If you happened to find yourself paging through your car’s owners manual — a good idea, by the way — you may have noticed that it recommends replacing your car’s timing belt as a maintenance item. And, if you checked with your local repair shop, you may have discovered that replacing the timing belt is a lot more expensive than changing the engine oil, or pretty much any other maintenance item you can think of.

But the car’s running fine: Why bother changing the timing belt at all? Just because the manual says so?

No, actually there are a few much more important reasons to have the timing belt replaced than because it’s on a maintenance list. That’s because a timing belt does tend to wear, and it can break without warning. And, if it does break, it can leave you stranded… or worse.

The timing belt is an important part of your engine. It connects the crankshaft and the camshaft, to keep them rotating in proper progression with one another. If the timing belt breaks, the two shafts are no longer connected, so the engine won’t run. And that can leave you stranded. But more important, most engines have an interference fit. That means, if the pistons and valves aren’t timed properly, they can clash. So, if the timing belt breaks, it can cause serious engine damage.

How do you know if your car’s timing belt is ready to break? Unfortunately, there’s really no way to tell: One moment it’s fine and the next it snaps. The only way to avoid a costly problem is to have the timing belt replaced… before it breaks.

The technicians at your nearby Cottman Transmission and Total Car Care center can help. They have the tools and the training to replace your car’s timing belt, and get you back on the road quickly, without breaking the bank. It’s a terrific way to protect your investment… and your piece of mind.