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Timing belt

How do you check to see if a timing belt needs replacement? I just purchased a used car with 135,000 miles on it and don’t know if the previous owner had the belt changed while it was under warrenty (100,000 mile warrenty). I have been told the actural work to replace it is tough, but is there a way to check it without tearing apart a portion of the engine?

How much can you afford to bet on the question? If it were my decision I would buy the entire timing belt kit and a new water pump and replace it all. The damage from the belt slipping a few notches may cost more than you paid for the car.

You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t feel it.

If it were my car, I would be scheduling it for a new timing belt and water pump. (do the pump at the same time as most of the labor will be done anyway.

Would you have a timing belt changed when you were thinking about selling a car?

A timing belt would never be replaced as a warranty item unless perhaps it failed before the recommended time/mileage. It is a basic maintenance item.

That said, IF the belt was replaced, AND IF it was done by a Kia dealer, they may have record of it. Call your closest dealer and give them the VIN. I have gotten past service info on my second hand van that way.

If you don’t come up with anything the only safe thing to do is replace it.

How difficult is it to replace a timing belt?

Generally if you have to ask that question, you should leave it to the professionals.

When I did the timing belt on my Honda (also a case of a used car where the last timing belt change was unknown), I almost stopped mid-repair because once the timing cover was off the belt looked fine from the outside. But luckily I did change it and once it was off, there were serious cracks between the ribs that were bad enough that I could break the belt with my bare hands.

So the moral of the story is that there’s no way to tell what condition it’s in and so unless you know it’s been changed recently, you need to change it now. I have noticed that some shops have started putting a sticker stating the date and mileage when they change a timing belt, (which strikes me as an excellent idea) so you might look carefully under the hood for that. You could also look in the back of the owner’s manual where you’re supposed to record when the scheduled maintenances were performed (anyone remember the little stickers?). Not that anyone actually does this anymore, but maybe you’ll get lucky.

I’ve seen belts that looked perfectly well with 150k miles on them…then 2 weeks later…they break…Unless there is something obvious…it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to tell if a belt needs changing.

As for how difficult is it…as shadowfax says…if you have to ask…then don’t even attempt it. It’s something you do NOT want to mess up.

I wouldn’t even begin to consider trying it, i was asking to get an idea how long it would take a professional to do it, thus an idea of what the labor cost might be. I have a mechanic who has done a ton of good work for me and would do this, but just wondered how much I should look to be paying for the labor because I bring my own parts. The place i had my oil changed wanted $700 for parts and labor to do it.

That sounds like a reasonable price, but have your mechanic do it, not the oil change place.

If it’s going to cost that much by my mechanic, then it will be a while before I have that kind of money available, so i will just have to start saving and praying that the belt doesn’t give way. I am trying to contact the dealership the original owner bought the car from and had some work done on it to see if they might have a record of doing a change of the belt. Since there was paper work from work done at the dealership, but nothing concerning a belt change, they I kinda doubt they had it done, or the paper work would have been there along with the brake work, ac work and stereo instalation paper work was.

For a shop to do it, $700 sounds about right, depending on location, etc. Plan on leaving it overnight for best results as they need the engine to be cool to work on. If you take it to the dealership, when you make an appointment, ask if they’d be able to give you a loaner for the day/night. Drop it off before they close the day before, grab your loaner, and head on about your business, drive back to the dealership, drop off the loaner, pay them and drive your car home.

I got a quote of $450 from the one shop I have taken my car to in the past for work and never had an issue, and that is a little more doable. They said it’s an all day job, so now i have to find a day I can take off work.