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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11th April 2007
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I took my Astra to nearly double the recommended limit before the timing belt failed (63K when it was due at 36K.) Foolishly, I'd assumed that just because it was routinely dealer serviced, they'd actually do what needed doing when it needed doing. Apparently it was my fault for not specifically asking them to change the belt at the 36K service. Fortunately the old Vauxhall 1.6 8v donk was a non-interference design.

Being rational about this, the risk of failure increases gradually over time and mileage. The belt isn't 100% reliable up to 72,000 miles, and then a disaster waiting to happen from 72,001 onwards - it can fail with 5 miles on the clock or still be going strong at 150K.

The real issue here is how hard you'd be kicking yourself if it did fail and you knew you'd left it too late. If it fails at 71,999 miles then that's bad luck. If it fails at 72,001 then you'll feel like you've nobody to blame but yourself.

What's more, if an excursion like this is not in line with how the car's usually driven, then that might increase the risk of failure. A friend of mine had the timing belt go on his car - he'd been using it as a taxi for local journeys for years and it was fine. He took it on a motorway run up to Aberdeen, and 'bang!' - new engine time. It could have been coincidence, but I reckon it was more to do with a worn belt not being up to the job of holding high engine RPM's for long periods of time.

Ultimately, it's your decision. I'd go with what everyone else is saying and postpone it until after you've had the belt done.
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