An Audi relies on a camshaft tensioner to maintain tension in its engine’s timing belt (AKA, the camshaft). The camshaft, which is a part of your car’s internal combustion engine, is responsible for maintaining a synchronized rotation of the valves that supply fuel and remove exhaust from your vehicle.
There are two main types of camshaft tensioners: hydraulic pressure and spring tension. An Audi is likely to operate using the former. The hydraulic pressure system requires high-pressure hydraulic oil to operate. But just like any oil, this high-pressure hydraulic oil is susceptible to leakages.
Camshaft tensioner leaks, when gone unchecked, can provide a significant threat and cost to you, your vehicle, and other drivers. If you suspect you might have a camshaft tensioner leak, look out for the warning signs below, and schedule an appointment with a local mechanic to ensure it is in proper working order.
Common Warning Signs of a Tensioner Leak
The first noticeable sign your camshaft tensioner might be leaking is difficulty accelerating. Both lagging and sudden lurching can be a result of improper tension in your vehicle’s timing belt, which is an indication of leaking oil. This problem will especially be most noticeable when accelerating around 2000 RPM.
Loud clicking and grinding
A malfunctioning tensioner will result in the camshaft (the timing belt) of your vehicle to become loose. When the belt is loose, the valves it keeps synchronized will begin to misfire. This misfiring is the primary potential source of clicking; however, leaking will eventually lead to a decreased amount of lubrication in your vehicle’s components. When unlubricated, multiple components within your car could be responsible for a grinding noise.
Engine misfires or failures
A complete engine failure is one of the more severe signs your camshaft tensioner is leaking. It could also be an indication that your timing belt has completely snapped, which can lead to bent valves or damage to your cylinder head or camshaft. Complete engine failure is a severe combustion issue, in addition to an absolute headache to expensive. Your car should be taken to a mechanic immediately if you experience misfires to avoid severe damage.
Accelerated belt wear
Your car’s timing belt can become prematurely aged when in conjunction with a leaking camshaft tensioner. The timing belt, which can be found under the hood of your vehicle, can last anywhere between 50,000-100,000 miles (your Audi’s will likely last on the shorter end of that spectrum, between 50,000-70,000). However, we recommend you check the owner’s manual for your specific model to be sure of the expected life span, and schedule a visit to a local mechanic if it exhibits significant degradation before the expected amount.
Check engine light illuminates
Perhaps the most unambiguous indication your vehicle has a leak in its tensioner is a simple one: the check engine light will switch on. A properly-functioning camshaft tensioner and timing belt are critical for a well-functioning engine, and failure from either component will result in the check engine light to turn on.
Turning Wrenches for Camshaft Tensioner Leaks
If your car is exhibiting the signs of camshaft tensioner leakage, it is wise to call a professional. While it is possible to fix the leak yourself, the threat of total engine failure, if done improperly, leads many people to turn to a professional and specialized mechanic to ensure it is fixed properly.
Turning Wrenches, based in Louisville, KY, is the best service center in the area for any problems you may experience with your European style vehicle (such as a camshaft tensioner leak). Since we opened our doors in 2013, we’ve specialized in the service and repair of the area’s most popular European brands, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and MINI. We hire only the most qualified ASE-certified mechanics so that your car can get back on the road where it belongs.
Once your vehicle is fully repaired, the best way to keep your vehicle in top condition is by scheduling routine inspections with a mechanic. Regular inspections of your vehicle can determine potential threats before they arrive, which means fewer headaches you’ll have to deal with later. Call us today for an appointment.