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I have a 2002 VW Jetta with a 2.0 4 cylinder engine and 72,000 miles. I just had the spark plugs and spark wires replaced at an independent mechanic. He told me that my timing belt needs to be replaced as soon as I can budget the money for it. I called VW and they tell me it can last until 90 - 105,000 miles! Who is telling me the truth? When should I replace the timing belt on my car?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Lynda, The recommended time interval to change the timing belt on a 02 jetta is between 90-105,000 miles. But I'm wondering if your mechanic saw that you had an oil leak from your timing cover or heard the timing belt slapping around under the cover. If there is an oil leak or the belt is slapping around, then they are looking out for your welfare by telling you to replace it as soon as possible. An oil soaked belt or slapping belt could break at any time and leave you stranded on the road or it is an interferance engine, a broken belt could kill the engine if it breaks unexpectedly. You should call your mechanic and ask them why they think you should be changing the timing belt early. also, ask them if your vehicle is an interference engine. If it is, then you really want to change it as soon as possible. Best of Luck! Amy Mattinat

Patty Streeter,  at Lynda, The manufacturer recommends replacement at 90,000 miles but this belt has been known to break prematurely at even 60,000 miles and cause major engine damage. Best to change it before it breaks and costs you an engine replacement. If you are unsure of what this mechanic says, take it for a second opinion to your local authorized dealership or to an ASE certified technician. You can find a certified tech near you by searching here:

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