Hearing some noise is normal after accelerating a car. Nonetheless, you can easily note abnormal noises from your hood if you’re accustomed to your vehicle. Such a scenario is a sign of an underlying issue in a car. Motorists often think about the timing belt if they hear noise after accelerating.
A timing belt is a rubber belt with hard teeth that coordinates the engine’s combustion cycle by connecting the crankshaft and the camshaft. Usually, the belt is connected to a series of sprockets and pulleys in a car’s engine.
Can a timing belt affect acceleration?
As outlined above, a timing belt is responsible for synchronizing your engine’s valves’ movement. Therefore, if you have a faulty timing belt, it will affect a car’s acceleration. You could experience a sluggish acceleration. Suppose a timing belt ultimately fails; your car won’t ignite at all.
Does a timing belt make a sound?
A newly installed timing belt or a new car’s timing belt should sound relatively silent when accelerating or driving. You should only hear the normal ham of the engine.
However, a timing belt can easily make noise or abnormal sounds if it’s failing or worn out. Symptoms of such noises from a timing belt sound ticking, squealing, or knocking.
What Causes Timing Belt Noises?
Below are five reasons why your timing belt makes noise when accelerating:
A worn-out timing belt
A timing belt has teeth molded on its inner surface matching toothed pulleys that ensure the belt doesn’t slip as it rotates. However, when a timing belt is worn out precisely on the inner side, it makes a knocking sound anytime you accelerate or decelerate the engine. Usually, the noise lasts for minutes and gets louder as the RPM increases.
A broken timing belt
A broken timing belt is another cause of timing belt noise when accelerating. It makes a loud grinding noise that gets louder as a car’s RPM increases. You may also notice another kind of noise if the timing belt is excessively stretched or broken. They include frequent tapping, low-pitched hamming, rhythmic clicking, and high-pitched or squealing sounds.
Notably, driving with a broken timing belt poses a great risk of damaging your engine. When a timing belt breaks, the crankshaft continues to rotate while the camshaft stops turning; thus, pistons continue to rise and fall in the cylinders and could hit the valves. Therefore damaging the pistons, valves, and cylinder heads.
A loose-timing belt
A loose timing belt often makes a slapping or tapping noise when you accelerate. Additionally, the noise gets louder as the RPMs increase. Such noise results from the loose timing belt hitting several parts inside the timing belt’s cover.
Often a loose timing belt doesn’t prevent the engine from running, but the engine may not run so smoothly since the crankshaft and camshaft are not in proper sync with each other.
Misalignment of the camshaft and crankshaft
The belt itself doesn’t cause all types of noises from the timing belt. Faulty components cause other noises. For instance, a misalignment of the camshaft and crankshaft cause a knocking or thumping sound when accelerating. Additionally, the timing belt may snap or become loose over time.
Worn out or loose tensioner pulley
A tensioner pulley gives tension to the timing belt and transfers the driving force of the crankshaft. If a tensioner pulley is loose, the timing belt may make a squeak or squeal noise when you start or accelerate the engine. This is due to a lack of tension between the belt and the pulleys. A worn-out tensioner pulley may also cause a grinding noise when accelerating a car.
If you decide to keep driving with a loose or worn-out tensioner pulley, the timing belt will eventually slip and cause a loud knocking sound.
How do I Stop My Timing Belt from Making Noise (Solutions to Timing Belt Noises)
Before you start fixing your timing belt, you need to be sure the noises are coming from the timing belt. You can visually inspect the timing belt, which further helps you identify any cracks on the belt.
After you’ve identified that, you can now proceed and start fixing to stop a noisy timing belt.
Below are a few solutions:
Replace a worn-out timing belt
Your timing belt should be replaced regularly: don’t wait until it’s broken for you to fix it. If you start noticing noise (grinding, squealing, knocking, ticking), engine misfire while driving, or a hot leaky running engine, you shouldn’t hesitate to change the timing belt regardless of the mileage. It also includes identifying worn-out teeth on the timing belt. Alternatively, you could use a timing gun or torch (only use the tool if you know how to use it).
Usually, auto maintenance experts recommend changing a timing belt every 60,000 miles.
Adjust the tensioner
Different cars have different types of tensioner systems; therefore, you need to know the exact tensioner on your car. Most old models have an adjustable tensioner pulley on the front of the engine. It has an adjustment bolt that you use to tighten the belt by turning it clockwise or counter-clockwise to loosen the belt. Ensure you have the right tools for the job, i.e., a ratchet and socket.
However, most modern cars have an automatic drive belt tensioner that cannot be adjusted. Therefore, if your belt is too tight or loose, you might have the wrong size belt, or the tensioner is worn out.
A timing belt is one of the essential components that helps a car’s engine run smoothly. While a timing belt can last for years, it should be checked regularly. Most importantly, replacing a timing belt should be part of the maintenance. Doing so prevents possible issues that end up causing the belt to make noises when accelerating.
Also, you should not ignore any noises from the timing belt for a long time. Consider getting professional help for repairs.