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.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)