Noisy timing belt, a serious problem?

by | Jun 15, 2022 | Tips

When in a car, some attentive drivers may hear a timing belt noise that is easily recognizable because it comes from a specific side of the engine, the right one. Is the problem serious? How much does it cost to have the timing belt repaired by the mechanic?

We will try to answer these questions, but we assume that the issue is not always so serious that we have to request the replacement of this component of our car. In any case, we remind you that regardless of the timing belt noise it is necessary to periodically replace both the belt and the bearings, within times established by the manufacturer, usually set in 5 years or 120 thousand kilometers.

But if the car starts to freak out, the replacement must necessarily take place before this predetermined limit.

Why Does My Engine Squeal When I Turn it On?

Let’s start with the mildest case, when a timing chain noise is heard during the cold winter months. In these situations there is no need to be alarmed, since these squeaks tend to disappear after a few minutes from starting the engine: this is a rather frequent phenomenon that depends on the tensioning bearings of the belts, which subjected to intense cold and humidity can cause life precisely to these noises.

If the components are not excessively old, just a few minutes are enough to make the timing belt noise disappear immediately after starting. If it often occurs with new belts, the advice is to contact your trusted mechanic who will check the draft and the regular passage of the belts.on the bearings.

Broken timing belt noise, how to recognize it?

Of course, the question is much more serious if we are faced with a broken timing belt , which makes it impossible to coordinate the internal components of the engine, which will tend to collide with each other. To act promptly, therefore, you must immediately recognize the symptoms of a broken belt, and the signs to look out for are:

  • Sound like a ticking under the hood
  • Crackling inside the engine
  • Sudden loss of power while driving
  • Ignition failure but battery and starter motor have no problems

In modern cars that have a rich display with many warning lights, a light or flashing signal should appear before the timing belt noise, indicating the failure: in this case, stop and try to identify the timing belt by opening the hood, to notice any sign of wear, tear or fraying that indicates that our belt now needs to be replaced. In general, the noise of the broken timing belt is similar to a screech of plastic , therefore it is necessary to go to a mechanic to replace this fundamental component of the engine.

Cost of timing belt replacement

Unfortunately, a broken timing belt is undoubtedly a big problem, both because you risk your life if this happens suddenly with the engine running, and because the economic outlay is quite high.

First of all it is very important not to underestimate what we have indicated as the timing belt noise, since the first warning allows us to avoid serious accidents in the car and thus be able to provide for immediate replacement. The cost of replacement is usually around 425 pounds, and certainly represents a severe blow to your budget since as a sudden expense it certainly does not represent a small outlay.

However, it is much better to spend 425 pounds immediately than not having to repair the damage caused by the breakage of the belt, which according to the calculations estimated by the experts usually turn out to be 4 or 5 times the cost of the replacement .

If the timing belt breaks while you are in gear, unfortunately there is not much else to do but pull over, turn off the engine and call a mechanic. In spite of some popular legends, you cannot under any circumstances ride with a broken timing belt, unless you want to seriously damage your car as well as risk an accident.


Potential issues, causes, and solutions have been identified in the above article based on the experiences of car owners and repairers, as well as web materials such as forum blogs and technical support bulletins. This data is supplied exclusively for the purpose of reference. Only appropriately qualified persons should perform repairs and/or changes on your vehicles.

While it’s important to keep in mind, it’s also important to note that the amount of times anything is mentioned here should not be seen as a sign of its reliability or frequency. Various owners, driving in different ways, and caring for their vehicles in distinct ways will cause two identical vehicles to perform differently.

As previously said, this material is supplied primarily for reference reasons; nonetheless, we hope that by doing so, we will be able to supply you with essential knowledge that will allow you to make informed decisions whenever you encounter any of the aforementioned setbacks.