How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles 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 Vehicles won't have any "get up and go" though.

Under The Hood:

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Hyundai Sonata

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for Hyundai Sonatas is 60,000 miles.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth that may be the result of foreign material collecting between them.

Determine if the timing belt damage is on both sides. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Disengage the negative battery cable.

Turn the tensioner arm to the right 14° and take the timing belt off its pulley.

Take out the coolant pump, idler, tensioner and crankshaft pulleys and both timing belt covers.

Remove the engine's mounting insulator and mount bracket and the auto tensioner.

Align the crankshaft's timing mark so the first cylinder piston is at "Top Dead Center" (TDC). The camshaft sprocket and cylinder head cover timing marks also should align.

Unfasten the timing belt.

Replace Your Timing Belt

Examine the cam and crankshaft sprockets. Replace if there is excessive wear or other damage.

Position the new timing belt on the sprockets.

Relax the timing belt tensioner so it can make contact with the belt. Adjust the belt to the tension recommended in your vehicle owner's manual. Also align the timing indicators on the cam, crank and other sprockets.

Return the engine to the 0° mark by turning it two revolutions in the direction of travel.

Secure the timing belt cover and reinstall whatever was removed to access the timing cover.

Reconnect the negative battery cable and any other items that were disconnected.

Start the engine and look for leaks.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Honda Accord

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Honda Accord is 60,000 miles for 1976 to 1989 models; 90,000 for 1990 to 1996 models; and 105,000 for 1997 models and later.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth that may be the result of foreign material collecting between them.

Determine if the timing belt damage is on both sides. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Disengage the negative battery cable.

Rotate the crankshaft to line up the timing belt matchmarks. Position cylinder No. 1 at "Top Dead Center" (TDC) on the compression stroke.

Access the cylinder head and timing belt covers by moving any components obstructing contact then take both covers off.

Secure the timing belt's adjuster with a bolt from the lower timing belt cover placed on the adjuster's arm.

Relax the nut for the timing belt and balancer shafts tensioner adjuster. Release the tension by pushing the balance belt tensioner away from the timing belt.

Take out the balancer belt. Slip it from the pulleys without creasing or bending it. Avoid oil or coolant contact. Disconnect the crankshaft's balancer belt drive.

Undo the timing belt adjuster's lockbolt and relax the nut. Release the timing belt tension by pushing on the adjuster. Secure the nut.

Unfasten the timing belt as in the previous step. Replace the belt tensioners if defective.

Install Your Timing Belt

Put in the timing belt tensioner lockbolt, the balancer belt pulley, adjuster lever and the adjusting nut and bolt and the tensioner springs.

Secure the tensioner and balancer at their full deflection.

Line up the crankshaft timing pointer with the flywheel and the camshaft pulley so the word "UP" is at the top and the edge marks line up with the head's surfaces.

Place the timing belt over the pulleys and tensioners. Rotate the crankshaft to the left until the cam pulley has traveled three teeth. Line up the timing belt marks and hook up the balancer belt drive sprocket to the crankshaft. Next line up the front and rear balancer pulleys with the oil pump's body.

Mount the balancer belt. Check that all engine alignment marks are accurate. Rotate the crankshaft one complete turn and secure. Release the bolt locking the tensioner.

Insert the bottom timing belt cover. Be sure the rubber seals are in position. Place a new seal surrounding the adjusting nut. Put the key on the crankshaft and install the pulley. Lubricate the bolt threads and secure at 181 foot pounds. (250 Nm). Insert the top cover and secure the bolt to 40 foot pounds (55 Nm).

Reconnect the negative battery cable and any other disconnected parts or items. Start the engine and look for leaks.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Wrench set

  • New timing belt

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Ford Focus

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Ford Focus is at 120,000 miles.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth caused by foreign material collecting between them.

Determine if there is damage on both sides of the timing belt. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Disengage the negative battery cable in all models.

Detach the passenger inner splash-shield and wheel cover, the accessory drive and timing belts, the tensioner and the crankshaft pulley.

Remove the spark plugs, catalytic converter and idler pulley in 2000 and older Ford Focuses. These models also require the crankshaft be turned to "Top Dead Center" (TOC) and a crankshaft timing peg be inserted. Turn the shaft to the right against the timing peg.

Undo the retaining fasteners and lift the timing belt cover off the engine. Align the crank and camshaft timing marks. Older models call for undoing the water pump pulley and valve cover before locking the camshaft in place.

Release the tensioner's bolt. Turn the arm to the right 14 degrees and place a 1/8 inch drill bit in the opening. This secures the belt tensioner in place.

Take the timing belt off.

Install Your Timing Belt

Replace the timing belt counterclockwise motion beginning at the crankshaft.

Unlock the tensioner. Recheck the timing marks by turning the crankshaft two rotations to the right.

Tauten the tensioner's pulley bolt to 15 to 22 foot pounds (20 to 30 Nm) in 2003 and younger models and to 17 to 20 foot pounds (22 to 28 Nm) in older Focuses. Remove the crankshaft timing peg. Reconnect the crankshaft pulley and secure to 81 to 96 foot pounds (110 to 130 Nm) and 81 to 89 foot pounds (110 to 120 Nm) respectively.

Replace the splash shield, front wheel, timing belt cover, accessory drive belt and tensioner and any other items that were disconnected.

Hook up the negative battery cable. Start the engine and check that the timing belt is functioning properly.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Crankshaft timing peg

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Honda CR-V

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Honda CR-V is 105,000 miles.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth that may be the result of foreign material collecting between them.

Determine if the timing belt damage is on both sides. The timing belt's guide may cause single-side damage.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Disengage the negative battery cable and safely secure the car on jack stands

Rotate the crankshaft to line up the No. 1 piston at "Top Dead Center" (TDC) and take off the splash guard and cruise control actuator (if installed).

Take out all power steering parts, including the pump drive belt, hose, pump and reservoir.

Disconnect the accessory drive belts, upper engine bracket and valve cover.

Place the engine at TDC for the No. 1 cylinder.

Remove the crankshaft pulley and timing belt covers. Relax the timing belt's tension by pushing on the tensioner and secure the bolt.

Unfasten the timing belt.

Install Your Timing Belt

Line up all timing marks. Place the timing belt around the crankshaft sprocket. Place a clean cloth inserted in between the timing belt and the sensor guard. This keeps the belt engaged with the sprocket's teeth.

Position the belt's flat side around the upper right side of the tensioner. Rotate the section housing the timing belt's teeth to the left and beneath the water pump sprocket's underside.

Keep the crankshaft in place and pull the belt up. Take hold of the toothed side and raise it sufficiently to slide it on top of the intake camshaft sprocket. When it begins sliding, move the timing belt evenly on the intake and exhaust camshaft sprockets. Secure the timing belt tensioner bolt and remove the cloth.

Eliminate any slack between the sprockets. Connect the crankshaft pulley sprocket/timing belt guide washer, timing belt covers and crankshaft pulley. Secure the bolt at 130 foot pounds (177 Nm).

Seat the timing belt by turning it five times to the left. Move the No. 1 piston to TDC. Take out the timing belt tensioner plug. Release the adjusting bolt one-half rotation. Turn the crankshaft to the left three teeth on the camshaft pulley.

Secure the adjusting bolt to 40 foot pounds (54 Nm) and the crankshaft pulley bolt to 130 foot pounds (177 Nm).

Replace any remaining items that you disconnected. Lower the car and reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine and look for leaks.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Ford Mustang

Purchase a new timing belt for your Mustang and compare the teeth to the old belt. Do some troubleshooting while you have the timing belt off. Look at the Cam and crankshaft sprockets. The teeth wear down and can cause a lot of damage to your engine.

Slide the new timing belt in place and position it on the sprockets. You need to loosen the bolts that hold the tensioner and allow it to contact the new timing belt.

Adjust the timing belt so that there is a correct amount of tension applied to the belt.

Read the timing marks on the cam and the crankshaft. You need to make sure that all sprockets are in alignment before you start the engine.

Take a wrench and put it on the crankshaft pulley. You need to turn the engine over manually-don't use a key and ignition. Turn the engine over twice manually.

Check to see if the new belt sits into place on the sprockets. Read all the positions of the timing marks and make sure they are in place.

Get the timing covers, put them in place and tighten the bolts/screws. Replace the drive belt and other components you had to take out to get to the timing belt. Now start up the Mustang.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • New timing belt

  • Screwdriver set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Plymouth Voyager

Remove the Timing Belt

Place the Voyager's engine in the TDC no. 1 position for cylinder firing in order to get proper alignment. Disconnect the negative cable on the battery.

Take off the accessory drive belts, and take out engine mount insulator, located in the engine support bracket. Detach the engine support bracket and take off the torsional damper and crankshaft pulleys. This ensures easier access to the timing belt.

Locate the 2- to 3-inch wide timing belt in the front of the engine. Remove the cover of the timing belt.

Mark the course of rotation on the belt as a reference if you plan to reinstall it. Slacken the timing belt torsioner bolt and take off the timing belt. Detach the timing belt torsioner if needed.

Remove the crankshaft sprocket and the flange shield of the crankshaft sprocket. Secure the camshaft sprocket using a spanner tool MB990775, or something similar, and take off the bolt and washer to the camshaft sprocket.

Install the Timing Belt

Use the retaining washer and bolt to fit the camshaft sprocket onto the camshaft. Utilize the spanner tool MB990775 and tighten the bolt. Mount the crankshaft sprocket and put on the timing belt torsioner and tensioner spring if it was removed. Hook the higher end of the spring to the water pump pin and bottom end to the tensioner bracket with the hook facing out.

Rotate the timing belt tensioner in a counterclockwise turn and tighten the bolt to momentarily hold it in place. Turn the crankshaft sprocket until the timing mark lines up with the timing mark on the oil pump timing mark. Revolve the back camshaft sprocket so that its timing mark lines up with the generator bracket timing mark. Turn the radiator side camshaft sprocket so that the mark aligns with the inner timing belt cover mark.

Connect the timing belt onto the Voyager's crankshaft sprocket, keeping the belt tight on the side of tension. Install the belt in the same rotational direction if using the original timing belt. Put the timing belt on the radiator side of the camshaft sprocket, and place the belt underneath the water pump pulley first, and follow that by putting it over the back camshaft sprocket and the tensioner.

Create tension on the side of the timing belt and correctly line up all timing marks. Put the crankshaft sprocket flange into place and loosen the tensioner bolt to allow the tensioner spring to put tension on the belt. Turn the crankshaft two clockwise turns. Line up the timing marks and tighten the tensioner bolt. Put on the timing belt cover and engine support bracket.

Put the engine mount insulator, crankshaft pulleys and torsional damper into place. Mount the accessory drive belts, connect the negative battery cable and check that the engine runs properly.

Items you will need

  • Spanner tool MB990775

  • New or used timing belt

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Toyota Camry

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Toyota Camry is 60,000 miles for 1984 to 1997 models and 90,000 for 1998 to 2004 models.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth. It's possible that foreign material collected between them.

Determine if there's damage on both sides of the timing belt. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Unscrew the bolts to release the lower timing belt cover.

Disconnect the engine wire protector from the rear belt cover.

Remove the clamp holding the rear cover's engine wire protector clamp.

Take the bolts off the front cover and lift it from the engine.

Line up the crankshaft timing pulley groove with the oil pump by rotating the engine to the right.

Be sure the camshaft timing pulleys and rear belt covers line up. You may need to rotate the engine one full turn.

Undo the crankshaft pulley bolt and release the tensioner and dust boot.

Unscrew the bolts to release the lower timing belt cover.

Install Your Timing Belt

Wipe off any oil or water on the pulleys.

Align the timing belt's front mark with that of the crankshaft timing pulley's mark and the timing belt's installation marks with those on the camshaft pulley.

Install the pulleys in this order: crankshaft, water pump, left camshaft, No. 2 idler, right camshaft and No. 1 idler.

Compress the tensioner until the pushrod's holes and housing align. Connect the dust boot to the tensioner then tauten the tensioner's bolts to 20 foot pounds (27 Nm).

Rotate the crankshaft to the right and line up its timing pulley groove with the oil pump. The camshaft timing marks and those on the rear timing belt cover should match up.

Put in the timing belt guide and secure the bolts to 21 foot pounds (28 Nm).

Secure the upper timing belt cover to 74 inch pounds (8 Nm).

Reinstall the engine wire protector and clamp to the timing belt cover. Replace the lower timing belt cover and secure the bolts to 74 inch pounds (8 Nm).

Reconnect any remaining items. Start the engine and check that the timing belt is functioning properly.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Mercury Cougar

Take the old belt off the sprockets once you have disconnected the battery cables and removed the drive belt.

Inspect the timing belt before you install it. Make sure the teeth are not cracked or torn off, look for thin spots and make sure the timing marks are readable.

Find the bolts that hold the timing belt tensioner in place. Loosen the bolts to allow the belt to connect to the sprockets.

Make sure you adjust the tension of the timing belt properly. You can find the exact amount of tension in the owner's manual.

Adjust the timing belt so that the timing marks line up with the cam and the crank. It is important to align all sprockets with the timing belt teeth. When complete you want a TDC setting of 1.

Use an open-end wrench to turn the engine over twice-make sure you rotate back to the zero degree mark.

Ease the timing covers back in place and tighten the bolts. Remember to reattach the battery cables before you try to start the engine.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

 How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Dodge Caravan

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for Dodge Caravans is 60,000 miles.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth. It's possible that foreign material is collecting between them.

Determine if the timing belt has damage on both sides. The timing belt's guide may cause single-side damage.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Disengage the negative battery cable and safely secure the car on jack stands.

Detach the passenger inner splash-shield, the accessory drive belts and the crankshaft damper.

Disconnect the right engine mount and mount bracket.

Undo the retaining fasteners and lift the timing belt cover from the engine.

Line up the timing belt sprockets, the timing belt and oil pump covers' timing marks.

Unfasten the tensioner bolts on the timing belt and take out the belt and tensioner. The camshaft timing belt sprockets also may need to come out.

Install Your Timing Belt

Examine the cam and crankshaft sprockets. Replace if there is excessive wear or other damage. Secure the camshaft sprocket bolt at 85 foot pounds (101 Nm).

Set the sprocket to "Top Dead Center" (TDC) by lining up the sprocket notch with the oil pump housing's arrow. Position the camshafts so the sprockets' timing marks align. Rotate the crankshaft one-half notch before TDC.

Start installing the timing belt at the crankshaft. With the belt tight, bring it under the water pump sprocket. Route the belt along the idler pulley to the crankshaft sprockets and then to the tensioner pulley.

Turn the crankshaft to TDC. Eliminate any slack by turning the sprocket to the right to TDC.

Reattach the tensioner without securing it. Apply 250 inch pounds (28 Nm) of torque and tauten the tensioner's pulley bolt to 23 foot pounds (31 Nm).

Take out the plunger pin. Recheck the timing marks by turning the crankshaft two rotations to the right.

Reconnect the front timing belt cover and the engine mount and bracket. Secure the crankshaft damper at 105 foot pounds (142 Nm).

Replace any remaining items that you disconnected. Lower the car and reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine and look for leaks.

Items you will need

  • New timing belt

  • Various wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Socket set

  • Soft-jawed vise

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.