I have a 2004 VW Passat B5 and having started to learn a bit more about engine theory, I was wondering how many belts I have and what names each of the belts have.

So, I have a two part question:

  • How many belts do I have in my car (and does this apply to every car)?
  • How many names do each of these belts have respectively?

This website may help for details specifically regarding the VW Passat engine.

  • 1
    How many belts with you in or out of the car?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:14
  • Belts in the engine bay of the car. Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:20
  • Do you know what engine you have? I think the Passat has 2-3 choices. Gas engine, right?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:24
  • I don't know whether gas is petrol or diesel but I have a 2.0L naturally aspirated petrol engine Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:32
  • 2
    You're going to teach me to speak more globally! American: Gas is Petrol, Diesel is Diesel, and if we say Fuel, it could be either.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


As the comment says, looking at the web site you posted there seems to be a couple of flavors of engine for your car. So unless we know the displacement (it would say 2.3L V6 for example) we can't say exactly for your car. There are 5 or 6 flavors listed for your car, from a 1.8L 4 cyl, to a 4.0L V8 ( would love to see how this is stuffed into a Passat lol). All of which will have different belt setups. Here's a general overview of the types.

  • Timing belt = timing chain = (generally) toothed belt
    • These are all connecting mechanisms to keep the pistons and the valves in time with each other. They all connect the crank pulley with the cam shaft pulley (or pulleys) so that the valves are always in time with the position of the pistons.
    • Toothed belt refers to any belt that has teeth on the under side, but the manuals for your car seem to refer to the timing belt as "the toothed belt". A timing belt is always toothed because a "V" belt can slip, and that would be catastrophic for your engine (if it's an interference engine, one where the valves will collide with the pistons if they open at the wrong time).
    • The timing belt and timing chain do the same job, but one is literally a chain. I did not mean to imply that it's a belt.
  • Serpentine belt = accessories belt
    • A belt that is generally on the font of the engine that runs your alternator, sometimes the water pump, power steering pump, etc.

I feel like I'm forgetting one (or two) but they are not coming to me right now.

For the most part, every car has it's own arrangement for these belts. Even the same type of car, the various engine types that are available can all have different belt setups. But this is at least a start on what the different belts are called and what they do.

I hope that helps!

  • Whoops! I missed the comment where you told us the 2.0L petrol engine. Looks like you have at least 2 belts. A toothed belt that's the timing belt, and the serpentine belt to drive the accessories. I didn't find a reference to how many serpentine belts you have as some cars have more than one, but you can be sure you have at least two.
    – cdunn
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 21:35
  • Good to know! I have one looked for them in the engine bay but I could only see the timing belt (which my alternator is connected to I think) but I'm sure you're right in saying that it will change depending on the engine. Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 22:16
  • @MaxGoodridge If you can see it when you pop the hood, it is your accessory belt. The timing belt/chain will almost always be hidden behind a cover to prevent debris from causing damage/wear/failure. To inspect the timing belt/chain, there is usually an upper cover that can be fairly easily removed, whereas removing the lower cover to replace the belt/chain is a bit more involved. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 14:46

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