Volkswagon Passat Need to replace Water Pump...quotes are drastically different

(I have to fill up the coolant at least once a week…there is definitely a major leak)

The quote is as follows:

One company quoted $1300 they are the ones that did the pressure test and diagnosed the problem $1300

The other company quoted between $2000-2300 saying the front bumper has to be removed to do the work. $1000 LABOR $1000+parts

The cheaper one is known as a good mechanic but expensive, and the other company my husband trusts more…but almost $1000 more…seems to me we need more information to make a real decision. I’m new to town so can’t really have an opinion other then something is up with these quotes.

Thanks for any input!

It’s tough to tel. Get a detailed estimate…explaining exactly what each mechanic will be doing. Also check with the dealer or a VW/European specialist.

In your fourth line you have 3 numbers that must be dollar amounts and they add up to $4069.14 . Then you state estimates of lesser amounts. Until you clarify the quotes no one can give a fact based opinion.

Pulling the bumper is not that big a deal but not sure how that is going to help. I would not put the belts and tensioner etc. in the “as needed” column though and would insist that they be replaced along with everything else. I’d feel better if one of the quotes was from the dealer.

Yes, @ekluck, you need at least 3 detailed estimates. Get them in writing and make sure you understand what the shop wrote down. I paid the dealer to change the timing belt and water pump in my car a couple of years ago. I got 3 estimates, and the dealer had the lowest cost. They did a good job, too.

Pulling the bumper is not that big a deal but not sure how that is going to help.

Because it’s impossible to do the job without it.

Any independent shop that has experience with these cars and the few specialty tools needed to do this work can get the job done in a day for about the $1300 you mention. Maybe less in certain areas, as labor rates can vary widely depending where you are.

In my opinion we have come to a sad state of affairs when it takes all day & costs anywhere from $1,300 to 3 or 4K to replace a water pump on a car . On a car I had the water pump was in behind the timing belt so after removing all covers , timing belt & water pump it was a no brainer to install a new timing belt . I did it myself so the cost was only my time & the price of the pump & belt . It’s been a while but I’m sure the cost was under $100.00 .

@Sloepoke Hard to disagree with you, had to replace a thermostat, pull the wheel and alternator to get to it, then only available as a complete thermostat and housing to the tune of $80 for parts. It is possible the lower priced mechanic figured out a plan b, without pulling the bumper and reducing cost.

The only problem is a leaking water pump, right? One option to save some money, just replace the water pump. Forget about replacing all that other stuff. There’s a certain gamble involved in this approach, as if the timing belt tensioner for example goes south, you’ll have to pay for all that labor again. But its possible the only problem is the water pump, and none of those other items is near the failing point.

I’m not saying that’s what I’d do. It would depend on the age and number of miles on the vehicle, how aggressively the car is driven, and if the routine maintenance is up to date. And whether I felt lucky or not. What I can say is when I changed the timing belt on my Corolla, while the recommended procedure is to change out the water pump and tensioner at the same time, I didn’t change either the water pump or the tensioner. Not as much as a whimper from either of those items in the subsequent 80 k miles, and now it is nearing time to replace the belt again.

On my Sienna, recommendation is to INSPECT the water pump when replacing the timing belt. The first time, they said the water pump was okay, and did not need replacing. The second time they said it needed to be replaced. When a dealer tells you something does not need to be replaced, thus passing up on a major bill item, I tend to trust them.

The bumper doesn’t have to be removed completely although you can if you want. Usually one end is left attached (where the A/C lines are attached) and it is swung out. But even that much doesn’t have to be done. It does at least have to be pulled out though. An experienced professional shouldn’t have too much trouble with this part but it’s still extra work that you don’t have to go through with a Honda or Toyota, for example.