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In 2012, I purchased a 2009 Elantra and the car now has 48,400 kilometres. Last week, I took the car to a dealership and was told that, as per the manufacturer's maintenance, the timing belt was due at a cost of $600. As the mileage of my car is so low, can I wait to change the belt, at least until the mileage is approximately 90,000 kilometres? – Richard

Information detailing the maintenance schedules for differing climate regions throughout North America is available in your owner's manual. In Canada, most dealers – regardless of brand – typically follow the "severe" service schedule.

Accordingly, Hyundai recommends that the timing belt for your vehicle to be changed at 90,000 kilometres or 72 months, or "whichever occurs first."

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Timing belt manufacturing processes have advanced, belts that were previously made out of rubber and stranded fibreglass are now composed of polyurethane and steel, making them less susceptible to untimely failure.

In my 25 years as a technician, I have repaired one belt break with fewer than 50,000 kilometres and an occasional failure in the 80,000-kilometre range. At the other end of the spectrum, we regularly replace original belts with double those kilometres.

This decision, unfortunately, is yours to make. Recommending the belt change at this stage and having you decline the repair protects the dealer from liability should you be the unfortunate one.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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