The internal combustion engine has a crankshaft and camshaft which must rotate together simultaneously. The camshaft opens and closes valves in the engine while the crankshaft is what converts linear motion into rotary motion. This is how the combustion cylinders can ignite at the proper time. The key component to making the synchronizing rotation happen between the crankshaft and camshaft is the timing belt.
Inside the motor, the movement of the timing belt rotates the crankshaft and camshaft. This, in return, activates the pistons in the engine. The timing belt is a very important part of the engine but unfortunately, it is not a very strong part. It is quite common for timing belts to get worn out to the point where they eventually break. Once that happens, your engine will not function the same anymore. In fact, it will not function hardly at all. Then you will have no choice but to replace your timing belt.
Bad Timing Belt Symptoms
It is best to recognize the symptoms of a bad timing belt before it gets to the point where it breaks completely. A bad timing belt will still give you time to get to a mechanic before it totally incapacitates your vehicle. To help you recognize these symptoms, below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad timing belt in your car.
1) Strange Ticking Noises
Various pulleys help sustain the rotation effect of the timing belt. There are several other components around it while this is happening. The timing belt is generally tight around the pulleys to keep it secured to them. However, if the timing belt were to get loose or worn out, there will be a strange ticking noise generated as it rotates. This is a sign that the timing belt is on its way to breaking completely.
2) Reduced Oil Pressure
The timing belt is positioned very close to the oil pan. As the belt gets more worn out, its teeth will start to break away and fall into the oil pan. This will greatly reduce the pressure of the oil as it tries to circulate through the engine. Low oil pressure can ultimately ruin your engine if you don’t do something to fix the problem.
3) Engine Stalling
Bad timing belts lose their teeth. After they lose enough teeth, the timing belts slip off their pulleys and fall onto the gears below them. This will throw off the timing of the camshaft’s opening and closing of the valves. The result will be engine stalling because the internal combustion process won’t go smoothly. You’ll also experience rough idling too.
4) Smokey Engine
If you live in a cold environment, then it is normal to see smoke come from the tailpipe when you start your engine and drive around in your vehicle. This is only water vapor and it is not a problem at all. But in cases where you have a bad timing belt, there will be actual smoke coming from the engine. This is due to the asynchronization of the camshaft and crankshaft due to the bad timing belt.
5) Bad Pistons or Valves
When you have a crankshaft rotating at a different rate than the camshaft, the piston may bend the opening valves. In the process, the piston will get damaged too. This whole situation is no good for the engine and it will cause extreme damage to it if both the pistons and valves are bad. That is why it is crucial that you don’t drive if you know your timing belt is broken. Otherwise, it will just cause you costly repairs that aren’t even worth the value of your vehicle.