Timing Belt Replacement
Of all the mileage-based maintenance needs of a vehicle, replacing the timing belt is the most costly, and most important! On many vehicles, if the timing belt breaks, catastrophic engine damage can occur. The timing belt keeps the camshaft indexed (or timed) to the crankshaft. If this belt breaks, the pistons can smash into any open valves. This can cause THOUSANDS of dollars in damage to your engine.
Unfortunately, visually inspecting this belt can not only be difficult due to its location on the engine, but a visual inspection many times cannot estimate the internal condition of the belt. This is why all vehicles with a timing belt have a mileage-replacement interval.
On many vehicles, the timing belt also drives the water pump. It can save you time and money to replace it whenever the timing belt is replaced.
"Is my timing belt really that important?"