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04 1.9D Cam belt - devonmaid
I have been very pleased with my Berlingo Multispace Forte 1.9 diesel which is 4 years old, but my confidence has been destroyed by my recent experience. On my way back to West Devon from Longleat I broke down. I lost power completely and luckily was on an A road rather than motorway and coasted downhill into a layby to await breakdown recovery. The fault was diagnosed as probable cambelt failure. As I have only done 17K and have a full service history I was somewhat shocked to hear the possible cost - up to £800. The 60 mile journey on a recovery vehicle cost £180. On enquiring at the local Citroen dealer where I bought the car new, I was told it was out of guarantee so tough luck (or words to that effect). The Citroen customer service in Slough said the same. However, friends in the motor trade tell me that I should pursue the matter on the grounds that the car is not fit for purpose and the cambelt should not fail after 17K. At present the car is at a small garage where it was towed to as the main dealer was closed by the time I got home. They have confirmed the diagnosis as best they can without stripping it down.
Can anyone advise me as to the best course of action? The vehicle will need towing again to get it to the main dealer. To make things worse I am going on holiday on Saturday for a fortnight but fortunately do not need the car. Should I make a nuisance of myself at the main dealer or just accept that these things happen and never buy a Citroen again?
04 1.9D Cam belt - Dynamic Dave
I notice you say "probable cambelt failure". Have you not had that confirmed by anyone?

If it is the belt, then you need to establish when it should be changed. Most, if not all manufacturers specify a time or mileage (whichever comes first). The car may well have only done 17,000 miles, but if Citroen specify 'x' miles or 4 yrs, then the belt should have been changed as per their recommendation at 4 yrs. This *could* be why Citroen are saying 'tough luck'
04 1.9D Cam belt - devonmaid
Thanks for that. I have now been told that the cam belt should be changed at about 75000 miles or 10 years so I am going down to the Citroen dealers to make a nuisance of myself and quote the Sale of Goods Act 1979 which says that a product must be of satisfactory quality, durable and fit for purpose.

I'll update my post if there are any developments
04 1.9D Cam belt - Screwloose

It is usually possible to determine the root cause of a cam-belt failure - they don't "just break."

04 1.9D Cam belt - devonmaid
Well I spoke to the service manager and he was a bit miffed that the last 2 services were done by another garage (not a Citroen garage). He said the cam belt failure could have been caused by wear and tear on another engine part, such as the water pump or the alternator maybe damaging the cambelt. As a gesture of (begrudging) goodwill he said he would do the repairs at the warranty rate of £50 an hour instead of £60odd, but I would have to pay for the car to be towed across to them.
I've decided to write to the MD as suggested by the consumer advice section of the Office of Fair Trading and send it by recorded delivery. It will delay the repairs for a week or two but at least I will have done my best to get them to comply with the Sale of Goods Act.
 

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