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Old 30th June 2009, 13:46   #1
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Default A scary breakdown amidst high speed traffic

Time 6.20 pm, Monday 29th June 09.
Venue: GST road , Chennai near Hotel Radisson.
Characters : Me, my ever reliable (?) M800 and a sea of vehicles all travelling at around 60-70kmph.

I was happily driving at around 60 kmph, home just a few minutes away. The car had just returned from periodic service on Saturday (87000 kms) and running smooth. I was in the middle lane , just eased on the throttle and was about to put on indicators and move to left since the left turn to Nanganallur was ahead. The signal at the junction was green and vehicles of all sizes and shapes were zipping around. Suddenly M800 decided to teach me the lesson - "Expect the unexpected". The engine died at 50 kmph in the fourth gear. The vehicle started slowing down fast. Pressed the clutch and tried the ignition but no response. I just managed to switch on the hazard warning indicators and eased in to the left lane. Luckily the signal ahead had turned red and other veicles also slowed down a bit. Parked on the road side and tried the ignition again but M800 refused to start. Called up the Popular's on road service and was told that help will come in around 30 mins. I kept the hazard light on and stood on road side. Only on seeing the volume and speed of the traffic, I realised how lucky I was to have safely moved to the kerb. At that speed, it was quite possible that someone could have banged into me.

The BD vehicle arrived at 7 pm. After a few more futile attempts to start, the vehicle was towed to the service centre. This morning the service centre called up and said the culprit was the timer belt.

The car has failed me on the road during the last 6 years only twice (first one around 48000 kms) and on both the instances, the culprit was the timer belt.

I had been regularly servicing the vehicle at every 5000 kms at the same service centre and I had taken the vehicle after service only on Saturday, which included engine decarbonising. It is a known fact that rubber belts can fail due to wear and tear but I understand the timer belt condition is not checked during regular service. Is it true or has the service centre overlooked the fact. I will be visiting them later in the evening to take delivery of the car and will know the exact reason for belt failure only then.

I will post the details later.

Will post after visiting the service station
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Old 30th June 2009, 14:39   #2
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Good you were able to park safely. Have been in a smilar situation when I had a puncture on a bike in the midst of heavy traffic. Getting to the side safely and parking was not an experience I would like to repeat.
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Old 30th June 2009, 14:47   #3
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48,000 kms and 39,000 intervals seems too premature for a timing belt to wear out. A timing belt is usually changed only after 80,000 kms. Get the car checked thoroughly at a M.A.S.S
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Old 30th June 2009, 14:49   #4
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Good to know that no one climbed over you and you had enough buffer to pull to the side and presence of mind to turn on the hazards.
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Old 30th June 2009, 14:54   #5
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That was close and scary. Good to know you are safe. Too early for a timing belt change but with mechanical parts, you never know.
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Old 1st July 2009, 10:46   #6
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Took the car from service station yesterday. The timing belt has not got cut, but 15 of the teeth had been cleanly sheared off from the belt. A part of the belt thus resembled a normal belt rather than a timing belt. The belt and the timer belt tensioner were replaced. Probably the tensioner malfunctioned increasing the tension on the belt , resulting in the teeth shearing off.

Belt Rs.618 + tax
tensioner Rs.215 + tax

Labour excluding service tax after negotiating a Rs 400 discount.

Towing charges - Rs 500
belt replacement Rs 550
tensioner replacement Rs 350

I bargained for waiving the towing charges since the vehicle was serviced only 2 days back. The service guy agreed to waive Rs 400 from labour bill since towing charges can't be waived by him.

Total damage Rs 2481.

Quote:
48,000 kms and 39,000 intervals seems too premature for a timing belt to wear out. A timing belt is usually changed only after 80,000 kms. Get the car checked thoroughly at a M.A.S.S
All the services have been done only at the service station of Popular Vehicles, one of the biggest Maruthi dealers in Kerala & TN.
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Old 1st July 2009, 15:05   #7
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Good that car is back with not so heavy charges, this is what I like about Maruti. Not so expensive to maintain. Wonder what would have happened to skoda owner with similar issues !
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Old 1st July 2009, 15:39   #8
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Good for you raju! Im sure if you are familiar with chennai, you would consider yourself lucky not to have a broken bumper r tail lamps!
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Old 1st July 2009, 21:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YaeJay View Post
Good for you raju! Im sure if you are familiar with chennai, you would consider yourself lucky not to have a broken bumper r tail lamps!
I have been driving in Chennai roads for years and I agree with you. I was lucky. Worse still, I could have also triggered a multiple collision with out me getting hit.

All is well that ends well
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Old 15th July 2009, 19:19   #10
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Raju,
It is always advisable to change/check Timing/Fan belt every 30,000 Kms, specially for old vehicles
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Old 15th July 2009, 20:04   #11
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Wow!!! Trident Hyundai quoted Rs 4500 to change my Santo's 76000 km old timer belt. And I keep seeing posters in their Service station that claim Hyundai spares are the least expensive in every category.
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