When to replace a timing belt:
If you have a car, and you’ve been to a service center I’m sure you’ve seen/heard something about the timing belt. Timing belts are amongst one of the top recommended maintenance items, and at the usual cost of the repair a lot of people think it is a scam on the shop’s end to make an easy buck, but the timing belt is actually one of the more important maintenance items that you can take care of. The timing belt is what keeps the engine’s camshafts/crankshaft lined up and in time with each other, when they are properly lined up it allows to pistons and valves to operate in correlation. If the timing is off it can have very troublesome effects, some engines can have severe damage occur if the timing loses proper alignment.
The timing system setup on some vehicles is easier to work on then others, but it is something that you want to be sure you have the proper knowledge and tools to work on it. I have had quite a few jobs come in that had just had timing work performed and setup wrong, it can be a real pain in the ass to hunt down the problem and get it all straightened out. If you are comfortable with the job then by all means go forth and tackle it, but if you are unsure then I suggest you seek some assistance.
For the longest time it was recommended that the belts be replaced at 60,000 miles, but a lot of newer vehicles are coming out with a recommendation at 100,000+ miles. It is not recommended to go much longer then the recommended replacement mileage, but sometimes it will go a lot longer than that, it’s just not too smart to risk it since it can be a much more expensive repair cost if you wait until the belt breaks. A lot of shops will recommend a water pump at the same time, but that is because they are using more generic kits that come with the belt, pump, tensioners, therefore they can upsell each part at a higher price. I always prefer to leave the OEM pump in unless it has shown signs of wear or lacks efficiency. This is just up to you and what you would prefer to do.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on the subject and I will help out with whatever I can.
As always, have fun and stay safe!