if the timing belt breaks does it screw up the engine

Asked by Nov 19, 2012 at 09:27 AM about the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

33 Answers


Yep. It won't start and/or run.

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

It depends on the engine. Some engines are called interference engines and the pistons will bend the valves when a timing belt fails.

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

Yep. tenspeed is right on. The piston will come up on a compression or an exhaust stroke and hit a valve that is not supposed to be open. That will destroy the top end, and this can happen even if the engine does not start, the act of trying, cranking to start will do it.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

If you are not going fast or revving the engine, it could be just fine. I have had it break on me twice, but it didn't mess anything up because I was moving at a slow speed. But my PT is doing just fine... I have 257,000 miles on it!

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

Keyword Steven is "could be"....I sure am glad it did not destroy your engine, that's great. But some engines it will. It has nothing to do with rpm. Either the tolerance is so close to hit valves or it is not.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Between Neons and Pt Cruisers you got a 50/50 chance of valves bending when belt breaks. Just did one today and lucked out, just replaced belt and engine runs fine. The last one the water pump seized and stripped teeth off belt but did not hurt engine The one before broke belt, had 4 bent valves. Before that 2 bent valves. Best if you are not lucky change belt tensioner and water pump. 100,000 miles or 160,000 kms and you are on borrowed time. The PT Cruiser I did today had 210,000 km .

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

To expand on guyiknow's answer. PT Cruisers run semi interference engines. The path of the valves will not enter the path of the piston. It is possible for the exhaust valves and intake valves to contact at which point you end up with bent valve stems. My guess would be the determining factor is where the belt breaks. If it's on the return path to the harmonic balancer you're unlikely to cause any damage, if it's elsewhere the exhaust camshaft may continue to rotate as the belt is dragged over the pulley.

16 out of 16 people think this is helpful.

Mine broke while doing 65 on the freeway in the ATL...no engine damage.

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

please help me my cruiser has 130, miles. body is excellent condition, it is a 2007. but timing belt went. i was told 2500-3000 to fix. i owe money on it. dont have transportation at this moment hard getting around. should i sell, but engine or just call it a loss. lorietravels@hotmail.com

27 out of 27 people think this is helpful.

Take it to a dealer. They will replace the belt and diagnose the damage. If there is no damage, the bill will be around $1,100. If the belt was not replaced prior to giving you the estimate, the mechanic has no idea what he is talking about...

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Dtroller- the shop doesn't need to install a new timing belt to give that estimate- they only have to do a leak down test on each cylinder. As mentioned earlier, the valves will not hit the pistons but can hit each other. you should NOT replace the belt before confirming or ruling out further internal engine damage.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

Just had a Chrysler/ Dodge mechanic tell my wife that the PT has a non-interference engine, which means it would "fail safe." He recommended a timing belt change at 90K miles, but has seen them fail as early as 73Kmiles.--Alan

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

i only charge $600 at my shop to change the timing belt

24 out of 24 people think this is helpful.

My timing belt went this week. I keep hearing conflicting stories whether the engine is non interference or not? I had to have it towed to a shop other than my regular mechanic to do the timing belt. Im crossing my fingers no engine damage, when it happened I was not going over 45 mph, My car kinda sputtered/misfired, then the engine light came on, I coasted into a parking lot but my car shut down right at that point. I dont know if thats a good or bad sign.

30 out of 30 people think this is helpful.

BTW my garage said 660.00 for timing belt that includes water pump. Cant even imagine what it will cost me for valve damage.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Mine went out yesterday. Was going about 40mph u think it's ok still

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

My 2003 pt's timing belt just busted, I am hearing all these stories, I was getting ready to make a right turn so my rpms were very low, 10 mph .. .I heard a snap/pop .. my car felt like it threw something, I quickly got it pulled over and turn the motor off. Yes my motor was still running after the belt broke, Yet I felt a lot of tension from the motor. I had my PT towed to the mechanic, It also started for them. Now I sit and wait to hear how much damage was done .. I was told the repairs can go from 400 up to 1,300. My stomach is in knots !!! Arghhhhh !!

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

My 2005 pt cruiser belt broke they replaced it but could not start engine was told that possible valve damage ended up getting head reconditioned total cost $5600 :(

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Just bought an 05 PT Cruiser with a broken timing belt......thought it would be an easy fix until i tried to remove the intake cam sprocket and found it had seized up!! Probably bent valves.Crap!! The belt was already off, and when i tried to loosen the exhaust sprocket it turned the cam. I hope it didn't hurt the bottom end. I will buy a used head at the local pullapart salvage yard. A lot of work ahead, Wish me luck!!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Wish l would have read all this before l bought my 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Driving home last november my car lost power and quit on me. Had it towed to the shop where l found out l needed a new engine because my timing belt broke and had catastrauphic engine failure to the tune of $5800 and since l owed $4500 on it l voluntarily repoed it. My advice is do your homework before buying another car. There are lists that let you know what types of vehicles have interference/non interference motors. Oh and my car only had 105,000 miles on it. Hopefully when the repo guys get it from the dealership, as of this date it has yet to be picked up, and it goes to auction the person that buys it knows exactly what they are getting into. My Ford Escort '99 that l sold my brother has 225,000 miles on it and was only $250 to change timing belt. It pays to educate yourself before buying a car. Had l known about the cost $1200 to replace the belt before it went l would have traded it in. Good luck everyone.


My husband's timing belt on his 07 pt cruiser just broke today. It's a non interference motor. It has 89000 miles on it. 125 dollar fix. He's a mechanic so the parts were only 125 to fix it. Some ppl are getting ripped off.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

Its hard not to be ripped off unless a family member or you are mechanic when my timing belt was replaced engine did not start meaning valve damage because my 2005 PT cruiser has an interference engine that's what i was told. :(

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

My husband's engine wouldn't start and he had no damage to anything. Just the belt

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

The PT Cruiser 150hp engine is always a non interference engine. If you have seized camshafts is more likely due to poor lubrication/low oil pressure. The seizing of the camshaft is what is breaking the belt in this case. Failure to change oil as recommended by Chrysler is usually the root cause. Normally the belt should last at least at least 80,000 miles and can last much longer. Your driving habits can greatly reduce the belts life. Lots of hard accelerations will surely do it. The belt breaking doesn't cause other problems but other problem like water pump seizing, cam shaft bearing seizing, timing belt tensioner seizing will break the belt. If you do change the belt either before it breaks or after it breaks you should also change the water pump and belt tensioner at the same time every time.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.

2005 PT Cruiser GT convertible. Interference or non-interference? Timing belt broke and the mechanic I took it too doesn't have the ability to test it. I'm trying to decide if I should A) tow it somewhere else, B) have him replace the timing belt @ $600 and just hope or C) his recommendation is to scrap it. He feels that it's a 99% chance the valves were bent because it broke on the freeway.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

personally, i have had a number of cars that were interference engines (i,e, ford escort 1996; 1996 acura integra; 1999 dodge avenger) snap and strip the belts and once the belts, water pump, tension-er and idler pulleys were replaced and set back in time they fired up without a hitch, just because they are interference engines does not mean for certain that damage will occur.. it is a matter of timing and when the belt fails.. bad timing literally can cost you in this instance.. but good timing will present fair weather.. just a little pun here but for real it is a "stroke" of luck and timing that will determine if the valves bend or remain in tact.. turns out 3 out of 3 were all "lucky" right now looking at a 1996 mitsubishi eclipse spyder,, but i ma betting since I warned the guy the tensioner was causing his squealing and he ddnt replace it .. the valves are bent on this one.,, just because I warned him..

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

My 07 dodge charger 3.5 has the interference motor.the timing belt broke at idle doing 70...motor rared up and shut completely down.it wouldn't restart.had it towed I'm still waiting on Pins&Needles from the mechanic to inform me the severity of the damage. All I'm hearing is the interference motor timing belt goes it destroys the motor...but I have FAITH and after reading what ladagosta submitted makes me feel at least one less needle from the pin....

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

When this happened to me, the mechanic told me that I would need a new engine. However, I towed it to another shop who said that the ONLY way to tell is to REPLACE the timing belt and then test the engine. In my case, I only needed the timing belt and water pump...$500 vs. $5,000. Make sure the mechanic replaces the belt and tests before you do anything!!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

My timing belt broke last week while I was on the highway. I lost power and barely made it to the side of the road. I had it towed to my repair shop where they told me the engine could be damaged beyond repair. I was on pins and needles for two days waiting to find out. The news for me was good. My engine is fine. The bad news is the repair was over $1,500.


My daughter is away at college. Her 2006 PT had a water pump problem, damaged the timing belt and bent Pistons. It has 89k miles on it. The mechanic did a test to determine that the valves were bent. He says full repair would be $2400, maybe less. I only think the car is worth $3k. We just replaced the radiator fan for $700 a few months back. A year back I replaced a cam sensor myself. Is this car worth it?

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I have a Chrysler PT Cruiser, Odometer 229,662, engine 4-148 2.4L DOHC. Mechanic adises to replace timing belt & water pump for $1,080.83 (cooling flush would be an extra $139.95). A friend told me to wait until the belt gives me trouble and that a belt could last forever. Not known if belt has ever been changed before. Bought car for $1,500.00 at a garage sale. 3rd owner. I love my car. Gloria

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

same problem here with 3day purchased used hyundai accent 2008 interference engine .,. timing belt broke on a freeway going 50mph it didnt make any noise from the engine when it happened .,. 600 $ to change the belt .,but my PT said 50/50 that the engine is ok or not .,. he said im gambling by putting a new belt .,. but without putting a new belt we cant findout if the engine is ruined :( .,. PT is putting the belt tommorrow .,. i hope no damage .,.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a question I have a dodge caravan with a 2.4 engine the water pump starting leaking so I'm having timing belt replaced too anybody know anything about this engine

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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