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Prevention is key to engine care


The last thing a motorist wants to hear is the sound of an engine grinding to a halt. Yet, more than 20 percent of all consumers neglect key parts like belts and hoses, placing their cars in danger for major repairs.

When it comes to keeping your car in fine running shape, prevention is key. The parts that cause your car to die suddenly and strand you are things like belts, hoses, fuel pumps, water pumps and alternators, among other things.

A timing belt failure, for example, can be a serious problem, not only because it strands the motorist, but also because of the engine damage it can cause.

Timing belts synchronize the critical rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft. On some engines, the belt also drives other components such as the oil pump, water pump, and balance shafts. If the timing belt breaks, everything in your engine stops dead. On many engines, timing belt failures may result in bent valves, damaged pistons and a very expensive repair bill.

As a general rule, most car manufacturers recommend replacing timing belts every 60,000 miles. Independent technicians agree, but to be safe, they also recommend replacing timing system idlers and pulleys, which may have a shorter operational life than the belt. Because some water pumps are driven by the timing belt, these two items should be replaced at the same time.

For more tips on car care talk with your mechanic.

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