Q: How does a mechanic know the timing belt is broken

asked by on

The mechanic told me that the timing belt broke on my 1999 Honda Accord (although it was changed 50K ago). How does he know it is broken (with the concomitant likely engine damage) as opposed to slipping badly (big oil leak under timing cover which is supposedly what led to the timing belt breaking)? Car briefly hesitated twice on interstate and I got off the road onto the shoulder and stopped I mmediately; car would not restart; towed to shop that replaced the timing belt 50K ago. Water pump and balance shaft belt etc changed then too - but they did not change the cam and crank seals etc. at the same time. I now know I should have that had done then too but I did not know about the seals and they did not tell me about them. 242000 miles on the car; 3rd timing belt (recommended change every 100000 or so miles). Honda tells me high likelihood of valve/piston damage if belt broke. Car otherwise in good condition for a 1999 car.

Hello. I would need to know the specific engine to be sure, but since Honda does use interference type engines, it may be possible that damage has occurred if the timing belt has broken. Interference type engines use very tight valve to piston clearances. This yields increased engine performance, however, leaves the engine susceptible to contact and damage if the timing belt breaks. Checking to see if the belt is broken should be a simple matter of removing the timing covers to check the condition of the belt. While not common, it is still possible that the belt broke, even if it did not yet reach the recommended mileage. I would check the the belt to see if it has broken and go from there. If you need help with a timing belt repair, a certified professional from YourMechanic can go to your home or office to perform this service.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. How does a mechanic know the timing belt is broken

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I need timing set

YourMechanic does offer the service you are requesting. If you would please make an on-line request for engine timing/timing components and belt installation the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you, right at your location. Alternatively,...

Q: Vehicle dies at idle while driving

It is very possible the knock sensor could cause this issue. However, before replacing the knock sensor the vehicle's timing should be checked. If the timing is retarded it will cause the vehicle to die when dropped to an idle....

Q: Apparently faulty fuel caused cambelt to slip and ruin valves

If you got contaminated fuel then you should take your fuel sample and receipt to where you got gas and show them the repair bill that states the damage their fuel has done. Getting contaminated fuel could be from too...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...