How to Know When a Belt Tensioner Is Bad

Written by lina schofield
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Know When a Belt Tensioner Is Bad
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The timing belt tensioner regulates tension on the timing chain, allowing the engine to run effectively. If the timing is incorrect, it can reduce overall engine power and can potentially cause expensive damage to your vehicle. The timing belt tensioner may require replacement, if it becomes worn or damaged. The easiest way to determine a problem with the timing belt tensioner in your vehicle is to listen for abnormal noises while driving on a familiar route.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Start your engine, and allow your vehicle to warm. Drive a familiar route. This will help you recognise anything out of the ordinary as you stop, start and take curves on the road. After you come to a stop, listen for a rattling noise when accelerating forward again. This noise often suggests a damaged tensioner pulley. The sound may also result from excessive pressure on the pulley.

  2. 2

    Come to another stop, and accelerate slowly. As you do this, listen carefully to your engine. If it begins revving abnormally, there is usually a problem with your belt tensioner.

  3. 3

    Shift through each of the gears in sequential order. Listen for any screeching or squealing sounds. If you hear these noises, your belt tensioner is likely worn out and requires replacement.

  4. 4

    Begin your drive home, and listen for a humming sound. Even if the humming comes and goes away again, you should check your belt tensioner for any damage or wear.

  5. 5

    Look under your vehicle for oil leaks over the next few days. Oil leaks often accompany a cracked belt tensioner. This should be addressed, immediately, to prevent damaging your engine.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.