Saving Your Vehicle, and Wallet, Through Preventive Maintenance

By: Kacie Harlan

Preventive maintenance is something a vehicle owner should always be thinking about. Keeping up with maintenance and repairs may seem tedious and expensive, but the alternative is even worse. There are important things that cannot be seen without tearing into the vehicle, such as the timing belt, which can turn into serious engine damage.

The timing belt, located inside the engine, is difficult and expensive to get to so the vehicle owner must keep up with how long it has been since the belt was replaced and if it was ever replaced. Without the timing belt, all engines will not run, and in some cases can cause extreme damage to the engine. The timing belt is responsible for keeping the engine running by opening and closing the valves and pistons at the proper time to take in fuel and release exhaust. If this belt breaks or loses all its teeth, there is nothing keeping it in sync with the engine functions and when the engine is not in sync, the valves and pistons can collide and cause damage to other parts of the engine, which can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Of all the preventive maintenance tasks, replacing the timing belt is the most costly. It is also a good idea to replace the water pump while the engine is broken down enough to get to the timing belt because similar work has to be done to replace both parts so it becomes more cost effective, and easier to remember when each part was replaced, to do them together.

At Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center, we order a kit to fix the entire assembly, not just the belt. This ensures a reliable repair that will last the entire life of the belt and save you from having to tear into the engine again to replace a pulley or tensioner that has worn out too. So just “because your vehicle is running” is not a good reason to abandon your maintenance concerns and wait until something happens to consult us.

In this photo, we have a timing belt that was stripped of its teeth. Without the teeth, it is unable to turn the cogs on the engine to keep the pistons and valves moving the way they are supposed to. Had this vehicle had its belt changed on time, it would not have gotten to this point, and driving a vehicle with a worn out timing belt has a long term affect on the engine. This vehicle in particular came to the shop because it would not start.

Photo Credit: Kacie Harlan, Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center, 01.21.16