The belt on my newly-bought car broke. Can I refuse to accept the car back if it's replaced?

I bought a 2015 Volkswagen Passat with 55k miles in November 2020 from a main dealer (Ford). As the car was just 5 years old at the time and the timing belt had not been changed (VW recommend 5 years or 120k mile for change of belt), I made the changing of the belt a condition of the sale. Last weekend, the car broke down, I took it back to the garage and they said that the timing belt was broken. They don't know why and have ordered a new belt. What could cause a timing belt on this model to fail without warning? Will there be other damage to the engine? If so, am I within my rights to refuse to accept the car back and ask for a refund. Kind regards.

Asked on 29 January 2021 by Keith Winnery

Answered by Dan Powell
I would consider the dealer 100% liable for this. Either they didn't replace the cambelt as promised or they did a poor job of it. The dealer can be held liable for any serious fault that develops within the first six months of ownership. This is because the problem is deemed present or developing at the time of sale. The dealer is entitled to be given the opportunity to fix the problem. But if the belt has broken then it may have caused serious damage to the engine. I would want a guarantee (in writing) from the dealer that this isn't the case.

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Tags: cam belts
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