You purchase an Audi to experience innovative, high-end performance in a modern package. Maintaining your Audi the right way should always be your priority when you become an owner. This luxury vehicle may set a great standard in the technology industry but can still experience problems when not treated with the same great standard of care. One common problem that can affect your vehicle is a camshaft tensioner leak.

What is a camshaft tensioner?

Your Audi has many parts that all work together to create your exceptional experience. Most modern engines run with a four-stroke combustion process: intake stroke, compression stroke, power stroke, and exhaust stroke. A camshaft is a rotating metal object that converts rotational motion to reciprocal motion; this rotates during the four strokes to ensure that the timing belts keep the right tension and remain tight while in use.

A rubber timing belt runs similarly to a bike chain and runs through various pulleys, or tensioners to coordinate and hold the camshaft. Vehicles use many different types of oil to lubricate the belt and maintain function and temperature. If this oil leaks, the belt can fail, causing your engine to wear out more quickly and even cause irreparable engine damage. To prevent this, it’s vital that you pay attention to any warning signs of a camshaft tensioner leak.

Basic Signs of a Camshaft Tensioner Leak

The tensioner in your Audi likely uses hydraulic pressure to maintain tension on your engine’s timing belt, which utilizes high-pressure hydraulic oil to keep it running. If the camshaft tensioner is leaking out this high-pressure hydraulic oil, you may begin to experience one or more of the following signs:

  • Odd Sounds: You may hear loud grinding, clicking, or ticking noise when starting your engine; this could mean that the timing belt is loose or malfunctioning.
  • Low Battery: If the battery is draining much more quickly than you’d expect, there could be oil leaking into the engine.
  • Overheated Engine: When your car is regularly overheating, your timing belt may be broken.
  • Problems Accelerating: You may have difficulty powering over 2000 RPM if the timing belt is slipping due to improper tension.
  • Engine Fails to Turn Over: If the engine does not turn over when you engage the ignition, it is possible that the belt has completely snapped.
  • Heavy Exhaust Fumes: A sign of a worn timing belt is smoke or heavy fumes coming from your car’s exhaust.
  • Unusual or Premature Wear: When oil leaks from the camshaft tensioner, it falls onto the timing belts and can cause excess fraying or deterioration outside of the normal wear and tear from use.
  • Air Conditioning Won’t Start: While the AC being off can be caused by many things, it can be a sign that oil is leaking into the system.

What do I do if I suspect a camshaft tensioner leak?

If you want to avoid a leak, a high-quality synthetic oil may help extend the life of your camshaft tensioner and timing belt. If you suspect that your Audi already has a camshaft tensioner leak, the tensioner and the entire timing belt set (including all the chains, the gear set, and the guides) will generally need replacement as well as any components that rely on it that were damaged by the leak, like the air conditioner or water pump. The only way to safely proceed is to see an experienced and certified technician.

Seek Help at Hayes European

With a luxury automobile such as an Audi, Audi High Quality Synthetic Oil Useyou cannot cut corners and look for faster, cheaper services. Your inimitable vehicle will only be hurt by it in the long run. The expert mechanics at Hayes European, Santa Cruz’s trusted European auto repair and service shop offer drivers superior, dealership quality Audi maintenance and repair service without the high costs of a dealership.

By paying attention to your Audi’s make and model and its service needs, our mechanics are able to maintain and improve your vehicle’s comfort and performance. Our shop is located in Santa Cruz, CA, but we provide quality service to the Aptos, Soquel, and Capitola areas as well. Call us any weekday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to consult with our expert technicians or to schedule an appointment.