Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - dd65tn

Hi, I'm looking for some advice about a issue I had with my auxiliary belt. So a couple of weeks ago my auxiliary belt snapped. My car has only done 38000 miles and according to Ford engineer and the service book the belt should last 100000 miles or 96 months. I got the car recovered to a Ford garage and the issue was investigated and no fault could be found and a new belt was fitted.

I raised the issue with Ford UK, I sent images of the belt which shows no wear and tear it has just torn in half and asked for compensation. I explained that I felt the belt wasn't fit for purpose and that I expected the belt to last nearer the 100000 miles. The engineer at Ford said that he had never seen a belt tear like it had. Ford won't compensate me at all said the car is outside of warranty (5 years old) and said that the 100000 mile is a guide and they can snap at any time.

So I was wondering if anyone had a thoughts about what I should do next? Should I leave it and just put it down to bad luck? Does anyone know of anyone having any luck with small claims against Ford?

Thanks for the help

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - RT

At 5 years after it was new, and 2 years out of warranty, I think you have zero chance of a warranty repair, a goodwill contribution or any success in small claims court.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - Falkirk Bairn

Apart from having s new belt to fit What damage was caused & how much were the resultant repairs?

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - skidpan

When we had a Focus the change interval for the cam belt was 100,000 miles or 10 years but there was no recomendation for the auxilliary belt. It was in the service shedule to inspect annually and replace when necessary. The cam belt lives in a protected environment, the auxilliary belt is unprotected and get all sorts of stuff thrown at it.

When our car went in for its 4 year service, probably 35,000 miles the garage noted it was showing signs of cracking but also noted immediate replacement was not necessary. But I had it replaced a few months later before we went on holliday. Only cost about £35 for the belt including fitting so daft not to do it, less than a tank of fuel. The old belt looked visually OK until you got close and it was clearly in need of changing.

These belts are service/wear items and do not last the life of the car so there is no way Ford will contribute out of warranty.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - Engineer Andy

Indeed - my old Nissan Micra broke an aux belt because a stone flew up into the (quite empty) engine bay and tore it apart whilst I was on a dual carriageway. I luckily made it back home before the car badly overheated and got the belt replaced and radiator topped up (the belt drove the radiator fan) with water by the RAC for £6.95, the cost of the belt (this was the late 90s)! This was with a 3yo belt as well, so such things can happen at any time, even to brand new belts if you're unlucky.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - gordonbennet

Auxilliary belts are usually under £20 for decent Gates or Conti version and are usually a simple DiY fit, though its understandable if people don't feel comfortable doing so.

The only real danger of a belt failure is if the engine oveheats and/or the driver carries on even for a short distance to safety, without looking to see where the belt has ended up and judging if it might cause further damage flapping about.

As said, yes we would hope for a decent aux belt life, but they do travel some extraordianry routes in their lives so a visual inspection every now and again when you check your fluids is sensible precaution.

Just changed mine at 90k, looked pretty good overall but its over a metre long and has to power water pump plus viscous fan, alternator, auxilliary heat pump, air conditioning pump, two idlers and one idler/tensioner, why risk it?

Edited by gordonbennet on 30/12/2016 at 10:42

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - ExA35Owner

You have no legal case against Ford. They didn't sell you the car so there is no purchase contract between you, and the warranty has expired. Any attempt to take on Ford in the courts would therefore be dismissed.

Your case, if any, would be against the supplying dealer, with whom you do have a contract. But as stated this is a wear and tear item; unless you could prove that it was in some way not of the required quality when you bought it, you have no case. That proof would require an engineer's report, which you would have to pay for, and in reality you are unlikely to get a report that helps your case.

Need to write this off as "one of those things..."

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - dd65tn

Thank you for the replies, I'll write it off as one of those thing, disappointed by fords reply but I guess that's the way it goes. Repair cost £220. Thanks again and happy new year

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - John F

You have been unlucky. Either the belt was a dud or something/someone must have interfered with it. Well made modern belts should last the life of the engine if the things it drives don't break or seize.

Our old Passat's belts , cam and poly-v, were still going strong at 242,000m when the car was sold. I inspect and service (Draco belt dressing and poly-v toothbrush clean) our 16 going on 17yr old 119,000m 1.6 Zetec Focus belts annually, both look fine. The poly-v has bedded in nicely and doesn't complain when both front and rear screens plus headlights are on. The 35yr old toothed fan belt on my TR 7 has a small surface area missing on the backing revealing some metallic-looking fibres, so I might have to fit the spare I have been carrying around for 30yrs soon!

HNY all...

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - skidpan

The 35yr old toothed fan belt on my TR 7 has a small surface area missing on the backing revealing some metallic-looking fibres, so I might have to fit the spare I have been carrying around for 30yrs soon!

Clearly the man is having a laugh.

How does he expect us to believe this rubbish and take his posts seriously.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - bathtub tom
Clearly the man is having a laugh.

Come on, he won't be getting his sleigh out until the end of this year.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - John F
Clearly the man is having a laugh.

I certainly am - all the way to the bank to collect all the money I have saved over 35yrs of not taking our well chosen cars in for an annual 'service' and only replacing fluids and parts myself when I think they actually need to be replaced.

If it works, don't mend it.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - Vitesse6

Reminds me of my Grandfather's friend who trained his donkey to live on fresh air. He had just succeeded when the ungrateful creature went and died on him.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - SLO76
Clearly the man is having a laugh.

I certainly am - all the way to the bank to collect all the money I have saved over 35yrs of not taking our well chosen cars in for an annual 'service' and only replacing fluids and parts myself when I think they actually need to be replaced.

If it works, don't mend it.

I've lost count of the number of times I've had this discussion with punters. Fair enough if you've bought a cheap heap you're just gonna run til it drops but I've seen plenty filled with regret when their sludged up engine packs in or is ruined when a long overdue t/belt snaps. 57 plate Clio 1.2 16v I flogged a few years ago that snapped its belt last summer is a fine case, never serviced once in her ownership and is now worthless scrap instead of the serviceable wee car it could be today if she'd maintained it, another ruined a Focus, it had been so long since it's last oil and filter change the filter rusted through and dumped the oil. I won't buy a car without a full service record and any trade in presented to me without it is devalued accordingly. Could list loads of others but you get the drift. Annual servicing ultimately saves you money.
Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - FP

I think JohnF talks a lot of sense, but I reckon he is sufficiently savvy about the way cars work to know what is the minimum he can get away with. And I'm sure he saves quite a bit of money.

He's not suggesting cars should never be serviced, nor parts ever replaced.

Other people who are less observant or less mechanically-minded - or are less inclined to understand the details - should do what the manufacturers say and service every year, change cambelts and auxiliary belts when specified or whatever. Otherwise their cars will fail, because these things will never get done.

It's overkill, though.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - SLO76

I think JohnF talks a lot of sense, but I reckon he is sufficiently savvy about the way cars work to know what is the minimum he can get away with. And I'm sure he saves quite a bit of money.

He's not suggesting cars should never be serviced, nor parts ever replaced.

Other people who are less observant or less mechanically-minded - or are less inclined to understand the details - should do what the manufacturers say and service every year, change cambelts and auxiliary belts when specified or whatever. Otherwise their cars will fail, because these things will never get done.

It's overkill, though.

Rubber deteriorates over time and while you could possibly get away with catching it before it snaps if you inspect it on a weekly basis (which is unrealistic for 99% of owners) it's much more likely you'll suffer a catastrophic coming together of valves and pistons that'll sting your wallet more than a proper maintenance schedule ever would. I doubt his Passat was owned from new and covered 242k on a belt that was supposed to be replaced every 4yrs. I'll bet it was replaced at least once if not more by previous owners. As for the Focus that's 16 going on 17yr old with 119,000m it's likely the same story. Truth is both cars fall into the stage in life that they're not worth the cost of doing the job. I flogged an 170k diesel Passat recently for £400 and a tatty Mk I Focus with six figure mileage is worth £300. He's right to run it til it drops but his advice is madness when used on a car with any real value.
Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - gordonbennet

Indeed, some of us run engines that would probably see the thick end of £5k to source get fitted and injectors etc reprogrammed for even a good used unit, are we going to worry about spending £80 for those of us that can DIY or £300 for those who can't, on new cambelts, no of course we arn't because we are reasonable people and reasonable people don't mind a little good value insurance.

Same with good servicing, i simply can't understand the reluctance to renew engine oil at least every year or twice a year if your mileage, or usage pattern, dicates, i buy oil by the 20/25 litre pack, it works out usually between £60 and £80 for 5W40 fully synthetic of decent known quality, depending on the sump thats enough for several oil changes, similarly i'll buy filters for keeper cars by the half dozen when i spot a half price offer.

£50 for new oil in the gearbox and diff every few years, too right, a number of zeros better bet than the cost of failure, and most people including me can tell immediately that the gearbox, manual or auto changes better.

Even the humble auxilliary drive belt just isn't worth skimping on, on my Landcruiser that one belt drives, from the crankshaft, water pump, alternator, aircon pump, auxilliary heater pump, at least two idlers and the tensioner pulley, i often leave the house at 3am to go to work, am i going to risk the headache of that belt snapping with all the possible extra damage it could do, for the sake of less than £20 every 75k miles or 5 years?, no obviously not.

Bangernomics cars, worth £400, bought with an MOT with the sole intenton of lasting that out then getting shot if it fails the next one, a different kettle of fish entirely, but even then once you've started running a bangernomics car for a few months and found its actually a prince under that frog skin, it might be worth looking after after all.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - skidpan

Extreme example.

Many years ago a friend of mine had the auxilliary belt snap/come off (no one knows) on his 6 month old company car so probably not down to lack of maintenance. He had pulled into a layby and called the rescue organisation and his partner. But he never made it home. Whilst sat in the car making a bussiness call (some phones were built in back in the early 90's remember) a lorry with an inattentive driver at the wheel ploughed into his car which burst into a fireball killing him.

So how would you feel if your loved one had gone out in your car which you knew had a defect with the auxilliary drive belt and the above had happened. Makes a £30 replacement every few years look good value.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - John F

Rubber deteriorates over time..........

True, but belts are a bit more than rubber these days.

I doubt his Passat was owned from new and covered 242k on a belt that was supposed to be replaced every 4yrs. I'll bet it was replaced at least once if not more by previous owners. As for the Focus that's 16 going on 17yr old with 119,000m it's likely the same story.

My records show the 1994 Passat 2.0 GL auto estate was bought in 1994 at 4,500m for £13,000 plus our old Passat (the most I have ever paid for a car). It did sterling service for lengthy school runs, French hols and ferrying children all over the country for various activities. It was replaced (part exchange, value 100quid or so plus £7000 for our 2000 1.6 Zetec auto Focus Estate with 29,000m ) in 2004 at 242,000m. Focus has still only done 119,000m, so will keep it for now.

That was 5.5p per mile capital running cost, depreciation £1300 per annum. All servicing by me, bog standard oil changed every 10-12,000m. Cambelts original. But I did have to change the whiney tensioner pulley at around 140,000m before it seized and fried the belt.

How much were you betting?

Just for info, the previous Passat estate, a 1983 GL5 (great car, apart from clutch cable metal fatigue every 40,000m where it wound round the pulley for right-hand-drive position, good practice for clutchless gear-changes on occasion!) was bought in 1984 for £5,500 at 13,000m, part-exchanged for virtually nothing plus £13,000.....at 192,000m. Cambelt only changed because water pump needed replacing at around 140,000 - I remember it looked fine; wouldn't have bothered to change it otherwise. Depreciation £550 pa, 3.1p per mile.

Choose the family car powertrain wisely and if it works, don't mend it. I suspect original belts (apart from the French cheese-rind variety) are better than many of their unnecessary replacements, especially if from dubious cheap sources and by cack-handed mechanics.

PS shouldn't this be in the 'Technical' section?

Edited by John F on 04/01/2017 at 13:15

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - SLO76
Ah, it was an old 8v petrol. While I wouldn't have run it to that mileage without a belt change I can now understand your relaxed attitude towards replacing it. This was a non-interference engine meaning there was no worry about a catastrophic self destruction if the belt snapped, all you'd have to do is renew it, reset the timing and off you go again.

As for the Focus 1.6 Zetec SE, the belt interval is ten years or 100k which by this stage a petrol automatic Focus was next to worthless and clearly not worthy of spending the money.

In the space of 23 years you've owned these two cars and your old TR7 am I correct? Over this timescale I've bought and sold thousands of cars as a salesman and trader. I've seen plenty of people filled with regret and an enginebay full of scrap after neglecting a belt change on their cars.

I strongly urge anyone who reads what you post who's running a complex modern multivalve or turbo diesel car not to take your advice regarding belt changes. There's a world of difference between an old 1994 Passat running an engine that was essentially designed in the 70's to a modern car.

Edited by SLO76 on 04/01/2017 at 14:21

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - John F
In the space of 23 years you've owned these two cars and your old TR7 am I correct?

Just for the record, here is my record for 'car 2', the family/SWMBO wagon. 5.5p, e.g., refers to the capital cost per mile after disposal. We have added 90,000m to the Focus total so assuming it's worth nothing, that's 7.8p per mile. Total cost over 37yrs £27,450 =£742p.a. depreciation.

Car 2

1980 Ford Fiesta 1.3Ghia 1980/£4100/0 1984/£2150/45,000 4.3p

1983 Passat Est GL5 1984/£5500/13,000 1994/£0/192,000 3.1p

1994 Passat Est 2.0GL auto 1994/£13000/4,500 2004/£0/242,000 5.5p

2000 Ford Focus Est 1.6auto 2004/£7000/29,000

And here is the record for 'my' cars since early '81 when we needed to get a second car, preferably a practical, fun but reliable car which didn't depreciate. The TR7 has amply filled the bill.

Car 1 Bought/cost/mileage Sold/for/mileage Capital cost/mile

1980 TR7 1981/£4250/ 4,500

1990 Audi 2.0E auto 1993/£4200/ 77,400 2003/£0/146,000 6.1p

1998 Audi A6 2.8SE auto 2003/£8000/77,000 2014/£800/133,300 12.8p

2005 Audi A8 SWB W12 2014/£12000/49,100

Total cost £27650 = depreciation £768 p.a. over 36yrs, falling year by year as I still have two of them. 13.7p per mile for total mileage 202,000m so far (low, 'cos I biked to work a lot). The low annual mileage puts up the capital cost per mile.

I strongly urge anyone who reads what you post who's running a complex modern multivalve or turbo diesel car not to take your advice regarding belt changes.

I partially agree. The number of valves is probably insignificant (the superb Audi 2.8 engine has 5 per cylinder) but would certainly agree re stressy turbo diesels and anything French.

I hope this might be of interest as it shows little need be spent on fast comfortable cars as long as you choose wisely and personally service them thoughtfully, carefully and economically.

Rapid turnover is best for dealers who buy cheap and sell dear. For the rest of us the reverse is usually true, so it makes financial sense to keep transactions to a minimum. The excellent A6 was needlessly sold for a song only because after many months of looking I at last found a good example of the very rare 'poor man's Bentley', an accolade I borrow from Rovers (P4 105S and possibly the P5, though that was more of a limo) which will hopefully see me into my dotage.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - SLO76
"I hope this might be of interest as it shows little need be spent on fast comfortable cars as long as you choose wisely and personally service them thoughtfully, carefully and economically."

I agree that you can run a car very cheaply if you choose wisely but instead of focusing on saving money by neglecting oil changes and playing timing belt roulette I opt to maintain my cars properly and buy and sell wisely.

Now I do agree that with older simple to maintain motors like most on your list when they've lost most of their value it makes sense to maintain them yourself if you have the means, space and tools. Though I'm at a loss as to why you change the oil so infrequently as you've argued in the past when it's so cheap to do yourself. However if you choose to do so with a more valuable car like your A8 W12 (lovely car btw) then you'll lose every penny you save through higher depreciation unless of course you intend on keeping it until the wheels fall off which seems to be your theme. Not unwise at all, longterm ownership is cost effective but no one will touch that big Audi without a full dealer or specialist service history so you've killed it's value.

Now as far as my motoring history is concerned well I'm not going to go as far back as you have, I haven't the time or the memory to remember the details of every car I've personally owned but here's a little list. All were bought with full service history which I then maintained.

1999 V Toyota Avensis 1.8 SE 2009 £1250 62k
2012 £850 84k loss £400

2001 X Peugeot 306 1.4 2012 £500 72k
2013 £700 77k profit £200

2003 53 Honda Civic 1.6 S 2012 £2100 53k
2015 £1500 83k loss £600

2008 58 Mazda 6 2.0 TS 2013 £6,000 57k
2013 £5700 62k loss £300

2007 57 Ford Mondeo 1.8 Edge 2013 £3,000 17k
2014 £3,500 21k profit £500

2001 51 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SXi 16v 2014 £1,000 52k
2015 £1,100 59k profit £100

1999 T Mazda MX5 1.8 2013 £1475 59k
2015 £1,600 65k profit £125

2003 53 Mitsubishi Carisma 1.9 DiD 2015 £700 77k
2015 £1,000 83k profit £300

2001 X Ford Cougar V6 2016 £300 87k
2016 £825 89k profit £525

I could go back further but as you can see the cars I buy and run but maintain the history on are easy to sell on often making a profit after running them for a year or more. I've been able to chop and change, run reliable cars and it hasn't really cost me anything if you balance the profit from one to a minor loss on another. But I've never had to scrimp on maintenance if I had I would've lose much more in depreciation.

We do run a newer family car since junior came along, currently a Honda CRV the value of which would plummet without a dealer history. I save money back by presenting a well maintained car with evidence to back it up when it comes to reselling and I largely avoid garages when buying and selling.

Further note. Dealers get technical updates warning of any issues occurring with cars in the network and staff are advised to check customers cars possibly even carry out preventative maintenance above and beyond any normal servicing. They also install software updates on your car and preserve its value as we've already discussed.

I get the reason for your thinking on the older cheapies but anyone with a modern complex car that has substantial value shouldn't be taking your advice regards oil and t/belt changes, even if they're lucky like you and don't suffer any costly breakdowns as a result they will lose every penny saved when it comes time to sell






Edited by SLO76 on 06/01/2017 at 00:31

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - John F

Well done sir! Nine cars in eight years! You are clearly quids in and I agree this method is easily achievable if one has the time, effort and desire to invest as little capital as possible. If you did this with more expensive cars you might even be successful enough to be liable for capital gains tax. Auctions are a good source of trading material if one has a bit of car knowledge. But I cherish our cars and like to see how long they last. 'Buy the best and make it last' is a favourite motto.

It's sad that my assertion that oil really does not have to be changed every year on an old low mileage low value car creates so much opprobrium but I am pleased you get the reason for such thinking.

Ford Focus - Snapped auxiliary belt - SLO76
I've traded hundreds over the same timespan, I'm just listing my personal motors. I never buy at auction. Aside from fleet disposal the auctions are full of junk no one else wanted. No dealer would send a perfectly serviceable fault free car through the ring, they'd sell it themselves for a far greater return unless it's too old for them then the fact there's no ability to test the car before committing raises the risk beyond acceptance. Even main dealers are holding on to cars that are more than 10-12yrs old now if they're decent.

Both as a trader and personally i mostly buy privately often via word of mouth with the only three occasions in the last 12yrs I've bought from a dealer were the CRV and Polo we currently have and both were reluctant purchases on my part plus a Caddy van I got cheap as an ex NHS fleet disposal. Management had commanded a need for newer and safer but shopping around did secure the Polo at trade money and the CRV at huge discount.

We do always keep a third cheap runner for local running and abandoning at the station/pub and I get a buzz from running it depreciation free. The current 55plate Mazda 3 has proven faultless and will still be worth more than I paid for it in a year without much effort.

Your suggestion that oil doesn't need to be changed annually on an old low value car would be fair enough (though it's cheap to do so why scrimp) if you weren't on here regularly advocating people with younger more complex and valuable cars did the same. They'd risk expensive repairs and higher depreciation as a result you should think again about giving this advice to people who come on here looking for help because they maybe have little mechanical knowledge. Oil does deteriorate as it ages as do rubber components such as tyres and timing belts.

I've often bought cars from elderly owners in the past, some still running the origional tyres after more than ten years and you can see the cracks clear as day. In fact the tyres on a Vauxhall Omega I was offered last year were literally crumbling. Not a negative in my mind, it simply backs up the low mileage but no way I'd run it on crumbling rubber. Same goes for the engine.

Edited by SLO76 on 06/01/2017 at 13:43

 

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