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Old 01 Dec 2009, 10:11 pm
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Default How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Hello,

In my HOnda Civic LX 1997, is it possible to look for signs from outside to know if the timing belt needs to be replaced? Can I see the timing belt under the hood without having to remove anything major? One of the auto repair shops here told me that if the case is removed, the belt anyway has to be replaced (whatever that means). I just want to know if there is a way to know for sure that the timing needs to be replaced.

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 02 Dec 2009, 02:55 am
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhijsen View Post
Hello,

In my HOnda Civic LX 1997, is it possible to look for signs from outside to know if the timing belt needs to be replaced? Can I see the timing belt under the hood without having to remove anything major? One of the auto repair shops here told me that if the case is removed, the belt anyway has to be replaced (whatever that means). I just want to know if there is a way to know for sure that the timing needs to be replaced.

Thanks-Abbey
I think it would be better if you change the timing belt if your car has travelled 60,000 miles.
It does not cost too much and it will keep your car safe

Thanks
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Old 08 Dec 2009, 02:42 am
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

I change my daily driver civic's timing belt every 100k miles. What is the mileage of yours and has it ever been changed before?
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Old 08 Dec 2009, 11:25 am
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Cracks or frayed edges are a good sign. Generally you're supposed to change it after every 100,000 km. I think people play with fire to use a timing belt for longer than 100,000 km. It's possible that they can last 150,000 or 200,000 km. Usually easy acceleration and a properly aligned belt and not overlytightened will extend the useful life of a timing belt well over it's operational limit. I've gone almost 200,000 on my '97 volkswagon without a timing belt replacement, mostly straight highway driving though which is probably why it's lasted this long. It's retired now and almost has 400,000 total km but should I find the need to drive it again I'll be replacing it before I do, I'm setting it aside should my current car decide to quite on me.

Last edited by christopher2222; 08 Dec 2009 at 11:30 am.
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Old 08 Dec 2009, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

See that's the problem. The previous owner has driven it for the last 70K miles without changing it and she does not know if it was changed by the owner before her. So I guess it should be changed now.

What I want to know is - can it be checked and not changed? Or is it that once the timing belt case is opened to check, that and the water pump absolutely has to be changed? Or can the mechanic decide not to change it after removing the case and examining the timing belt?

If tye timing belt and waterpump have to be changed, how much will it cost me in total including labor and taxes? If I buy the parts online and take it to a mechanic, what all should I buy and will there be a significant cost difference if I buy the parts myself?

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 08 Dec 2009, 08:50 pm
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

If you aren't sure the previous owner changed it, then it's better to change it, record it in a maintenance log you've made for the car somewhere.

I don't see why you or the mechanic can't just have a look at the timing belt to see what shape it's in. If you can see cracks, replace it, it's a sign the rubber is breaking down, if it's frayed on the edges it might be okay but it's a sign of wear and most likely you'll observe cracks if it's frayed.

If someone tells you that you have to change it once you open that case, personally I'd think they're full of crap and probably taking you for a ride.

If the waterpump needs to be replaced, it's not cheap, probably $190 for the part (phone around - probably cheapest at honda and I think you get a refund for the old part when you bring it in for recycling purposes - volkswagon does that, I'm not sure if honda does though) and another $190 for labour. Why do you think you need to replace your waterpump?
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Old 09 Dec 2009, 09:42 am
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Hello Chris

I had read somewhere that when timing belt is changed, waterpump should also be changed at the same time. That is the reason I had asked about the cost of changing the timing belt+waterpump together.

It is heartening to know that timing belt can be inspected but need not be changed at that time. It will give me some time to work out my finances.

How much do you think timing belt change will cost me?

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 10 Dec 2009, 06:57 am
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

I haven't heard of changing waterpump at the same time as the timing belt but it doesn't sound like a bad idea. I only change something if it needs changing but it's your call on that one, personally if it's working fine I wouldn't change it.

Timing belt cost - around $40 I think. Phone a honda dealership and ask their parts department. Oh and then plus labour min. $70 an hour or so, if it takes them 1 minute past one hour, they'll charge you 2 hours for it and it most likely will so bet on $140 or more in labour. Boy am I in the wrong business.

On that note changing the waterpump at the same time may save you a little extra time in labour costs if you think it's going to die out on you within the next little while anyway. But it doesn't hurt to get advice from as many people as you can
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Old 10 Dec 2009, 02:51 pm
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Hi Chris

Thanks ! Heartening to know that changing timing belt will not cost me a fortune. I thought it would be around $500 but good to know it will be like $40+70times number of hours. That's still manageable I hope.

This forum is really good. You guys rock !

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 12 Dec 2009, 02:21 pm
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Default Re: How to know if timing belt needs to be changed

Hi Abbey,

Not once in this thread did you post how many actual miles were on the car, although we do know that 'one' previous owner logged 70,000. In my opinion, you are playing with fire here, for you probably have no idea what will happen if that belt breaks when the engine is running.

That belt drives the valve train of your engine and those valves all need to open and close at precise times to coincide with the rise and fall of the pistons in the cylinders. If that belt breaks, those valves will all stop dead in their tracks, but the pistons won't and the result will be pistons smashing into opened valves, resulting in a MAJOR engine repair costing thousands of dollars!

I have never heard of anyone taking their car in to have the timing belt 'checked'. Most shops will probably give you a weird look, before telling you that you are wasting your money.

There are certain components that just HAVE to be serviced at CERTAIN times, to prevent the scenario I depicted above. The manufacturers set maintenance intervals that err on the side of caution, partly to protect their vehicles reputations and to protect their customers from serious injury or repair costs and in many cases, those belts are good for more than 100,000 miles, but is that risk worth it??

The water pump should not need replacing, if it shows no sign of leaking and the cooling system is otherwise healthy. That is one repair that some slightly less than honest shops will try to tack on. However, if the car has 200,000 miles on it, it would probably be wise to change the water pump on the SECOND timing belt change, simply because if the pump starts to leak after the second belt goes in, that new belt will also need to be replaced because once contaminated by coolant, it is toast.

Don't be penny pinching with this maintenance item. You may regret it big time.
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