Q: I am a stickler for maintenance on my vehicle. In my owner’s manual, it states that my timing belt needs replaced. Why is this necessary?
A: The timing belt is probably the single most overlooked maintenance item in newer cars. There are no sure telltale signs that the timing belt is worn until it breaks. If the timing belt breaks, pistons could collide with valves that are still open, wreaking havoc on your engine and perhaps ruining it completely. Timing belts need to be replaced at intervals ranging from 30,000 to 105,000 miles or every 6-8 years, depending on the model. Not all cars have timing belts, and some models have multiple timing belts. It is not uncommon for tensioner assemblies and the water pump to be replaced when the timing belt is replaced. It is also a great time to have your service center examine the condition of your other belts and hoses. Of course, there are many qualified independent service centers that can perform this repair for you as well.