Signs That Your Timing Belt Needs to Be Replaced

As you approach 100,000 miles, it’s time to start thinking seriously about your vehicle’s timing belt. After all, it’s around this point in the vehicle’s life span that most timing belts need to be replaced.

But what if you’re not sure? What if you bought your car pre-owned with no real idea of when the timing belt was installed? How can you be sure that your belt is actually on its way out?

In this post, our team at Norm Reeves Volkswagen in Irvine will help drivers like you from across the Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Newport Beach area learn more about timing belts and how to tell when they need to be replaced.

To get started, let’s make sure we understand what a timing belt actually does.

What Is a Timing Belt?

The timing belt on your car is carefully wrapped around a series of wheels and gears. This piece of extremely durable rubber plays a vital role in the performance of your engine. To put it simply, the timing belt ensures that the valves and pistons inside your engine all move in sync. It does this by controlling the rotations of both the crankshaft and the camshaft.

As we mentioned earlier, most timing belts tend to wear down somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. You can check your owner’s manual or Volkswagen maintenance schedule for more specific replacement intervals. Keep in mind that without a functioning timing belt, the engine can’t run, so make sure that you stay on top of when to replace your engine’s belt.

How to Tell if the Timing Belt Is Damaged

Do you think it’s time to replace your timing belt? Keep an eye out for these telltale signs of timing belt damage.

Loss of Material: Similar to how your rubber tires wear down over time, so does the engine’s timing belt. As the timing belt wears down, it loses its gripping power and begins to slip. This is especially noticeable when driving in wet weather or when towing a heavy load.

Worn Edges: If the edges of your timing belt seem worn and you can see the filaments inside, then you’ll need to replace it. This can happen when one of the pulleys or tensioners is out of alignment or when the belt experiences extreme heat.

Cracks: A timing belt that has cracks in it is clearly not in good condition. This weakened belt needs to be replaced as soon as possible. On top of that, your technician may also inspect other areas of the vehicle to determine what caused the cracking.

Loss of Power: A malfunctioning timing belt can actually cause your engine to lose power. This happens when excess moisture gets trapped between the belt and the pulleys, causing the belt to hydroplane and cease turning with full force.

In Need of Timing Belt Repair?

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or if you have a reason to believe that your timing belt is damaged, schedule a service appointment as soon as possible to avoid an unexpected breakdown. Drivers in the Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Newport Beach area can schedule a service appointment at Norm Reeves Volkswagen in Irvine.