Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance, here’s something that is a sensitive subject with me. When I was given this job to write an article titled a worn timing belt. Just the word “belt” sends me into a fetal position. That was a word that was used way too often when I was a bad kid. And, I was exactly THAT. But, realizing that I haven’t probably been aware of, or didn’t remember that the timing belt is a vital and critical instrument in the life of my sweet ride has really made me change my schedule for tomorrow. Monday is now set-aside for having that baby checked out and/or replaced. Perhaps we should have called this blog The “Bad Timing” Belt.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to change your timing belt at least every 60,000 miles or so. I’ve racked up twice that amount of miles on my car. So this will be the true test to see if that’s why I’ve heard that screeching sound when starting my car.  It may just be that I have a worn timing belt.

If you want to check it out yourself, just open your hood and take a look at the belt. It should be to the left of your engine or directly in front of the engine. Does it look tattered? Cracked? Or, broken anywhere? These can all indicate it’s time to change your belt.

Just so you know what you’re dealing with here, a timing belt, timing chain or cam belt is part of an internal combustion engine. It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft(s), which control the opening and closing of the engine’s valves. Some cars only have one camshaft; others have more than one. Timing belts are used with engines that have overhead camshafts in place of the old timing chains because they’re easier and cheaper to manufacture. Are you writing this down? Because it will be on the test. I took an auto mechanics class in high school. But don’t remember much. After all…that’s why they call it “high” school…am I right?

Other common signs the timing belt could be wearing out include:
Your car is spewing out more exhaust than usual.
Your high-mileage car is hard to start.
The engine vibrates, causing your car to shake.
Your car shuts off while driving and spins over quicker than normal when you’re trying to restart it. So, getting it checked out every 60,000 miles could save you some “alone time” on the side of the road with a guy named Bubba, whose sole purpose in life is to help women in distress…and to post “ads” on CraigsList.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Artist / Writer / Amatuer Auto Mechanic

Worn Timing Belt – Comedy Defensive Driving