VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - John Kent
Just had the 40,000 mile service on our 1.9 SE Golf. Main dealer advised change of cam belt at same time. Could not believe the high cost! Total bill £630 of which 4 hours (at £65) just for the cam belt plus parts of almost £100 again just for the cam belt. They sell you on the good fuel consumption but forget to tell you of the ridiculous running costs. How can a cam belt on a modern engine really take 4 hours? Any ideas?
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Brian
See my previous comments in other threads.
Customers really do need to put pressure on manufacturers to make cam belts easier to check and change.
£500 every 50,000 miles or so adds a penny per mile to the running cost.
In the UK a high proportion of new car sales are to companies who get rid of them before belt change becomes an issue, so they are not worried.
Surely private new car buyers overseas must have similar concerns.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - steve paterson
It's often the customer that's to blame for being overcharged. I've worked at a few main dealers in my time and it's always amazed me how many customers are pleased, even proud, to receive a hefty bill. They assume that their bill is somehow related to the effort put into the repair. For a short time I worked as a mobile mechanic. One 'non starter' job turned out to be a snapped cam belt and the associated valve damage, I gave the customer a quote and to cut a long story short he was suspicious of the fact that I could undercut his local Ford dealer by 50% and still make a profit. We'd both have been happier if I'd stuck an extra £300 on the bill.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - honest john
£360 to change the timing belt on a Golf is bloody ridiculous. That sort of rip off is precisely what drives VW owners away from VW franchises and into the usually more capable and friendly hads of VW specialists.

Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - David Lacey
£360 sounds a little expensive for this - and a 40000 mile change point is a bit premature in my view, but that's VW for you. Most other marques specify cambelt renewal between 60K and 96K which I think is far more sensible. I recently replaced the cambelt on my Audi A4 TDi for which the entire front of the car has to be taken off and swivelled around to gain access (Thank god for flexible coolant and air conditioning hoses!) - it made it an easy job after I had figured out how to remove it!!
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - D J Woollard
£360 is too much, find a smaller VW expert to give good service at a much lower cost.
Of course much of the charge is to support the massive expenditure in premises, attractive receptionists and all the VW gloss. It has little to do with the actual cost of parts/engineer training/wages.
Yes David - 40,000mls a bit early but not by that much. I would do by 50,000mls when the risk is such an expensive engine.
And yes many of the marques do push the interval out to 69/96,000mls, but I think that is to pacify the fleet managers so they mostly do not have this expensive work in the normal company life of a car. Politics not engineering sense. And if the odd belt does break spread over the cost of the whole fleet..well no problem. As a private owner however a belt breakage is often a disaster and just not worth the risk.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - John Gwynne
Have a look at the discussions in www.tdiclub.com/ - it is a universal problem with VW group engines, and could be a good reason to buy a Ford or BMW next time - they use a chain driven camshaft.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Neil
Surely there should be a commitment from manufacturers and dealers, offering a 3 year/60000 mile warranty, to ensure that essential engine components such as cambelts and tensioners last the 3 years/60000 miles.

My wife's Fiat Bravo had a recommended interval of 72000 miles for it's belt: one was changed under warranty at 36000 miles along with the tensioner, and the new one snapped at about 70000 miles (34000 miles on the new belt), both around half the recommended life for a car that hadn't reached 3 years old.

The cost of the damage was around £1000. And the Fiat garage could neither set the timing correctly nor apologise for their incompetance after obtaining a second opinion.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - John Gwyhnne
Herein lies the catch with the now pretty much standard three year warranties - they look good but to maintain the warranty (and hence the resale value of your car) you have to buy premium priced servicing from the dealer networks. I would hazard a guess that the revenue dealer bring from the extra servicing business rather more than compensates for any extra warranty costs. It probably compensates for the reduced prices paid for new cars on the forecourts too.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Brian
It has occured to me that maybe there is a market niche out there for someone to produce transparent cambelt covers for fitting on the first belt change.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Neil
I think there's a market out there to produce belts and tensioners that last to their recommended replacement schedule.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Darcy Kitchin
I think there's a market out there to chuck away all cam belts and replace with proper duplex chains and sprockets and with some engine oil splashing around. In my limited experience the chain system always gives noisy warning of failure.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd0
Nice idea, as you cold then see all the whizzy bits going roundy roundy!
However, not all all that usefull in preventing failures. Sure. a belt that looks bad (cracking, rough edges, bits of rubber everywhere etc!!) should ring alarm bells, but belts replaced at the correct intervals should still look OK. If an owner asks me for an inspection/report on a cambelt it has to be worded very carefully, as what looks good today can cause tears tomorrow.
Absolutely agree with other comments, though, that belts should last to advised intervals. Many premature failures (especially after replacement of factory fitted first belt) are due to foriegn bodies accessing belt due to poorly re-fitted covers, or due to failure of other components (water pumps, tensioners etc).
Personally, unless the car maker recommends less, I suggest 50,000 as tops on anything. Most belts come from one of two or three original manufacturers, and I have my doubts that they make them differently for different car makers!!
Regards, Adam
Timing Belt Inspection Concerns - D J Woollard
Adam is right in that the correct time to replace a timing belt is when it looks OK. Often the only way to see the start of failure is to remove the belt, turn it "inside-out" so the teeth are on the outside, pinch it into a tight radius and roll it round to inspect the root/base of each tooth. This is often where the cracks will start. Many belts replaced at the correct interval and subjected to this enthusiastic test will throw up at least one or two early signs of cracking.
And after doing all this you're not going to re-fit that belt are you!
Awkward devil that I am I refuse to inspect timing belts on the cars I look after, as Adam comments any report has to be so carefully worded as to be near useless. If you are worried about a belt and have no proof of a recent change then it's time to replace. And by proof I don't mean the word of the last seller that he remembers his mate helping to do it one Sunday after a session down the pub! You want to see the actual receipt from the garage who changed it and make a judgement on their likely level of competance.
Give the customer all this information/warnings and then let them choose. At the end of the day it's a bit like any optional insurance, some go for it and others rely on luck.
Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Brian
Thanks Adam.

I'm shot down in flames again!

Oh well, just a thought. I'll come up with something useful one day !


Re: VW Golf Diesel Cam Belt - COST! - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd0
No, really, it is not a daft idea. The Hot-Rod fraternity love clear plastic bonnets so that all their hard work is on show, and to actually see the moving bits inside would probably go down a storm. See-through cam covers would be even better ! If your luck with bright ideas is anything like mine, however, it has probably already been done. No doubt we shall be told !
Regards, Adam

Value my car