CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Scheduled Maintenance on an '02 Passat

I am hoping someone can help clarify when your timing belt needs to be changed. My mechanic says 105,000 but the dealer is telling me 70,000. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

What’s the manual say?

around 100.000-110.000 km

Why don’t you trust what your owner’s manual tells you?

For the 2002 year only, the gasoline engines are 105,000 miles. The TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) are 80,000. Future changes on the diesel are at each additional 105,000 miles. (They have redesigned the belt so replacement belts last longer.) Remember the tensioner is part of the job and it is highly recommended that you get the water pump replaced at the same time, as it is cheap to do as part of a timing belt change and expensive later.

The above, other than the extended live belt info. should be in your owner’s manual and that manual is your guide.

It is not surprising the dealer is recommending to have it done sooner.  Many dealers are aggressive at selling services with little or no value to the customer (Not just VW dealers).  It sounds like your mechanic knows what he/she is doing and likely will also charge you less than the dealer. 

One reminder, keep that owner’s manual handy and give it a good read from time to time.

I believe the 1.8t’s are prone to breaking timing belts early(eg before 105k). Not sure what model year VW/Audi corrected this. However you are due likely in about 1 year whatever the mileage due to age.

Your good mechanic is likely versed in replacing the heads of 1.8t engines and wants to save you some possible grief.

The VW manual failed in a few ways on this car. For example it did not clearly state the requirement for synthetic motor oil hence the sludging issue that exists with this engine.

yeah,the dealer is just trying to get you to fix it early.there’s no need to worry,just visually inspect it once in a while to see if it’s ok-no cracking or frayed edges,etc.

If a dealer can get all their customers to do their scheduled maintenance early then that’s a increase in revenue for them. Oil changes at 3k instead of 5k is a 40% increase in oil change revenue…It’s to the DEALERS best interest NOT the customers.

When Dealers fail to inform their customers that 100,000 spark plug intervals are to long and 100,000 mile valve adjustments are to long we speak negativly about them,when they caution that 105,000 timing belt intervals are to long we also speak negativly. There are situations where manufacture guidelines are not correct.