Subaru Timing Belt Replacement

Broken Subaru Timing Belt West Springfield MA

Subaru Timing Belt Replacement

Broken Subaru Timing Belt West Springfield MA
As you can see the belt literally just snapped

A well maintained timing belt is essential in making sure that your vehicle will last for years to come. They don’t need to be replaced too often and the cost to replace the belt is fairly inexpensive. In most cases it only takes a few hours and should be done roughly every 100,000 miles. The trick here is to replace the timing belt as Preventive Maintenance and not as a repair like this customer had to do. Today I’ll tell you about a Subaru Timing Belt Replacement that ended up being a much larger job than the customer had hoped.

Subaru Check Engine Light

This customer started using us about 1 year ago. They needed an oil change and we were happy to help. With our oil change we perform our complimentary 55 Point Precision Inspection. This Inspection checks over the entire vehicle as well as pointing out any past due maintenance that the customer might need. This customer had roughly 145,000 miles on their car at the time and was told that it may be time to replace the timing belt as it appeared as if the belt had never been replaced. The rest of the car was immaculate.

When we suggested it to the customer she immediately said “That’s a myth, I was told that it lasts forever and replacing them is a scam”. We assured her that it’s not a scam and she told us she would think about it and get back to us. Last week she was driving and had her Check Engine Light come on and about a mile later there was a “bang” and the vehicle simply shut off. She tried to restart it but unfortunately needed to be towed. Fortunately she was able to take advantage of our Free Roadside Assistance.

Subaru Head Gaskets

Subaru Timing belt and head gasket replacement
After the engine was repaired and put back together it is ready to be reinstalled in the car

The vehicle came in and it was obvious what had happened. The timing belt had snapped causing some internal engine damage. The purpose of the timing belt is to keep the upper and lower ends of the engine moving in sequence. Should one of them find themselves out of sequence there can be some serious internal engine damage. In this case when the lower end (pistons and crank) spun free they hit the upper end (valves) causing some big problems.

The only way to repair valves in a cylinder head is to remove them by removing the entire cylinder head(s). When removed we found significant damage that was fortunately very easily repaired. The technician repaired the cylinder heads by replacing all of the damaged valves and reinstalled them along with new seals and a new timing belt.

The job only took a few days to complete but cost the customer roughly $3000 more to perform this repair due to the engine damage than it would have been if she just replaced the belt as preventive maintenance rather than as a repair after it snapped. Like many others that have unexpected repairs, she wasn’t prepared to spend that kind of money so she was happy about being able to take advantage of one of our Payment Plans.

Need your timing belt replaced? Not sure if your vehicle has a timing belt or a timing chain? Give us a call or feel free to schedule online. We’re happy to help.

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MAIt’s frightening to have your car shut off on the highway. It’s even more frightening to know that all of this could have been prevented if I just listened to their advice. While I take full responsibility for what happened I’m just happy that James and David were able to get me right in and take care of the issue so quickly. I have a few friends that use this shop and everyone raves about them. Now I see why. I’ll be sure to take their advice more seriously going forward and can’t sing more praises about how professional all of them are and how well my car is running. For anyone considering this shop I can say that they’re not cheap, but they’re GOOD!! Like really good! I find that they’re cheaper than the dealer and blow the dealer away in terms of quality and professionalism. I would rather know my car is fixed properly than cheaply. Highly recommended by me.

Cathy L

West Springfield, MA

Subaru Head Gasket

Subaru head gasket replacement

Subaru Head Gasket

Those of us that live in Western MA were pretty lucky this year when it comes to cold weather (if you don’t like snow or cold that is). We only had a few weeks of really cold weather, but other than that the temperatures have stayed pretty warm. A long time customer had come in a few weeks back concerned about a loss of heat in his Subaru. When he would warm the car up in the morning the temperature coming out of the vents would stay icy cold no matter how long he ran the car. Sometimes the fix can be something simple such as a loose clamp or a faulty thermostat. Unfortunately for this customer he needed a Subaru Head Gasket Replacement

Subaru Coolant Leak

It’s very common in the winter to see cars coming in with heat loss and in the summer we see cars come in overheating. Both concerns are typically (but not always) caused by the same issue, a Coolant Leak. For this Subaru Repair we road tested the car to verify what was happening. When we pulled the car into the shop we found that there was a significant loss of coolant. This will most definitely cause the customer’s concern.

We then applied some pressure to the cooling system to help us identify where the coolant is leaking and hoist the vehicle on a lift to check for any obvious leaks. Coolant was actually leaking out of the driver side Subaru Head Gasket. When inspecting the passenger side of the engine there was a large amount of coolant staining that indicted there was a small leak from that side of the engine. If left untreated this small leak will most definitely turn into a larger leak. It was determined that both cylinder heads would need to come off this engine to be checked for warpage or cracks.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement

Subaru Head Gasket replacement
This is one of the cylinder heads after being cleaned up and serviced at the machine shop

We removed both Subaru Cylinder Heads and had one of our Certified Technicians look them over. There were no obvious issues but to be safe we sent them to a machine shop to have them properly cleaned and serviced. The machine shop makes the mounting surface perfectly smooth so that the gasket can seal properly. Then they clean all of the valves and replace any seals in the cylinder heads. The heads always come back a day or so later looking and functioning like brand new Subaru Cylinder Heads.

Subaru Head Gasket Replacement Tip

A few months back we put a picture of another Subaru Head Gasket Replacement on our social media. There were some question as to how we were doing the job. For those that don’t know, most shops that do this job once or Subaru head gasket replacementtwice a year will remove the entire engine from the car, then disassemble and reassemble the engine. We average a few every week so we found a slightly better way to do the same job. What we do is leave the engine in the car and disassemble and reassemble the engine right in the car. The outcome is exactly the same in terms of the quality of work. But the bonus is that it saves about 2-3 hours doing it our way. What this means for the customer is that they save almost $300 and get their car back sooner!!!

The trick is using some special tools that we have had specially fabricated to make this job go much smoother. You can also achieve the same result without the special tools by using carefully positioned wedges of wood that will give you the proper angles to remove the heads while keeping the intake out of the way. Doing this puts no stress or strain on anything in the engine compartment and allows plenty of room to remove and reinstall the cylinder heads. There really is no need whatsoever to remove the entire engine. It’s just a wasted expense that the customer really doesn’t need to incur.

Now it’s time for the whole job to go back together. Because of the mileage on the vehicle we installed a new timing belt and water pump too. The vehicle was roughly 10,000 miles away based on the service history but the customer decided to replace them while the engine was going back together instead of reinstalling the old ones, then have to take it all back apart again in a few months when he hits the required mileage. It saved him quite a bit of money doing it this way. After all parts were installed we performed all the necessary scheduled maintenance so that this customer can just enjoy their car for a while and not have to worry about anything.

Subaru head gasket leak
It’s important that when cleaning the block to make sure none of the metal shavings get into the cylinders, oil passages, or coolant passages. We plug them all with shop towels while prepping them

We see a lot of Subaru Repairs that require the replacement of the Head Gaskets. Unfortunately it’s a very common issue on these cars. But the repair process is pretty quick and the price is reasonable. We then back the repair with our 2 year, 24,000 mile Nationwide warranty and Free 12 month roadside assistance. It’s all about giving the customer the best service possible at the best price possible. Peace of Mind!

 

 

 

 

 

Precision Auto Repair and Sales West Springfield MA2 Days! My car was in and out of there in 2 days!. That’s unbelievable! This car is my life. I need it for shuttling around family and I’m in it all day for work. When Precision told me I needed to have the engine taken apart I was in disbelief that they we’re going to have it back to me the next day. But I’ve been going to them for years and they have never put me in the wrong direction yet. Sure thing the next day around 4 o’clock they called to say it was done. They even came to pick me up. Over the years I’ve used other area shops, I’ve used 2 area dealers, and I’ve used chain repair places. I’ve never seen the high quality and empathy that the staff at Precision always brings to the table. These guys are good. Like really darn good! Do yourself a favor and take your car to these guys. Not only do they care, they know what they’re doing.

Matt M.

Westfield, MA

Audi RS6 Engine Replacement

Audi Repair

Audi RS6 Engine Replacement

A few weeks back we posted a picture to our Facebook page showing us starting an Audi Repair that consisted of us replacing an engine on an Audi RS6. Within a few days I received some texts and e mails asking me to update people on the progress. So I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging.

Audi Repair

The customer that owns the car absolutely LOVES it. Him and his wife bought it when it was new and at the time it really was one of the top cars out there, in my opinion it still is. It’s called an Audi RS6. This car was made for the person that wants a nice car to cruise on the highway with during the week, then turn around on the weekends and take it to the track. It’s really the best of both worlds.

About a month ago it was towed in. They were driving on the highway and the vehicle just shut down and wouldn’t restart. I personally took a look at this one because Audi and Porsche are 2 of my favorite brands to work on. I quickly found that the vehicle had low compression and I suspected a bent valve(s). I performed a compression (internal engine pressure created by the engine) test and as expected there was no compression but only on the left side of the engine. So I removed all of the covers that sit over the timing belt to check the timing and the timing was perfect. The belt was also relatively new. So I had to dig a little further.

Audi timing belt
As you can see there is an internal chain and an external belt. The belt was removed for proper inspection of the movement in the camshaft.

On this and many Audi and Volkswagen engines there are external and internal timing components. The external timing component would be the timing belt. This is replaced around 90-100k miles (always replaced with the water pump, tensioner, rollers, seals, and thermostat). The internal component(s) would be the timing chains and tensioners. On this and a lot of Audi and Volkswagen engines they have 2 camshafts (simple explanation would be to call it a long metal bar that has lumps in it that open and close valves in the engine) in each cylinder head. The timing belt spins just one of the cams and the internal timing chain(s) spin the other camshaft in sequence. Make sense? Well if it doesn’t that’s “ok”. Just know that these are vital components and if there is a failure, it’s pretty bad.

To access the chains I had to remove the valve covers. Since there was a major failure on just one side I wanted to start with that side. Once removed I was able to check the internal timing. I found that the left bank was off by roughly 180 degrees. In layman’s terms… Kaboom!

Audi repair
When any major work is done on these cars the front portion of the car needs to be removed to allow access to the engine.

Now to find out why it happened. The tensioner was removed and I found that the tensioner that holds pressure on that chain had an issue, it was just compressing with one finger and shouldn’t do that. When the car is off there is a spring inside that holds a good amount of tension on the chain. It also requires oil pressure to keep pressure on the chain while it’s running. The problem here is that the passage the oil goes through to get to the tensioner was plugged solid with engine sludge. Sort of like a varicose vein. Without proper oil pressure the tensioner would allow the chain to bounce around and eventually jump timing.

Audi Repair Options

The customer was ultimately given 5 choices.

  1. Start looking for a new car
  2. Remove the engine, take it apart, fix what’s broken
  3. Remove the engine, completely rebuild it
  4. Replace the engine with a brand new one
  5. Replace the engine with a used one

The customer chose option 5. There weren’t a lot of these engines available so we went with a low mileage option. When it arrived it was in great shape but we wanted the customer to be completely worry free so we resealed the entire engine, replaced all external timing components, and brought it up to date on any other maintenance. There were a few minor hick-ups along the way but nothing even remotely major. It was by far the most cost effective and time sensitive option available.

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Audi engine replacement
The engine and transmission come out together. Then they are separated outside of the car.

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Volkswagen engine replacement
After the engine and transmission are removed the old engine comes apart. Some of the parts of the old engine end up on the new one. It’s much easier to do this with the engine out of the car

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Audi Repair
After the job is complete the engine and car are washed and returned to the customer. As you can see the engine fits in there pretty tightly.

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This really isn’t all that difficult of a job if you know what you’re doing and you have the proper tools…. but it does take a long time. The total time spent was somewhere around 45 hours.

So after about a week and a half the new engine was in the car and running perfectly. The customer really loves the car so for him and his wife it was money well spent. They’re great people and we really hope they enjoy all of the time they can spend in it once again.

-JS

Oil Change Part 1

Audi Oil change west springfield ma

It’s no secret that we all want to drive our cars as long as possible, staying as safe as possible, while spending as little as possible, and ultimately have no breakdowns. The truth is that with very little planning this is a very realistic goal for every one of you. But if you are one of the many that think by just getting an Oil Change a few times every year that is going to help you reach this goal, I’m sorry to say that you won’t. Our experience shows that the customer that only gets an Oil Change once or twice every year and doesn’t perform any other maintenance will pay up to 5x more (based on ownership up to 150,000 miles) to keep their car running safely than someone that follows the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

In this 2 part post I’m going to explain what Factory Scheduled Maintenance is, how to properly check your engine oil, how performing these services actually cover what some call a Tune Up, the difference in services based on driving habits, and why you need to use this schedule if you don’t want to pay for expensive and unexpected repairs and keep your factory warranty current.

Checking your oil level

Cars are definitely built a lot better than they were years ago. They’re much more efficient and are built to much stricter specifications which typically means that they won’t burn through fluids, last longer, and can go longer between services. With that said, the life blood of your engine is the oil. I typically check my oil every other time I fill my gas tank. This helps me monitor the condition and level of the oil regularly so I can spot an issue before it becomes a major problem. Here’s how;

Factory Scheduled Maintenance

The manufacturer that built your vehicle came up with a plan for your vehicle. This plan was laid out to ensure that all essential systems in the vehicle get checked or serviced at specified times. The plan was also made to ensure that you will have worry free driving so that you will stay loyal to the brand you drive and ultimately buy another one in the future. The example below is actually the plan for an Acura RL (your plan will vary based on the vehicle you drive, this is just an example. If you need information for a specific vehicle, feel free to call us and we can get that for you);

The chart breaks down mileage and specific services based on the exact mileages
The chart breaks down mileage and specific services based on the exact mileages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see the plan is broken down into specific mileage based sections that point out exactly what needs to be checked and/or replaced as well as when. These services are commonly referred to as “K Services”.

In Part 2 of this post we will cover K Services  based on driving habits, how “K Services” are the new Tune Up, and how performing these services not only adds value to your vehicle but it will help save you money and time by keeping the car running like new while maintaining the factory warranty.

Follow me over to Part 2 now.

or

Schedule an appointment today

 

Subaru Service Scheduled Maintenance

Subaru Service west springfield ma

The most frequently asked question we hear day to day is “How much for a tune up?”. While this was a very easy question to answer in the 70’s and 80’s, cars have become much more complex and the term “Tune Up” ultimately doesn’t have a ton of bearing on ensuring that your Subaru runs it’s best for years to come.

So I want to take a few minutes to explain what a “Subaru Tune Up” used to be, what it currently is, and also explain  the benefits of having your vehicle serviced properly. A “Tune Up” used to essentially be an oil change, spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, and a distributor cap and rotor. The owner of the car did this pretty much whenever the car started to run rough or about every 20-30,000 miles based on driving habits. This would solve most issues a vehicle could develop back then. Now the manufacturers have changed over to what is called a “K service”. A “K Service” is a mileage based service (you can find this schedule in your owners manual or just call us if you’re unclear on your vehicle’s actual schedule and we can e mail it to you) that ensures that your vehicle is in our shop at specified mileages. During these specified mileages we check various areas of the vehicle and perform some required services such as fluid changes, computer resets, air filters, timing belt replacement, and even spark plugs. It is very rare however that if you have a “Check Engine Light” lit up on your dash that this service or a “Subaru Tune Up” will resolve the issue. You may need to have that issue looked at as well.

One of our Master Techs performing a Subaru Service
One of our Master Techs performing a Subaru Service

The benefit here is that with all of the new technology in vehicles these days we find that the required replacement of parts is minimal and the benefit to the consumer is that since your vehicle is in the shop at such regular intervals the chance of a major part failure or break down that will leave you stranded is lowered by roughly 90%. That’s correct, by performing your mileage based service laid out by the manufacturer we have found that you are 90% LESS likely to break down than someone that just wants to change their oil every 3,000 miles. In addition, by performing these services on your vehicle it keeps the “Subaru Factory Warranty” current and on average our customer’s pay about 20% less for the same service than the “Subaru Dealer” will charge.

So in short following your Subaru Dealer’s Service Schedule will help ensure years of enjoyable driving and safety for you and your family. Rest assured that when it comes to Subaru Service in West Springfield MA, we’ve got you covered.

 

 

In need of Subaru Service? Call us today at 413.363.0306 or schedule online today.

5 Star Rating

 

I was always under the impression that I needed to go to the Subaru Dealer in West Springfield or my warranty would be void. I was under this impression because that’s what the dealer told me. After a few minutes of research I found that it’s not true and then started to question other things I was told such as, Why do I need a major repair every single time my car is in for service? So I looked for other options. I found Precision Auto Repair in an online search and decided to give them a shot. They got me right in, gave me a ride to work, and the price was more than reasonable. I also enjoyed the personal interaction I got from the staff there. They make me feel like a friend and not a customer. My husband and daughter both drive Subaru’s and we all currently take our vehicles to Precision and have been for the past 3 years. They’re the best.

Mary Beth W.

Southampton, MA

 

Subaru Coolant Leak West Springfield, MA

Subaru coolant leak

Subaru Coolant leak

We see a lot of no heat concerns this time of year. While the cause of the no heat can vary from vehicle to vehicle (and most of the time it’s caused by a Coolant Leak ) one thing we see a lot of is misdiagnosis from other shops that are calling for repairs that aren’t necessary and ultimately won’t fix the customer’s concern. In the case of this Subaru Coolant Leak the outcome was very good for the customer.

Subaru Repair

In the case of this Subaru Repair the customer called us and asked for a price to replace Head Gaskets on their Subaru and were told by an area dealer that their Subaru Forester needs them to fix a Coolant Leak. They were quoted roughly $3,800 and would be without their vehicle for about a week and an half. Unfortunately we don’t provide quotes for repairs when we haven’t properly diagnosed the concern and here’s why (take a minute to read up on this policy).

The green is coolant leaking down from behind the timing cover
The green is coolant leaking down from behind the timing cover

Fortunately the customer had us look into the issue and properly diagnose it because it wasn’t the head gaskets causing the coolant leak. After a short visual inspection one of our Master Technicians quickly found that the head gaskets were fine. On this vehicle Subaru recommends replacing the timing belt and water pump between 90,000 and 100,000 miles. In this case the customer went just under 140,000 miles (yikes). In this time the water pump just went bad and needed to be replaced along with the timing belt.

Here's a slightly better angle. The left of the picture is the front of the engine
Here’s a slightly better angle. The left of the picture is the front of the engine

For this Subaru Repair we replaced the timing belt and water pump. The customer had their vehicle back to them by the end of the day, saved herself about $3,000 UNDER what the Subaru Dealer said she “needed”, and she didn’t have to be without her vehicle for a week and a half.

5 Star Rating  I have always bought Subaru’s and have always felt that the dealer knew the vehicle best because they’re the dealer. I’m humbled to say that’s not the case. Precision Auto Repair’s Service Manager David had phones ringing all around him and other customer’s that were there but still took the time to walk me out to my vehicle and show me what was going on then give me a plan to fix it. I’ve never received this sort of service at the dealer in my 25+ years of going to the dealer. Great job and thank you for not allowing me to tell you what was wrong with my vehicle. It would have been a very costly mistake made by me. You earned a new customer and I’ll tell everyone!

Kayla B.

West Springfield, MA