The timing belt is a belt that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft(s). This belt is critical, in that it controls the relationship between the pistons and the valve operation. as the pistons go up and down, valves open and close to let fuel\air in and exhaust out. If the timing belt breaks, the valves will stop wherever they are, but the pistons will keep going. Here is where the problem lies, some engines (called interference engines) are designed in such a way that the piston will hit the valves if they are stuck open. This will ruin the engine, and you will have to replace it. Not all engines are interference, but a lot are. Keeping up your timing belt maintenance is cheap insurance!
Some cars are equipped with a timing belt, some cars are equipped with a timing chain. Your owners manual should inform you as to whether or not you need to change the belt\chain. Most chains do not require maintenance at any certain interval, but all belts do! This information will be in your maintenance schedule. If you can't find this information in your manual, feel free to call us at (740) 965-3206, and we would be happy to look that information up for you.