2.0T TSI Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

How is Your Timing Chain Performing?
It’s old news already that many Volkswagen models have gone away from the traditional rubber timing belt design. You know the timing belt, right? It’s the one that has to be replaced every 70,000 or 80,000 miles to prevent breakage from wear and deterioration. If it wasn’t changed when it should be, it could snap and cause catastrophic damage inside your engine.

Well, it seems that the alternative is no better. Volkswagen timing belts were replaced by timing chains and advertised as a non-serviceable part that should last the lifetime of your vehicle. The problem is that the tensioner simply won’t last.

Here’s what happens:

  • You’ll drive normally for about 60,000 miles or so. You’ll have regular oil changes performed and everything will seem perfect and efficient.
  • You’ll begin to hear a slight rattle from the engine bay. It starts out as a clacking noise on initial startup that mostly goes away after a few moments.
  • The rattling noise gets worse and more persistent as time goes on. It could be weeks or months.
  • Suddenly, either when starting your Volkswagen or while driving, it’ll make an awful racket for a few seconds and stall.
  • …And that will be it.

(Failed timing chain tensioner on 2.0 TSi engine)

At this point it’s too late, and you’ve got a major engine mess on your hands. The timing chain tensioner couldn’t hold the proper tension on the chain and it slipped or broke. Being an interference engine, the moving parts inside have hit each other and caused cylinder head damage, bottom end damage, or both. It’ll take thousands of dollars to get it all straightened away, and until then you’ve got a massive German paperweight.


There is a corrective action that can be taken before the catastrophic damage part. At the first sign of noise, the timing chain and tensioner can be replaced. VW as well as a handful of aftermarket suppliers have developed parts that are much more long-lasting and reliable so you never have to experience the heart-wrenching feelings of major engine problems.

It all starts with proper maintenance. You need your Volkswagen serviced by knowledgeable experts who specialize in your vehicle. Dealerships charge a small fortune and most independent repairs shops don’t have the knowledge, tools, and equipment to properly fix your VW.

L & M Foreign Cars is different. We are your German car specialists in Brooklyn, NY. We know your VW inside and out and have perfected the timing chain replacement techniques on your vehicle. Whether your timing chain has broken, you’ve got the imminent warning of an engine rattle, or you don’t know if you’ve got the updated timing chain tensioner and want an inspection performed,      L & M Foreign Cars is your best choice for the job.


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