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.

45 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.

4 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

2 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 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 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 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 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?

2 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

4 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 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 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 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.


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.

1 people found this helpful.

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.

2 people found this helpful.

I am having the same issue with my 2010 Passat and its an estimated $5k to repair! I filed a complaint and I hope some justice comes from this.

1 people found this helpful.

7 years old and you haven't changed the TB. Have you checked the service interval in your user's manual?

1 people found this helpful.

My 2012 EOS lost all compression due to a faulty tensioner. Complete engine failure. This was 3 months ago with ONLY 44,000 miles. It was out of warranty by only 8 months (but was under warranty if only mileage was considered ). This is a very well maintained car with impeccable service records, so needless to say we were very surprised the engine would fail at 44,000 miles! Called the main VW line to see what they could do and got nowhere. Ended up taking it to my local VW service department and they were able to have VW cover parts and I paid for labor. My bill was $2,400 and parts were around $2,200. I joined the class action suit and I'm hopeful I will eventually recoup my $2,400. If anyone has a VW that is 2012 or older the tensioner needs to be replaced before it fails! The tensioner is a faulty part and VW does know this. In 2013 models and newer, VW changed the tensioner.

Hello--same story with me, 2012 EOS, 2.0 TSI engine 75,000 miles, faulty tensioner destroyed my engine last month. Because this is happening across the county, there are no used engines out there, so my cost to repair with my local mechanic was $6,980. I called VW, they will not recall the part or help me in any way...but note that the new engine I purchased from them notes that it repairs that issue, so obviously they know about it. We need to work together to make sure our issue is heard and VW is made to fix this. My state consumer affairs can do nothing--this needs to be done on a Federal level--as Abby says above--NHTSA (https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/). HOWEVER, be aware that in September I entered complaint number 11025443 with NHTSA, which is not showing on their website. I just entered my compliant again and was assigned number 11032235, but that doesn't come up when searched. I will call on Monday and find out why my complaint isn't registering--I hope others aren't having this reporting issue as well with NHTSA because when I called in my complaint last month I was told that I'm the first one to complain of this kind of problem...although now on the website I can see at least two other complaints of the same issue on just my year alone....and they seem to log issues by year only so there are likely many more in other years. BTW--I found two class action lawsuits and one private lawsuit, but I don't want to enter class action at this time because I have a feeling that my compensation won't be nearly what my repair cost was...but I will do so if I can't get the NHTSA to help me. Good luck out there!


Add me to the club.10100 Miles and engine is toast. These are the same folks that just got burned rigging the emission system. They knew about this and should have done more than they have.

1 people found this helpful.

Replacing the lower chain tensioner as pre emptive maintenance is a possibility but chances are that for anyone reading these comments, it's too late. There is no "scheduled maintenance " requirement for the chain or tensioner as there would be for an engine equipped with a timing belt rather than chain.


I have a 2009 VW Passat and last week I had the same issue. My car has 92K miles. Per the technician, the timing chain jumped and there is no compression. I called VW but they said there is no recall as of now and only thing they can do is document the problem. My VW dealership has quoted between $8K-9$K plus taxes for the repair. I filled out a form on the website of the lawyers for the class action suit - McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP. I will also file a complaint at NHTSA website.

I have the same problem with VW 2009 Passaton Saturday 23rd Dec, 2017. My car has 92987 miles and engine stopped working. Towed the car to nearest mechanic and found that timing chain tensioner issues. Rough estimate cost of repairing is $3500 and more based on further identification. Car is lying in my garage and don't what to do?


I would suggest that you call VW customer care at 1-800-822-8987 and have them document it. I don't know if it helps, but I was told the more people that call, they will be able to look into it and issue a recall if at all. I don't know how long it's going to take for VW to admit their mistake. I wasn't confident about moving forward with the repairs, in case something else happened. So I am basically selling my car to a junkyard for $300. It's a shame. I really liked that car and was hoping to keep it until it had well over 150K miles.

Add me to the list 2012 vw CC, Yep timing chain tensioner one of the pistons hit the spark plug and now there are metals all in the engine. 7000 for a new engine.


Add me to the list. 2013 Volkswagen CC. Should have been named the Volkswagen NIGHTMARE. I bought the car brand new for 33,000. 4 and a half years later, it has had 20,000$$$ in repairs!!!! Including a brand new $12,000 transmission at 48,000 miles. A new intake manifold, water pump, countless sensors, the fuel pump module that we are waiting to have repaired after they finalize the recall, and NOW a timing chain Tensioner!!!! My car is at the shop as we speak. I just got the call a few hours ago and have since done the research. There is a class action lawsuit being heard presently over faulty timing chain tensioner. Just when I put that search into google ‘Volkswagen Timing Chain Tensioner’, literally thousands of complaints come up!! We are not alone. VW new the tensioner was a problem and never informed anyone. My car has only been serviced at the dealership that I bought it. Two months ago I took it in for poor performance and a check engine light, they told me it was tripping multiple codes but somehow only needed the intake manifold, and now 8 weeks later the timing chain tensioner, you can’t tell me that they should not have seen that problem at that visit!!!!! I’m extremely upset and I will not let this go. As recommended above we all need to file formal complaints, this is the only thing that will push them to action.

1 people found this helpful.

So far my 2010 CC is good to me , just hit 100 000 miles .. had only one kinda serious problem , not too costly...Now I’m really concerned about this timing tensioner issue...dealer said 1600$ to change that tensioner...That is ridiculously costly preventive maintenance

2009 vw Passat 125,000 miles timing chain tensioner broke, had to put in new engine. The worst car that I have ever owned. 160,000 miles engine only has 35,000 miles on it best I could get for the car was 500.00 dollars. Hands down the worst car I have ever owned.

Question about this subject. I am by no means mechanically inclined. At all. I am trying to buy an older Vw Jetta for my daughter and I ask the guy "if the timing belt" has been replaced. Car has 107,000 miles, 2005 Jetta. So he says "It uses a timing chain that has been checked and is in good condition. VW says it should last for the life of the engine". Said he had it checked at 98,000 miles. Are we talking about the same thing? I am confused.


From my understanding, timing belt and chain have similar functions, but one is a belt (made of rubber) and the other is a chain. The chain supposedly lasts longer. I just don't trust the VW brand anymore. Maybe models older than 2008/2009 were made with quality parts that last longer. I would be wary of purchasing any VW car that's 2008 or newer. Just do your research well if you decide to buy this car.


The faulty part with the ~2007-2011 model years is actually the tensioner for the timing chain. You should never have to replace a timing chain technically, but the poorly designed tensioner for those model years caused the timing chain to get out of sync and the off timing is what causes failure. There is a new version of the tensioner part that is supposed to be a better design. See here: http://casestudies.atlanticmotorcar.com/volkswagen-2-0- tsi- timing-chain-failures/

I am in desperate mode! This 2010 CC has been a NIGHTMARE and much more! At 50,000 miles the check oil light started coming on and was told that it was a faulty sensor. Got it replaced but didn’t resolve the problem as the light kept coming on. Shortly thereafter my car stalled across the road leading into the VW dealership and traffic on both sides came to a screeching halt nearly killing me. The timing chain was off and messed up the cylinders timing and the oil sensor. At this point I was close to 60000 miles but within the warranty period. I called VW of America and was told that they wouldn’t pay for replacing the timing chain. Went back and forth for several weeks and they finally agreed to pay 70% of the cost. The next six months were a constant litany of problems, visiting the dealership almost on a semi weekly basis for poor performance. The car is now at 69000 miles and the water pump spindle broke inside the engine block. I was told that I would have to replace the engine. I called VW of America and they were stone cold and told me that they assumed no responsibility. I bought on engine on line, the dealership put it in and I got a call from them saying that the engine had no compression but that I was responsible for the cost of the labor $2,400. I tried to get Rayon Auto Parts (don’t do business with them: they’re shysters from somewhere in India) to take responsibility. They strung me along for two months telling me that they would replace the engine and pay the labor charges. Lies nothing but lies! They disappeared. I have the credit card company reverse the charges and am still litigating. Bought another engine, dealership put it in and was told that an oil seal needed to be replaced. Litigating this one too as I paid $2600 for the engine and the dealership wants $1100 in addition to the $2000 that way want to put put the second engine in. All told I’m into this for close to $9000 and haven’t had my car for 4 months and no prospect of getting it back. I’m telling you people all this because if the dealership had changed the waiter pump at the time that they did the timing chain I would not have had this problem. Has anyone out there had this same problem? And can the water pump be damaged when replacing the timing chain? I will will make a claim as well per Abby’s instructions. I’m also thinking of bringing legal action against all parties.


Oh my gosh- Picked up my 2013 VW CC after paying 2300 for timing chain and tensioners, lasted 48 hours!!! 48 hours folks!!!! Car dumped it’s entire coolant, had to limp it back to VW and now they say- We must of missed it but you need a new water pump- $1100 please. I have LOST ALL faith in the Volkswagen CC. For every owner who says hey have had limited problems, there are 10 owners suffering through MAJOR issues. I urge you all- report all issues to Volkswagen corporate. I was told by a VW Corp person that the list of tensioner issues is growing close to forcing VW to do a warranty extension on the timing chain tensioner. Even if you have already paid for this service, a warranty extension would refund your money

1 people found this helpful.

I had this exact issue happened in early 2015 - I had a 2009 Tiguan failed at 78K miles. Warranty expired in 2014. The timing chain tensioner failed and the timing of the engine was off, ended up destroying the whole engine. I spent more than $5K to replace the damaged engine with a used engine(yes, another engine with the faulty parts). I got rid of the car 6 months after the used engine was installed. This problem happens on 2009 to 2013 model year with 2.0 TSI engines, the timing chain tensioner was updated during 2013, but it wasn’t sure the problem was fixed, as many post 2013/2014 model year vehicles are probably less than 60K miles and under factory power train warranty, problem may not occurred yet. In 2015 this engine was replaced by 3rd gen EA888 engine.

Hate to hear all the stories here. Your stories prompted me to preemptively replace mine after it started showing described symptoms (87K miles). Thank you for the heads up from all. $1700 to replace guide rails, tensioners and chains on my 2011 CC, but it drives like a different car. Seeing how it drives now, it was only a matter of time before mine gave out. Thank you to all


This just happened to me on 4/16/18. I have a 2012 CC with 86,000 miles that I bought in April of 2014 with 35,000 miles . I need a whole new engine and it's going to cost me dang near what I owe on it. I'm looking at just under $10,000 for a USED engine with 70,000 miles but who in the right mind can afford that. I have contacted VW customer service and they won't do anything. I have also filed a complaint with the NHTSA and I have contacted to separate attorneys that are handling class action lawsuits against VW for this issue - just waiting on someone to call me back. VW does not seem to care. So now I am paying a car note and insurance on a vehicle that will not run.

1 people found this helpful.

Sorry to hear that! It;s very unfair. When I contacted VW they just took down notes and that was it. No follow-up or nothing. I hope they pay for this dishonest practice and are held accountable.

1 people found this helpful.

Check out this story for a class action - VW knows their is a faulty part and they agreed to cover the faulty tensioners https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/340239-vw-audi-hit-third-class-action-hidden-engine-defect/

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