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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at a 2007 RTX for sale at a non-Honda dealership. The truck has 109,000 miles, which is very close to the belt change interval.

Is there a way I can climb under the truck, and feel the belt, or any obvious signs to look for in checking to see if the belt has been done?

I don't want to buy a vehicle, then immediately need to shell out another $2K for required maintenance, especially if it has already been done.

Thanks!
 

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You could check the carfax and see if it is listed. Normally, if somone is going to sell they will not get the tb service done so close to the replacement interval.
 

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Some ideas that come to my mind.

The obvious, as mentioned, a report that shows it was done... paperwork/receipt that shows it was done,.... vin check at a Honda dealer to see if it was done (if possible). Writing on the timing belt cover showing that it was done (I've seen this). Sticker in the glove box or service manual (I have this, came with my Gates TB).

Less obvious but still could be an indicator, looking at the actual writing on the belt and seeing that you can read the writing on it. I've changed 4 of these belts on the Honda 3.5 and couldn't read the writing on any of them... not sure how many miles though before the writing wears off.

Even less obvious....and no real indicator but may be all you'll find.
Signs the timing belt cover bolts have had a tool on them, same with the bolt on the crank pulley, since it takes some muscle to get it off.
 

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Having the receipt and/or Honda saying it was done is the gold standard.

The distant second is looking at the crankshaft bolt to see if it has tool marks. But this only tells you a mechanic was in there, not why and what was changed (did they do the water pump? Tensioner?).

If you don't have either of the above for the truck, drop the price you're bidding by $900.

Chip H.
 

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Car sales folk don't like well informed buyers, and since you already know about service intervals on the 3.5L Honda engine, you've got a leg up on the salesperson. None Honda dealership? Does that mean a new car dealer that took the RL as a trade in? Or is this some guys latest foray into used car sales? Generic used car lots are scary places, mostly because they source their vehicles from auctions where new car dealers dump trade ins they don't want to mess with.

IMO: part of vehicle ownership is good service record keeping. Speaking strictly for myself, no matter who's selling a used 100K mile vehicle, if there isn't a decent paper trail documenting its service history, I get serious itchy feet.

At the very least, an unknown service history and a pending major preventative maintenance item becomes an excellent negotiating tool to grind an unwitting sales person with.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. According to the carfax, this was a trade-in, not an auction vehicle. But it's too late anyway, as the car has disappeared from the dealer's website as of yesterday. These Ridgelines are rare birds, so cheap ones get snapped up so quickly around here.
 

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I know what you mean by "rare bird", a good deal on one was hard to find in my area so I drove 5 hours to buy one. Just keep on looking and try hard not to make quick decisions on the truck, that way you don't regret it later. I can only assume that with the newer Ridgeline coming to the market soon that there will be more out there. You might be able to get into contact with an individual here who would sell you theirs. Put a "truck wanted" add out.
 
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