Atlanta GM Dealer: Getting To Know Your Timing Belt

As much as we like to think that we know everything about the vehicles we drive, the fact of the matter is, we are all probably a little bit ignorant about our vehicles. We rely a lot on our cars, some people even use the word “Love” when describing their vehicles, so here’s a little bit of information from your Atlanta GM dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore in regards to your timing belt. It’s never too late to learn a little something about your vehicle, is it?

I found a great article on Cars For Keeps that I wanted to share with you:

Even if you’ve ever worked with us – or some other highly accredited repair shop, for that matter – before, you most likely are asked at your car’s first visit when the last time its timing belt was changed. Auto technicians who emphasize preventive car maintenance pay special attention to timing belt maintenance, and for good reason. Imagine the following scenario…

Your six-year-old vehicle is starting to show a bit of wear and tear, but everything mechanical still works fine, so maintenance gets pushed to the rear burner. Until it doesn’t. Specifically, the engine suddenly goes dead silent one fine day, and you find that your vehicles timing belt failed!

As a result of damage the broken timing belt has caused, not only do you need to pay for your tow and also the belt replacement, but also a costly valve job, because there is not any compression on two cylinders. You’re one of those unfortunate car owners with an “interference engine” — an engine that can leave a number of valves still propped open far enough to contact a piston when the belt parts. Sadly, car sales brochures don’t list whether or not an engine might suffer catastrophic damage if the belt goes.

Usually, this little bit of unpleasantness could have been prevented with timely maintenance. It is best to exchange the timing belt according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Some rarer engines — like those in costlier models — still use timing chains, instead of belts, like they did back in the day before the recognition of overhead camshafts. Unlike belts, timing chains usually do not have a routine replacement interval, but for most car owners, regular timing belt replacement is critical.

The timing belt (or chain) is the only component that keeps the camshaft (make that camshafts on a DOHC or V-type OHC engine) and crankshaft in sync. So replacing this cogged reinforced-rubber belt at regular intervals — generally every 60,000 miles unless the car manufacturer specifies longer — is a lot inexpensive and aggravating than having it break first. To figure out out what your car’s maintenance schedule is, ask us here at Cars for Keeps or read the owner’s manual. [Source: Cars for Keeps]

Here’s another quick tip, if you plan on buying a used car, make sure the timing belt has been replace if the car has over 60,000 miles. Swing by your Atlanta GM dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore anytime and we’ll take a look at your timing belt. I’m willing to bet that it’s probably about time to change it.

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