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Cambelt damage

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Synigence | 21:01 Wed 13th Apr 2005 | Motoring
6 Answers
I experienced a sudden loss of power whilst driving recently and feared the worse which turned out to be the cambelt. The manufacturers recommends the cambelt is changed after 115,000 miles and my franchise garage who services the car is more conservative and recommends a change at 80,000. This cambelt went after 76,000! The car is 5 years old and out of warrenty. Has anybody had any success (by legal action or otherwise) to get the company to pay for the repair?


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You would have to show that it broke due to another fault or if it was a faulty cam belt. The recommended 115000 seems an awful lot to me. most cars recommend changing the belts every 30-40k. Is this the original belt? if so it it seems to have lasted well. Is 115K the total  on one belt before changing or is it simply the next recomended change point. Perhaps I have mis understood 

It depends on the car manufacturer/engine maker as to when to replace the cambelt.  Some are 48,000 miles, others are 60k, 72k, 96k but I've never come across 115k?  Is that in Km and not Miles?

Also oil/coolant contamination can cause premature belt wear and can cause it to fail.  If there is any sign of the slightest bit of contamination then they will not support your claim.  It's worth having it looked at and see what explanation they have?

you don't say what car you have, and although it is under the recomended mileage a lot of manufactuers also give a time ie. 4 years. a lot of things can cause a belt to fail, oil leak (belt contamiation) water pump or idler pulley seizure or collapse, and although it's recomended to change at a specific mileage there is also a mileage for inspect/adjust.


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Thank you for your comments.  The car is an Audi TT 225bph turbo and I confirmed with the garage today that Audi do not recommend changing the cambelt until 115-120K although my garage recommend it is changed at 80K.  It is not the sort of car I mess around with, I have it serviced when indicated, I am in their hands when it comes to renewing parts, if they say something needs changing I let them do it.  However, when a part fails 40K miles earlier than it should do suddenly their recommendations counts for nothing.  My garage have actually been excellent, they believe it is something Audi should cover but so far Audi's customer service do not see it that way.

I sympathise with you because exactly the same thing happened to me recently when I lost power and it turned out the cambelt had gone.

I have a slightly less impressive Fiat brava 1.8ELX and they recommend the belt should be changed at 72000 miles. My own stupid fault - when it went I'd done c.77000 ..... so I really kicked myself for postponing the 72000 service like I did (prior to that I'd always had the car service on the dot by a main dealer). Cost of repair was about �650 in the end.

However, in your case, I'd say that Audi have a duty of care to their customers and, if they advise their drivers that xyz is changed at xyz interval, then most drivers would trust that they have been given sound advice straight from the horse's mouth as it were .... and maintain their car as advised.

Like others have pointed out, I think that if the belt went through "wear and tear / old age" and not as a result of another malfunction within the engine, then you'd have a very good case against Audi and a good argument that they should pay to repair all the damage.

Are Audi completely disinterested, or would they be prepared to consider - say - an independent garage's "forensic" report on what went wrong, why they think this happened, and the resultant damage ?

Meant to add ....

.... if it turns out that you've always done what audi's advised re: servicing & replacement parts, AND the belt went through wear and tear only, AND Audi still won't accept responsibility, I'd threaten to report them to Watchdog ! They love well known brand names trying to wriggle out of doing the right thing - especially when it's there in black & white.

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