Believe it or not, this is a picture of the remnants of a timing belt! The estimate to perform a complete timing belt job including the water pump, and all the tensioners and pulleys in the timing belt system as preventative maintenance was $900.00. It seems like a lot doesn’t it! Although this maintenance was due and recommended at 100,000 miles, it was never performed. The car had 150,000 miles when it suddenly stopped running and had to be towed in. We found that the water pump had locked up and one tensioner came apart. When the remaining pulleys tried to turn the timing belt it generated heat, melted and literally shredded the belt. More bad news, this is an interference engine which means it will bend the valves in the cylinder head when the timing belt fails. The new estimate to get the car repaired is nearly $4000.00!
Some shops try to save the customer money by replacing only the timing belt. But it’s important to note in this case, both the water pump and one tensioner had failed. Any timing belt pulley, idler, hydraulic or mechanical tensioner failure can cause the same catastrophic damage to an interference engine and replacing the belt only at 100,000 miles would not have changed the outcome!
The beauty of preventative maintenance is that it can be planned at a convenient time and fit into your family budget well in advance! In this case the old cliche' is true, a stitch in time saves nine!