Honda Civic won't start. Timing belt?


Hi there,

My '95 Civic, 60,000 miles (yes, 60,000), up and died on me a couple days ago. Performance had been great up until then, now the engine will turn over but not start. I’ve done a bit of research and think it’s the timing belt. Someone told me to take off the oil cap, have someone try and start it, and look to see if there’s movement down there. There was none = broken timing belt… right? Is there anything else it might be? Basically, I guess I’m just REALLY hoping it’s not the timing belt because I just found out that with a civic’s interference type of engine, it could be very, very costly to repair.

What do you think?


If the cam is not turning then the belt is broken. The car may only have 60k miles but that belt is 13 years old.
Rubber degrades and timing belts should never be allowed to go over 6 or 7 years no matter the mileage.

If the belt broke this means the cylinder head will have to come off. One or more of the intake valves are probably bent due to piston contact.
This means a complete valve job along with tensioners and water pump.

There is usually no piston or rod bearing damage but anything is possible. Any nicks in the piston tops should be filed down to get rid of any sharp edges, which can cause detonation while the engine is running.


OK4450’s comment is right on the mark. Unfortunately, it does sound like your timing belt snapped.

Whether you opt to have the engine damage repaired or not, I think that this is a classic illustration of the need to follow the manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule, which advises replacement of a timing belt every X number of years, regardless of the mileage on the odometer.

In case you were wondering where to find this maintenance schedule, it is placed in the glove compartment by the manufacturer. If you purchase a used car that does not have a maintenance schedule, it is vitally important to obtain one.