The timing belt tensioner on my early-2005 Golf 1.6l FSI (50k miles on the clock) "sticks" when the engine is started from cold, apparently the tensioner tightens the timing belt when you start the engine, and then pops back in, however mine's not popping back in quickly enough. As a result, it makes a nasty clicking sound as the engine turns for the first few revs.

It's done it for a few years, on and off, depending on how recently the car's been started and the season, but has never got worse, per se. Lubricating it does alleviate the problem for a week or two but it soon comes back.

The repair cost is astronomical (since it involves removing the engine entirely, apparently). Is it worth it? The chap who serviced it last said it's not an issue unless it happens while the engine is running and has been for a while. Is this valid?

  • Which motor does the car have?
    – Parker
    Apr 25, 2012 at 16:31
  • Whoops, duly updated.
    – BenLanc
    Apr 25, 2012 at 18:41
  • What year is the car? Apr 27, 2012 at 2:59

2 Answers 2


If the wrong tension is on the belt one of two things could happen

  1. Too loose: Skip a tooth or two on the belt - this leads to early/late firing and possibly pistons slapping on to valves if the clearances are already tight.
  2. Too tight: extra tension put on the belt - this can lead to bearings being incorrectly loaded and at worst a failure in the belt - new valves, skimmed head and possibly big end damage.

I'd say it is, for the sake of around £200 it can prevent a catastrophic failure (and yes I have experienced it).


Is it worth it?

The only real answer is: Is this worth it to you?

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