All models covered in this guide except the1993-97 Passat with the VR6 6-cylinder, engine use a toothed belt to drive the camshaft(s). This design is lightweight, and offers a low amount of parasitic drag on the crankshaft, which increases the output of the engine. Additionally, Inspection and replacement of the belt is a relatively simple task (as opposed to replacing a timing chain and sprockets) ensuring that the engine is operating at its peak efficiency. On some models special tools may be required
The timing belt is a basic, yet critical engine component. If the belt were to break, the valve train can be seriously damaged. Frequent Inspection, adjustment, and replacement of the timing belt and tensioning pulley is a must.
Audi and Volkswagen Do NOT list a replacement interval for timing belts for their later engines. Because of the consequences of a snapped timing belt (likely to result in significant engine damage), check the timing belt at regular intervals, and keep a record of the mileages checked.
On the 1990-93 2.0L 16-valve Passat GL/CL models, the timing belt should be checked every 2 years and replaced as necessary, or replaced every four years or (60,000 miles (96,000 km), whichever occurs first.
On all 1995-96 Passat GLS models, the timing belt and rollers should be inspected and adjusted as necessary at least every four years or every 60,000 miles (96,000 km) and replaced as necessary, especially on vehicles subjected to severe use. On all other models, if not replaced previously, replace the timing belt and rollers at 90,000 miles or every 6 years, whichever occurs first.
During Inspection, check the belt for fluid contamination, cracking, damaged teeth and separation. If the belt is suspect in any of these areas replace the timing belt.