Timing Belt Noise Issues – Common Sounds and Possible Causes

October 18, 2022
Posted by: Ramee M

If your car is making unusual noises while driving, there is a chance that it can be a timing belt issue. However, there can be different problems with the timing belt, resulting in different types of noises. If you are able to identify these sounds, you will be able to get the problem resolved before it leads to bigger issues in your car.

This guide will help you understand the reasons behind different timing belt noises along with possible solutions to those problems.


Mechanic fixing a timing belt noise

Before discussing what the timing belt sounds like, let’s first quickly glance over what this belt is all about. A timing belt is a crucial component of your car’s engine, if the rubber belt breaks, your engine can get damaged majorly. This belt runs through a series of pulleys and gears. Cars with combustion engines rely on timing belts or timing chains for proper functioning.

What basically a timing belt does is connect the camshaft to the crankshaft in your engine enabling a synchronized rotation that allows the engine to properly function.

As for the timing belt noise, if the belt does not work properly there is synchronization. And this is when your car starts to make unusual sounds, which are called bad timing belt noise.

This is a crucial problem. You will be doing a great disservice to your vehicle’s health by ignoring the timing belt noise.

If your timing belt has gone bad, it is making noises, it may be because it’s old or because it’s broken. Not fixing it with a new one usually means your vehicle’s engine will not ignite.

To put it simply, with a bad timing belt, your engine will not ignite fully when you try starting the car with your key. Then, if the timing belt is broken, your car will not start at all.


Following symptoms will help identify if the noise coming from your car is a timing belt noise or something else.


The teeth of the timing belt make it sound different from the other belts in your engine, such as a serpentine belt. Generally, a timing belt that goes bad makes a noticeable ticking or clicking timing belt sound that is unusual.

When the timing belt starts falling the ticking or clicking sound becomes pretty audible. The meshing teeth present on the inside of the timing belt running between the camshaft gear and the crankshaft gear keeps the gears in place. When the teeth wear out or fall off, fast-paced, repetitive timing belt noise is generated as it rotates.


Although squealing noises are mostly associated with the serpentine belt, an irregular squeal can be due to a worn-out timing belt. Unlike the ticking timing belt sound, this sound is not continuous. However, the timing belt makes squealing sounds when you hit the brakes or accelerator with full force.

The best way to be sure the symptom is related to a problem with the timing belt and not any other belt or part of the engine malfunctioning – you should visit a mechanic who would open the engine and visually inspect your vehicle engine’s timing belt.


If the timing belt tensioner is loose and the timing belt is getting stretched out because of this reason, you will continuously hear knocking or slapping noises. This happens because the loose timing belt hits several parts inside the timing belt cover.


If the timing belt is making noise notice if the check engine light is on

If there is a problem with your timing belt, your engine might flicker the check engine light on your dashboard. However, there are several reasons why the check engine light goes on. So just to be sure, use an onboard diagnostic tool or plug an OBD2 scanner into your car to figure out why the dashboard light turned on in the first place.

If your timing belt has gone bad, your engine wouldn’t start because the crankshaft and camshaft won’t be synchronized. When you try to turn on the engine with your key, the starter motor might engage and you may hear that too, but the engine won’t just start and there will be damage in the internal engine compartment if the timing belt breaks off.

The engine’s cylinder head hardware, its crank bearings and oil pump inside – all might be damaged due to a broken timing belt.


Other than timing belt noise, another sign identifying your timing belt has gone bad is motor oil leaking from the front of the engine. Generally, oil leakage starts from the timing belt cover. Another reason for oil leakage is when the gasket fit between the engine block and timing cover debilitates, it will also happen if the gasket has a crack or has been improperly installed.

Commonly, your car timing belt wears out when the engine is overheated as a result of oil leaking from the timing belt cover.


In order to isolate the noise, you should go through the following process:

  1. Park your car and turn off the engine
  2. Open the hood and remove the serpentine belt
  3. Start the engine again and see if there is a noise
  4. If there is noise, this is most definitely a timing belt sound, making it clear that the timing bad is wearing out
  5. Get the timing belt replaced

Timing belts are easily available throughout the country. You can buy a number of car parts and accessories in the Qatar online.

That is all about timing belt noises and solutions to the problem. Besides, if your car asks for lots of repairs and you face mechanical issues often, it may be because your car is aging. In such a situation it is a good idea to buy another car and avoid hefty repair and maintenance expenses. Take a look at used cars in the Qatar here.

Stay tuned to the Qatar’s top car blog for more on automobile mechanism, car problems and their solutions.

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