How to tell if timing belt was replaced correctly

I just had my timing belt replaced in my 2002 HONDA LX. I have never had any problem with anything this garage has done. When I was driving home from the garage my car started making a noise that sounds like metal against metal. When I pulled into my home I could smell something that seemed like something was burning. What do you think the problem is?

You know the timing belt was replaced correctly when the vehicle operates exactly the same before the timing belt replacement. You need to take the vehicle back and have them recheck the installation.


Quote from Tester: “You know the timing belt was replaced correctly when the vehicle operates exactly the same before the timing belt replacement.” Unquote

Not always so. Correctly regarding timing but the timing belt tension could be set too loose or too tight.

Yes, have the belt installation checked.

Independent mechanic?

Yes, he is an independent mechanic. I will call on Monday and get it checked out.

With what you’ve described, I’d be inclined to call a tow truck and have it towed, just in case something is wrong. If something is wrong, driving it anymore than you’ve driven it could mean the difference between a little work and needing a new engine.

Sounds like the tensioner pulley or something else has a bad bearing. Smells like it is causing your belt to burn. Time for towing.

I tend to agree that the shop should be contacted before considering driving this vehicle. Put this off on their shoulders just in case.

In my opinion, any mechanic who changes a timing belt should double check his own work before releasing the car to the customer.
This means rotating the engine over by hand several revolutions (NOT with the starter motor) and verify that the timing marks all line up again before finishing the assembly.
He should then test drive the car to make sure there’s not a performance problem.

A properly done job means that the belt tensioners, water pump, etc. should have also been replaced. If not, oops.

I’d take it back to the mechanic. In most cases, changing the timing belt requires taking a lot of stuff off the car. Problem could be the timing belt itself. It may also be that something other than the timing belt didn’t get put back properly. It’s also possible that the vehicle wasn’t placed on the lift properly and some portion of the exhaust system got bent or that a rusty heat shield broke loose.

Might want to open the hood and look around the area where the belts are. I there is something in that area that doesn’t seem to belong there (e.g. a tool or rag or loose part) or if it looks like something was burning, you may want to discuss the situation with the mechanic on the phone before driving the vehicle again.

Also, check the oil level, and the coolant in the radiator. Those are drained when the timing belt is changed. They might not be there, now.