How To Fix a Jumped Timing Belt? [Explained]

To fix the jumping timing belt, adjust the tension if the timing belt jumps due to loose tension. Replace the tensioner pulley if the timing belt jumps off due to a weak tensioner pulley. If the timing belt jumps due to contaminated pulleys, clean them all. Replace the timing belt if it gets worn out. The cause of a jumping timing belt must be identified and resolve for proper engine working.

This is just an overview of what this article contains. Find out how to fix jumping timing belts in our complete guide.

Jumped Timing Belts: 3 Reasons & How to Fix Them

You may have a question: can you fix a jumped timing belt?

The answer is yes; it’s possible to fix the jumped timing belt. To fix this issue, you must understand what’s causing it because the solution can vary depending on the reason.

Here are some common causes and solutions for a jumped timing belt:

Reason SymptomsSolution
Loose TensionUnusual noise, engine misfireAdjust belt tension
Weak tensionerEngine misfire, loud noise, loose timing belt Replace the tensioner
Contamination Unusual noiseClean timing belt
Worn timing beltClicking or ticking noise/ engine misfire Replace timing belt

Reason 1: Loose Tension

Timing belts are subject to wear and tear over time, and can eventually become too loose to function properly.

The timing belt can jump off a tooth or more when it gets loosened. This problem has, however, some certain symptoms. 

Symptoms: Unusual Noise/ Engine Misfire

Certain signs can identify a loose timing belt. The most common signs are clicking or slapping noise from the engine and misfiring. 

In some cases, you may be able to see if the timing belt is stretched by visually inspecting it. Look for cracks, frayed edges, or other signs of wear and tear.

Solution: Adjust Belt Tension

When the timing belt gets loosened, you must adjust the tension. A tensioner pulley is attached to the timing belt to tension it.

Tools needed for adjusting tension

  • A socket wrench set 
  • A screwdriver 
  • A tension gauge or a sonic tension meter

To tension a timing belt using the tensioner pulley, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove the serpentine belt: To access the timing belt, you’ll need to remove the serpentine belt first. The timing belt is typically located inside a cover, and the serpentine belt is mounted on top of this cover.

To remove the serpentine belt, use a socket wrench to loosen tensioner screws and remove the bolts that hold it in place. Then, remove any other pulleys that are mounted on the timing belt cover. 

Step 2: Remove the timing belt cover: To make the timing belt visible, you’ll need to remove a few more bolts to take off the timing belt cover. Once you’ve removed the cover, the timing belt will be visible and accessible. Make sure to pay close attention to how you disassemble these parts, as you’ll need to reassemble them correctly later.

Step 3: Locate the tensioner pulley: The tensioner pulley is typically located in the engine compartment near the crankshaft pulley.

Step 4: Check the recommended tension from the service manual: To find out how much you need to adjust, consult your vehicle’s service manual.

Step 5: Adjust the timing belt tension: This step involves rotating the tensioner pulley to constrict the timing belt. To do this, you need to rotate the spring loaded tensioner pulley bolt clockwise. Keep adjusting until you can see that the timing belt is tightened properly.

Step 6: Check the tension: After the adjustment is made, it is important to cross-check the tension. This can typically be done using a tension gauge or manually checking the tension by pressing the belt with your finger. Here’s a video that shows how to check timing belt tension

To adjust tension further, repeat step 5 if necessary.

If the timing belt is beyond tensioning due to wear and tear or other damage, you may need to replace it. This can be a complicated process, so it’s best to visit a professional shop to have it done.  (1)

Generally, a timing belt replacement cost can range from $300 to $1,000 or more. The belt will typically cost between $25 and $100, while the labor to replace it can cost anywhere from $200 to $900 or more, depending on the circumstances.

Before replacing a timing belt, know whether your vehicle comes with a timing belt or a chain first. If you need to know about Hyundai Elantra’s information related to this, here you’ll find that.

Reason 2: Weak Tensioner

The tensioner pulley is used to keep the timing belt tightened up right. But if the spring-loaded tensioner pulley gets weak, it won’t be able to hold the timing belt tight enough. This can cause the timing belt to slip or even fall off the gear. That’s one of the top reasons for a timing belt to jump.

Symptoms: Tensioner Not Keeping the Tension Properly

There are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your timing belt tensioner pulley is weak:

  1. Noise: Squealing or whining noises could indicate a weak tensioner pulley.
  1. Belt Slippage: If the timing belt is slipping or jumping, it could be a sign that the tensioner pulley is not providing enough tension.
  1. Visual Inspection: It may be weakened if you see visible wear or damage on the tensioner pulley.

But to identify the fact exactly, visual inspection is the best way to know if the timing belt tensioner pulley is weak.

Solution: Replace the Tensioner Pulley

If your tensioner pulley is weak, you need to replace the pulley. To know how to replace the tensioner pulley, follow the steps below. 

Tools needed 

  • A new tensioner pulley 
  • Socket set 
  • Torque wrench
  • Ratchet

Step 1: Remove the serpentine belt and timing belt cover: To do this, follow steps 1 to 3 of the “adjust belt tension segment in this article.

Step 2: Remove the bolts to untie the tensioner pulley: Use a socket wrench and ratchet to remove the bolt holding the tensioner pulley in place. 

Step 3: Remove the tensioner pulley: Take note of how it’s installed when you remove it. This will guide you to install the new one.

Step 4: Install the new pulley: Install the new one using the same process you used to remove the old tensioner pulley. Make sure to use the torque wrench to tighten the bolt to the specified torque rating.

Step 5: Test the tensioner pulley’s working: Finally, test the tensioner pulley by starting the engine and observing the timing belt. You’re good to go if it functions properly and maintains the proper tension! 

Tighten the tensioner pulley bolt if it doesn’t work. You may need to consult the seller if you detect any problems after installing the tensioner pulley properly.

If you find any difficulties completing these steps, you can seek further assistance from an automobile professional. 

Reason 3: Contamination

If a foreign object, such as a rock or piece of debris, becomes lodged in the timing belt or its pulleys, it can cause the belt to jump.

Aside from these above objects, oil contamination can also get into the timing belt pulley, and it may cause the timing belt to jump or slip. Further damage can also result from this issue.

Symptoms: Unusual Noise/Misfire

To diagnose contaminations of a timing belt, you can start by visually inspecting the belt to look for any visible signs of dirt, debris, or oil contamination. 

You should also listen for any unusual noises coming from the timing belt area, as contamination can cause the belt to slap or click as it rotates. 

Additionally, you can check the timing belt for any unusual wear patterns, such as abnormal cracking or fraying, as contamination can cause abnormal wear on the belt.

Solution: Clean all the Sections of the Timing Belt

Follow these steps to clean a contaminated timing belt:

Tools needed

  • A socket wrench set 
  • A screwdriver
  • Mild cleaner (denatured alcohol)
  • A soft-bristled brush

Step 1: Open the engine compartment: To locate the timing belt, you’ll need to use a screwdriver and socket wrench to open the timing belt cover in the engine compartment. The timing belt is usually located underneath this cover. If you’re having trouble finding it, you can follow steps 1 and 2 of the “adjust belt tension” section for more guidance.

Step 2: Loose the timing belt tension: To remove the timing belt, you need to loosen the tension on the belt. After that, carefully remove the timing belt.

Step 3: Clean the timing belt: Use a soft-bristled brush and mild cleaning solution, such as; denatured alcohol or soapy water, to clean the timing belt thoroughly. After rinsing the timing belt with clean water, let it dry completely. 

Step 4: Reinstall the timing belt and close the engine compartment: Using the same process you used to remove the timing belt, reinstall it. And then close the timing belt cover properly. 

Timing belts should be removed and reinstalled according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are uncertain about how to clean or replace the timing belt, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional mechanic.

Reason: Worn-Out Timing Belt

Timing belts that are worn out may jump or skip because they become too loose or stretch excessively. Belts can lose their proper tension and alignment when this happens, resulting in teeth skipping on their pulleys. 

However, this issue can cause more damage if you continue driving without fixing it.

Symptoms: Ticking or Clicking Noises

You may potentially experience a clicking or ticking noise from the engine if the timing belt jumps because of getting it worn out. 

Additionally, the engine might misfire from a worn-out or damaged timing belt.

Solution: Replace the Timing Belt

If the timing belt gets worn out or damaged, you may need to replace the timing belt. To replace the timing belt, you need to follow the steps below.

Tools needed 

  • A new tensioner pulley 
  • Socket set 
  • Torque wrench
  • Ratchet

Step 1: Remove and uncover all the necessary parts: This section is identical to the timing belt adjustment segment. So, follow steps 1 to 3 of that segment.  

Step 2: Loosen the timing belt tension: Next, you’ll need to remove the old timing belt by loosening its tension. You can do this by rotating the tensioner pulley bolt counterclockwise with a ratchet. Once you’ve loosened the tension, the timing belt should come off easily.

Step 3: Install the new timing belt: This part is about installing the new timing belt with the crankshaft and camshaft. Make sure you correctly align the pulleys. To do this, carefully follow the timing mark on the camshaft and crankshaft. See the picture below for a better understanding.

Step 4: Follow steps 4 to 6 on the adjust the timing belt section


A jumped timing belt can be caused by several factors, including loose tension, a weak tensioner pulley, contamination, or a worn-out belt. Symptoms of a jumped timing belt may include unusual engine noise, engine misfires, and decreased performance. To fix a jumped timing belt, you may need to adjust the belt tension, replace the tensioner pulley, clean the timing belt, or replace the timing belt itself. 
Jumped Timing Belts_ 3 Reasons & How to Fix Them Infographic

Timing Belt Maintenance Guide

It is important to properly maintain your timing belt to ensure that it functions properly and does not fail, which can cause serious damage to your engine. Here are some tips for maintaining your timing belt:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule: Timing belts usually need to be replaced between 60,000 and 150,000 miles. To ensure that your timing belt is functioning properly, replace it at the recommended interval.
  • Keep an eye on the condition of the timing belt: It is important to replace the timing belt if you notice any cracks or wear.
  • Keep the timing belt tensioner in good condition: Timing belt tensioners help maintain proper timing belt tension. A weak tensioner can cause the timing belt to slip or jump, causing serious engine damage. Regularly inspect and replace the tensioner if necessary.
  • Follow proper maintenance procedures: It is important to maintain your timing belt according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In addition to regular inspections, damaged or worn components may need to be replaced.

What timing belt to use can be a big question. This page explains what timing belt you should use on B20 VTEC.


To ensure that your timing belt functions properly, replace it at the manufacturer’s recommended interval and keep an eye on the condition of the timing belt. Replace the timing belt tensioner if necessary and follow proper maintenance procedures.


Will A Broken Timing Belt Destroy My Engine?

Yes, a broken timing belt can destroy an interference engine. The pistons and valves of the engine can be damaged if it snaps or breaks while the engine runs, resulting in costly repairs or even a new engine. Be sure to replace your timing belt as the manufacturer recommends to prevent engine damage. However, a broken timing belt won’t destroy a non-interference engine as there’s a gap between the pistons and valves.

Can You Drive With A Jumped Timing Chain?

You can still drive the car if the timing chain has only jumped a tooth or two. But it’s not a good idea because the chain could come off completely and cause serious damage to the engine. On the other hand, if the chain has jumped too far, it could ruin the engine quickly.

At What Mileage Does A Timing Belt Break?

The timing belt can break anywhere between 60,000-150,000 miles. It is important, however, to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific vehicle. Timing belts should always be replaced before they break and cause serious damage to your engine.


That’s all there is to how to fix the jumped timing belt. We hope this information has helped you address any issues you may be experiencing with your timing belt. 

However, if you feel uncertain about your ability to complete this task properly, we recommend seeking the assistance of a professional. It is important to thoroughly understand the procedure before attempting it to avoid causing further damage.

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Aaron Byrne

Hi, Aaron Byrne here. I'm an expert automotive mechanic with 10 years of experience. I work on engine parts especially timing belts for their repair, maintenance, and replacement.

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.