The belt which I can see when I open the car bonnet seems to be new, but my friend says that is not the timing belt and it can not be seen from outside. The car is a Honda accord 2003 V6 which I am planning to buy, with 99K miles. The dealer says he has no idea if the belt was replaced. Is there any way to check if the timing belt has been replaced?

1 Answer 1


Here is a picture of what I believe your engine should look like:

enter image description here

The red arrow should be what you are seeing. This is the serpentine belt which drives the accessories. The green arrow is the cover which inside is where the timing belt lies. There is no real way to tell if the timing belt has been changed. After a couple hundred miles of running on the engine, it no longer looks fresh, so you couldn't really even tell by pulling the cover. As I'm sure you've been told, in most cars the timing belt should be changed at 60k miles.

With any engine you are unsure of which does not have a complete maintenance history, changing out the timing belt is the first thing I'd do. If you don't and it breaks because it hasn't been changed on time, you'll then have a very expensive paper weight (in most cases). If you are buying 99k mile car without the maintenance history, change the timing belt right off. Better to be safe then sorry.

  • 1
    thanks for helping me with the image Paul... I will follow your advice
    – user11234
    Jul 12, 2015 at 1:33
  • The first thing I do when I buy a second hand car with a sketchy service history is change the timing belt. A few hundred $/£ for peace of mind and the potential saving of thousands.
    – Mauro
    Mar 8, 2016 at 8:22
  • Agreed, I've changed quite a few of those belts. They basically look used after a couple hundred miles. That timing cover is also VERY difficult to get to anyway.
    – cloudnyn3
    Mar 8, 2016 at 9:10
  • You can tell when it's REALLY time to change the belt, though. Which could give indication on how well the car has been taken care of. Mar 8, 2016 at 11:43
  • @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing - The only sure way you can tell is when the belt brakes or slips ... by then it's too late. Maybe that's what you're getting at. Mar 8, 2016 at 17:31

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