Was just informed that the timing chain on my 2010 VW Passat broke and the whole engine needs to be replaced. Is that plausible on a 5 yo car with 50K miles?

Asked by Feb 06, 2015 at 11:53 AM about the 2010 Volkswagen Passat

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Went for an oil change and the car literally stopped running in the parking lot.  Had it towed to VW dealership where it was purchased.  They've had the car for over a week (it happened day of the first blizzard). This morning they informed me that the timing chain broke and basically destroyed the engine.  It will cost 7k to replace the engine.  Is this legit? Ive had other cars last well over 100k miles 10 to 12 years and  still when replaced! Was planning to keep this car to at least 100k.

23 Answers


Yes it is legit. You have a zero tolerance engine. If the belt/chain brakes the pistons slap all of the valves and destroy the heads, valves, pistons, ect. You should have done the timing belt/chain at around 60,000 miles.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Unfortunately the dealership is probably correct. You might ask them to give you some good will and reduce the repair bill due to the low mileage.

Thanks Bob and Transam. Thinking of just moving on, as it has barely 50k miles. This car had been trouble since the beginning!


Is it still under warranty? Wouldn't hurt to find out.


The general Powertrain warranty is 5 year and 60,000 miles. So it should be under warranty

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Same exact thing just happened to me on my 2010 Passat Wagon. No one informed me the chain should have been replaced at 60k. I find it incredible that the chain failing causes catastrophic engine damage. That's a faulty design. Now I'm replacing a faulty engine with another faulty engine. Really sad.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Hi Kenji2015, Sorry to hear that! I meant to give an update. So, the dealership suggested we get in touch with VW USA and express our disappointment as loyal VW buyers/owners. We were skeptical, but they were actually helpful, as was the dealership. Ended up paying only 1k (rather than 7k) as it was so close to the expiration of the warrantee. I was pleasantly surprised with the dealership and VW corporate for working with us. However, I agree with you-it must be due to faulty design and it shouldn't have happened. Caused major stress, not to mention money for rental. Just got the car back yesterday. I would definitely give VW a call! Good luck


Glad that VW was helpful with this big repair. The timing chain doesn't actually have a maintenance schedule for replacement though. For Passat owners of this vintage that may read this in the future... If the chain brakes, it may or may not damage the lower portion of the engine. Sometimes the cylinder head can be removed for inspection and repaired or replaced. As for the block/ lower end of the engine, I've seen issues with the oil pump, which is an assembly with the lower balance shafts. That is prudent to inspect through removal of the oil pan, too. Remember that there is a specific oil requirement for this engine that should always be adhered to, to avoid internal wear issues.


TB service intervals are described in the service manual. The design was changed a few years ago to a low-maintenance belt. But it is not a faulty design. Maintenance is maintenance, and VW clearly spelled it out.


...low maintenance chain, and a tensioner.....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

This just happened to my 2008 2.0T passat. This is a common problem and there is a class action against VW for faulting timing chain tensioners. Timing chain is supposed to last the life of the car.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

same problem happened to me. the dealer report showing no compression coming from 1,2,3, and 4 Cylinders, also all engine valves bent. he didn't documented but told me the chain belt tensioner common to cause that. other website shows there are law cases against VW. dealer quote repair $10.000. the car isn't even equal to that!!! continues problem with VW. not recommended to any one.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I have a 2010 vw jetta wolfsburg with 80k on it and all maintenance done to it, I went to turn it on last week and the motor wouldnt turn, VW says the timing chain broke and i'll need to replace chain,cylinder,valves and whatever else. They also said 7000+ to repair. I will never buy a german car again and i will just tell them to take it the way it is and throw it away!


Just had our 2012 EOS incurr catastrophic engine failure and almost got nailed in an intersection when the EOS quit !! Talk about safety! lost compression in cylinder 1 $2800.00 just to diagnose the problem $5600.00 to repair maybe more?? Just spent $1000.00 on cleaning combustion chamber and valves 4 weeks ago. I suspect timing chain issue. Is there a class action law suit on this engine issue?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Is this another scam by VW. It is quite clear there is a problem with the timing chain or the tension mechanism. What's needed is to chronicle the individuals who have issues and request a reply from VW. Actions speak louder than words . Another issue for VW must get max amount of publicity to let VW know the customers fustration

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

The 2.0t tsi engine was made with a faulty timing chain tensioner which will fail and cause the timing chain to break causing immediate catastrophic engine damage putting the driver and occupants in danger because of loss of power and difficulty steering. Fortunately for us, the timing chain tensioner on our 2012 eos failed while the car was started and parked in our garage. I only purchase German cars and this will be the last VW or Audi we ever own.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

If this happened to you, place a complaint with NHTSA (https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/). They can force a recall if it is a true safety concern. VW of America will not do anything, especially if your vehicle is out of warranty. They only care about their customers while they are responsible for the vehicle function. This happened to me at 112k miles and luckily the engine was not damaged (that I know of yet, they are still fixing my car). It is very common.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

We bought a 2010 Passat 2.0T two months ago for our son. We found out that the previous owner got rid of it because the timing chain broke at 105,000 miles. The car now has 113,000 miles on it, and it has happened again. My mechanic said that the tensioner was the cause and that the motor has extensive damage and will have to be replaced. My son was driving across town at a low rate of speed. He parked it and it wouldn't turn over. I now have a loan to pay off, on top of figuring out how to pay for these repairs. I would love to learn more about the class action lawsuit. I will definitely be pursuing this till something is done.


Here is the link to add your name and info to the class action suit; https://mccunewright.com/mcdonalds-manager-pay-class-action/

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I'm going through this same with my 2011 cc timing chain broke off at 83k miles and I called Volkswagen and they won't help me. Now whst i don't have the money to pay this costly repair especially after forking over the last few months of repair. FIRST THE CLUTCH PACKAGE THEN THE WATER PUMP NOW TWO WEEKS LATER THIS CHAIN. So disappointed in VW.

My 2012 EOS with 75,000 miles violently shuttered to a stall and could not be restarted last night (yes, in traffic but my husband and sons weren't hurt). Towed to my mechanic-no compression in the engine, and he will be tearing the engine down tomorrow ($300) to see what happened but after reading these posts I know it was the faulty timing chain tensioner. So tomorrow I'll find out how much engine damage I have, but to replace with a used engine will be $4,500...but how do I know it won't just happen again with the next TSI 2.0? I reached out to McCuneWright to join the class action suit. I wonder why just googling "EOS" doesn't warn people not to buy these cars for their defective engines?? Incidentally, also I had fuel pump failures six months ago and had to get the system cleared out - was told it was from using off-brand gas (even though I use high octane) but I wonder if that's the same thing as what ElaineC123 went through and if it's an early indicator.


Make sure you make a claim with the NHSTA about this issue. https://www- odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/. Maybe if enough people complain VW will have to fix it. There is a newer revision of the timing chain tensioner. I have also replaced the turbo and water pump right at 100k miles.

I have to add my complaint. I have a 2010 VW CC. Guess what? My timing chain tensioner broke as well. I was told I don't have compression in one cylinder and it will be around $3,500 to repair unless they find something else wrong. This is from a VW specialist shop. The engine has been a nightmare. Thanks for supplying us with both web links.

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