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How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Nissan Sentra

by Contributor

The Nissan Sentra is the workhorse of economy cars. In order to keep its performance, the timing belt that keeps the engine running needs attention. Signs that you need a new timing belt include loss of power and a loud noise coming from the front of the car. You won't ruin your engine by driving with a worn timing belt; however, the Sentra won't have any "get up and go" though.

Step 1

Inspect the new timing belt. You will want to notice the strength of the teeth, the timing marks and the condition of belt. Make sure there are no thin spots on the belt and that no teeth are missing.

Step 2

Check the cam and the crankshaft. The sprockets on these two parts do wear out and eventually need replacement.

Step 3

Slide the new timing belt into position and align the teeth on the belt with the sprockets.

Step 4

Find the timing belt tensioner and loosen the bolts. This will allow the belt to make contact with the sprocket.

Step 5

Set the belt tension so that it is not too loose. The correct tension of the timing belt is critical to maintaining or regaining engine performance in the Sentra.

Step 6

Turn the engine over with a wrench twice-make sure when the travel is complete, you return to the zero degree mark.

Push the battery cables back in place after you reattach the timing covers. Start your engine and listen for any noises. If everything sounds and looks good, you can take the Sentra for a test drive.


  • Timing belts are very strong when correctly installed. They will last another 60,000 to 70,000 miles.


  • Don't bend or twist the teeth on the timing belt; they need to fit exactly as made.

Items you will need

  • Pliers
  • Wrench set
  • New timing belt

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