Hey guys and gals, I’m in a big pickle!
My girlfriend bought a 2000 Ford Focus SE (SOHC) in September 2009 from a private owner (who was the son of a used car dealer, who had previously used the car to shuttle things around) for $2000.
The car had 96,000 miles, and after 2.5 years it’s at 110,000. Mostly used to toot around NYC.
It had a really low, vibrating sound in the engine that started a year ago. Two different mechanics said it was just a low idle. Three weeks ago, it wouldn’t start, so we towed it to a shop, and they replaced the fuel pump. $450.
Last week we took it to another shop because the vibrating and rumbling, as well as screeching brakes were a problem. This shop is a family business. Very nice, thorough and patient mechanics. They said the rumble was the motor and transmission mounts, and the misfiring could be solved with a tune-up. All told, new front brake pads, new rotors, motor mount, transmission mount, Pcv valve. $900.
Got the car back, things were good. Three days later, leaving a grocery store with Super Bowl provisions, the car stalls while pulling out. I crank the engine, and it sounds like there’s a wrench knocking around in the engine. Got the car towed back to these mechanics, and a day later they call to tell me the timing belt broke, and the pistons, valves, and rods in the engine were irreparably damaged. Essentially, I have a blown engine. They said that when they opened it up they could tell the timing belt had never been changed.
My question is, I never knew about a timing belt. I should have consulted a scheduled maintenance book for the car. But isn’t the mechanic that did the tune-up and evaluated and repaired several different systems in the car, responsible for checking the timing belt? Anyone got any advice?
Thanks in advance!