How can you tell ? - oldpostie
My son got his imported 2nd hand Toyota Lucida yesterday. The dealer assured him they had changed the cambelt. They had shown him the old belt, (well, an old belt) but a suspicious person like me can't help wondering. The engine seems very clean, and has fresh oil, but should he have some documentation to say the job had been done ? Or does he just trust their reputation ?
The car drove well, but he has to return it so they can correct some brake judder.
I'd be grateful for any thoughts.
As I have limited mechanical knowledge, I always deal with local people with solid reputations to protect.
How can you tell ? - Number_Cruncher
The best way is to peer inside the cover yourself.

>>I always deal with local people with solid reputations to protect.

Wise fellow!

How can you tell ? - GregSwain
You'll soon know if 5,000 miles down the line the belt snaps!

Seriously though, there's no way just by opening the bonnet that anyone can tell whether the belt's been changed. You can often tell by taking the belt cover off and looking at the condition of the belt whether it's newly fitted or knackered. Other than that, you just have to trust people. Ideally these things should be documented - if I bought a used car with no service history I'd change the belt ASAP.
How can you tell ? - 659FBE
If the belt has been very recently changed there is a way to check non-invasively.

Get the engine hot, stop engine and leave bonnet closed for 5 mins. Open bonnet and sniff around edges of timing cover. If a new belt has just been fitted, there will be a distinct rubbery smell.

Checking invasively, remove upper timing cover and look for clear lettering on the back of the belt. On an old belt, all the markings will have been rubbed off by the tensioner roller.

How can you tell ? - bell boy
think it comes down to garage reputation and trust if you give them both of those proceed if you dont then walk.
How can you tell ? - oldpostie
Thanks for the replies. He tells me he has it in writing, along with the fact that a "full service" has been done, on some of his third party warranty papers.
Maybe I get more paranoid about these things as I get older. Didn't need to worry about cambelts with the old BMC A series, although the top end fell apart anyway. When my Austin Cambridge A55 packed up on the M1 I got towed by an artic (!), and it was all quite repairable.
How can you tell ? - van man
normally if dealers say they have changed the belt they will have done BUT they should have given you written comfirmation to state that the belt has been renewed as that is your gaurantee if you aint got it in writing then when you go back in ask them to look on there computer as you would like to know what has been done then they should be able to print you off a copy??????
How can you tell ? - stuartl
I would disregard what your son has been told and change the belt immediately. It's too late now but knowing first hand what can happen when a cam belt goes it just isn't worth leaving anything to chance and this should have been used as a bargaining tool when buying the car. Without dealer stamped history indicating that the belt has been changed, along with tensioners where required a warranty company will run a mile when faced with a bill for an engine rebuild after a snapped belt. In all honesty I wouldn't buy a grey import however cheap it was. I lived next door but one to a garage that made a lot of money from selling grey imported vehicles and was subsequently raided by police and customs as most of the vehicles they sold were not actually what they were being sold as, i.e. the correct year (Jap models are updated quicker there than here so an old model looks newer to western eyes!) I believe the guy running that show is now a guest of Her Majesty!

Also, insuring a grey import is generally more expensive as parts are often not from the equivalent vehicle in the UK, in this case a Previa.

Just to add, the way this dealer I am talking about got found out was that on the seatbelts there should be a stitched on tag with some info about that particular car on it. Neither he or his poor unsuspecting punters could read it as it was in Japanese. Unlucky for him, the Japanese customs officials that the Police flew over were actually very good at Japanese.
Fluent, in fact!
How can you tell ? - oldpostie
That's very interesting. Thanks very much.
How can you tell ? - keo-the-dog
have a look on TEOC forum these vehicles have a huge following all the info you could ever want is on there. oh and insurance is not expensive try lifesure. take it for a good hard test drive uphill on motorway if possible watch the temp gauge it should sit just a touch under halfway if it reaches the halfway mark run from it. many suffer from over heating ...cheers...Keo.

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