You should replace this belt every five years OR 100,000 kms; whichever comes first. Don’t neglect to have this done, even if you have not been driving far, because your warranty company won’t cover you if your belt is over five years old.
A simple way of explaining how important a cambelt is would be to imagine that you are riding a push bike. If the chain breaks or comes off, the bike stops. That’s exactly what happens when a cambelt snaps, only it’s a lot easier to fix a bike chain!
The cost lies not in the price of the belt, but the effects on the engine when the belt goes.
The cambelt works to keep the engine in time, stopping the valves from hitting the pistons. When it breaks the sequence is thrown out, the valve hit the pistons, bending the valves. It can cost anywhere from $1,500 or more to replace the valves.
When buying a second hand car, always check the mileage on the cambelt by looking at the service record. Additionally ask when it was last replaced. If you cannot confirm this, it may be better to walk away. In any vehicle pre-purchase inspection, this is one of the most important things to note. Make certain you know the condition of your new car's cambelt.
Some cars (like Hondas) can also possess a balance belt as well as the cambelt / timing belt. Both need to be replaced regularly to protect you from an expensive repair bill.
As some engines are more prone to damage than others, find your closest Auto Super Shoppes mechanic to get professional advice on your car's particular requirements.