Many of our customers prefer small 4 cylinder engines due to their reliability and fuel economy. In stop and go New York City traffic they are amazing. While Toyota, Honda, and Subaru are the top favorites, many people don’t think about their timing belt service. Aside from the usual maintenance of spark plugs, and oil changes there is also a required timing belt service which tends to get ignored. The timing belt is a critical component of the engine. Its job is to synchronize the valve train on the top half of the engine with the crank and pistons on the bottom half of the engine. As the name implies, the timing belt keeps engine components synchronized while your engine is idling at 600 RPM or when you are accelerating at 6,500 RPM. If a timing belt service is ignored the belt will break cause havoc inside your engine.
When the timing belt breaks
If the timing belt fails, it will throw the engine off sync. Once that happens, there is a big chance that your pistons will smack right into your valves. This causes bent valves and chipped pistons which then require extensive engine work costing thousands of dollars. Whether it is a Toyota, Honda, or Subaru the timing belt service interval can be anywhere from 60,000 to 105,000 miles. You should consult your owner’s manual to be sure you aren’t overdue. If looking to buy a used car, be mindful of the mileage and ask if the timing belt service has ever been done before.
Timing belt service, while you’re in there…
Any reputable mechanic shop will also change the water pump, idlers, and tensioners while doing the timing belt service. Those components are driven by the timing belt and also need to be changed during the service. If the mechanic shop were to only change the belt and a pulley or water pump were to fail soon after you’d have to pay hundreds of dollars to do the same job again. Essentially paying for the job twice. Since this service is only done a few times in your car’s service life make sure to bring your vehicle to a reputable shop like Tolima’s Auto Center to have this very important service done right.