One vital component of your BMW that you may be overlooking is the timing belt, which plays a huge role in keeping your vehicle’s engine running smoothly. If this component fails, it can cause serious problems for the rest of the engine and may even cause your vehicle to break down entirely. As such, all BMW owners should know how to identify and respond to the causes, signs, and symptoms of timing belt failure.
As its name suggests, the timing belt is a rubber belt that synchronizes the timing between your BMW’s camshaft and its crankshaft. More specifically, it ensures that the camshaft valves and the crankshaft pistons move at the right moment, allowing the former to bring air and fuel into the engine and the latter to compress the air/fuel mixture. If the timing belt malfunctions, the synchrony between the crankshaft and the camshaft may fall apart, causing significant problems for your vehicle’s engine.
Whenever you drive your BMW, its timing belt is exposed to extreme temperatures and tension. As such, one of the most common causes of timing belt malfunctions is regular wear and tear. Over time, a timing belt that receives regular use may lose some of its structural integrity and begin to stretch or crack. This prevents the belt from working efficiently, which will throw your vehicle’s engine out of sync. Accordingly, experts recommend changing your vehicle’s timing belt every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
In addition to regular wear and tear, another common cause of timing belt failure is the introduction of dirt, debris, and other foreign materials to the system. For example, if oil or antifreeze leaks out of a different part of your vehicle and onto the timing belt, the belt’s teeth and fabric may begin to separate from its body. Furthermore, if debris gets stuck in the timing belt system, it may nick or scratch the belt. In severe cases, this may cause the belt to snap entirely, which can be very dangerous for you and your vehicle. To prevent this from happening, you should routinely bring your BMW in for scheduled maintenance and should address any fluid leaks as soon as you notice them.
Finally, a third common cause of timing belt malfunctions is misalignment. If your BMW’s timing belt, or any of its related components such as timing pulleys or shafts, gets knocked out of place, the misalignment will put added stress on the belt. This may lead to uneven tooth wear and can eventually cause the belt to snap. Much like debris-related damage, this problem can usually be prevented through routine maintenance.
Unfortunately, prevention isn’t always enough, and despite your best efforts, your BMW’s timing belt may someday malfunction. If this happens, the first step to solving the problem is diagnosing it in the first place. Luckily, most of the symptoms of timing belt failure are easy to recognize. For example, one of the most common signs of a timing belt malfunction is a ticking noise coming from the engine. Although this noise may also pop up when your vehicle is experiencing low oil pressure, it is a sure-fire sign that your BMW’s engine should be examined by a professional.
Additional symptoms of a malfunctioning timing belt include engine misfires, oil leaking from the motor, and failure of the engine to turn over. If your BMW is displaying any of these symptoms, either separately or in conjunction with each other, you should bring your vehicle to our mechanics as soon as possible. Not only will this prevent the problem from growing any worse, but it will save you both time and money in the long run.
If you suspect that your BMW’s timing belt is starting to malfunction, don’t wait for it to fail entirely. Instead, bring your vehicle to Ultimate Bimmer Service. For over thirty years, our experienced mechanics have provided excellent service to BMW owners in Carrolton and Dallas, TX. We know that your vehicle is important to you and are dedicated to helping you keep it running smoothly, so give us a call today to find out what we can do for you.