Timing Belts

Is there any reasonably easy way of telling if a timing belt has been recently changed? We're about to buy a 2001 Civic. The owner claims has had the timing belt changed (at 116k!). The Honda dealer has no
record of having seen the car in 7 years. The car has otherwise been well maintained at an independent shop (new brakes, tires, etc.). However, having a timing belt break would be a pretty big deal.
Trying to avoid doing work that doesn't need to be done, but will have it done as a precaution if there's no good way to tell what the status of the current belt is.
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Flatlander wrote:

Pull the cover and look for any markings on the belt. If you find an aftermarket brand (Gates, etc.), or something that looks like a recent date code, you're set. Does anyone know how/if the OEM belt is marked?
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Greg Campbell wrote:

if i saw a gates belt, i'd replace the damned thing.
to the op, all the above tells you is that the work wasn't done at a honda dealer. there are plenty of good independent honda shops out there that could have done it. but you need evidence. if the seller has the receipts, assume the belt has been changed. if not, get them to discount the car by the full price of having it done by the dealer. it's their loss if they didn't keep the evidence.
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This all reminds me: I am much more favorably inclined to buy a used car from someone who can give me a nice thick manila folder of repair receipts (and probably why I've been able to sell all my cars so successfully, as I'm anal about keeping all my receipts in chronological order, newest on top).
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KLS wrote:

depends. i've seen cars with thick repair books, and all those repairs done by complete idiots - no price premium or "confidence" there. for myself, because i know what i'm looking for most of the time, i want a car at the right price. if the works not been done, that's fine, but the price has to reflect it. if the work's done, but badly, i want to pay even less because it'll take more to fix.
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I have not seen date codes on OEM timing belts or accessory drive belts.
Sometimes part numbers change (are "superseded"). There are instances where you can get a rough idea as to the age of a belt by comparing the part number on that belt to the part number of the currently-available belt.
If the life of the belt is unknown, there is no safe option other than replacing it pre-emptively.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Easy test. Push hard on the belt, then pull on it. If it feels "crackly" or "crusty", replace it. If it stretches out of shape, replace it. If it breaks, replace it. Otherwise, replace it.
--

- dillon I am not invalid

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I've got an '01 Civic and the belts are specified to be replaced at a certain number of miles or years...also the water pump since it has to come off anyway, and one or two other things ....I think....anyhow...
This cost me 650 at an independent shop (almost a buddy) and included a change of the transmission fluid...for my money, I'd just go ahead and have it done at that price...and you are god for another 100K.
john
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I had mine done on my 96 Civic at 60 k miles but 7 years. The shop said that seven was about right. Then he said "well, you're good until 150 thousand or 2010." I told that to the guy who bought it from me.
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