2nd timing belt in 3 years?!

I drive an '02 Jetta TDI (about 130k miles), and last week, I took the car in for glow plug maintenance and a squeaking belt noise. My mechanic called yesterday to tell me that it was the timing belt rubbing on the water pump because one of the timing components was failing (they suspect a roller).

I’ve used this mechanic for the last 3 years, and have never had reason to question until now. I had my timing belt replaced in 11/09 by another mechanic, and per the bill, all components were replaced at about 60% of the cost I am being qouted now.

Is it reasonable to take the car elsewhere for a 2nd opinion when the car is not too safe to drive?

incorrect date: had the first timing belt replaced in 11/07

Devil’s advocate: Maybe the previous mechanic charged so little because he used crappy parts, or didn’t replace everything he said he did.

Not clear from your post what the mechanic is proposing to replace. What exactly is he proposing to replace?

His diagnosis seems slightly vague, too. The belt is “rubbing on the water pump because a roller may be failing?” If the tensioner (roller) were failing, that’s what would be making the squeaking noise, it seems to me.

Unless the noise is really bad, it’s probably OK to drive short distances. I’d take it somewhere else for another opinion.

One or two of the idler/water pump type pulleys in the cam timing belt setup will have flanged sides to keep the belt in place. It would be natural for the belt to contact (rub against) these flanges so your mechanic is not lying. It may be possible that one of the pulleys is misaligned. Ask about that and what it requires to correct the misalignment. You would want to have the belt cover removed with you watching while the mechanic shows you with a straight edge positioned against the misaligned pulley and others for reference.

I have never had a timing belt make a squeeking noise nor have I heard of it from personal experience and while following VW sites on the Internet (Vortex and TDIClub). Fan belt yes, timing belt, never. Nothing, I suppose is impossible.

Agreed it’s more likely a pulley misalignment problem.

Has this mechanic considered the possibility that the problem is not in the timing belt case at all and it may be related to an external serpentine belt or any idler or tensioner used on that belt?

Before blaming the timing components, he should remove the serpentine accesory belt and start it up for a minute to see if the noise goes away.

I’d get another opinion and you could try something yourself. Take a spray squirt bottle with water and while the engine is idling spray a little water on the belt as it’s turning. If the noise goes away for a second or so then it’s not the timing components and a simple serpentine belt replacement may fix this.