5 Major Signs Your Diesel Needs a Timing Belt Change

Sep 30, 2020 | Diesel Maintenance, Diesel Trucks

If you’ve owned a car for any length of time, you know there are so many parts that can wear down or break. Unless you’re a mechanic, it’s really hard to know when things need replacing or not. 

The timing belt is one of the most common issues in a Diesel engine. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to know when you need a timing belt change. 

Read on for a full list of the most common symptoms of a bad timing belt. 

1. Odd Engine Noises 

One of the best indicators that it’s time for timing belt replacement is when the engine is making out of the ordinary noises. 

This is also a very difficult symptom to tie down to the timing belt because it can also be related to several other potential issues. There are very specific things you should listen for if you suspect the timing belt. 

If your timing belt has been damaged or is wearing out, you’ll likely hear a ticking noise.

This is created as the belt rotates around and the damaged or worn area hits another part of the mechanism. It will likely be fairly regular and consistent, which may make it hard to notice if you get used to the noise. 

You may also hear a loud, high-pitch whining sound as the belt struggles to get through its rotations. This noise generally happens when you first start up the car or changing speeds. 

Whenever you hear an odd noise, it’s important to take it in as quickly as possible because something is definitely not right. 

2. Difficulty Idling 

Every car has the ability to idle, it keeps the engine running and prevents you from having to restart the car after every stop. 

This ability is an important function of the car and is needed to keep the car running as efficiently as possible. When a car can’t idle correctly, it can lead to problems in other areas of the vehicle. 

Timing belts are used to keep the engine components firing in sync. When it starts to degrade or gets damage it can throw the whole engine process off balance. 

When you have come to a stoplight and put your foot on the brake, your car should continue with power the same as when you’re moving. If it shuts down or shakes instead, it’s a good idea to have the timing belt checked out. 

3. Extra Intense Vibrations 

Most cars will have a little bit of vibration to them while they’re cruising down the road. That’s normal and shouldn’t interfere with your ability to drive. 

But when your vehicle begins to have intense vibration or even shaking as you’re driving, there is a serious problem. That’s why it’s an answer to the question “do I need a timing belt change?”

These vibrations are usually felt in the steering wheel. They can even become so intense that you can visibly see the wheel shaking if you take your hands off. 

The vibrations show just why the timing belt is so important for the overall functionality of the car. Without a proper timing belt, all of the engine parts get out of sync with each other causing the whole thing to shake. 

As with a lot of car issues, this symptom could be the result of several different root problems. So taking it in for a thorough inspection can help you figure out the real solution. 

4. Delayed Start When Turning Ignition

Possibly the most important job of the timing belt is to help the engine fire up. It’s an essential element to the ignition, without it functioning at 100% the car can’t start.

If your timing belt is just wearing down or has a little bit of damage, the car may still be able to start. It will just take a few tries and you’ll have to get lucky. But if the timing belt has completely broken (or is very close to that) the car won’t start at all. 

It’s important to note that you’ll still hear the car trying to start. This is the starter motor and it sounds like the car is really trying.

But without that timing belt functioning, it won’t be able to get the job done.

Obviously, if your car isn’t starting it’s not usable. So getting it to a mechanic while it’s just struggling to start is the key to avoiding this issue altogether.  

5. Visible Oil or Exhaust Fumes 

A very obvious symptom of problems with timing belts is visible oil leaking or exhaust fumes. 

When you notice that there are oil drips underneath your car on a regular basis, try to take notice of where the leak seems to be coming from. If the oil is located near the front of the motor, it could possibly be the timing belt. 

This leaking can be a sign of the timing belt cover being misaligned as well. 

A drop in oil pressure, even with the absence of a visible leak, could also be an indicator of a problem. 

There should never be smoke or exhaust fumes coming from your car, that’s almost always an indicator of a serious problem. It could be the timing belt because the engine process is disrupted and the exhaust is not letting things out at the right time. 

Whenever something is coming out of your car that shouldn’t be, you should take it to a mechanic. 

Time For a Timing Belt Change

As with most things, it’s important to handle automotive repairs as soon as possible. The longer you put off a damaged part, the more damage it will do to the rest of the engine.

Once you realize you need a timing belt change after experiencing any of the symptoms we talked about, it’s time to contact a professional. 

After your Diesel engine has received its new timing belt, you’ll be back in working order with much more peace of mind. So you want to make sure the job is done right by someone with the right training. 

If your Diesel engine is in need of repairs or service, contact us today to book an appointment! 

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