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Hi,

My Q3 is due for its annual MOT and service. It will be 5 years old. Audi are telling me that the cambelt and water pump need replacing at the horrendous price of £649. My car is has only done 18k miles - can this really be necessary. Any thoughts/suggestions out there?
Thanks

Kay
 

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Typically cam belts are changed on time or distance. Something in the back of mind rings a bell that says cam belts do deteriorate over time and although 18k miles is no distance in 5 years the belt has had a long life. I have also heard that when the 'belt is being changed it is a reasonably easy job to change the pump. A pump is relatively inexpensive, its the labour that hikes the cost of the job, so doing it together may look expensive but may be the less expensive in the longer run.
Alternatively you can ignore the cambelt changing and drive until it breaks, then you will learn what "horrendous price" means.
I am sure this is not what you want to hear, but as one who has had a broken cambelt, not on an Audi I hasten to add, it is not a pleasant experience. If I were you with a 5 year old car I'd find an Audi master tech and get him to price the job.

Good Luck either way.

Mike
 

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I posed the same question a few months ago on my 25k miler.
The handbook says something like 133,000 miles but tinternet now says 5 years.
I had mine done for less by a good indie but still hurt on such a new car.
In 40 years of driving and goodness knows how many cars, I have never had to have a cam belt changed so modern technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

They have to take the front off the car, hence doing the water pump at the same time. I have gone from dunce to semi expert very quickly.
 

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It seems to be a VAG 'speciality' as they use a belt rather than a chain. I had it done on my Bora at the recommended six years by a local indie that I then trusted. A colleague at the time didn't have it done on his Golf; it broke and wrote off the top of the engine. My Q3 will need it in another eighteen months and I'll be visiting the local VAG indie.
 

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Not doubting your experience DavidS, but why do they need to take the front of the car off on a transverse engine layout??
 

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I think you need the radiator off to get at it.
 

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I'm not sure if my local Audi dealer knows about the 5 year change, because when I was in a few months ago (my car has only 40,000Km but is 6 years old) they said it did not need changing until 210,000km, which is way more than most cars which generally requires a change every 100,000km
They suggested that they may visually check it at a service but that was all.
Of course I am not convinced and will probably change it within the next year.
 

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I got a call from a dealer just before the 5 years were up and double checked online.
Would be an interesting but probably futile argument if you just went by the service schedule that came with the car.
 

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Not doubting your experience DavidS, but why do they need to take the front of the car off on a transverse engine layout??
Popped a look under the bonnet when I gave the poor filthy car a wash yesterday.....best of luck doing anything to the engine without stripping bits off the surrounding area. ?? It’s crammed in there! ?
 

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Had mine changed last week by an independent which is an Audi specialist. Cost including genuine Audi parts was £500.
 

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Mine was a few quid cheaper as it was mates rates but with genuine parts.
 

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Audi have had problems with service intervals in the past, cars well within service interval were suffering snapped belts and knackered water pumps, though it's more down to issues with the water pumps causing coolant woes, the cambelt needs to come out for the pump to be done so it's changed at the same time. I never do the mileage to require a belt change but always get it done anyway, if not, you're missing the service schedule and taking an unnecessary risk. BMW don't have a service schedule on their water pump, it's a life-time part, but anyone that's owned a used BMW knows that at some point; they're going to be sat on the side of the road waiting for recovery because their water pumps exploded.

You can however get the job done out of franchise for half the price of what you quoted above. I would never take a 5 year old car to Audi and pay their prices, that's throwing good money away.
 

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That might explain my X3 dumping it’s watery guts without warning....which led to me buying the Q3.
 

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Had mine done by my local Audi dealer last month as the car was still in warranty (just) - yes, £649 but they include in that free MOT's for as long as I own the car. Not a big give away but it is a nice gesture.

If you want to leave it until it breaks it will be ouch - I had a quote from VW for a replacement engine on a 1.9 TDi Golf about 7 years ago - it was north of £5k so I dread to think what a 16 valve 2 litre will cost now especially with the 'Audi' premium added on.
 

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Hi Kay
I had the same problem with Audi. My car had the same issue at 32k miles. The Service Schedule supplied with the car stated 133,000 miles for replacement with no timescale noted. (The Service Schedule also had the illegal emissions noted, affecting millions of AUDI/VW customers and fixed at Audi’s expense). I resented this ‘recommendation’ by Perth AUDI as I had raided my pension fund on retirement to buy a new, reliable car as I needed it to travel from Scotland to London to visit family. I contacted Citizen’s Advice and Trading Standards after AUDI Germany, Audi UK and the dealer, Perth Audi, refused to replace what I obviously considered to be a defective cam belt. I had the Audi spec cam belt replaced at a local garage (at a cost much less than Audi). I then took them to court to recover this cost and the Managing Director of Perth Audi settled the cam belt replacement cost at the court, before going to a full evidence hearing, but not before I had to travel to Perth Sheriff Court. At the court before settling, this disgraceful individual, in my opinion, spoke to the blonde lady sheriff and mentioned, by name, other members of the legal profession in Perth, presumably other sheriffs, judges and senior legal figures, who were “satisfied customers” of Perth Audi! This was, I assume, an attempt to influence the local court officials.

Incidentally, when I made my complaint to Audi UK at Milton Keynes, the Customer Service Manager, Executive Office, emailed me rejecting my complaint but made the following extraordinary statement and I quote: “The mileage replacement recommended by Audi AG is not always relevant to conditions experienced by Audi customers in the UK”!
I wonder if all the Audi owners in the UK realise their cars are presumably ‘not fit for purpose’!

If the Service Schedule provided to you at the point of sale does not mention a timescale, only a mileage, I would have a go to have them replace the cam belt at their expense. I am quite sure that Audi UK Customer Services and AUDI Germany Corporate Responsibility will remember my correspondence.
Good luck.
DJM
Q3 TDI Quattro 177PS S-Tronic
 

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Cam belt change

interesting thread. The 1.8 and 2.0 TSFI engines have cam chains so all diesels and 1.4TSFI are belt driven. Another benefit of avoiding diesel oil burners.

Anyway my TT has a belt. It’s changed every five years at audi and my mileage is low £20k every 5 years. My TT is ten years old. You need to change the water pump and tensioners as well as the water pump impeller is the weakest link.
Why use audi. 1) the work is guaranteed 2) known faults if you have the big jobs done by them come with significant discount ( window regs go on vag cars and my TTs was replaced at a cost of £75 parts and labour when the job should cost £330 and 3) the best bit - free MOTs for life so if you keep your car as I do - you get £250 back anyway off the bill anyway.

To finish I know two people who have had belts go. One on an Audi A3 - car written off as new engine needed and one last week - a friends went and it was written off too as replacement engine outweighed value of the car. I’ll let you decide whether you take the risk. Someone on the TT forum had a TT with 100000+ miles on clock before they changed it! I haven’t got that bottle!

Regards
Steve
 

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Its very difficult to judge the condition of a timing belt when it is still on the car. My Q3 and A4 belts looked fine after 5 years but my previous A3 timing belt was showing signs of cracking after 5 years.Those cracks couldnt be seen whilst the belt was on the car.
So to be sure, its just wise to get it changed every 5 years. As mentioned by several posts, most of the cost of changing the timing belt is the labour so get the water pump changed as its a relatively cheap part which will require the same access as the timing belt so saving bother later. Once the car is roughly 5 years old or more, any goodwill from the dealer has more or less gone so I usually get my belt changed by my local independent Audi specialist who is a lot cheaper and does a better job than the Audi dealer. My local dealer has failed to impress me as the last job I had done at my dealer, I had to take the car back twice as they didnt do the job so I fail to see why I have to pay more.
 
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