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My Jetta's luck might be running out

I have an 05 Jetta Wagon GLS 2.0 which has been amazingly resilient. I had the 100k check up done recently and everything still came up positive; the battery conked out at 120k; and I just recently replaced the stock head and tail lights out of proactiveness rather than them going out.

But, I think I’ve run into an issue now. When I drive through a puddle (or otherwise get water significantly on the underside of the car) if I am running the AC at the same time the engine makes a squealing noise as though a belt is slipping due to the water. I presume is the case that a belt is slipping–and I imagine that is part of the reason it idles noisier than when it was new, but before my wife and I make a budget I’d see whether there are other options.

As it is there are 130k miles on the car, it’s a 5spd standard, and other than oil changes and the checks at 30, 60, and then 100k no real service has been done.

When was the serpentine belt changed, if ever? It may be time for that.

Normally, the tensioner is changed at the same time. It’s easy insurance. this is also considered normal maintenance. Yours should be due at 120K.

My Jetta (01, 1.8T) is at 124K, and runs great. If you’re not having any problems other than that squeal, might as well just fix that and drive it into the ground. That’s the only way you’ll get your money back on a car, anyway.


There’s no “luck” running out just as much as this indicates nothing ominous.

As noted, a belt & tensioner may be in order. But just as important would be the check the splash shields underneath of the car. Keeping things from getting drenched is one of their jobs.

If a squeaking belt freaks you out, then perhaps you should be budgeting for a new car. This is no big deal. However the age and miles on your Jetta indicate more significant repairs are coming to a car near you soon.

Did some of the previous services replace the timing belt? If not, you need to get this done ASAP or your Jetta could be DOA if the belt breaks.

A coworker recently had a similar noise with his Jetta.
Turned out that the water pump was going bad, temporarily seizing up, and causing the belt to make noise.

Have your shop remove the serpentine belt, and turn all the pulleys, and find the one that is causing the noise, and replace that part. Could be the water pump, the tensioner pulley, the idler pulley, the alternator pulley, or the a/c pulley. You just won’t know the source of the noise until someone gets in there and tests things out.