Timing chain or timing belt ?  Do you know what runs the engine in your vehicle and if so, do you know what the maintenance interval is on it ?

Automobile manufacturers are steadily migrating to timing chain motors and while there is no “maintenance” for the timing chain per se, there are things to consider if you have this type of motor in your vehicle.  Whether you drive a Volkswagen Jetta or VW Passat, Audi A4 or a Honda / Toyota, there are many factors that determine the life of your vehicle’s engine.  The most important of these is OIL.  It seems that we tend to harp on oil a lot, but it really IS the lifeline of your vehicle.

If you look in your Owner’s Manual at the manufacturer’s suggested oil service interval on your VW or Audi, you will see that a 10,000 mile interval is what they recommend.  Many other manufacturers are following suit with extended oil change intervals.  We Strongly Disagree and recommend 5,000 mile intervals in VW and Audi.  Though the composition of some synthetic motor oils may be able to last 10k miles, extended oil intervals can lead to the vehicle burning oil (low oil = CEL), timing chain tensioner failure, timing chain stretch, camshaft wear, oil build up in the motor, etc.  Add to that oil from many quick lube establishments that do NOT meet VW or Audi spec and the lifespan of oil is shorter and problems greater.

Know your vehicle and what oil spec goes in it (5w40 is NOT a spec)….that is a huge start to keeping your motor in proper running order and extending the life of it.


As simple of a question as it may seem, do you REALLY know how to check your oil?  Motor oil is the lifeline of any vehicle so knowing if you are low on oil is a very important thing.  Likewise, if there is too much oil in your vehicle….being overfilled can be just as bad as being low on oil.

Oil consumption seems to be a frequent topic of conversation in the shop when it comes to Audi and Volkswagen.  Many of the cars on the road today mention that they have to add oil between oil services & scheduled maintenance.  Here are a few pointers to keep in mind in order to ensure that your vehicle is giving a proper reading.

  • Make sure that your vehicle is on a flat surface and the engine is OFF (key on, just not the engine).  The oil level sensor is located in the oil pan so if the vehicle is not level, it could give an improper reading
  • Remember that some of these vehicles do not have a dipstick.  Manufacturers rather have a “dummy” plug where the usual dipstick goes so there is not a quick check for oil level.  Audi owners rely on their MMI (Multi Media Interface) to read oil level.   * see picture
  • It is ideal to check the oil when the engine is cold.  When the engine is hot, the reading will be lower due to some of the oil circulating throughout the engine block. 

When you check your oil, pay attention to the smell and/or color of the oil.  If the engine oil smells like fuel, there may be other issues to tend to and if the oil color is very dark, it may be that the oil change interval is too long (or there are other problems lurking).  We recommend having a synthetic oil service performed every 5,000 miles for VW and Audi. 

If you are unsure of how to read your vehicle’s dipstick (if applicable), we will be happy to show you the proper way.  Don’t be so quick to add more oil if you are unsure of how much is in your vehicle.  Taking the necessary precautions will ensure that you maintain your vehicle the correct way. 




It’s nomination time at Lexington Life Magazine, and we @ Das Autohaus would LOVE for you to nominate us for 2018 “Best Auto Repair – Foreign.”  Please visit www.lexingtonlife.com.  You must nominate at least 10 categories for your ballot to count, now through July 16th.

Thank you !!