What happens if the timing belt is too tight?

I’ve recently gotten into DIY car maintenance, and one of the first things I want to tackle is adjusting my timing belt. I’m afraid that I may accidentally tighten it too much. What happens if the timing belt is too tight?

Jim Burg · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Getting into DIY car maintenance can be equal parts exciting and scary, but you’re doing the right thing by asking questions ahead of time. If the timing belt is too tight, it could wear out the bearings in your engine and potentially cause your belt to snap.
Here are a few warning signs that could indicate that you have tightened too far on your timing belt:
  • Engine sounds louder, usually with a whirring, knocking, or droning noise
  • Your belt becomes prematurely worn or breaks
  • Acceleration issues
  • Engine fails to start or has trouble starting
If these symptoms appear after you have tightened your timing belt, it could mean that it was over tightened. If these issues disappear after you loosen the belt, it’s likely that you’ve found the root of the problems.
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