2002 VW Passat Timing Belt

Last year we had the timing belt replaced on our 2002 VW Passat under the recommendation of our new service center. Fast forward 20,000 miles, the timing belt went out when driving and valves are bent. The VW mechanic towed the car to (we were of course out of town) said the timing belt kit was put in wrong. When we called the service center who replaced the timing belt, and who incidentally has a new VW mechanic after they fired the other VW mechanic right about the time of our original service, said “there is no way to put the timing belt kit in wrong, it must be a bad part” (which of course is no longer under warranty). “And even if it was put on wrong, we would have not made it out of the parking lot much less 20,000 miles.” Nevertheless they wanted to stand by their work and look at it, so we towed it to the original service center (which is where we live, the other place is 2.5 hours from home). They called back and said a timing belt and valve repair is normally a $2500 job but they would give it to us for $1200-1500. Obviously it would not be the service centers fault if it was truly a bad part, but we have one mechanic saying it was installed wrong, the center who did the installation saying that is not possible and is giving us a “deal” that is quite large making me think they know there was a mechanic error but won’t admit to it. Thoughts?

Get a written statement from the mechanic that said it was installed wrong and why he believes it was installed wrong. Then you can present this to the service center as proof. You may have to threaten to take them to small claims court.

It’s difficult to say what went wrong because we don’t know what this allegedly bad part is along with other information.

Yes, it is possible to botch a timing belt job with no apparent problems from the start. Belt timing would be noticeable from the beginning. Reusing old belt tensioners, overtightening or undertightening various bolt and nut which then lead to failures are some possibilities as to how things can go wrong later on down the road.

We do not know what this “bad part” is and exactly how it failed, or allegedly failed, so it’s near impossible to form an opinion.
Until this is settled I would advise that you hang onto any and all parts.

They wouldn’t be offering a “discount” unless they know they screwed up. Don’t let them touch the car. Have it towed back to a local VW mechanic or dealer and get their opinion in writing. Plus, get the written opinion of the out-of-town mechanic. Then decide whether you want to pursue small claims court, or negotiate further with the service center that did the work originally. If you have enough written proof that they screwed up, you may be able to get them to repair it for free.