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Change for the better

Asked by Tom Miller

I GET conflicting information about changing the timing belt on my wife's 2000 model Subaru Liberty sedan. Though the car is nine years old it has travelled only 55,000km and is in perfect condition. A mechanic who services it regularly told me to leave the change until nearer 100,000km. Others say do it now.

Answered by CarsGuide

30 Apr 2009 Carsguide.com.au

Subaru says the factory-recommended interval is 100,000km or 48 months, whichever comes first. So after nine years the belt should have been replaced twice. Wear depends not only on distance travelled but also time, because rubber deteriorates and wear is accentuated by short-distance driving below normal operating temperatures. There is some tolerance for extending the interval at low kilometres, but Subaru makes no specified allowance for this. You are strongly advised, in the interests of engine durability, to change the belt now. By not doing so you're gambling against a failure, and that's not wise.

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