To check a car’s timing belt, first remove the cover to access the belt, and then inspect the belt for problems such as cracks, contaminants that could cause degradation, and damaged or broken teeth. It is also important to check the belt’s tension to determine if it has become stretched.
A car's timing belt is most commonly located on the end of the engine under a metal or plastic cover. This cover is held by clips or bolts that must be undone before removing it to gain access to the belt. Inspect the belt for contaminants that can cause it to slip or disintegrate. If the belt has cracks in it, this can indicate that it is dried out or old and requires changing. Inspect the underside of the belt to verify that the teeth are intact and in good condition and able to help prevent the belt from slipping.
To test the tension of the belt, press a finger lightly against it. If the belt pushes in more than half an inch, the belt could slip if the tensioner is not tight enough. After checking the belt, the cover must be put back on to shield the belt from liquids that could cause it to slip. If the belt shows any abnormalities, have it replaced as soon as possible to avoid potential major engine damage.