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VW Timing Belt

I just bought a 2001 VW Golf 2.0 with 112K. Is there a way to determine if when (if) the timing belt has been replaced? Is this an interference engine? Should I just replace the belt pre-emptively?

You need to definitely find out for sure. A mechanic could look at the timing belt, and water pump. IF he sees that the timing belt looks BRAND NEW and is a non-Volkswagen name part; then, you might be ok. If you can’t get some-such proof, then, like Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry, “Are you feeling LUCKY?”. ARE you a gambler?

According to Gates Belts site, the timing belt should be changed every 60k mies.

In other words, yours should have been changed twice by now.

As far as determining the last replacement, try digging through the vehicles past starting with the last owner.

Try dealerships near where you bought it.

Other than that, just replace it.

I don’t know if this engine has a timing belt driven water pump or if it has an external belt to the pump.

If it is the former, have the water pump replaced at the same time to save the labor cost if the pump fails at a later date.

As my neighbour found out, after incurring $3000 in engine damage, VW belts do not necessarily last even 60,000 miles. So, unless it has just been changed with a good brand, and you have definite written proof, change it with the best brand availble. This is very cheap insurance!!

Gates is misquoted, again. What Gates actually says is, “When the automaker doesn’t make a specific recommendation, Gates suggests changing the timing belt at 60,000 miles”. Gates has an online brochure listing makes, models, and years of many cars/trucks and the automakers’ recommendation for timing belt change intervals. Go this site: " Click on Timing Belts. On that page, click on Timing Belt Replacement Guide. Scroll to your car, year, engine.

Change the belt! If you or I were trading a VW or other car with a timing belt due at 60,000 and then again at 120,000 miles, would you spend $500 before trading at 112,000 miles? I think not. According to what I have seen, there is very little difference between a new belt and one with 60,000 miles except the back side of the belt shows a little scuffing. I don’t know when the scuffing starts, however. Timing belts show little or no wear. Don’t forget to change the temsioner pulley, if present. If the pulley bearing fails, it will take the belt along.

I got a quote of $1100 from the local VW dealership to replace the timing belt, coolant pump and the valve cover gaskets in my '99 Beetle. Does it sound reasonable?

Is that the 1.8T or 2.0L?

I would suggest finding a local independent VW or Euro shop and asking for a quote for same items. If they can rattle a # over the phone they know what they are experienced.

The cost depends where you live and labor rate.

According to Gates Belts site, the timing belt should be changed every 60k mies.

Use the owners manual as a guide. The Gates sight says ALL cars should be changed at 60k miles even when the owners manual says 100k. Gates can almost DOUBLE their timing belt sales if we used their guidelines as opposed to the manufacturers guidelines.

It is the 2.0L.

How can I find the shops you recommend? I live in IL.

Many VW timing belts break long before they show significant wear, or even before VW’s own reecommended interval is up.

So, I would replace this thing proactively, including the water pump, if applicable, so as to avoid the $3000 bill my neighbor incurred with her Passat.

A friend of mine bought a Honda Odessey minivan with 60,000 miles on it in mint condition. His wife insisted the timing belt be changed since they could not confirm if it had been done!

I sure hope that the OP has replaced his timing belt by this time, since the question was posted about 6 months ago!

Snowball–I strongly suggest that you have the timing belt replaced soon, as the comments above are all too true. And, yes, you can avoid the dealership for this service as long as you have a recommended independent mechanic.


you can look in the yellow pages, under automotive repair. ask friends, and relatives where they take thier car. if you know other VW owners, ask them. typically ask an older model VW owner. they usually have garnered the knowledge of where the good shops are in the area.

as others often state on this website; the dealerships are notorious for being EXPENSIVE. often they do unnecessary (but ‘recommended’) repairs. i firmly believe the ‘recommended’ repairs are recommended solely to boost the dealership profits.

a good local mechanic, with references and recommendations is far superior in personal service, and value.

also, try the home page of this website, and look for mechanics files. you can enter your zip code and search that way too.

I know the dealerships are notoriously expensive, e.g that same place asked for $140 to replace a broken window switch (I will buy the part and replace it myself)!!! But the mechanics around here are also notoriously bad, so I have been forced to go to the dealers. People I know who own VWs also go to the dealers. Only yesterday did I find out about this webpage through a friend.

So, I will start looking at the places you all recommended to find a decent place to fix the belt ASAP. I know very well that it is a critical fix and your posts definitely reinforce that.

Thanx people!

Try and post there for a suggested shop to change the belt out.