How long can I stretch the Timing Belt change?

Discussion in '2012-2016 VW Passat TDI forum' started by gimpster, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. gimpster

    gimpster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
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    2
    Car:
    13 Passat TDI SEL
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Hello everyone, I'm a new member, but not new to using this forum for lots of helpful information with maintaining my 13 Passat TDI SEL. So I'm coming to the experts for some help with a question that I'm having a hard time answering elsewhere.

    I put a lot of miles on my TDI, roughly 1,000 miles/week, and I'm coming up on 120k pretty quick. From talking to the dealer and reading posts here, it looks like most recommendations put the timing belt change at between 110-130k miles. I've inspected my belt and can see no signs of cracking. The wear tool I have indicates good depth on the v ribs as well and I've heard no squealing indicating a slipping belt. The dealer wants $1200 for the service but I'm more of a DIY guy and handle all of my own service whenever possible. However, the timing (excuse the pun) could not be worse for me. I'm looking at several large maintenance expenses this fall, including new snow tires, new brakes/rotors, and a DSG oil change coming up all at the same time in addition to the timing belt. Out of all of these, the timing belt seems to be the only one with any flexibility. I'm looking at $300 in parts, plus maybe a few special tools for the job, so I'm budgeting $500 for the job. I'm somewhat nervous about the job but willing to do myself (I've done a transmission swap an '86 Mercedes 300E, so how much harder could this be, right? *knock on wood*), however if I can stretch the service interval until spring (Mar/Apr @ roughly 140k miles), then it would really help my financials...looking for thoughts from some of the old timers and professionals. I suspect most of the belt damage that necessitates a timing belt service is from weather and time (which aren't a factor for me) but I'm concerned about the lifespan of the water pump, pulleys, and other related parts that will get replaced with the service. I have no means to test those.

    Any feedback is appreciated. :)
     
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  2. xeno555

    xeno555 Well-Known Member

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    Malone Stage II. Rawtek 3" from Turbo to Tail. Slammed on Koni. TSW Nurmburg Rims. Whiteline Sway & Ends. Panzer Plate.
    Till it breaks.
     
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  3. ketchneddy

    ketchneddy New Member

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    Car:
    2004 jetta wagon
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    Reno
    what's the cost of an incorrect guess about the longevity of the belt? you might be shooting yourself in the foot by waiting.
     
  4. DubFamily

    DubFamily Active Member

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    Southern Maryland / DC
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    '12 Golf TDI sold to VW 2/8/17
    Well; for starters there is a definite change interval for the timing belt, and it is 130,000 miles for your car. There isn't any flexibility in that as far as the VW service schedule goes.

    That said, however; I am at 160,000 miles on my timing belt on a 2012 Golf TDI... I do not feel it NEEDS to be changed at 130,000; as I agree that the two main causes of wear on the belt are time and weather. I average about 40,000 miles a year on my car; in my eyes the timing belt was designed to last ~10 years give or take, so even though I've hit the mileage, I fell pretty confident in it lasting for a few thousand more. I also believe that if VW set the timing interval at 130,000 miles; they've likely tested it to close to double that.

    I have a kit in my garage, so if I see any indications at all I can change it, but I don't plan to do so before selling my car back if I can avoid it. I can't tell you what to do with yours, but there is my take on it.
     
  5. gimpster

    gimpster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Car:
    13 Passat TDI SEL
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    I certainly hear your point on that, but life is filled with trade-offs and best guesses. That said, even following the service interval to the letter doesn't guarantee a faulty part won't deep six your engine. I fully acknowledge that what I'm doing is a gamble, that's why I'm trying to get a better feel for the odds. :)

    That's very true. Where I came up with the range is that I can't find any official number specified in service schedule in my owner's manual. When I spoke to my local VW dealer what they said that they "start replacing them at 110,000 miles". On this forum I found references to an official VW service update that modified the previous interval and set it to 130,000 miles, which I believe to be the current official number.

    You and I share very similar thinking on that. I doubt very much that VW would set the service interval to be anywhere more than 70% of the average lifespan in their own testing, and is much more likely to be closer to 50% given the high mileage numbers they're dealing with (there's a lot of variation in the amount of abuse that happens in 10 years/130k miles).

    I appreciate the feedback so far and would love to hear from others, especially if they've seen a belt fail and know how many miles were on the belt when it did.
     

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