Does A VW Polo Have A Timing Belt Or Chain? Dig It Out!

Volkswagen Polo from the first to the third generation (1975-2000) had timing belts. However, with the introduction of the fourth generation, Volkswagen began incorporating the use of a timing chain in various models. As time progressed, the company used both timing chains and timing belts in different models.

This is just an overview. Continue reading for further information.

Does A VW Polo Have A Timing Belt Or Chain?

Since its debut in 1975, the Volkswagen Polo has undergone several updates and advancements, resulting in six distinct generations.

Initially, the first three generations of the Polo featured timing belts as the primary mechanism for synchronization of engine valves. However, with the introduction of the fourth generation, certain models of the Polo began incorporating timing chains, providing a more durable and reliable option for engine timing. 

Generation-wise Volkswagen has so many engine types and those have either timing belts or timing chains. Let’s see which Volkswagen Polo has a timing belt and which has a timing chain.

1st Generation (1975-1980: 86)

The first generation Volkswagen Polo debuted in 1975 and was produced till 1980. All the models from this generation were equipped with timing belts.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1100 S1.1LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1100 S L1.1LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1300 S GL1.3LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1300 SGT1.3LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 9000.9LTiming BeltPetrol

2nd Generation (1981- 1993: 86C)

The second generation of the Volkswagen polo also used timing belts in all the models.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1.3 C1.3LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.41.4LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.0 C1.1LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.0 CL1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.0 Fox1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.11.1LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.3 CL1.3LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.3 Fox1.3LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.3 GL1.3LTiming BeltPetrol

3rd Generation (1994-2000: 6N/6KV)

Volkswagen Polo continued using timing belts in the third generation in all of their models.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1.4 TDI1.4LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.9 D1.9LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.9 SDI1.9LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.0i1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.3i1.3LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.4i1.4LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.6i1.6LTiming BeltPetrol

4th Generation (2001-2008: 6Q/9N/9N3)

The 4th Generation of Volkswagen Polo may feature timing belts or timing chains, depending on the specific model and engine type. However, from this generation, Volkswagen polo started using timing chains.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1.4 TDI1.4LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.9 TDI1.9LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.4i1.4LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.21.2LTiming ChainPetrol
VW Polo 1.2 FSI1.4LTiming ChainPetrol
VW Polo 1.2 TSI1.2LTiming ChainPetrol
VW Polo 1.61.6LTiming ChainPetrol

If you ride a BMW X1, know whether it has a timing belt or a chain from here.

5th Generation (2009-2016: 6R/6C/61)

Many models within the fifth generation feature a timing chain system.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1.4 TDI1.4LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.4 FSI1.4LTiming ChainPetrol
VW Polo 1.01.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 2.0 R WRC2.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.2 TSI1.2LTiming ChainPetrol
VW Polo 1.8 GTI1.8LTiming ChainPetrol

6th Generation (2017-Present: AW/BZ)

The 6th generation Volkswagen Polo is the current and most recent iteration of this model.

VW Car ModelEngine Size Timing Drive SystemEngine Type
VW Polo 1.6 TDI1.6LTiming BeltDiesel
VW Polo 1.0 TGI1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.0 TSI1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.0 MPI1.0LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.6 MSI1.6LTiming Belt Petrol
VW Polo 1.5 TSI1.5 LTiming BeltPetrol
VW Polo 1.4  TSI1.4LTiming Belt Petrol
VW Polo 2.0 TSI (GTI)2.0 L Timing ChainPetrol


From its first to third generation (1975-2000), the Volkswagen Polo used timing belts. The company then began using timing chains in selected models starting with the fourth generation. It depends on the engine type whether a VW Polo model has a timing belt or chain.
Does A VW Polo Have A Timing Belt Or Chain Infographic

How Do You Tell If Your VW Polo Has A Belt Or Chain?

There’s a simple way to determine whether your Volkswagen Polo has a timing belt or a timing chain. Look at the timing cover to find it out.

If there is an oil-tight casing covering the engine block, or if the engine block is visible at both ends, then your Polo is equipped with a timing chain.

On the other hand, if the timing cover is a clipped-on plastic piece, then your Polo has a timing belt. 

This is how you can tell whether your Volkswagen Polo has a belt or chain. To make sure, always check your car’s manual or consult with a professional mechanic. This is typically applicable to most car models.

If you’re confused about whether a BMW 325i has a timing belt or a chain, find the answer here.

When to Change The Timing Chain/Belt on VW Polo?

The timing chain of a Volkswagen Polo is designed to last for the vehicle’s life, without the need for frequent replacement. However, as a general guideline, the Volkswagen manufacturer recommends inspecting the timing chain after 10 years of use to ensure optimal performance.

In contrast, the timing belt replacement intervals for Volkswagen Polo models vary, it ranges from 60,000 kilometers (37,282 miles) to 210,000 kilometers (130,505 miles), depending on the specific model.

Additionally, if you have a car that was registered before September 2009, you should check the timing belt after every four years. And if your car registered after the mentioned year then you should inspect the timing belt after five years intervals.

However, if you crossed the estimated mileage before this time frame then you may need to inspect the timing belt earlier. If you’re curious about the other brands’ timing belt-changing intervals, you’ll get them here.

It’s recommended to refer to the owner’s manual or consult a professional mechanic to determine the specific replacement intervals for your particular vehicle.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace The Timing Belt/Chain on VW Polo?

The cost of the belt and labor typically ranges from $409 to $919. However, you should get multiple quotes from several providers to make sure you get the best price.

Alternatively, the labor and parts for a timing chain replacement can cost between $400 and $1000. It’s noteworthy that the timing chain replacement can be a challenging task requiring specialized skills. Although the labor cost is high, it’s justified due to the complexity of the job.


What Is The Disadvantage Of Using A Timing Belt?

The main disadvantage of using a timing belt is that it needs to be replaced more frequently than a timing chain, usually between 60,000 to 100,000 miles. If it breaks, it can cause significant damage to the engine and require costly repairs.

Why Do Timing Belts Fail?

Timing belts fail due to age, wear and tear, and exposure to heat and chemicals. They can also be damaged by improper maintenance or installation. It’s important to follow the recommended replacement schedule to avoid costly engine damage.


Well this was all about your query: does VW Polo have a timing belt or chain? Hopefully, you‘ve got your answer. However, to be sure about this fact you can check your owner’s manual or contact an automobile professional for further information. 

Thanks for your patience!

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Aaron Byrne

Hi, Aaron Byrne here. I'm an expert automotive mechanic with 10 years of experience. I work on engine parts especially timing belts for their repair, maintenance, and replacement.

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.