Timing Belt Maintenance

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Timing Belt Failure Is Rare Occurrence
A timing belt is a reinforced rubber belt, which transfers the engine motion to the camshaft to operate the cylinder valves. The belt runs on a pulley from the crankshaft to the camshaft.

Although timing belts are critical, it is not true that they should be regularly replaced unless explicitly recommended in the owner's manual. If the manual makes no mention of it, a regular inspection every 15,000 miles should indicate when the belt is wearing out.

To inspect a timing belt, a shroud or cover must be removed. Often, this can be expensive, leading to the advice that "You might just as well replace the belt while I'm at it." That's terrible advice, because the belt replacement can cost more than $200 and the inspection should cost much less than $25.

Many timing belts can go more than 100,000 miles without failing. The belt in your Honda is designated by the manufacturer as a "lifetime belt," meaning you certainly can expect to get more than 100,000 miles from it.

If the belt is found during inspection to be cracked, frayed or worn down, then you should consider replacing it. Having a mechanic experienced with your make of car is critical in such a case. You don't necessarily need a dealership mechanic, because many independent mechanics are familiar with specific makes and can provide adequate service.

But if you have a general mechanic who is not familiar with assessing the condition of Honda timing belts, then most likely he or she will err on the conservative side, and you can count on getting a new belt whether you need one or not.

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