Timing Belt Tensioner Noise on 2000 Volkswagen Beetle

i took my car in because it was making the hard rattling noise while idling. the dealership told me it could be the timing belt tensioner was loose. he said that they could see the top of the timing belt and it looked good and asked "had it been replaced before?" i requested records from a shopt to find out. he said that i could continue driving the car and not do any damage. but 3 weeks later while i was waiting for the records, my timing belt broke and did a catastrophic $6000 worth of damage to the engine. when i took my car in for the noise, i was at 103,404 miles. when it broke, i was at 104,880. the dealership isn't taking any responsibility for saying i could still drive it without any risk. my car was only worth roughly $5500. any advice?

by in Walnut Creek, CA on March 02, 2009
2 answers
ANSWER by on March 03, 2009
If a vehicle is potentially going to lose a tensioner, or break a belt, it should not be driven. However, without documented proof that they told you it was OK to drive, I'm not sure you have much to work with. VW recommends replacement at 105,000 miles, and you have a case that it should make it that far. Try contacting Volkswagen, and the service manager and if your lucky them may pick up part of the repair cost.
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ANSWER by on March 04, 2009
As a footnote the original tensioner design on some models was found to be defective. There may have been a recall involving your car to a newer , better tensioner. Check with Volkswagen of America , "customer care" as to eligibility , 1-800-822-8987 ........
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