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Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 01:54 PM   #1
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Car Maintenance Question

I was just getting ready to call my mechanic to schedule some maintenance on my 2000 Honda Accord. I have about 50,000 miles on it. For years I have changed all the belts and coolant hoses periodically whether they appear to need it or not. I just preferred to avoid a breakdown at all costs. But now I'm not so sure. How long should belts and hoses last? Would you change them at 50,000 miles?
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 02:17 PM   #2
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

My Toyota Camrey recommends 70K and the cost is so high for this "service" that I tend to stretch it out BUT if a hose or belt brakes and you're on the road at night, how much have you really saved
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 02:24 PM   #3
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

I had a '39 Packard coupe in high school that was
13 years old at the time and falling apart. I remember
one trip when the fuel pump fell off. One of the guys
literally had to ride on the fender and hold it on until
we got home. I used rubber bands to hold it on after
that. Now days, I am afraid to even lift up the hood.
Things are so complicated and tightly packed that
you need a Phd in auto mechanics to fix anything.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 02:41 PM   #4
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

If it ain't broke don't fix it Bob. I've always driven Detroit Iron, mainly GM. My Buick Centuries and LeSabre were outstanding cars as well as my Olds Cutlass Ciera. We currently have a Chev Impala built 2 hours from here at Oshawa. Excellent vehicle. Check your own belts and hoses, I always did, and look for tell-tale wear signs. A lot of this maintenance sh*t is pure gravy for the dealership. My Impala calls for an injector cleaning at 40 000 km. I just laughed at them!
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 02:59 PM   #5
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

50,000 miles? It's just breaking in. I'd visually inspect the belts and hoses, and replace them myself if they are worn (which I doubt they are.)

My 1998 has 80,000, original belts, hoses, and even brakes.

One thing I would do is change the anti-freeze and flush the cooling system every 40K miles or so. I take my car to the local oil change place for this service because it's difficult to do without releasing anti-freeze into the local environment.

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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 04:49 PM   #6
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Bob,

You've got to change the timing belt when it is recommended. Newer cars (likely incl your Honda) have very efficient cylinder head designs--and valves that open into the path of where the piston could be when it is at the top. If the timing belt breaks, the valves get out of sync with the piston movement and smack into the open ones. Now you've got a MAJOR repair bill.
If the other belts/hoses break, it's just an inconvenience, but the timing belt is different. Most cars need them replaced at 70K to 80K miles.
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 06:33 PM   #7
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Yep, timing belt failure can hose your motor in some cars, and its not visible. Change that at the manufacturers recommended interval.

All other belts and hoses inspect annually. A belt will show fraying usually well before it breaks, and a hose will generally start looking crappy at the connectors or start leaking well before it pops. Squeeze all the hoses, they should be nice and firm. Soft spots are signs of impending doom. I spritz all the belts with "belt dressing" once a year. I've never had a belt or hose break, and have only replaced one belt. Ever.

Since we're telling stories about funny failures. On my first trip across the country, my girlfriends cars fuel pump started leaking gas in mid nebraska at 1am on a saturday night.

Nobody was open sunday. Triple-A even said "wow, nothing we can do until tomorrow". To make matters more interesting, Nebraska was experiencing some massive rodeo thing, a garth brooks concert, the state rollerskating championship, and the polish american festival all at the same time. No hotel rooms for half the state, which explains why we were still driving at 1 in the morning. We limped to a hotel room.

Remembering that you can temporarily fix a gas tank with gum, I removed the fuel pump with a pair of vice grips, took it apart, and filled the busted gasket with a big wad of gum. Put it back together. Sucker ran all the way to california. We had the pump professionally replaced. It failed a month later. Girlfriends comment: "should have stuck with the gum".
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-09-2004, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Quote:
Bob,
*
*You've got to change the timing belt when it is recommended. *Newer cars (likely incl your Honda) have very efficient cylinder head designs--and valves that open into the path of where the piston could be when it is at the top. *If the timing belt breaks, the valves get out of sync with the piston movement and smack into the open ones. *Now you've got a MAJOR repair bill.
I agree. I own a 2000 Honda Odyssey which I believe uses an engine very similar to the Accord, and I know that it has this "interference engine" design. I just checked and was surprised to see that my owner's manual says to replace the timing belt at 105,000 miles or 7 years, whichever comes first.

malakito.
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-10-2004, 12:32 AM   #9
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Good advice here. Belts and hoses should be checked for cracks and soft spots, as a cooling hose or a water pump belt blowing will immediately stop you, unless you want to cook your motor. Of course, most cars today have that serpentine belt, one belt to run everything. Change this when recommended, it's not a lot of money and not a difficult thing to do by yourself. Hoses are more tough to check, but they often develop soft spots right around the clamps and spigots they go over. I would recommend changing these according to mfg as well, and do a cooland flush at the same time.

Timing belts ? Oh yeah, definitely change these when the mfg suggest, and don't wait. Some cars, when this breaks, the motor will just "free wheel" and it won't
break anything. These are called "non-interference motors". Most new motors, and all hi-performance motors are not like this. when that belt breaks and the engine is running, the valves get slammed by the pistons breaking all kinds of expensive stuff, usually
thousands of $$ of repairs. These aren't too bad to change yourself, but unless you are very confident in your mechanical ability, I suggest bringing this to a mechanic.

-pan-
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-10-2004, 03:33 AM   #10
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

I have little mechanical ability, so I hire just about
everything done. Fortunately, I have a friend who is very good and very cheap. I was ruminating on the
different ways people treat car maintenance.
My Dad's neighbor for example even goes beyond what
the manufacturers recommend. He regularly pulls
all the wheels (several vehicles) and repacks (??) the wheel bearings,
I guess. I have never had that done in my life. I asked
my Dad (fussy guy, 86 years old). He had never done it
either. I usually rely on my "Quiki Lube" guys to check stuff out, but I drive real old cars and the manufacturer's
servicing ideas are kind of moot after 150,000 miles.
At the other end of the spectrum, I have known people
who never touched their car until something went wrong.
Wouldn't even check the oil, much less get it changed.
I recall one of these guys was an aerospace engineer
with a Masters degree from MIT. Go figure!

John Galt
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-10-2004, 05:40 AM   #11
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Bob-Smith,

I have done maint the way you describe. I might spend a few extra bucks up front, but to avoid one breakdown at the wron time is priceless!
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-10-2004, 04:33 PM   #12
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Thanks for the advice. I checked the hoses and belts and they look fine so I'll stretch it out awhile.
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-10-2004, 05:02 PM   #13
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

When checking your belts and hoses
we hope that your effort exposes;
A leak? That is bad,
but not nearly as sad,
as the owner who has halitosis.

John Galt



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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 12:35 AM   #14
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

John, I got to tell you, that stinks !!!

Heh heh, couldn't resist !

-pan
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 02:44 AM   #15
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

That's okay pan-head. I write this stuff really fast.
That way if the result "stinks" I have a ready excuse

John Galt
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 12:25 PM   #16
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

At least he didnt include anything about the young lady from nantucket.
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 04:28 PM   #17
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

glad I reached to car repair home page

I have a 93 Toyota Corolla. The passenger side electric window is off the track. The electric motor works. Should I tear off the panel and try to fix it myself or take it to the dealer?
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 04:58 PM   #18
 
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

Is the window up or down? If it's up, just
use the other windows and live with it

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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 09:21 PM   #19
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

The hardest part of fixing the window will be getting the door panel off. They're usually bolted into a 'scissors' arrangement with the motor driving the scissor. A bolt probably loosened or fell out.

Taking the door panel off is the tough part. For some reason every car manufacturer needs some different set of hardware to attach interior panels. Some just pull out after a few screws are removed. Some require special tools.

Get the chilton book (or equiv) for the car. It might tell you how to remove it.

If reading this makes you feel vaguely uncomfortable, take it to a body shop or a small repair shop. The dealer will charge you a lot more for the repair. I've found some small body shops to do pretty cool work on small problems like fixing windows off track, replacing seatbelts, etc.
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Re: Car Maintenance Question
Old 07-11-2004, 11:04 PM   #20
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Re: Car Maintenance Question

I drive older cars and generally wait until they break to fix them. I'm not anal, but I do check oil periodically and belts and breaks every "whenever I think of it" and once in a blue moon check the brake and transmission fluids.

Either I've had extraordinarily good luck with my vehicles or car mechanics are the biggest ripoff in the country.

To be fair, I try to do my own work although I don't enjoy it anymore and used mechanics for my last 3 non-minor repairs because I live in an apartment (no garage or driveway, not allowed to work in the lot) and have no family within 900 miles. Before 3 years ago I always had family's driveways to use and rides to borrow if I had trouble.

I don't recall any horribly inconvenient breakdowns, and my last two breakdowns were downright convenient--that is to say if I was told by God I had to have a breakdown but could choose when and where I had it I would have chosen those times and places. (Although I probably would have forgotten about the car with all the excitement and revelation of being directly addressed by the Big Guy....)

My sister and her ex-husband, though, have had exceptionally bad luck with used cars, and I do believe they wound up spending less on new cars rather than maintaining old ones. I suspect some bad car selection and bad mechanics in thier case. (They got rid of the Subaru GL I picked for them...the thing ran perfect. Their two chosen cars proceeded to disassemble themselves over a few weeks' time.)


I also think my luck with cars has to do with my driving habits: I'm light on the gas and brakes (except when safety dictates otherwise and when occasional bursts of testosterone induce heavy feet).


One last thought: As far as puncutuality and convenience concerns I consider breakdowns one of those unplanned things you just have every now and then like sick family members, sick pets, sick self, deaths, etc.. Even if you maintain your car perfectly to avoid breakdowns you still could have a flat, lock the keys inside, have a wreck or run out of gas. In my case I don't think the cost and effort is worth the difference in breakdowns. I guess it's like "breakdown insurance" and I'm saving money on the premiums by having a high deductible.
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