Signs You Need To Replace Your Engine's Timing Belt

Your vehicle's timing belt is part of the engine that ensures that the moving parts of your engine are moving at the correct times. A damaged, misaligned, or otherwise improperly functioning timing belt can severely hinder the performance of your entire vehicle, and should be replaced as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are a couple of warning signs that you can look out for to help determine when it's time to have a mechanic take a look at your vehicle's timing belt.

Poor Maintenance of RPM

If you notice that your engine has trouble maintaining a constant level of RPM while traveling at higher speeds, and fluctuates between two levels fairly consistently even though you're maintaining a single level of pressure on the gas pedal, you likely have missing teeth on your timing belt. This can affect your driving performance and your vehicle's performance at all speeds and greatly increase the risk of an accident occurring, but will be most noticeable the faster you're going.

Starting Problems

If you have issues starting your car, mainly in relation to the inability of your engine to actually turn over, the timing belt is likely to blame. This is even more likely if the electrical system of your vehicle seems to work fine, and if there is a clicking sound when you turn the key in the ignition. This doesn't have to be a consistent issue: it may take you a few tries before your engine catches, and usually has to do with your timing belt either being out of alignment or missing several teeth, preventing it from catching when you turn the keys in the ignition. In a similar vein, a damaged timing belt can cause issues with your engine stalling while running at low speeds – if you notice this stalling coupled with starting problems, your timing belt is a likely culprit.

Increased Exhaust

Though not always immediately noticeable, if your vehicle is generating a great deal more exhaust than it normally is, your timing belt could be to blame. This is because the timing belt is not properly synced, causing your engine to work harder in order to produce the same amount of power, burning more fuel and necessarily generating a greater amount of exhaust. The best way to notice if this is the case is if you find yourself burning through fuel at a greater rate despite no changes in your actual driving habits.