Why timing belts need replacement

What is a timing belt?

Timing belts have replaced timing chains on many of today’s engines. Both belts and chains ensure that crankshaft, pistons and valves operate together in proper sequence. Belts are lighter, quieter and more efficient than chains.

Why replace the belt?

Like other components, timing belts wear out. Proper maintenance requires belt replacement at regular intervals–before they break.

Where are the belts located?

Timing belts are on the front of the engine protected by a plastic or metal cover.

When should belts be replaced?

When a timing belt breaks, the engine stops. Replace belts before this occurs. Most manufacturers provide a suggested service life and replacement schedule for this critical component.

How do I know if my car has one?

Your vehicle manual may tell you, but you should ask your technician–he will know for sure. If the timing belt breaks on a free-running engine, the engine stops and you will need a tow to the repair shop. No mechanical damage occurs and the installation of a new belt is usually all that is needed to get you on your way.

What is an “Interference” engine?

If the timing belt breaks on an interference engine, mechanical engine damage occurs. It most commonly involves open valves being struck by pistons, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. In extreme cases, a replacement engine may be required

Why cars need preventative maintenance?

Why Preventive Maintenance

Manufacturers know that a properly maintained car will be more dependable, safer, last longer, and increase your satisfaction with their product. Car makers and owners also have a responsibility to make sure emission controls receive regular service and are functioning properly. Regular maintenance helps accomplish these goals by keeping your engine running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded.

What’s in it for you?

More Dependable Car
A car that retains the “new car feel”
Less chance of a costly breakdown
A safer car for you and your family
Doing your part for cleaner air
A car worth more at trade in or sale
An intact warranty

Manufacturer Maintenance Schedules

The manufacturer creates detailed maintenance schedules outlining specific operations to be performed on various components and systems. This is done at different mileage intervals to ensure proper operation and prevent premature wear. The manufacturer also indicates what services must be done to maintain the factory warranty and extended warranty.

ALLDATA(R) Automotive Information System

This service facility is equipped with an automotive information system that provides this detailed data. The ALLDATA(R) system even lists high-tech specialty lubricants required for your particular car. Other information includes vehicle specific repair and diagnostic information and factory-issued Technical Service Bulletins. The bottom line is efficient, dependable and cost-effective service for you.

What type of motor oil is recommended?

Use the type of motor oil specified in your customer’s owners manual. Most manuals say it’s okay to use a variety of viscosity grades depending on temperature conditions. Generally speaking, the following holds true:

10W-30 is best for all engines for year-round driving. 10W-40 is more popular in the aftermarket, but 10W-30 is actually a better oil because the additive package in it holds up better over the long haul. This is why General Motors does not recommend 10W-40 motor oils for any of its cars.

5W-30 is approved for most late-model four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines on a year-round basis. It is not approved for many turbocharged or diesel applications, some high output V-8s, or applications involving driving at sustained highway speeds or towing in hot weather. It may not be the best choice for older, high mileage engines.

5W-30 is used as the factory fill oil on most new cars because it pumps through the engine more quickly after start-up (important for keeping overhead cams properly lubed). It also makes cold weather starting easier and reduces fuel consumption.

Straight viscosity oils have limited temperature ranges and lack the versatility of multiviscosity oils. They can be safely used as long as their temperature limits are observed.

Straight 10W is okay for cold weather starting and driving, but too thin for warm weather driving.

Straight 20W is okay for all around driving, but doesn’t provide the temperature protection of straight 30W (which gets too thick at low temperatures for easy cold starting).

Straight 40W and 50W oils are primarily for heavy-duty applications.

Special multiviscosity oils such as 2OW-50 are typically formulated for racing or severe duty applications such as towing.

Synthetics are a good alternative for any of the above because most provide extended temperature protection and service life.

What should a complete tune-up include?

Electronic ignition, computerized engine controls, and electronic fuel injection have eliminated many adjustments that were once part of a “traditional” tune-up. Most would agree that a tune-up today is a preventive maintenance service and engine performance check.

Call it what you will, a complete tune-up should combine elements of preventive maintenance, adjustment and performance analysis. One of the main reasons people bring a vehicle in for a tune-up is because they are experiencing some kind of driveability problem.

Things like hard starting, stalling, hesitation, misfiring, poor fuel economy, or lack of power are seldom cured by a new set of spark plugs and a few turns of a screwdriver. Every tune-up should include a comprehensive performance check to verify that no driveability problems or trouble codes exist.

Another item that should be included is an emissions check. Thirty-five states now have some type of annual vehicle emissions inspection program, and all but two include a tailpipe emissions check. Most mechanics will check EGR valve operation, the PCV valve, and make a visual inspection of other emission control components and plumbing. But unless an actual emissions performance check is made at the tailpipe, there is no way to know whether or not the vehicle will meet applicable emission standards. An emissions check is a must.

Taking into account longer service intervals and reduced maintenance requirements of today’s vehicles, a tune-up is probably only necessary every 30,000 miles, or once every two to three years. This is altered when a driveability or emissions problem arises that requires diagnosis and repair.

The best guide to tune-up frequency is probably the recommended spark plug replacement interval in a vehicle’s owners manual.

Our list of items that should be included in a “complete” tune-up include:
Replace spark plugs
Replace rotor
Check distributor cap (replace if necessary)
Check timing (adjust if necessary)
Check ignition wires (replace if necessary)
Check ignition performance (firing voltage and ignition patterns)
Check idle speed (adjust if necessary)
Check choke (carbureted engines)
Clean fuel injectors
Check compression and/or power balance (identifies bad fuel injectors as well as compression problems)
Check manifold intake vacuum (reveals exhaust restrictions)
Check battery/charging voltage
Check exhaust emissions (verifies fuel mixture, ignition performance and emissions performance)
Check vehicle computer for trouble codes
Install new air filter
Replace fuel filter
Replace PCV valve
Check all emission controls (EGR valve, air pump, etc.)
Check all vital fluid levels (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brakes, power steering)
Check belts and hoses
Check safety items such as lights, wipers, tires (including inflation pressure), horn, etc.

What are the recommendations for changing filters?

It is best to follow the Severe Service maintenance schedules found in most new car owner’s manuals, with a few exceptions:

Air filters need to be inspected regularly and replaced as often as needed, regardless of mileage or time. Dirty air filters can increase fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

Fuel filters should be replaced yearly and/or at every tune-up, especially on fuel injected cars. The fuel filter in a vehicle with electronic fuel injection passes a much larger volume of fuel than its counterpart in a carbureted application. If the tank is dirty or rusty, constant fuel recirculation can pick up a lot of debris that ends up in the filter. If the filter plugs, the engine is starved for fuel or unfiltered fuel is allowed to bypass the filter. The latter can damage injectors.

Oil filters need to be replaced at every oil change (every six months or 3,000 miles in most cases) despite the advice in many owner’s manuals to only change the filter at every other oil change. A new filter is cheap insurance against major engine damage, so why take unnecessary risks?

Few owner’s manuals have a suggested change interval for the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) or fluid filter unless the vehicle is used for towing. Most transmission specialists say the best preventative maintenance for prolonging automatic transmission life is to change fluid and filter every two years or 30,000 miles.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the specific type of ATF to use. The type of ATF should match the specs required for the application.

All GMs, most late model Chryslers and many imports use Dexron II. All 1988 and later Fords require Mercon ATF. Most universal ATF fluids are acceptable for either of these. Older Fords or imports require Type F fluid.

Why replace rack-and-pinion steering rather than rebuild it?

Overhauling a power rack is not a job for the novice. Special tools are required to remove and install internal seals. The tools are expensive and may not be cost justified for a shop that only does an occasional rack. For a do-it-yourselfer, the tools could end up costing as much as a new or remanufactured rack.

It is tricky to get seals properly positioned. If a seal slips or is damaged during installation, the rack will leak. For that reason alone, many professional mechanics won’t waste their time trying to rebuild questionable racks.

Operating pressures within a power rack generally do not exceed 100 psi when the wheels are in the straight-ahead position. In an easy turn, the pressure can increase to as much as 300 psi and it goes up to 700 psi in a tight turn. The highest pressures are usually encountered when parking. If the wheels are up against a curb or if the steering wheel is turned hard against the stop, internal pressures can climb to 700 to 1,400 psi. This is why anybody who overhauls a rack better make sure the seals don’t leak.

Time is another important factor to the professional installers. Anything that makes their job easier and faster is money in their pocket. If given a choice, most avoid doing repairs the old fashioned way because overhauling certain components in the shop slows them down and takes too much time. That’s why many components (like starters, alternators, front-wheel drive driveshaft assemblies, even brake calipers) are often replaced with new or remanufactured units rather than overhauled in the shop. The same is true for racks.

Time is money… and at $40 per hour it doesn’t take long for a mechanic’s time to add up. By the time a mechanic spends $25 to $30 for a seal kit and several hours overhauling a rack (assuming it can be overhauled), he can end up spending as much of his customer’s money as if he had bought a replacement rack in the first place.

Another reason why installers and do-it-yourselfers do not rebuild their own racks is because some racks are not rebuildable – at least not with a seal kit alone. If the teeth in the center of the rack are worn or damaged, a replacement rack bar can run $100 to $150.

If the housing is worn, distorted, cracked or otherwise unusable, a new housing can cost upwards of $125. If the control valve is bad, it will cost $150 to $250 to replace – if you can find the parts. Individual component parts for racks are not readily available in the aftermarket because everyone knows it is cheaper and smarter to go with a new or remanufactured rack if the original rack needs to be overhauled.

Rebuilders can often salvage worn aluminum spool valve housings by boring out the housings and installing a stainless steel sleeve. The sleeve not only restores tolerances, but also prevents the wear problem from reoccurring. In that respect, a remanufactured rack may actually be better than the original. Most rebuilders also pressure test their racks after reassembly to make certain they function correctly and do not leak.

One mistake installers should avoid when replacing a rack is not flushing out the power steering pump and lines to remove all traces of old fluid. Flushing is a must because it removes contaminants that could ruin the replacement rack. The system also needs to be purged of air by cycling the steering slowly back and forth until there are no more air bubbles in the fluid.

Related items that may also need replacing include rack mounts and steering input shaft coupling. If the coupling donut is deteriorating with age, it needs to be replaced. Metal swivel couplings also need to be checked for rust and binding. Do not forget to include new power steering fluid (follow manufacturer recommendations as to the proper type of fluid).

High Mileage Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

Fixing Your Present Vehicle Saves Money
Most of us want to get the most for our motoring dollar. One of the best ways to do this is extending the life of your current vehicle. With new car prices in the United States averaging well over $10,000, money invested in keeping your existing vehicle in good shape could save you hundreds–even thousands–of dollars a year. When you consider the true cost of buying a new car (price of the car, sales tax, license and registration fees, insurance), it is not difficult to justify investing a few hundred dollars to repair your present vehicle.

Safety and Scheduled Maintenance
The safety aspect of properly maintaining your vehicle, especially when it has high mileage, should not be overlooked. Failing brakes, exhaust leaks and other problems can be prevented by following sound car care practices.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers only provide maintenance guidelines for the first 100,000 miles or so. Clear procedures for maintenance beyond this mileage do not exist. At best, manufacturers provide interval service schedules, such as every 15,000 miles. These schedules should be followed whenever possible. By doing so, you can reasonably expect thousands more satisfactory miles from your vehicle.

High Mileage Inspection and Evaluation
If your vehicle has passed the 100,000 mile mark and you want to significantly prolong its useful life, it is time to have it thoroughly evaluated by a professional automotive technician who can recommend needed repairs or service. This facility is equipped to perform this service. We employ technicians who use factory-level information detailing your vehicle’s service requirements.
Our high mileage inspection and evaluation goes beyond cursory “once-overs” and is designed to get to the root of potential problems. Ask your service advisor or technician to show you exactly what is involved in this service. He or she will be happy to go over the evaluation form with you before you okay the inspection and provide you with a comprehensive estimate for any work recommended as a result of your vehicle’s checkup. They will tell you about repairs that are necessary today, and also alert you to items that are potential problem areas you may want to address today for more trouble-free miles tomorrow. Naturally, you make the decision as to what work is actually performed.

Working together, we can add years to the life of your car or truck.

Do you offer a free diagnostic?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your car to our shop for a free diagnostic.

Can I use my credit card to pay for the service?

Yes, we accept most of the well know credit card companies. Any further questions you may have, please give us a call we are more than happy to answer your call.

Do I need to setup an appointment?

Not necessarily. If you bring your car without appointment we will take your car in the order it was received. You can also setup an appointment to separate a spot and get a better estimated time your car will be ready.

Are you bilingual in Spanish?

Yes, our representatives are fluent in both English and Spanish.

Do you provide towing service?

Yes, you just call us to make the necessary arrangements to help you with your car.

How to Choose a Qualified Certified Technician ?

Look for shops that display certifications – like an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) seal. Certification indicates that some or all of the technicians meet basic standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas.

What maintenance guidelines should I follow to avoid costly repairs?

Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual for your type of driving. Some repair shops create their own maintenance schedules, which call for more frequent servicing than the manufacturer’s recommendations. Compare shop maintenance schedules with those recommended in your owner’s manual. Ask the repair shop to explain – and make sure you understand – why it recommends service beyond the recommended schedule.

How do I put air on my tire?

Always maintain the manufacturers recommended tire pressure. Tire pressures are usually indicated on your vehicles identification sticker on the driver door jam.

How do I check my Brake fluid?

By looking at the master cylinder and comparing the full line with the fluid level.

What is a normal range of fuel pressure on fuel injection cars?

It is between 35 and 65 pounds per square inch (psi) on most vehicles.

What are the basics test performed on a car?

Testing for DTS’s (Diagnostic Trouble Codes), using PCM Scanner.
Testing Pressure, to find out if you have the right fuel pressure test with gauge on fuel rail.
Check for vacuum leaks, listen for obvious leaks.
Check for plugged exhaust system.
Test for weak ignition spark.
Checking transmission/clutch slippage.

Would you know what parts they are talking about? How would you know what they are talking about?

Our certified staff will properly diagnose your vehicle with the latest technology. We clearly explain everything for your understanding. From this proper diagnosis we will provide you with an esitmate that will not change and will not come with any surprises! You can tell that we will take the necessary time and effort to accurately evaluate your transmission’s condition.

I’ve called several shops and got a wide range of prices or no quote at all!

None of the shops can diagnose your problem without the vehicle, how would we know what you need. We can supply you with an estimated cost of repair, but it is always best that you bring in your vehicle to our shop for an accurate diagnostic for your vehicle. Add to that the fact you can see our shop and our personnel on this site, which can tell you a lot about our shop and how professional it is.

I don’t know any thing about cars, I just bought a car. What are the basics I should check on my car?

Check your Warning Lights.
Check your Fluids, like Oil, Coolant level, automatic transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid
and the brake fluid.
Check the tire Pressure and wear.
Check the seat belts, make sure all safety belts are working properly.
Check your air bags, make sure the air bag light is not on while driving.
Additionally you can have an emergency Road Kit.