Automotive engineering and design is not a fail-safe process; in fact, some of the most world-renowned vehicles incur failure in parts at one point or another. Since mechanical engineering is a precise undertaking, it’s reasonable to assume that every part is there for a distinct reason and serves an important purpose, and therefore it’s important to keep up with maintenance and repair procedures. However, it can be concerning and disheartening when your luxury, performance vehicle encounters issues and no longer seems so luxurious and isn’t performing so optimally.
All vehicles have their specific engineering and design pitfalls. In Audi vehicles, one of the notable problems in more recent models is failure of the camshaft tensioner. This can lead to disappointing performance, replacement of the part, and in the worst cases, total engine failure. Although it might sound serious, this doesn’t negate the wonderful design that goes into Audi vehicles, and before assuming the worst about your Audi helpful to know a little bit more about what a camshaft tensioner does and how you can prevent this issue from occurring in your Audi model. In this article we’ll go over the basics of camshafts and camshaft tensioners, including troubling signs of failure.
What is a cambelt and cambelt tensioner?
Automotive jargon can be quite difficult to navigate for many drivers, so keeping it as simple as possible and avoiding long-winded explanations is necessary. Your Audi’s cambelt, or timing belt, is a long belt made of tough rubber, like your tires, which is weaved through a complex system of pulleys which utilize tensioners to hold the timing belt in it’s proper setting. Belt tensioners and timing belts (or cambelt tensioners and cambelts) require replacement usually around the 100,000-mile mark; however, in Audi models from the year 2008-2015, the timing belt tensioners tend to spring leaks and eventually fail shortly thereafter.
Leaks are most common due to faulty valve covers and O-rings, which are usually part of a timing belt kit in need of replacement. The cambelt tensioner is a critical piece in your engine’s functioning because it indirectly helps keep the engine’s timing. If the cambelt becomes loosened due to a faulty tensioner, it can cause a leak, which is part and parcel of eventual failure it not addressed immediately. As previously mentioned, in the worst cases the belt snaps and causes severe, often irreparable engine damage.
Signs that might follow, accompany, or precipitate a leak
Besides concerning leaks, your Audi might also exhibit other symptoms of cambelt tensioner failure. For instance, it’s common to hear a loud screeching or rattling noises coming from the engine when the tensioner isn’t working properly. You might also hear an engine knocking sound due to a loose belt hitting engine components it’s not meant to come into contact with. Finally, the most telling sign of timing belt tensioner failure is the check-engine light. Along with leaks due to cambelt tensioner failure, it’s important to pay attention to the other signs your Audi sends you and have them diagnosed by a professional who specializes in Audi vehicles and can best isolate the problem.
What you should do next
The best thing you can do to prevent engine damage or belt tensioner failure in your Audi is to look for a professional automotive technician nearby who has extensive knowledge and experience working with German-engineered cars such as Audis. These luxury cars require regular servicing to perform optimally, and knowing their engineering deficits can help you prevent unforeseen issues from arising. This is one of the biggest advantages to taking your car to an Audi specialist for service and maintenance.
How we can help you
The Audi experts here at Autobahn Automotive serve a wide range of Audi models in the areas of San Antonio and Longhorn, TX. For over 4 decades we’ve delivered on our promise to provide the best quality auto services for drivers of German-engineered cars. Since Audi vehicles are unique and have kept our interest over the years, we are well versed on their common engineering and design deficits, making us best prepared to work preventively with our clients to keep common problems from coming up. If you’re experiencing any ominous leaks or suspect that your cambelt tensioner requires an inspection, please contact us right away to schedule an appointment—your safety and your engine could depend on it.