The timing belt is an absolutely critical part of your Volvo. Without it, your engine literally cannot function. A timing belt keeps your camshafts and crankshafts in sync, which allows the cylinders to fire in the right order and at the right time, hence the name timing belt.
Camshafts and components that rotate, and their rotational motion, is translated into reciprocal motion. Reciprocal is up and down or back and forth motion. The camshaft opens the engine’s valves so that air and fuel may enter the combustion chamber to be mixed and ignited in the combustion process. A crankshaft converts the up and down motion of the engine’s pistons into rotational motion, helping to drive the vehicle’s wheels forward.
Malfunctions of either of these lead to severe problems in running conditions. Often, the timing belt is the culprit, as damage to the belt equals problems in driving the camshafts and/or crankshafts.
Given that a timing belt is so important to the integrity of your Volvo’s engine, let’s go over some of the signs your timing belt is damaged or even broken so you can seek repairs.
Signs of Timing Belt Problems in Volvo
- Ticking noise: A ticking sound might come from the engine bay when your timing belt is damaged. This is likely to be accompanied by rough running conditions, as the timing of the engine will be off, leading to inconsistent and inefficient engine operations.
- No start: In cases where the timing belt is broken, your Volvo simply will not start. You will not even hear the engine attempt to turn over, as is often the case when you have a weak but not completely dead battery. This can help differentiate a no start condition from one that is electrical in nature (related to battery or starter for instance) versus one that is mechanical, like when the timing belt is broken.
- Inconsistent engine speed: Your RPMs are likely to be erratic, jolting up or down, when your timing belt is damaged. The timing belt contains multiple teeth, and if some of these are broken, you might experience your RPMs jumping up and down even though you are not hitting the accelerator or brake pedals.
- Increased exhaust emissions: When the timing is off, your engine runs rough and generally works harder, which leads to increased smoke emanating from the exhaust. Increased exhaust smoke is a rather general problem, however, and it is hard to state with any confidence that the timing belt is the causal factor. Emissions problems often lead to exhaust smoke changes as well.
Although a timing belt can become damaged or break, it is recommended to have it inspected regularly and replaced as a form of preventative maintenance. Your Volvo’s owner’s manual will have a section dedicated to maintenance schedules, advising you at what mileage you should schedule an appointment to have your timing belt replaced.
Normally, belts are replaced once a vehicle hits 100,000 miles. Of course, it ought to be replaced sooner if any of the above symptoms are noticed or if an inspection reveals premature damage to the timing belt. For example, an oil leak between the engine and timing belt cover can cause damage to the belt itself, leading to it cracking. Cracks in the belt will of course increase the wear on it as it is run, and the cracks become larger over time.
Corpus Auto Service for your Volvo’s Timing Belt Service and Replacement
Corpus Auto Service has been Corpus Christi, TX’s leading destination for European vehicle services for over 35 years! We are a family-owned and operated business who strives to keep our community’s drivers safe at an affordable price. Our community extends beyond Corpus Christi and includes the surrounding areas of Portland, Rockport, Aransas Pass, and Calallen, TX.
Our certified ASE technicians work with the latest in equipment. All work comes with a 365 day warranty. A free shuttle service is also offered if you need transportation while your Volvo is in the shop with us.