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Q: Jumped timing

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I'm looking to buy a car from someone and they don't exactly know whats wrong with it other than saying "jumped time". Does that just mean it needs a new timing belt and has to be re-adjusted?

My car has 190000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Typically when the word jumped time is used...

Typically when the word jumped time is used, this means the timing belt is the issue. According to my information system, this motor is an interference motor. Which means when the belt breaks, it damages the pistons and valves. This most likely means it will need a new motor. The only way to know for sure is to do some disassembly and inspection.

It is possible that if the belt only jumped a few teeth that there isn't any damage. Determining this will require installing a new timing belt and running the motor or doing a leak down test on each cylinder to be sure. This sort of work can be extensive and should be done by an experienced technician. If you are serious about buying the car, I recommend having a certified professional conduct a pre-purchase inspection to get a clearer idea of what is needed for repair.

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