Symptoms Of A Bad Timing Belt! [Drive or Have to Change]

A timing belt makes sure that the pistons hit the valves at exactly the right moment, which ensures the proper operation of your car’s engine. This I s an internal engine component that is made of high-quality rubber.  

As it is made of rubber, it becomes worn out after a certain period of time. But as a driver, you need to know some symptoms of a bad timing belt to understand its present condition easily. 

In this discussion, we are going to discuss some of the symptoms of a bad timing belt. After knowing these signs, you will be able to decide when to change the belt. So, without making any delay, let’s become an expert on this component.

Symptoms Of A Bad Timing Belt

Here are some of the most common symptoms of a bad timing belt. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is likely that your timing belt has gone bad.

  1. Uneven or irregular engine performance
  2. Ticking noise when driving
  3. Difficulty starting the car in cold weather conditions
  4. No power on acceleration
  5. Misfire

The symptoms may vary based on engine type and vehicle make and model. So, these are some common symptoms found when the timing belt is bad, but they are not rules of thumb. So, in the case of your vehicle, there may be some differences. But most of them will be the same.

If you find these signs in your car, you must check this belt. And if you find the belt is bad, take the help of an expert mechanic to change the belt. Read the following sections to know more about timing belt issues and their solutions.

What Happens When The Timing Belt Goes Bad?

To know what happens when the timing belt goes bad, you need to know what this belt does in your car engine. A timing belt is a type of belt that drives the camshafts in an engine. That means this belt helps all the valves function properly and make the engine function smooth.

So, when this belt becomes bad, it affects the vehicle performance very badly, and some other things will lead the engine to a bad end. Besides these symptoms, your car will face minor engine problems to complete loss of driveability. In most cases, it is best to take your car in for repair as soon as possible rather than trying to fix it yourself.

Can You Drive With A Bad Timing Belt?

As we know, the timing belt is made of rubber. So, this can not be suddenly bad; gradually, this becomes bad for corrosion. So, if the belt is bad but it is in the primary stage, then you can drive your vehicle. 

Because at this time, it can function almost properly. But if the corrosion is very deep and it is not near its normal condition, then it would be hard to drive the vehicle. Even in some cases, the car will not start or generate enough power to drive.

You might be able to drive with a bad timing belt at first, but it is important to consult your mechanic first. A timing belt is essential for the engine to run correctly and should not be replaced without consulting an expert. If you dare to drive with some serious issue on the belt, you will surely fall into an unexpected engine stop.

How Do I Check My Timing Belt?

After you find these signs of a bad timing belt in your engine, you must check the belt to be sure and then take a decision. To check the belt manually, let the engine become cool first. After that, open the hood and take out the belt from the engine.

Then check the inner side of the belt. Normally the belts have some treads to grip the camshafts and rotate them. If you find these trades are almost gone, then you may become sure about the belt’s bad condition. Besides that, the ticking sound while running ensures a bad timing belt. 

Thus you can check a timing belt of a vehicle. But you need to be careful while taking the belt out of the engine. Because after a long time running, the belt becomes very hot. You need to let is cool or use gloves.

Symptoms Of A Bad Timing Belt Infographic


Q: What Does A Failing Timing Belt Sound Like?

Ans: Mainly running a bad timing belt engine will make a ticking sound. The ticking sound is the sound that a clock does while running. But in the case of the timing belt, the noise will be louder and more frequent.

Q: What Is The Average Cost To Replace Timing Belt?

Ans: The price of a timing belt depends on the make and model of the vehicle. But on average, the timing belt replacement cost will be from $100 to $250. If you take help from a mechanic to replace the belt, the mechanic cost will be added to it.

Q: Will Check Engine Light Come On For Timing Belt?

Ans: No, the Check Engine Light will not come for bad engine light. Rather, for a bad timing belt, the engine will not function well, and as a result, the light may appear. There is no direct relation between the timing belt and Check Engine Light.

Q: What Causes A Timing Belt To Go Out?

Ans: This is natural that after a long time running, the rubber belt will go out. But if your timing belt goes out faster than normal, then you may check belt kits. If there is any crack or problem on them, the belt will become bad soon.


The symptoms that are given in this article are most common. If you find few of these with your vehicle, especially the ticking sound while the engine is running, you can be sure about the timing belt issue.

In that case, you may check manually and then change at home or take help from an expert mechanic and find a solution. We will recommend going to a workshop and taking help from an expert on this issue. That was the end. Thanks for reading.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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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.