Just bought an 02 Civic for my oldest–the people I bought it from said the timing belt was done around 105K. It has 147K on it now. My mechanic says the serpentine belts are original, and that indicates the timing belt was probably NOT done. When I bought the car, I was thinking we would put in a new timing belt next year, but now I am wondering if it was actually done. Is there any way to check the condition of the timing belt? If the water pump were failing, I would just do the timing, too. Can that be checked? Thanks for any help/advice!
THe only way to check it is to take it apart, and if you get that far…you may as well do the belt again. You’re 40% done…why not do the other 60%.
If you can still contact the seller, you could ask who they had do the work. Just say that you need one done on another car and are looking for a mechanic.
Then go ask the mechanic if he has any records of the repair.
If they did the work themselves…they could have put the old belt back on.
Or, when I replace one on our cars and trucks…I put the old one in the sleeve that the new one came in and I put the old one under the hood somewhere.
If I ever break mine on a Sunday, or out away from the cities…I can rely on the old one to get me home. They may have done that with the original…broke the second belt and replaced it with the original. Could happen!!!
A visual check is rarely useful.
While seeing a badly-scarred belt could cause you to change it just in time, on the other hand a belt that looks perfectly good could snap–literally–5 minutes later, with no warning whatsoever.
As a result, it would be unwise to rely on a visual inspection for something that has very major financial consequences. Additionally, it would be unwise to rely on statements of car sellers if they don’t have documentation to back up their claim. Personally, I would be very UNimpressed with somebody who doesn’t retain all of the documentation for his car’s maintenance and repairs…but that a topic for another day, I guess.
IMHO–you would be very foolish if you didn’t change the timing belt, the serpentine belt, the water pump, and all belt tensioners right away.
“IMHO–you would be very foolish if you didn’t change the timing belt, the serpentine belt, the water pump, and all belt tensioners right away.”
Good thinking @VDCdriver because this is the way to go if you are unsure about a vehicle. Otherwise…you could trash an engine very easily.
I think that I do have to change it. And even if it were replaced 50K ago, I wouldn’t be losing too much for the peace of mind. Thanks, all.
Incidentally, since today is US Air Force Day, I wish Missileman, The Same Mountainbike, and all other Air Force veterans who visit this forum a good day!
The belt that I removed from my '04 civic was in (visually) nearly new condition at 105 K. Yosemite, changing it would be a would be a challenging roadside repair.
Previous posters are correct-if you do not have documentation, change it.
The question I have is how your mechanic determined it was the original serpentine belt?
If you can find a record of the timing belt actually being done…then you’re probably OK. If not then assume it was never done. As for a visual inspection…I’ve seen timing belts that looked fine…just a few weeks before they snapped. You should be able to take a look at the belt by removing the top cover…but I don’t think it’s worth it. If you’re unsure…just replace it.
If the timing belt was done at the dealer the serp belts may have been replaced, with Honda parts. Are the belts original or are they factory/dealer replacements that look identical to the original parts?
Agree with asemaster and will add that if the belts were done at a dealer, there is no way that a mechanic today could say that the serpentine belt is the original one.
If it was done at a Honda dealer, then you can go to any Honda dealer with the VIN and they can look up the service record. Its all on computers today. Then you will have accurate information on the age and miles on the current belt, as well as any other maintenance performed by Honda dealers. Start with a dealer service department.
If it appears that you may need a new belt right away, then get a quote while you are there. Honda dealers are usually pretty competitive for this service.
changing it would be a would be a challenging roadside repair.
It would be a pointless repair. That’s an interference engine. If it breaks while you’re driving, you aren’t going anywhere even after you change the belt.
@Oliver; “changing it would be a would be a challenging roadside repair.”
Sorry …I reread my post and I confused everybody.
I was refering to the serpentine belt. When I said…
“Or, when I replace one on our cars and trucks…I put the old one in the sleeve that the new one came in and I put the old one under the hood somewhere.”
I could imagine trying to do a timing belt job on the side of the road. Yikes!!!
“I could imagine trying to do a timing belt job on the side of the road.”
Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. I got recruited to help my sister-in-law and husband move from Tennessee to Minnesota. Just outside of Gary, IN, his timing belt snapped. Luckily, we managed to roll the car off the freeway and to an empty parking lot. We found a parts store open and confirmed the engine was a free-wheeler. They sold us a timing belt and printed the timing mark diagram. 3 hours of grunting and cursing later, we were back on the road. I would NOT recommend it for anyone. A roadside repair like this was not fun AT ALL.
@momtosix, which engine does your Civic have? The 1.7L has a timing belt, but the 2.0L has a timing chain. The 2L was only used in the Si model. You do not need to change the chain, but you might need to change the belt if your car has the 1.7L engine. An original serpentine belt is surprising in either case, but more believable in the 2.0L with the timing chain.
If the original owner says the timing belt was changed, I would believe it. I change the timing belt on my civic every 90,000 miles, but I only change the other belts every 180,000 miles. Your mechanic is using faulty reasoning.