Category: General Repair

John Says...

It’s important to have your timing belt looked at when your car has gone about 100,000 miles. This  is a good rule of thumb but always consult  each manufacturer for the the mileage interval that they recommend.

Plain & simple, don’t take the chance of your timing belt breaking or “jumping” a tooth.  Although many engines are considered “non interference”,  meaning that if the belt breaks the valves will not come in to contact or interfere with the pistons, causing engine damage. Even if they are non interference, if the engine is revving high enough the valves could “float” and still come in to contact with the pistons.

The other problem that may arise would be if the belt did not completely break but “jumps” a tooth or two. This will cause the valve timing to be off and can be a very difficult problem to diagnose. It can cause a host of issues including poor fuel economy, drivability concerns and engine lights. 

When replacing the belt be sure to check the water pump and idler pulleys and tensioner. It would not be good to have to redo a job six months later because a pump started leaking or a pulley started making noise.  Or even worse, the belt breaks due to a seized pulley. Yes, this  does happen.

In summary, it is not much fun to have an expense on your car that gives you nothing tangible in return. On the other hand, you can plan and budget for the cost of your timing belt . An engine replacement is never a planned expense.

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From Our Customers

Buy A Used Car6 Things You Should Do Before You Buy a Used Car

Car shopping is an exciting time, especially when you find one you really like. But before you hand over any money for that vehicle, make sure it’s in good working order. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never trust the health and history of a car just by how shiny its paint job looks. Instead, take these six very important steps when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy that used car you have your eyes on.

Go For a Test Drive

Before you pay money for any car, new or used, you should take it for a test drive. If the owner of the vehicle insists to go with you, make sure the person doesn’t try to cover up any odd noises or smells. Some owners will talk over the noises while you’re test driving or they’ll temporarily mask engine odors with strong air fresheners. It’s best to focus in on the car while you’re driving. Pay attention to how it feels, how it smells and listen for any clunking or other odd noises that could indicate problems.

Outside of the Car

While you’re circling the car, check the front and rear bumpers by pushing down on them. If the shocks are good, you should feel continuous bounce. But if the car feels squishy, the shocks are probably worn and should be replaced before you pay for the vehicle.

Check the Tires

The tires should have proper tread and proper inflation. Tires are not cheap and you should never assume that the tires are in good working order. To be safe, always check tires as part of the overall package when purchasing a used automobile.

Check Electrical Devices

Does the air conditioner work? What about the radio or CD player? Do all the dials work? What about any of the extra features that came with the model in question? These are important considerations as automotive electric repair isn’t cheap.

Check Carfax

While you’re checking out the car, put the VIN number into Carfax and get an accurate snapshot of that vehicle’s history. You’ll be able to tell if the vehicle has been in an accident, what repairs were done, etc.

Bring It To A Certified Mechanic

The best way to determine whether or not you’re spending your money wisely is to bring the vehicle in question to a certified auto mechanic shop. At our Lowell MA auto repair shop we will take the vehicle through a multi-point systems check. We will give you an accurate report that includes our recommendation and any repairs the vehicle may need. Come into J&R Auto Repair and let us help you find the perfect used car.