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Travis Benedict
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Tip of the Month

Belt Basics

Perhaps the most critical engine component these days is the timing belt. Not all engines use a timing belt, but on those that do, it's critical that it be replaced before it breaks. At some point the belt breaks and, if your car has an interference engine where the valves and pistons occupy the same place in the combustion chamber at different times, serious engine damage can occur. If your car has a non-interference engine, the worst that will happen is you get stranded somewhere. Most manufacturers suggest replacing the timing belt every 60,000 miles. Other engine drive belts should be checked on a regular basis (about as often as you change oil). In general, you should be on the lookout for excessively cracked, glazed or frayed belts. Many accessories including the alternator, power steering pump and coolant pump are operated by drive belts. If these belts break or slip, the components they drive will fail to work, and that can leave you stranded. One more thing to check while you’re looking at the belts is the battery. Virtually all batteries are maintenance-free these days, except for a periodic terminal cleaning and inspection for cracks or leaks. Also, make sure the battery is mounted securely.

Keeping Your Cool

Today's cars also run hotter than they used to. With the trend to downsize vehicle components to save space and weight, cooling system components are being asked to do more than their older counterparts. The best thing you can do to maintain the cooling system at peak efficiency during the life of your car is to replace the coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Although some of the newer coolants last longer, anti-freeze does wear out. By replacing the coolant periodically, you insure that the corrosion inhibitors are fresh and are helping to eliminate the scale and corrosion that builds up inside the cooling system.

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Serving the cities of Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Foothill Ranch

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