Timing belt failure - can I claim against the manufacturer?

We bought a secondhand Renault Grand Scenic in December 2012 for £8800 (we were hoping to spend around £5,00 but convinced ourselves that spending more would buy us more reliability). The car was first registered in September 2009. In February this year the timing belt failed after five years five months and 48,500 miles. The Renault warranty and service sheet with the car states that the timing belt and rollers should be changed after six years or 96,000 miles. Renault UK has offered to pay 20% of a £6000 repair bill but once repaired the car would only be worth about £5500 and would have cost us £8800 plus £4800 for the repair = £13,600. We cannot afford to spend this sort of money. Do you think we should cut our losses and sell the car for parts or try to pursue a claim against Renault or against the dealer we bought the car from?
You have done nothing wrong. But it's two years four months since you bought the car so you cannot hold the supplier liable. The car is less than six years old and, as you say, Renault does not specify a timing belt change until six years old or 96,000 miles, whichever comes first, so you might be able to use that in an action against Renault itself, even though, in UK law, liability rests with the supplier. Law here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights/

If this does not elicit a better response from Renault (50% of the cost would be a 'better response'), I would not recommend actually taking the fight to court. You have had two years four months use out of the car, so £3300 is fair depreciation over that period. So you should be looking at whether you throw away a car worth £5500 for maybe salvage money of £1000, or you investigate cheaper ways of fixing the engine. Talk to a local member of www.fer.co.uk/
Answered by Honest John on

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