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I had this 2003 Honda Civic checked out by a mechanic before I bought it, and the mechanic said it looked like the timing belt hadn't been changed he couldn't tell if the timing belt had been changed. How would they have checked this?

The woman who drove the car didn't protest when they said this, but later, the boyfriend who actually owned the car disagreed, and said it had been changed by the dealer before they bought it, within the last year or so.

I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a precautionary measure if it's already been done. Is there any way to tell without actually taking the entire engine apart, to the point where you might as well replace it anyway?

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There really isn't an indicator for belts, unfortunately.

If the boyfriend of the previous owner says the dealer changed it, bring the car to that dealer, if possible, and have them look up a service record. If you're far away from the dealer, call in and have your VIN handy. I'd say this is your best bet.

  • Right, follow the paper trail. – James Drinkard Apr 2 '17 at 20:46
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Check around your engine bay. There may be a sticker indicating the last timing belt change if mechanic did stick it.

Something similar to this.

enter image description here

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    Don't know what your mileage is now, but I'd say that auto is due for a new belt since it's been over sixty years! :) – Tedwin Apr 3 '17 at 2:16
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Yes there is. A lot of belts have print on them or white line markings. These wear off over time, typically after about 70k miles. While it's not foolproof, it is an indicator you can use if the belt isn't real old.

You will have to remove the timing belt cover to visually inspect the entire belt. Here is a video on How to tell if your timing belt has been replaced?

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