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Kia Bent Rod

A while back a car mechanic opted to not replace my timing belt because it looked good. When it broke some weeks later, he replaced it for free and told me the engine had sustained no dammage. He said the water pump was fine and he had not replaced it. He could not find the cause of the engine running rough or the smell of gas in the car. I was advised not to go back as he had taken a picture of the timing belt rather than replace it as recommended in the manual, etc. Now I have gone to another mechanic who had to replace the water pump because the new timing belt chewed it up. The labor was not cheap. He also solved the rough idle and discovered the sound of what he believes is a bent rod. I have contacted the first mechanic informing him that this bent rod should be his expense as it is a result of the broken timing belt. He claims that he tested the engine and it ran fine. What kind of test would that be? How likely is it that you can hear a bent rod? What else could cause a bent rod. I am anxious about a car that is so dammaged that it may be unsafe to transport my kids. I am a single mother and this is my only car. I don’t have the $2100 it would take to start the repairs on the engine and based on his performance on the past repairs, I neither trust him to do it nor feel he did things properly. Should he pay for this?

Do you currently have the car back? Is it running okay? If so, you need not worry.

Or is the “bent rod” his diagnosis of the rough idle? And are you sure he said “bent rod” and not “bent valve stem”?

I’m having a hard time understanding the post clearly.

By the way, knowing the year, model, engine, and mileage might help us.

It’s hard for me to imagine a timing belt breaking causing a bent rod. Some cars will bend their valves if the crankshaft and camshaft(s) get out of their proper timing sequence. People call these “interference engines” because the valves interfere with the pistons. If that is what happened, I think mechanic 1 MAY be responsible for a head replacement.

How was it running before you took it in?

In one of my older posts, I referred to my future in-laws’ mid 1980s Honda Civic, where the advisor told them it didn’t sound like the car needed a new timing belt. That’s just really poor advice, and weeks later, the timing belt broke. It caused $2,000 in damage.

If your car was running well before the belt replacement, I think you have bent valves, and that’s not good.

Depending on the year of this car, you may get lucky as I did and find a salvaged engine that’s around the same price as a new head.

Good luck to you.

The car is a Kia Sportage 2002 with 106K miles.I have the car back and, no, it is not running well. It may well be a bent valve stem, I am not good on the lingo. I have an interference engine and originally I took it to the first mechanic because it was running rough, i.e. bad gas mileage, slow acceleration. I asked this mechanic to check the plugs and the timing belt as at 100,000 miles, neither had been changed. I told him that I wanted to hold the costs down but I knew from my manual that they both were due to be changed.

He changed the plugs and wires and when he got to the timing belt, he just took a picture telling me that it looked great and did not need to be replaced. I looked at the picture, which meant nothing to me as I don’t know the look of a good or bad belt, and was pleased with the $80 savings. I applauded his honesty.

2 weeks later the belt broke. he originall informed me that this would cause an interference engine to seize and dammage it beyond repair. He told me that he would replace the belt for free and informed me that the engine was fine. He also told me that the water pump did not need replacing as it looked fine. He told me he had brought in mechanics who specialized in Kia work. I took the car home and realized that the rough running was still there but had no more money or confidence in him and waited until I had money to see another mechanic.

I went to the second mechanic who found a dammaged center bearing, and an ac belt tensioner that needed replacing and he fixed both. He warned me that there might be rod or stem (I don’t know which is the correct name)dammage based on how the car was behaving. They would know once they eliminated other problems. The car runs a little quieter but still with a slight rumble which I am told is the engine problem caused by the timing belt breaking while the engine was running. I am obviously not very knowledgable about cars and the first mechanic is saying that the car ran fine when he finished and that now after 2 months he is not responsible. Help!!

A broken timing belt will usually bend one or more of the intake valves in the cylinder head. This means a cylinder head repair and the rest of the engine, including the rod, is probably fine.

One cannot eyeball a timing belt, tensioner pulley, or a water pump in the majority of cases, and determine just how bad they are. The proper procedure is to replace it all in one shot.

I have a question about the picture of the timing belt. What did he do; disassemble things for a visual inspection and then take a pic? If so, why not simply replace it at the time?
Are you saying that after the belt broke you went back to Mech. No. 1 and he replaced the timing belt?
If so, did the car run fine or rough when you left there?

The thing that should be done at this point, considering it’s running rough, is run a compression test. This is easy to do and removes all doubt as to what is going on inside the cylinders.
If you hear a slight rattle in the engine this could be caused by excessive valve lash, which in turn is caused by a bent valve(s).

I think Mech. No. 1 has made some errors in judgement. Whether you can hold him accoutable or not is real iffy at best.
He provided an opinion and he did not do anything physically to cause the belt to break.
It would be similar to a doctor being wrong on a diagnosis. I’ve seen 5 doctors over the last year, including several of the best neurosurgeons around, and every one of them thought I did not have a shoulder problem, which has been killing me at times. Well, No. 6 had an MRI done and I go under the knife in about a week for 2 minor problems in that shoulder along with a major league rotator cuff repair.

Mechanic #1 was supposed to replace the timing belt but when he had everything disassembled, he said it looked good, snapped a couple of pics on his cell phone, put it back together and told me he had saved me $80 in parts. He said he did not want to charge me for something that had not needed replacing. It still did not run well and 2 wks later, the belt broke. He replaced the belt after the engine seized and I had it towed to his place. He originally said “that is really strange that it broke after I looked at it because it looked fine.” After the new belt it continued to run crummy but I feared returning to someone so seemingly inexperienced. I waited for my tax return and headed to the second mechanic.

I don’t know if I buy the doctor analogy as it would be more similar to a doctor opening one up for a heart valve replacement, looking at the outside of the heart and proclaiming it fit. After sewing it up, you rupture a valve 2 weeks later causing tissue and nerve dammage and he claims that you were able to leave the hospital so you must have been fine at the time of your discharge.

One thing you should not do is visit Mech. No. 1 again. I don’t know what to think of a mechanic who would go to the trouble of tearing into the timing belt assembly, take a few pics, and then pronounce it good.
Many old weak timing belts may have a fine appearance right up to the second they break.

Well, you can ask if he’s going to pay the bill. He will probably refuse of course, then it’s your option as to whether to take him to court or not.
You may win or you may not.
I’ll stick with the doctor analogy because even in the case you mention that would not be malpractice. It’s considered an art, not a science, so the odds of prevailing against a dr. on something like that are pretty slim.

Take the mechanic to court and he may say that he gave you an option. He could state the belt looked fine and you did not want it replaced based strictly on that comment. I’m not saying this is what happened; only pointing out one of a dozen things that he could use in his defense.
He has definitely made some errors here but whether it would stand up in court is anybody’s guess.

Exactly what are they recommending for 2100 dollars; head repair or replacement, complete engine replacement, etc.? That sounds a bit high for the former 2 options.
Why not something like this?

Throw in a top end gasket set, various fluids, etc. and I see no reason you can’t get out from under this at around a thousand dollars.

Thanks for your comments. Thank you for the Ebay info, too. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge. The guessestimate of $1000 would that include the labor? If you have any suggestions for how to find reliable mechanics, please share them. I am new to this area in Maine. Thanks if you have any more help to give.

In fact, if anyone has any suggestions for finding a good mechanic please feel free to respond. I think I have already found out how to find an inexperienced one. I live in soutern Maine, close to Portsmouth, NH. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out.