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An auto mechanic shows a torn timing belt with worn teeth.

An auto mechanic shows a torn timing belt with worn teeth.

Are you having trouble starting your car? You turn the ignition again but your car fails to start. You take a look at the obvious reasons like your fuel meter. You even make sure that the car’s steering wheel is not locked. However, you still fail to start your vehicle.

When a car doesn’t start, we often blame it on the battery. However, there are instances when the battery and its connections are great but the car still fails to start. There are many things that could cause a car not to start.

Some are easy to remedy but there are others that are on the more difficult and expensive side. One of them is a bad timing belt. Having a bad timing belt replaced can be expensive but it shouldn’t be ignored. A bad timing belt can lead to more expensive damage to the engine.

What Is A Timing Belt?

Before we get into the or signs of a bad timing belt, let us first understand the importance of a timing belt and what it does to your vehicle. Well, a timing belt is responsible for timing the opening and opening of the valves of the camshaft. It syncs the camshaft with the crankshaft so that the engine operates smoothly.

It opens up the valves in time to pull air that gets mixed with fuel for proper combustions or to release the exhaust air. It also closes the valves depending on the phase the engine is in. With proper timing, the right valves are open to let air in or out. A properly functioning timing belt also prevents the valve openings from being hit by the pistons during engine operation.

Signs Of A Bad Timing Belt

Not being able to start your car is just one of the signs of a bad timing belt. Here are a few more that you should watch out for:

Ticking Noise

Listen carefully to your car. If you ever hear a ticking sound that is coming from the engine, there could be something seriously wrong with your timing belt. A bad timing belt can cause improper timing, which could lead to low oil pressure or not enough lubrication for the engine.

Engine Misfire

When the timing belt is already worn out, it can slip off the gears and fall over the camshaft. When this happens, the cylinders could open or close too soon. This is what leads to a misfire. If the timing belt isn’t replaced immediately, you could face permanent engine damage.

Idling Or Stalling Of The Engine

Timing belts are designed to have teeth to grip the gears for proper functioning. However, when worn out, the timing belt can lose the teeth and they can get stuck in the gears. When there is improper timing, the car can also stall because the engine is not receiving the right fuel and air ratio or is releasing the exhaust efficiently.

Oil Leak

Leaking oil is another thing to watch out for when it is around your engine. The possible cause of the leak could be a loose timing belt cover because the nuts and bolts could come loose over time. Another reason for the leak could be a cracked or worn-out gasket between your timing belt cover and engine block. This can eventually lead to overheating of the engine and more problems for you.

Too Much Exhaust

When the timing is off due to a bad timing belt, the engine may not receive and let go of air efficiently and with synchronicity with the other parts of the engine. This pushes the engine to work harder than it is supposed to. That makes it produce more exhaust than your usual.

Timing Belt Replacement

Although the signs above could point to a bad timing belt that needs to be replaced, there are times when there are no obvious signs. That’s why it is recommended to have the timing belt replaced eerie 60,000 to 100,000 miles. If you are unsure, check the manufacturer’s recommendations.


It can be frustrating when your car just won’t start and a bad timing belt could just be one of the reasons. If this happens to you at any time of day in Tampa Bay and other surrounding metro areas, you can Big League Towing for their 24/7 roadside assistance. The experienced team is ready to help find a solution to your problem or tow it to your desired repair shop…

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