The Signs of a Failing Timing Belt | Raleigh, NC | King's Auto Service

5 Signs and Symptoms of a Failing Timing Belt

Replace your Timing Belt before you have to Replace an Engine

King's Auto Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, specializes in a variety of automotive repair services, including timing belt issues. This belt is responsible for linking the camshaft to the crankshaft, ensuring that the timing of each component is copesetic. However, as this component is put under a lot of strain routinely, it does need to be replaced from time to time. While it can be hard to set a watch to when a replacement is necessary, there are at least five signs and symptoms of a failing or failed timing belt.

Dropping Oil Pressure

One of the worst things that can happen if your belt fails is for the oil pressure in the engine to drop. If you notice a sudden drop in oil pressure, then immediately pull over and turn the vehicle off because it can cause a total engine failure, which is only remedied through a complete rebuild. Essentially, what happens is a failing belt can lead to the timing of the camshaft being off, which can lead to pieces of the camshaft breaking off and falling into the oil pan. Again, this is a worst-case scenario, if you fail to get your vehicle to the shop in time.


Misfiring is a common occurrence with failing timing belts. In this scenario, the belt falls onto the camshaft after slipping away from the gears, which causes the opening and closing of a cylinder too early. While this may seem harmless, if the belt is not fixed and misfires continue to happen regularly, then you risk permanent damage to your engine.

Rough Idling

Every timing belt has little teeth that help it grip the gears, allowing it to aid in the rotation of other engine components. However, as belts age, they can begin to lose these teeth, which can then fall into the gears, causing rough idling of the engine. Eventually, the weakening of the belt can lead to stalling.


Too much exhaust coming from your tailpipe can be another sign of a failing timing belt. The belt is responsible for the movement of the cylinders and rotation of the camshaft, which also control the intake of air and the exhaust. When the belt is failing, this process is thrown out of sync, which results in heavy exhaust and smoke. Therefore, if you notice an unusual amount of denser smoke emanating from your tailpipe, it is a good indicator that something may be off with the timing belt.

Broken Pistons or Valves

The worst-case scenario occurs when your timing belt completely fails and breaks. When this happens, the crankshaft and camshaft no longer operate in tandem. Instead, the valves and pistons will likely come in contact with each other, causing damage to the system overall.

While the timing belt seems like such an insignificant part, just a rubber belt, it is crucial to the operation of the entire engine. If you believe you are having timing belt issues or are concerned about your engine's performance, then contact King's Auto Service and schedule an appointment.

Written by King's Auto Service