Can I drive with a bad timing belt?

Incorrectly positioned timing belt symptoms

The timing chain is one of the most important parts of a vehicle, since it is mainly responsible for synchronizing the movement of the other engine parts, so that the engine works properly and the car can move. But what happens if the timing belt breaks while driving? Below, in unCOMO, we give you the keys so that you know what are the causes that can cause the breakage, how you can prevent it and, above all, what to do in case the timing belt breaks, since it is one of the most expensive repairs of any vehicle. Take note!

Before looking at what happens if the timing belt breaks, it is important to know what this fundamental mechanical part is and what function it performs, a basic part of any engine. Its repercussion is high, since, if it fails, it can affect all the other elements that depend on it. The belt is located in the timing area of the engine, hence its full name. Its main function is to ensure that the movement of the engine’s valves, pistons and water pump is synchronized. Thanks to it, the necessary harmony between the parts is achieved so that the engine or propellant works properly and, therefore, so does the vehicle.

When should the timing belt be changed?

Mechanical experts recommend checking the timing belt between 60,000 and 120,000 kilometers. If you are one of those who do few kilometers to your car, you should go to a mechanic workshop to check the timing belt between 4 and 6 years.

What happens if the timing belt is cut?

By losing the synchronism between the parts, these parts could collide at a very high speed and trigger a series of internal impacts that can unfortunately end up with the total destruction of the engine.

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What happens if the distribution is not on point?

A badly fitted timing belt can lead to a loss of performance if the offset is small. If it is large, it is likely that the valves and pistons may collide, causing serious internal engine damage, which, depending on the car, will not be worth repairing.

Replacement of timing belt

As you can see, the auxiliary belt is what gives life to the car. Without it, only the engine would run, as long as the battery that starts it has enough charge beforehand. In addition, if we dare to drive it ignoring the engine failure warnings, it could be a very complicated and dangerous task because of the difficulty in moving the steering wheel.

The engine of a car has several belts: the timing belt, the fan belt, the auxiliary belt… Each one has a completely different function that it is convenient to know so that a neophyte can differentiate them.

The fan belt, on the other hand, is not so easily misleading, because it moves the fan that cools the radiator when there is not enough air flow through the grill. So it is away from the engine block itself.

The solution for this problem is very simple, just tighten the belt a little if possible. Another solution is to apply a belt spray, with which we can also eliminate the noise if it is not very slack, although this spray usually eliminates the noise temporarily.

How long can the timing belt last?

A timing belt can last up to 10 years, but these are more isolated cases. It is always recommended to have it checked every 4-5 years and, depending on the condition of the belt, decide whether to change it or not.

What happens if the timing belt is too tight?

On some engines, improper belt tension can lead to misalignment problems. And finally, if a car is involved in an accident, damage to the timing belt, which is not visible, may go unnoticed until it is too late.

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How much does it cost to change the timing belt of a car?

According to the study conducted by the online comparator of mechanical workshops Tallerator, the budget to change the timing belt is 401.91 euros on average in Spain. However, it should be noted that more and more models include a water pump in the kit.

Cold timing belt noise

As so many elements are connected by the timing belt, they must be perfectly synchronized, the intake and exhaust valves must be actuated at the right time, in the same way that the fuel injection (mechanical) must also work in step with the other elements.

There are so-called non-interference engines, in which the valves and pistons would never collide and where belt breakage would have no other consequences than a new timing belt overhaul.

Timing belts have two faces. The internal one is toothed and it is the one that drags the elements that have to be perfectly synchronized. The external side is smooth and on this side are the tensioning rollers, which hold the belt in place, and other elements such as the water pump, which do not need to rotate in absolute synchrony.

The timing belt is one more element of preventive maintenance, although its changes are more extended in time and are one of the most expensive maintenance operations of the car. The time or mileage to change the timing belt is determined by the manufacturer and ranges between 90,000 and 160,000 kilometers approximately. Respecting the time (without having to reach the mileage) is important to avoid breakage of the belt, which deteriorates with the passage of time.

When should I change the timing belt of my Gol Trend?

Recommended every 70,000km or when indicated by the manufacturer.

What happens if the timing belt is loose?

If the timing belt is loose, it is because the timing belt is stretched, probably because it has expired, causing noise in the belt area when starting the car.

What is chain distribution?

What are timing chain and timing belt. … The timing belt is a strip made of rubber, rubber and various synthetic materials which, on its inner side, has a groove for coupling to the pulleys that replace the sprockets in chain systems.

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Incorrect timing belt

When we think of an engine, pistons, connecting rods, cylinders… usually come to mind, but there are other elements that are just as important and that, without them, our car’s engine could not work.

The timing belt does not usually give symptoms that it is in bad condition, except when it becomes loose and starts to play. In this case, it can make a noise when it hits against the cover that protects it from dirt. This can happen when the timing belt tensioner has broken.

It can also happen that the timing belt is incorrectly positioned. In this case the symptom is clear: the car will not start. If it is only one tooth that is not correctly positioned, a warning light will come on on the instrument panel and the engine will not work correctly, since the belt has only one point of positioning and there is no possibility of error. It has to be correctly positioned (all the parts must be at their mark). If instead of one, there are several misplaced teeth, the pistons will collide with the cylinder head, something that should never happen.