TSI Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement

An ounce of prevention.

If you own 2.0T VW or Audi made between 2008 and 2012, an outdated engine part may be gearing up to cause you big time headaches. The lower timing chain tensioner found in the engines of these vehicles features a design that may fail and lose its tension on your engine’s timing chain. When the timing chain tensioner fails, it can cause significant damage to your engine’s internal parts. If this happens, you will be looking at a costly repair bill to repair the cylinder head (or more, depending on the damage). Repair costs could easily eclipse $3000.

Thankfully there is an updated tensioner that alleviates the issues found with the older model.

How do I know if this has happened to my car? Once the tensioner has failed there are a few indications you can look for: Engine rattle noise at start up, your car will crank but not start, or your car was running, shut off, and will not restart.

When can this happen? We have noted failures at both higher and lower mileage and there doesn’t seem to be a consistent “failure mileage”. Due to the randomness of the failure, we recommend replacing yours as a preventative action.

Is my vehicle effected? An updated tensioner design was implemented in July of 2012.  If you own one of the following vehicles and it was built before then, your VW or Audi may require the updated timing chain tensioner:

  • VW GTI
  • VW Jetta/GLI
  • VW CC
  • VW Tiguan
  • VW Passat
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4

How can I find the build date of my vehicle? You can find your vehicle’s build plate in one of two locations: In the doorjamb of your driver door, or under the trunk floor to the left of the spare tire.  The plate should look like this (build date highlighted):

For those of you that have a vehicle with the old-style tensioner, NGP stocks and installs the updated version of the tensioner that addresses the shortcomings of its predecessor. Having us install this updated unit will ensure your vehicle is less likely to suffer an unexpected failure (and will keep your bank account safe from a large repair bill).

Unsure if your vehicle needs the updated tensioner? Do you want to replace yours as a preventative measure? Let us help! Contact us today for details about this preventative service and to schedule your appointment.

As with many services for your vehicle, replacing your timing chain tensioner can also include replacing other related items. The varying levels of completeness available with this service will mean you are likely to see a wide range of pricing when requesting service estimates. As you compare service estimates it is imperative that you identify the differences in each estimate and recognize it may not be an apples-to-apples comparison. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.