The timing belt tensioner is what applies pressure to the timing belt, keeping it tight and running smoothly. When something goes wrong, it is often the tensioner that is the cause and not the timing belt itself. To prevent the timing belt from failing, the timing belt, tensioner, and idler pulleys should be replaced periodically. If your unsure what the interval is for your car, truck, or SUV is, our service advisors at The Car Doctor can provide you with the recommended replacement interval. When a timing belt tensioner breaks, it can cause the timing belt to slip or break, causing the split-second synchronization of engine components to be lost. Like a broken timing belt, the damage of a failed timing belt tensioner could be catastrophic, and costly. A broken timing belt can cause the pistons to collide with the valves, potentially bending or breaking them. Additionally, a broken timing belt could cause damage to the cylinder head or camshaft. While there is not always a warning when a timing belt or timing belt tensioner breaks, periodic inspection and regular replacement is the best prevention. Call The Car Doctor in Falls Church at 703-560-8870, or schedule an appointment online today to have your timing belt tensioner inspected.