The belt isn't supposed to be on it's last legs when you remove it. Its meant to be just fine, you replace it before it gets worn out. If a hypothetical cambelt was significantly worn/degraded at 5 years, then the stated interval would most likely be something like 3 years.
I don't think pushing an extra year or two over the recommended interval stacks up from a risk:reward perspective, for me. If you only change the belt once in your ownership, then all you are doing is delaying the expense. If you plan on keeping the car for a long period of time, you might only do 3 belt changes instead of 4 so you're going to save £600-700, but for 3 x 2 year periods you are going to be at a higher risk of failure, the consequence of which is going to be either a £3k repair bill, or if you're unlucky an engine which is beyond repair.
My concern with extended time periods is the spring in the tensioner. Once the tension on a belt is incorrect, its lifespan is drastically reduced and the chances of it jumping a tooth on start up or if you hit the limiter is massively increased. Unless you are regularly checking the pointer is still indicating correct tension, you are at risk and as the years go by, this is more and more likely.
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