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Timely warning on belts

Changing the timing belt of a modern engine is leaving technicians at risk of costly repair bills should premature failure occur.

However, despite Goodyear Engineered Products offering a ‘Fit and Relax’ warranty on all its timing belts since October 2003, take up has failed to meet expectations.

Malcolm Rosher, marketing director of FAI Auto Parts, which distributes the belts in the UK, says: “Goodyear isn’t disappointed with the take-up, but I am because it was my idea, and I thought it would be stronger. I think the problem is that many workshops are sceptical – they think it’s too good to be true.”

Rosher reminds repairers that resolving cases involving the sudden failure of recently fitted timing belts can be a time consuming and costly issue. If the supplier disputes belt failure, the workshop could be left to meet the full cost of an engine rebuild for the customer.

“With complicated modern multi-valve engines, changing a belt is one of a technician’s most stressful jobs,” he claims.

“We’ve all been there – you feel you’ve done a great job, but for some reason the belt fails. You have an angry customer and a costly repair – and after a long wait you get a claim rejection.”

Fit and Relax warranty automatically covers all VAT-registered garages which fit Goodyear belts for the belt life of two years/30,000 miles. In the event of a belt breakage, Goodyear promises to process the warranty claim within 15 days and will pay for parts and labour costs once satisfied the claim is fair.

Rosher argues that by providing the cover to “established and VAT-registered” garages, it minimises the risk of belt failure due to incorrect fitting. However he warns that garages that are consistently negligent face rejection from the scheme.

Although unable to give figures for the number of claims since Fit and Relax was introduced, Rosher says clients are “very happy” with the scheme.

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