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Q: Timing belt failed, how do I keep it from happening twice?

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I was pretty disappointed when the timing belt pulley in my 2009 Subaru Forester failed and caused some real damage to the engine. I may need a totally new motor now and the whole car has only 85,000 miles on it. Not happy at all. Is there another contributing factor to this or did I just buy a shoddily made car?

Hello! Thank you for writing in with this question. Timing belt replacement is generally recommended by Subaru at 105,000 miles, or 105 months. Other manufacturers recommend replacing them between 60,000-90,000 miles. It is very possible that there were contributing factors that caused the failure (oil leak, mis-aligned pulleys, etc.). However, that would be difficult to diagnose without performing a tear-down of the timing belt running gear. A ticking or whining sound that is RPM dependent coming from the engine would be an early indication of timing belt and/or pulley issues. Aggressive preventative maintenance is the recommended way to stay in front of problems like this. A professional mechanic at YourMechanic can listen to and visually inspect the timing belt running gear at regular intervals.

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