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When should the cam belt be changed on a 2001 Ford Puma?

I'm in the process of privately buying a 2001 1.7i Ford Puma - one of the last they made. Mileage is 73,000. General chat says the cam belt change (typical Ford) is 100,000 miles or 10 years; the 'experts' on say 50,000 or five years. My local Ford main dealer tells me it's 50,000 or five years. What should I believe? If the cam belt has not been changed and the dealer says "No need yet" how do I stand regarding forcing the issue or comeback if the cam belt does let go after I've bought the car?

Asked on 6 December 2010 by JC, via email

Answered by Honest John
This is a minor modern classic that's still a hoot to drive. Get the timing belt and anything associated with it changed. If it lets go, the car will effectively be scrap. You have no rights over anyone if this happens.
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