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Hi, I am considering a 308 purchase and have been advised about the importance of changing the cam timing belts early and often. What I am curious about is the margin of safety in timing belt change intervals with respect to elapsed time (years).

I see a lot of cars that had the belts changed 5000 miles ago, but that was also 5 years ago - and I assume the belts degrade over time as well as over miles. How long can cam timing belts be "aged" but still be safe?

Also, has anyone ever had a timing belt actually break in normal use? What was the age and mileage of the failed belt? And did your engine recover?
 

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When I bought my car in 2000, the timing belts hadn't been changed in 12 years - and I still drove the car hard. I took it off the road a few months later and did the full service plus more.

I wouldn't chance it. I know better now since a friend of mine in Seattle has a GT4 like mine and one of the belts snapped in his car. It broke several valves damaging the cylinder head and put a hole through one of the pistons. He's still in the midst of his rebuild, but it should be finished this December.
 
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