This month I'd like to write about timing belts. All cars have belts but many cars have another belt under a cover just behind the regular belts, called a timing belt.
The purpose of the timing belt is to link the camshaft and crankshaft. They both have to be synchronized or in time with each other, hence the name.
If you check your owner's manual, it will tell you when the replacement of the belt is necessary. Some belts require changing at 60,000 miles and some as high as 90,000. The problem people have is they neglect it and wait till it breaks or a component associated with the it breaks. Some engines are interference engines, meaning that if the belt breaks or goes out of time, the pistons will hit the valves and now the cylinder head has to be removed and the repair gets expensive.
While the timing belt is out it's a good idea to change the water pump because it is usually behind the belt and not much more labor to change it. If you do it later the belt will have to come off all over again.
So check your owner's manual or call us for advice on this. It's possible you don't even have a timing belt but it's better to be safe than sorry.