When a timing belt breaks, the engine of the car stops working. Often, there is a loud clunking sound right before the timing belt breaks. It is impossible to drive a car with a broken timing belt because the belt regulates the movement of the crankshaft and the camshaft.
The timing belt is made out of reinforced cords with deep grooves that grip the crankshaft and the camshaft and keep each part turning at an appropriate speed. Without the regulation of timing, the pistons and valves collide. Often, when a timing belt breaks, the valves are bent or otherwise damaged.
When a timing belt is in need of repair, there is usually a constant, high-pitched noise when the car is running. Additionally, it becomes difficult to turn the wheels when the timing belt is worn. This is because the crankshaft converts the energy from the pistons, which move up and down rapidly to produce energy. The conversion of energy is partly responsible for the response when the wheels of a car are turned. If the timing belt has too much wear, the timing of the crankshaft is slightly off, which makes the wheels less responsive.
To avoid costly repairs due to a broken timing belt, the belt should be replaced every year or every 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.