Is it time for a cambelt change?

Today many engines use a cambelt unlike the traditional timing chain. However, cambelts will deteriorate with mileage and age. Should your cambelt snap it more likely to cause catastrophic damage to the engine and cost you a fortune to put right. Simply put, if the cambelt breaks, or jumps a tooth, on certain engines the valves situated within the cylinder head end up having the pistons ram into them which will almost certainly cause a right off of the engine. Where this happens the engines which are badly affected are referred to as 'interference engines' and generally most engines fit this description. 

 

The time at which to change this belt will depend on the vehicles manufacturer. However, normally it ranges between 60,000 to 100,000 miles or 5 to 6 years, whichever comes sooner.

 

Replacing a timing cambelt is never cheap, but whatever the vehicle the cost of having it replaced will be much cheaper than replacing or having the engine repaired. You can check your vehicles manual or contact us to find out when your vehicle is due a cambelt change, at the same time we will tell you what our charges would be to replace it. 

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Is it time for a fluids change?

Generally most accept that the engine oil and oil filter should be changed at each service interval specified by the manufacturer. But, many people never give thought to having their brake fluid checked or changed. Generally it's not something that is widely advertised or talked about and unless it's brought to our attention, there's no reason for us to feel concerned. However, the reality is that like any other fluid given time it's performance will become compromised. Many manufactures suggest that given certain intervals, i.e. mileage or time, the fluid should be changed. Each time we service a vehicle as a matter of course we will check the quality of the hydraulic fluids, for both the brakes and the clutch. As is a fact many vehicles that have been on the road for 5, 10, 20 years or more will have never had the fluids checked, let alone replaced. You can read more about this on our blog....just click here

Is it time for a Coolant change?

Like all the other fluids, coolant, at some point, should be changed. 

When is the right time to change your engine coolant? For some vehicles, you’re advised to change the coolant every 30,000 miles, however for others, changing it isn’t even on the maintenance schedule.

For example, Hyundai says the coolant in the engine (what many refer to as “antifreeze”) in most of its models should be replaced after the first 60,000 miles, then every 30,000 miles thereafter. The interval on some Mercedes is every 30,000 miles, but on others it maybe 120,000 miles or 12 years. Some manufacturers recommend you drain and flush the engine’s cooling system and change the coolant more often on vehicles subjected to “severe service,” such as frequent towing, which can generate more heat.

Many service shops, including some dealerships suggest the vehicle comes with a “lifetime” coolant — some may suggest you should carry out a coolant change more often than the maintenance schedule recommends, such as every 30,000 or 50,000 miles.

So, lets take a look at the real details about this subject; Most vehicles use long-life engine coolant (usually a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water) in the radiator and for several years will provide protection against boiling in hot weather and freezing in cold temperatures, with generally no maintenance. Modern vehicles also have longer intervals between fluid changes of all types partly because environmental regulators have pressured manufactures to reduce the amount of old coolant, as well as other waste fluids, that must be disposed of or recycled.

BUT, coolant can and will deteriorate over time and therefore should be tested to see if it’s still good as it was when put in, as it can be hard to tell just by appearances whether it's up to scratch. Even if the coolant reservoir shows sufficient coolant level and testing shows the cooling and antifreeze protection are still adequate, a coolant drain and antifreeze flush may be needed.

Over time the coolant can become more acidic and lose its rust-inhibiting properties which helps prevent the causing of corrosion. Given time corrosion can and will damage the radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses and other parts of the cooling system, as well as to the vehicles heater system and can lead to the vehicles engine overheating.

Thus, the coolant in any vehicle with more than about 50,000 miles should be tested periodically. That’s to look for signs of rust, leaks and to make sure it has sufficient cooling and overheating protection. The cooling system can be checked with test strips that measure acidity, and with a hydrometer that measures freezing and boiling protection.

If the corrosion inhibitors have deteriorated, the antifreeze coolant should be changed. The cooling system might also need flushing to remove contaminants no matter what the maintenance schedule calls for or how many miles are on the odometer. On the other hand, if testing shows the coolant is still doing its job protecting from overheating and not allowing corrosion, changing it more often than what the manufacturer recommends could be a waste of money.

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