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    Automotive timing belts

    Why avoid cars having 4 or 6 cyl. engines possibly having rubber timing belts?
    Five years ago an international oil company survey, disclosing findings that 50% of off-lease cars had their odometers illegally turned back, suggested consumers avoid buying off-lease (used) cars, or leasing used cars having uncertain mileage. If the cars really had 50,000 miles, and the odometer read 30,000. then the timing belts would fail long before the new owners expected them to fail. Premature failure of automotive timing belts can easily cost two or three thousand dollars of repairs. Therefore knowing the true mileage of a used car is imperative. .

    How to determine if the car's engine uses a rubber timing belt.
    When buying a used car (or light truck, Van, or SUV), always insist on determining if the auto's engine uses a rubber timing belt. The salesperson may not know……ask the Service technician. The car may not have 40,000 miles on the odomenter as shown…..assume the car has more, possibly 50,000 or even 60,000. It’s hard for a consumer, or anyone, to tell the difference just by looking at the car. And timing belts are so far down into the engine, ithey cannot be seen easily withggested a costly tear-down.

    Get a written guarantee to cover premature failure of the car engine's timing belt.
    Because most rubber timing belts on car engines should be replaced at 60,000 to 70,000 miles to avoid the engine self destructing (buy a new engine). Insist on a written guarantee from the seller to guarantee to replace the timing belt at no charge if it fails within another 20,000 miles. Call any Dealer to get the recommended mileage replacement for the particular make of car or truck (or Van or SUV). If the seller won’t guarantee it then he’s admitting that the mileage may be inaccurate and by implication may have been turned back; consider a compromise, such as $100 maximum replacement cost. If not acceptable, walk away.

    Car timing belts

    Simply replacing a rubber timing belt at recommended mileage can cost $400 + dollars.
    Before a consumer buys any car, especially 4-cylinder foreign cars, or even a 6-cyl. BMW, be aware of the unavoidable cost of $400-$800 to replace a rubber timing belt at recommended intervals based on mileage or car age. That's assuming the timing belt didn't break..If it breaks (always while the engine is running) then internal engine damage will take place catastropically. If a timing belt on an interference engine is not replaced at recommended intervals, the repair cost when the belt breaks could increase to $3,000 to $5,000 to replace the entire engine. The sales person will invariably not mention that an interference engine powers the vehicle and may not even know what one is.

    What is an “interference engine”?
    Valves open further in an interference engine and project further into the combustion chamber than in a 'free-running' engine. This allows outside air at atmospheric pressure to flow faster into the combustion chamber through the larger valve openings, allowing the engine to inhale more air, be smaller, and still create as much power while reducing its manufactured cost and guaranteeing future repair business for the dealer. If a rubber timing belt breaks by not being replaced soon enough, some of the valves stuck in their open position and collide with the top of the pistons, thereby breaking or irreversibly damaging one or the other or both. Worse, it is not possible to measure rubber belt wear.

    Alternatives
    An 'interference' engine is an engine design that has been avoided by some manufacturers for more than 80 years. General Motors, Chrysler, etc., typically use a metal chain-type timing belt on push-rod engines (often called atiming chain) to transmit torque from the engine crankshaft to the engine camshaft that opens the valves that admit air and fuel. Rather than use a steel timing chain, interference engines may use a rubber timing belt with its limited life, whereas steel timing belts typically last 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more.

    For a list of interference engines, go on any search engine, such as Google or MSN, and type in "interference engine list".

    How to find out if the engine is an “ interference engine”.
    Ask the Dealer’s service technician if it does. If he says it does not, have the Dealer’s Sales Manager (not the salesperson) say so on the purchase order and personally sign and thereby guarantee his assertion. For recommended replacement mileage of rubber timing belts, connect on the Internet to Gates Rubber Company, a worldwide manufacturer of such belts. On its web site, click on Replacement parts/automotive. Look for “timing belt replacement Guide”.

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