Signs a Timing Chain Is Going Out

by Cheryl Washington

The timing belt is one of the most important components of your engine. It connects the crankshaft which controls engine pistons to the camshaft which opens and closes valves. A broken timing belt can be very costly because it often controls other parts of the engine, including the balance shafts and the oil and water pumps. The time to change a timing belt will vary by vehicle and mileage. It is best to have it checked regularly.

Rough Idling

A vehicle's idle is an important part of proper operation. When you start your engine and your vehicle immediately begins to run loud and unsteady, the timing belt may be the problem. You should take your vehicle to a licensed mechanic right away.

Engine Noises

Worn timing belts can result in a range of strange chattering noises and vibrations. The noises often have a high pitch and can be present when the car is in park or in motion. This is an early sign that your timing belt may be loose. A mechanic can easily determine the cause of this noise.

Difficulty Starting Engine

The timing belt may skip one or more teeth causing the timing to be off. If the belt is loose, your vehicle may still be operable; however, it may experience low compression and vacuum readings making it difficult to start the engine.

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Cheryl Washington is a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in local newspapers throughout South Carolina and on ehow.com. Washington is President of Parsippany Speakers Club, a chapter of Toastmasters. She earned her Master of Arts in strategic communications and leadership from Seton Hall University.

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