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Replacing the Water Pump at 54K?

I have a preowned 2007 Volkswagen Passat w/ 54,000 miles. The tension belt needs to be replaced and the VW shop asked me if I would like to have the timing belt and water pump replaced while they are in there. It’s recommend by VW, I believe, to have this done at 80,000 miles.

As they are replacing the tension belt anyway, it would cost me $571 for the additional work rather than, they tell me, $1,260 at 80,000 miles.

First of all, do I correctly understand that the tension and timing belt are two different things?

Second, do you recommend that I pay the $571 now or wait two and a half years and pay $1,260 if I still have the car?

If it’s pertinent, my warranty goes to 74,000 miles.

Thanks for any guidance you have.


There are a couple different engines in that car. Which one are you talking of?

If you have the 4 cylinder, 2.0L turbo, you should have a timing belt, yes. The water pump is driven by the timing belt, and while it cost a bit more, you should change the water pump when you change the belt. Reset your clock (so to speak) as to when the timing belt is due for another change, and then just be ready for it. If they’re not doing the timing belt, then wait on the water pump.

If you have the 6 cylinder, 3.6L, then the water pump is NOT driven by the timing belt, which this engine doesn’t have.

Normally, it’s either a serpentine belt, or accessories belt. I’ve never heard it called a tension belt before. And yes, it should be different from a timing belt. Make sure…don’t guess.


The ‘tension’ belt (I call it an accessory drive belt) should need replacement again in 2-1/2 years, when the timing belt is due to be replaced. So, you’d be paying to replace the accessory drive belt again and skip the timing belt then? I’d just wait.

Yes, it’s a 2.0 T. I will check w/ the shop tomorrow but it appears that there are in fact three parts: tension belt, timing belt and water pump. I know the tension belt needs to be replaced. And if that’s the case, it sounds like I should just hold on until the next tension belt needs to be replaced to do the water pump and timing belt. The only catch is, while the labor is free the belt is $94. So for another $470 I could get it all taken care of - rather than pay $1,200 in 2.5 years… if I keep the car. Ideally I would keep it. But while I really enjoy my silver wolfsburger w/ all the little things that I need to regularly fix I do wonder how long I will want to hang onto it / what it will cost me to hang onto it past 80,000 miles. If you have thoughts, let me know. Regardless, I really appreciate the advice.

The car is an '07 so this means it was probably built in the summer or fall of '06. This makes the timing belt about 5 years old and on an interference fit engine I would go ahead and have that work done.

There is more to a timing belt replacement than simply mileage. It’s also time dependent and environmentally dependent. Extremes of heat and cold can shorten belt life along with things such as any oil or coolant vapors inside the belt case.

Generally speaking, warranty will not pay for timing belts or broken belt caused damage as T-belts are considered a maintenance item.
You can’t look at the T-belt as anything other than what it is; a normal, wear and tear maintenance item and the owner of any T-belt fitted car faces the same financial burden no matter who makes the car.

Hope some of that helps.

there’s always a time measurement alongside the mileage; 5 years/60k miles, 7 years/105k miles, etc. And the ever important part WHICHEVER COMES FIRST

Your timing belt is not due till 120k miles.

I would not bother with the timing belt or water pump this early in the game.

Good luck

I have a hard time believing that it costs $700 to remove and replace the T-belt, plus $94 for the part. Is it that difficult to get off? That’s a day’s labor to remove and replace the belt.

Certain Passat years have notoriously failure-prone timing components.Do it now, especially if they are taking the front end off the car. My timing chain tensioner (98 1.8T) went bad at 60k, 12 yrs, in my case, and I was lucky the whole engine did not get ruined. (I ended up having it towed from my home to the garage, to avoid driving it any further.) It wasn’t cheap, but I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it now–probably for the rest of the time I own this car. Even with the annual repair bills, I still LOVE driving this car.