When Is It Necessary To Change Belt Tensioner?

The purpose of the timing belt tensioner is to ensure proper amount of tension on the timing belt.

The purpose of the timing belt tensioner is to ensure proper amount of tension on the timing belt.

The timing belt is an internal part of the engine that connects crankshaft to the camshaft and regulates the opening and closing of camshaft valves in sequence with the engine pistons. Since the timing belt connects various main components of the engine like alternator, water pump, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor etc, it should work in a perfect synchronous manner to ensure proper working of engine components. Broken or low tension / loose timing belt can stop engine from working normally and cause other accessories to fail.

Generally, at the time of replacing the timing belt people also change the tensioner because it easily wears out at the same rate as belt. And the fact that many other components are dependent on its proper operation, the tensioner should be checked regularly and replaced timely to avoid running into the risk of many engine problems. The tensioners are typically not seen in the cars with timing chain. It is present in the vehicles that uses rubber timing belt for rotating the engine components. For any reason if the tensioner fails to work properly, the amount of tension on the timing belt will decrease causing the belt to become loose or come off the pulley. Hence, proper working of belt tensioner is necessary to ensure correct amount of tension on the timing belt.

Check The Type Of Belt Tensioner

Since the belt tensioners can be of hydraulic or mechanical types check which type has been installed in your vehicle. A hydraulic tensioner consists of a hydraulic actuator in combination with the tension pulley whereas mechanical tensioner contains a mechanical spring anchored to the engine and to the tensioner lever to ensure optimal belt tension on the timing belt. When replacing with a new one, it is better to opt for the same type of tensioner. Sometimes, people consider upgrading their mechanical type to hydraulic ones thinking that it would have lesser issues. While replacing, generally same type is recommended because the belt routing, idler pulley and the setup are different for both.

When Does Your Timing Belt Tensioner Needs Replacement?

The tensioner can have cracks or damages or the pulley bearing can wear out due to prolonged usage. You may notice vibrations, squeaks or rattling noises caused by the loose belt hitting against other parts. You will also notice vehicles battery warning light stay illuminated or check engine light illuminated with a code set for valve timing problem. Sometimes, screeching sound will be heard from the front end of the car when you change the gear or the car doesn’t pick up speed smoothly when accelerated. When you notice such unusual issues, it is a sign of problem with timing belt or tensioner. You can also inspect timing belt tension by manually pressing on the belt between the pulleys. If it shows any signs of wear or loose tension then it requires a replacement. Typically, when replacing timing belt, it is a good idea to replace other components of timing belt i.e the idler pulleys, tensioner and water pump.

Waterpumpu.com was put together by the professionals at US Motor Works (USMW), the manufacturer of electric fuel pumps, fan clutches, automotive water pumps, oil pumps, cooling accessories and other automotive & heavy duty engine parts. Waterpumpu.com website has diagnostic tips for water pump car coolant leaks & write-ups about water pump repair. For further details on water pump installation and system diagnosis, water pump replacement, engine over heating issues, troubleshooting coolant leaks and more, please visit http://www.waterpumpu.com.

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