Tips to Detect Camshaft Tensioner Leaks in Your Audi

Audi Camshaft Tensioner

Audis represent some of the best German engineering on the market, and because of this, they are popular vehicles in both Europe and the United States. Reliable, economic, and thoughtfully designed; there is a lot to love about Audi. Even so, without the correct care and maintenance standards, even the very best examples of engineering can start to show signs of wear and tear.

In this article, we will look at some great tips you can use to detect camshaft tensioner leaks in your Audi.

What is the camshaft tensioner?

The camshaft tensioner is an integral part of your engine. Your Audi runs on a 4-stroke combustion process: the intake stroke, compression stroke, power stroke, and exhaust stroke. During these motions, both the camshaft and the crankshaft rotate. Your car perfectly times these rotations with the opening and closing of valves and the motion of pistons. This is all coordinated by your vehicle’s timing belt. The timing belt is similar to a bike chain. To operate properly, this belt needs to be kept under the correct tension, which is the job of the camshaft tensioner.

The tensioner is able to maintain this pressure by using either spring tension or hydraulic pressure. In the case of Audis, it is typical that the latter is used. To ensure correct hydraulic pressure, your Audi will use high-pressure hydraulic oil. This needs maintenance and replacement like all fluids in your vehicle.

Signs and Symptoms of Camshaft Tensioner Leaks

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of tensioner leaks will help you to detect issues much quicker than if you are left guessing. Below are some of the most common warning signs your Audi will give you.

1. Sounds

Grinding or ticking noises from under the hood when starting the engine is an indicative sound of a timing belt that is under incorrect tension or that is malfunctioning altogether. This could be due to a lack of pressure from a tensioner leak or a worn out or damaged timing belt.

2. Belt Wear

While some wear of the timing belt is typical with time and use, if you notice uneven or strange wear patterns on the belt, such as fraying, then it could be a potential sign that the camshaft tensioner isn’t working properly. A belt with atypical wear should not be ignored, as the potential for snapping or breaking increases exponentially.

3. Broken Components

If you notice your engine overheating, and the radiator is still working properly, or if your air conditioning is failing, then you could have damage to one of the many belt driven components of your Audi. This could be due to damage to the belt, but it can also be caused by a camshaft tensioner leak.

4. Poor Acceleration

If you notice that your car seems to struggle to drive at various speeds or that acceleration feels unstable, it is likely you have a worn or slipping timing belt. This is usually caused by a camshaft tensioner leak.

5. Hefty Exhaust Fumes

A worn out belt can also result in smoke or heavy levels of exhaust fumes emitting from your vehicle.

6. Engine Doesn’t Turn Over

As both the timing belt and the camshaft tensioner play and integral role in the starting and turning over of your engine, if either part is failing, it is likely your engine will struggle to turn over if at all.

Repairing the Camshaft Tensioner

If your camshaft tensioner is leaking, you’ll need to seek repairs as soon as possible. A belt which is not maintained at the correct pressure is at a far greater risk of snapping, and if it does so, it could do unwanted and expensive damage to your engine.


While you can use high-quality synthetic oil Audi Camshaft Tensioner Leak Checkto help extend the longevity of your Audi’s timing belt, the biggest tip any mechanic or automotive expert can give you is to look after the parts and systems of your car. Schedule regular and thorough maintenance. High maintenance standards will help ensure that should a problem arise, it is caught as early as possible. This will reduce the risk of further damage resulting from a failed part or system.

If its been a while since your Audi was last serviced, and you live in or around Gardena, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Glendale, or Anaheim, CA area, we offer expert-level maintenance at Pro Car Mechanics. We know exactly what it takes to keep your Audi running at peak performance. Our team is passionate and committed to ensuring your Audi performs as well as it did when it left the factory floor.

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