Dear Tom and Ray:
I have a 2005 Hyundai Sonata. It has just reached 60,000 miles. Should I have the timing belt changed, even though there are no problems? My dad was a car mechanic, and now he is fixing cars in heaven, but every once in a while I will dream about something (he really taught me a lot, and would call me when he knew stuff had to be done and say, “Get the oil changed this week,” or “Check your brakes this week”). I keep having a recurring dream about the timing belt. What do you think? Thanks. — Kate
Ray: I don’t know if Freud ever wrote anything about timing-belt dreams. I’ll have to look that up.
Tom: Your dad sounds like he was a great guy, Kate. And he’s still serving you well, even in your dreams.
Ray: The timing-belt-change interval for this car happens to be 60,000 miles. So this is exactly the right time to change it.
Tom: This is not a car you want to just take your chances with. Both the four- and six-cylinder engines for this car (you don’t say which one you have) are what we call “interference” engines.
Ray: That means that when the timing belt breaks, the valves and pistons “interfere” with each other … the way, say, Floyd Mayweather “interferes” with his opponent’s nose in the boxing ring. The result is serious (and costly) engine damage.
Tom: And even though you probably have a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on this car, Hyundai probably will not honor it if you neglect key scheduled maintenance like this.
Ray: So listen to Dad, Kate, and get the timing belt changed.
Tom: By the way, I keep having a recurring dream in which MY late father tells me to stop working with my brother — what do you make of that?
Ray: That’s not Dad, and it’s not a dream. That’s me yelling at you when you fall asleep under a car you’re supposed to be working on.