keep an eye on the condition of your belt for the longevity of your vehicle. Not sure about the state of your belt? For the best automotive service in Ashland, bring your vehicle to Ferber's Tire and Auto, where our ASE-certified technicians can take a deeper look.

Written by Ferber's Automotive & Body Shop