Timing Belt Service to Save Big Bucks in Lancaster
Aug 01, 2013
Your engine is like a finely choreographed dance. All the parts have to work together. If the timing is off at the ballet, dancers crash into each other and fall down. It the timing is off in your engine, it may not run at all. One of the most intricate dances in your engine has to do with the combustion cycle.
Your vehicle engine has cylinders in which a piston travels up and down. At the top of the cylinders are valves that open to bring in the air and fuel. And there are valves that open to let out the exhaust after the fuel has been burned.
Call The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley at 661-949-8484 for answers about your timing belt, or drop by our Lancaster, California, service center on 226 West Avenue I.
It's critical that the values be timed to open and close at precisely the right time in the combustion cycle, or the engine will run poorly or not at all.
The timing belt is responsible for rotating the shafts that control the valves. It's vital and precision work. Timing belts are made of very tough, flexible material. They can last a long time. But they eventually wear out and can break. The consequences can be disastrous.
In some engines, the valves actually protrude far enough into the cylinders that they could come in contact with the piston. If the timing belt breaks, the pistons will smash into the valves. Valves get bent or broken. If the engine is spinning fast enough, the broken parts will shred the cylinder head as well. Repairing this damage can cost several thousand dollars.
It's a sad day when this happens; especially since it usually can be avoided. Manufacturers have issued recommendations for when you should replace your timing belt. For some engines, it's at 60,000 miles/97,000 km. For others it's at 90,000 miles/145,000 km or more. If you're approaching 60,000 miles/97,000 km or have passed it, make sure you check your owner's manual or with your Lancaster auto service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for when the timing belt should be replaced. Don't let this one slip by.
Now some timing belts are visible and can be inspected. Others are hidden under a protective cover and are hard to get to. Some timing belts also drive the water pump. If you have a leaky water pump, the coolant will contaminate the timing belt and could make it fail sooner. So if you have this kind of engine, get it in to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for an inspection right away if you have a coolant leak.
Most people in the Lancaster area with this engine design end up with a new timing belt when they replace the water pump. And when you're having your timing belt replaced on schedule, check with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley auto service advisor to see if it makes sense to install a new water pump, even if it isn't currently having problems, since most of the labor is already being done any way for the timing belt replacement.
As a heads up; larger engines will often have metal timing chains rather than belts. The chains don't need to be replaced like belts.
We've already told you how very expensive it can be to get your car running again after a timing belt fails. You also need to know that replacing the timing belt is very labor intensive and is one of the most costly maintenance services you will have. So if you will be at the point where your timing belt should be replaced in the next year or so, ask for an estimate from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, California, so you can begin to prepare for the expense.
We at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, your Lancaster service center, can be a valuable partner. Please take advantage of our knowledge and experience.
Virtually all vehicles come with power steering so many Lancaster car owners have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your truck steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.
Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of Los Angeles County vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve fuel efficiency.
The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older California vehicles, and a lot of newer ones, have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, Los Angeles County car owners need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it’s too low your steering is affected and you could damage your truck pump.
Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors; leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at Doug Beimler's QH Automotive in Lancaster includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.
A word about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the truck components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at Doug Beimler's QH Automotive as advised to avoid undue repairs.
Losing your power steering while driving in Lancaster can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it’ll just be harder. Check with your honest Doug Beimler's QH Automotive service specialist to see if it’s time to service your truck power steering system.
In addition to power steering service, at Doug Beimler's QH Automotive we offer comprehensive automotive services including oil change, fuel injection service and air conditioning.
Give us a call
Doug Beimler's QH Automotive 661-949-8484 226 West Avenue I Lancaster, California 93534
Professional Fuel System Cleaning
Jul 16, 2013
Getting adequate fuel to your engine is very important for performance, fuel economy and safety. In order to accomplish this, your fuel system needs to be clean.
Today's production cars have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. The injectors need to be cleaned from time to time in order to deliver the fuel with the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume.
Lancaster drivers can buy fuel system cleaners that you pour into your gas tank to help maintain an already clean fuel system; however, they can't do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster. We have the tools and chemicals to do the job right. Our friendly and knowledgeable team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently.
You'll find The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley at 226 West Avenue I in Lancaster, California 93534. Or just give us a call at 661-949-8484 to schedule an appointment.
You'll enjoy more power, better fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions. The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate engine parts.
And, as with all maintenance, it can help prevent repairs that can happen because you didn't take preventative steps. Our advisors at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can tell you when your car is scheduled for a fuel system cleaning.
Cooling System Components
Jul 09, 2013
Today we want to talk about a system in our vehicles – the cooling system. It's one of those things that Lancaster auto owners don't give much thought to until it fails and then they're stranded by the side of a road in California.
Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don't you hate it when something breaks and you could have done something to prevent it?
The good news is that if Lancaster drivers take care of their cooling systems, they can keep working for the life of their car.
Here at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, we emphasize preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, the thermostat, radiator, cooling fans, the heater core, the pressure cap, the overflow tank and the hoses.
It sounds complicated, but we Lancaster residents don't have to be experts – we can leave that to our friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. But, having an overview will help us remember how to take care of your car's cooling system.
Most Lancaster folks would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees F/2,500 degrees C of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can't be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.
Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the vehicle engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some cash on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the extremely massive damage that can be done when an engine seizes.
There's another little known but important part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It's called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the vehicle is left sitting.
It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant is enough to actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine, but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.
The team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give us a call.
Let's review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen from Lancaster California where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys, and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it's against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
And don't leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Try to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.
Remember to roll up your windows completely and avoid leaving your car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.
Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive "smash-and-grab" targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.
There are lots of visible and audible devices available. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what's going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.
Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don't approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.
And here's a great one - immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car's electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can't drive your car away.
Finally, you can also get a tracking device that allows police to track your car down and recover it quickly.
Remember, where you live, work and drive around Lancaster California has a great impact on your decisions. If you're in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Lancaster California auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.
Of course, the common sense suggestions from Doug Beimler's QH Automotive don't cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.
Come see us for practical advice on keeping your truck safe. Doug Beimler's QH Automotive 226 West Avenue I, Lancaster, California 93534 Call us at 661-949-8484