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During a routine service last year , the service advisor told me that the mechanic said that I need to replace the timing belt. If the timing belt is not visible without taking the engine apart, how did he determine this ? The timing belt was replaced 5 years ago ,so this was the second time it was replaced on a 2006 Elantra, with only 80,000 K on it.
 

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Quick give away to being in mile zone is to look at the A/C belt.. you will see random cracking in the 45-50,000 mile zone.. upward of 60+,, see cracking of ribs about every inch or less... (providing new drive belts was installed with last timing belt replacement)..

Refer to owner manual, I want to say has called a time period (due to exposure to temp cycles and outside elements)..

Use a flash light and look at ribbed part of belt where it visible at the idler pulley.. what kind of cracks you got
 
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I had changed some timing belts for some family members' cars. Typically, these belts look to be okay: Minimal to no damage, no cracks, no stretching, the oldest one being 120K miles. However, bearings and tensioners do show evidence of wear and tear.

It makes sense to change all parts while you at this, i wouldn't wait more than 70K miles to replace.

On Peter's case: Find the record of the last T-belt change, to be fully sure it was performed. Ignore recommendation if done already. unless they can prove concern in the form of belt noise, misfire, etc.
Yes, sometimes the mechanic can unbolt the cover's upper or lower fasteners and allow to have a look.

MV
 
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