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Timing Belt & Pulley Failure

Symptoms
Car died all-of-the-sudden and may not restart. It could have been preceded by a loud bang or lots of noise from the engine compartment.

Cause
If not replaced at recommended intervals, an excessively timing belt worn can simply break. Environmental factors, abrasive elements, and degrading engine fluids also cause steel bearings to drag, inducing harsh resistance on pulleys, belts, and seals.

Cure
Replace the timing belt and pulleys with new parts at the manufacturer prescribed interval. It is recommended on many vehicles to address the water pump at the same time as this could be overlap (meaning that if the water pump fails at another time, the timing components will need to be removed and installed again overlapping labor costs).

Notes
As a cost-saving measure, some shops will bypass replacing all the above-mentioned parts. However, most engines today are “interference” in design. This means that internal contact will occur if the engine comes out of time (ie. timing components break). As you can imagine, this quickly becomes a costly predicament, damaging valves and pistons or worse. In plain language, it will require rebuilding or replacing an engine.
Be smart about replacing your timing components at the manufacturer recommended interval. If you just bought your car, look for stickers or markings of the mileage and/or date of replacement. Good mechanics will document this somewhere under the hood. If you cannot ascertain the history, have these replaced! Think of it as an insurance policy.

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