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Alan, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 279
Experience:  WA State Emissions Certified 17+ Years Shop Experience Japanese and Domestic
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can you tell if the timing belt has been replaced can you

Resolved Question:

can you tell if the timing belt has been replaced? can you tell if it is about to fail?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Alan replied 7 years ago.
HelloCustomer Thanks for your question. It is difficult to determine if a timing belt has been replaced. A sticker comes with many new belts to go on the outside of the timing cover with a place for date and mileage. That would be the first thing to look for. If there is no sticker the only way to tell is to pull the timing cover off, which is quite a bit of labor. Even with the cover off it is hard to determine age unless it is obviously new, or heavily cracked. If the brand of belt is not worn off the backside of it you may be able to determine whether it is original, but the belt can't be seen unless the cover is pulled off.

Timing belts typically give no warning before they fail. You can listen at the cover with the engine idling to see if there is a flapping or rattling noise. This is an indication of a loose belt, which happens as belts get older and stretch.In most cases, though there is no warning.

The manufacturers recommendation for timing belt replacement on your Civic is 110,000 miles. I would recommend replacing the water pump at the same time, as it is driven by the timing belt, and will likely not last till the next interval.

I hope this answers your question. If I have helped you please accept. If you have more questions please reply. Thanks for using JA.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I'm looking at buying it used at 105k miles and there's no service receipt, just an explanation of how a mechanic bought it for his in-laws and replaced the belt. It sounds like I can't safely assume the belt was changed. The guy selling it told me his friend (a Ford mechanic) listended to it and told him it was OK. But I'm not inclined to go with hearsay.

Expert:  Alan replied 7 years ago.
HiCustomer Yes it can be hard to determine. You could look at the cover and see if it is cleaner than the rest of the engine, but if it was replaced very long ago it would be hard to tell. This is considered an interference engine, which means the engine can be damaged if the belt breaks. I have seen them break with no damage, though. It may be better to be safe than sorry.

I hope this helps.
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