A: The cam timing solenoids rotate the camshaft a little bit to change when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. This improves performance and fuel economy, especially on small engines. Gear-heads of the past would actually swap out the camshaft to change the performance of their engines for racing purposes. Swapping out the solenoid is much easier and cheaper.
Your engine will continue to run, but not at its best until you replace the solenoids.
A: The octane ratings for gasoline have not changed in the past decade. There is no law preventing you from using regular instead of premium gasoline, but the laws of physics will cause your engine to perform a little more poorly. Using regular instead of premium usually results in spark knock and, when knock is detected, the engine control module de-tunes the engine until the knock stops. If you only putt around town, you may not detect the difference.
A: There is an old saying that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It is as apropos today as it was in the time of buckboards and stagecoaches. It continues to apply to automobiles. And people.
A: It makes that clunking noise because there is something wrong. Be persistent and don’t give up until they fix it. See also: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
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