Ever heard the sad tale of a staggeringly steep repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our timing belt.
First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two will open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync.
The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt. But some vehicles use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but vehicle manufactures are using belts more because they are quieter - and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.
Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts your engine down right away. Your pros at Triple A Automotive can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some vehicles. That's why manufacturers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it's from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to 145,000 kilometers. If your owner's manual doesn't specify an interval, ask your service advisor at Triple A Automotive.
Someone we know, who shall remain anonymous, has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light - that repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway - that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call "interference engines," meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That's why our friend's highway failure was so much more - his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.
A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You're stranded, but the engine doesn't suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that Clovis drivers just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap - but repairs for a broken belt can be far more expensive.
The team at Triple A Automotive recommends Clovis drivers check their owners' manual ASAP - especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you're at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, "timing's everything."
Wow! Very fast service! Took my car in this morning around 10am to drop off for timing belt service and already done the same day. Thought it was gonna take a few days.
Doug is the best. He knows what he's doing and he doesn't tell you something is wrong with your vehicle if there's not. Best mechanic ever.
Met Doug today and our experience was just as described. Got us in with an A/C problem, did a preliminary assessment within minutes and then fixed the car within a few hours for a reasonable rate. Prompt, courteous service and quality work equals excellent value for money.
I had been searching for a good auto repair shop for a while and finally found it with Triple A! I first went to them when I had a last minute repair needed before leaving on a trip to my brother's funeral. They got me in right away and got the job done. Since then they've done several jobs for me, both big and small. Doug is very honest and straightforward. He always explains the situation and lays out my options clearly. I highly recommend them! They're now my go-to shop for all repairs.
It means a lot to have a mechanic that I can trust. Thanks, Doug!
I always take my car to Doug. He makes sure my is car road worthy before I leave for a long road trip. I own a 2001 Saturn that is in great condition because he keeps it that way.
I bought a used car for my daughter. I took it to several shops around town & nobody wanted to touch it. Estimates were outrageous. Doug & his team properly diagnosed the problem & literally saved me 3 times the amount other shops quoted me. The car runs great & no more engine light. I truly could not be happier with this place. True & honest technicians.
Prior to choosing a repair shop I have called 7 different local shops to try to get the best deal on my service. By the end of the day I was able to take a chance at Triple A auto repair knowing they had the best price and exceptional ratings from other customers. I am glad to say that this shop is by far one of the best; exceptionally fast and the price is reasonable. I was able to schedule an appointment 1 day ahead and got it done the next day before noon.
-Ben - Clovis
Great service and affordability! I am not from the area and had several other places quote me $200-$300 more than your price for a product of lesser quality than what I received here. Im sure being a young female, several other places saw me as an easy target to take advantage of, however, I immediately felt comfortable and confident once I found your business. I felt very comfortable leaving my vehicle overnight and am more than satisified with the product and your service. I will definitely be recommending this place to anyone who needs work done, and will be returning for future service. Thank you!
-Amanda - Clovis
Always there to help me with my car maintenance, repair, and questions. They work around my busy school schedule which is great since I'm new to the area. They do all the pricing work too. They make sure I get quality parts at a good price. Great job!! Thanks guys
We appreciate your honest and friendly service.
You guys do fabulous work and are good friends too!
Absolutely exceptional service! Thank you very much!
Of the three companies I contacted for an estimate, only two bothered to call me back. Triple A was very courteous and quick to respond. They explained what needed to be done and did it quickly. No one's experience is a good one after paying $900 for an auto repair, but I am back on the road.
The a/c is working GREAT!!!
I think I really made out well. I negotiated in the package to get rafting stories....the Starbucks card was pretty great too...Thanks! I'll let you know after a couple of days driving...but it's great not to have the noise any longer.
I live 40 miles away but will gladly drive to AAA for any auto repairs I might need. The recent work they did for me convinced me of their professionalism and expertise.