Why does my maintenance booklet not contain the actual intervals for item replacement?

Sep 3, 2022
66 plate Ibiza FR. Absolutely nowhere in the maintenance booklet does it contain any information of when certain items need replacing, timing belt, plugs etc. Is this some sort of ploy to dissuade people from getting their car serviced at an independent? I've tried googling but only come back with PDFs of the same maintenance book. Is everything done on an inspection basis or is there some secret interval list owners aren't privy to?


Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
South Scotland
For a car of that age with the 1.2TSI 16V engine, spark plugs are every 4 years or ??K miles, maybe 40K miles, air filter the same, timing belt is "for life" but should be inspected every so often, I check the belt on my wife's 2015 VW Polo 1.2TSI 16V 110PS every year, I will probably get it replaced at the 7.5 years points, just because I feel that doing that might be being smart, fuel filter is only replaced if it is thought to be causing an issue. Brake fluid should get replaced after 3 years and then every 2 years. Pollen filter is up to you, I tend to replace the VW Group one with a higher performing version of the Mann filter called Frecious Plus.


Active Member
Apr 16, 2019
Good advice from RUM above. From the year and that you're talking about a cam belt, I assume your engine is part of the EA211 engine family? I have the 3 cylinder variant CHZB version of this engine and was "troubled", just as you are, with the lack of definitive info about these points. The drive belt for the water pump on the other end of the cylinder head doesn't have any recommended change interval either! And, I'm a sceptic and natural born worrier when it comes to stuff like this.

RUM and I - and other contributors - have had some conversations about this and I've talked to a number of mechanic friends (I'm a retired spanner wielder) and have reached some conclusions which have made me much happier. The problem for me is that I'm a chap who started out in the days of the likes of Austin Cambridges, Minis (the old ones) Hillman Avengers, Ford Cortinas (Mk1 etc). Then, one day, a Fiat 128 suddenly appeared needing a new cam belt - A what? A cam belt son, here's the bits, just get on with it! and so soon the others followed suit, the Ford Pinto engine in the Sierra, "O" series Leyland in the Princess, Marina, etc and many others - Oh if only modern belts were as easy to do as those old soldiers - Most typically needing changed at around 4 to 5 years old or around 60,000 miles. Ignore that and either the belt would fail or, more likely, the bearings in any idlers, tensioners or water pump in that drivetrain would collapse and the timing would jump and, Good bye engine.

So, bearing in mind that these thoughts are in the back of my mind, I wasn't very impressed by statements such as "but these days the belts are much more reliable and long lived" or, "we don't often do one of those". Well I agree that the belts have been improved greatly and are pretty bullet proof these days but, thinking back on the one's I've done it's very often the pregreased sealed for life bearings in the idler, tensioner or, more often, water pump - if part of the timing belt drive train - which have failed and then caused a problem with the belt and these components, which should always be replaced if part of this drive train when doing a belt, don't seem to have improved all that much. So, with all this in mind, and that I firmly believe prevention is much better than cure - I like RUM's concept of being "smart" - I elected to change the cam belt at 6 years old (actually about 6.5 years in the event) I still think of this car as my "new car" so chickened out of doing it myself and got AVW to do it for me but I think I might try myself next time if I still have the car - and am still driving - at that time. The old belt would undoubtedly have gone on for a while yet but there were slight signs of fraying of the smooth belt backing in one area. Interestingly perhaps? our local main dealer and two of the indies I've asked have recommended a five year change interval on the cam belt so maybe now they've been around for a while they are discovering it needs it?

The water pump toothed belt - looks like a little mini cam belt - worried me too but in the end I was talked out of having it changed because they told me they only touch them if doing a pump or rectifying a leak etc, not as a service item. I've never been really happy I agreed to this and have been doing a lot of looking into it. So, nearly a year on now from the cam belt change, this is my present take on it: To change this belt the water pump will have to be removed from the cylinder head. Looks pretty daunting when you open the bonnet and see the spaghetti of water pipes. In fact it's not that difficult for anyone who has done "serious" work on cars and I will definitely tackle this myself when it's needed. Ah, I hear you all saying, but when is that? The answer is I don't know but there is a little black plastic cover over the camshaft drive wheel which I think can be easily removed - haven't tried yet and it may involve unbolting a breather, which may mean replacing it's "O" ring seal, but it looks very doable. Having removed the cover you will be able to inspect the belt and see if there are any leaks from the water pump bearing. If all Ok then I'll just refit the cover and carry on. If not I'll strip the pump and thermostat as an assembly (it contains 2 thermostats) and replace the entire assembly. I've made this decision because the thermostat housings are plastic - so may be subject to warping, especially if slackened - and there are multiple seals between these housings and the pump itself and the head. Then there's always the thought that old thermostats may malfunction and I don't want to be having to strip it all again, and maybe buy new seals, just to replace a thermostat later on. I'm hoping that removing that belt top cover proves easy to do, If so I'm going to inspect the belt/pump every year just before we go on our annual road trip to the "deep south" every spring and then again just as winter starts to set in and before the cold weather comes which makes working on my drive difficult for these old bones. I think 2 inspections a year should find any problems before they become catastrophic. For what it's worth I think the water pump bearing is probably the weakest link here and more likely to fail than the belt itself. So you can listen for "bearing noises" and inspect for coolant leaks - which seem to accumulate on the top of the transmission so should be easy enough to see on your weekly checks? Unlike most other water pump installations I can think of, the belt is very lightly tensioned so side loading on the bearing is going to be pretty minimal which bodes well for longevity of the bearing.

Spark plugs? I got the car serviced by the main dealer while it was under warranty (and I'm glad I did as she had the early turbo on her and suffered the seized wastegate problem needing a new turbo to be fitted - the uprated one has been fine) Then when I started servicing her myself at her 4th year I did all the usual stuff like oil and oil filter, air and cabin filter, I like to keep cabin filters in all our cars "fresh" partly to combat smells but more importantly to ensure a good flow of air to the cabin blower resistor thus, hopefully, stopping it burning out prematurely - isn't the cabin filter a beaut to do? but heard of horror stories of the coils disintegrating when you tried to pull them so I left the plugs alone. I did a lot of asking around and reading about it and discovered that what happens is that sometimes, especially if you don't pull straight up on the coil, the rubber boot detaches and stays in the plug hole which is then very difficult to get out without damaging it. I didn't get much further with doing the plugs but decided to get AVW to change them for me when they did the cam belt (mentioned above) So they were roughly 6.5 years old with just under 25,000 miles when changed and running perfectly well. I'm sure they would have gone on for a lot longer. I now know there is a special tool to help with coil extraction. here's an example: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/11562217...3l0J+PwvjL9hJoGDkEHA1ukVQQ==|tkp:BFBMht3T0p9h It helps you pull up vertically on the coil and I'll be buying one next time they need done. If the rubber does come off and stay in the hole I'm lucky enough to have an air compressor so can use compressed air to simple blow it out. The prospect of doing the plugs no longer worries me. and I'll just do them every 6 years at the same time as the cambelt from now on - or until I sell the car or stop driving.

This post is getting too big to be entered so I'll stop here and do another continuation in a minute


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Active Member
Apr 16, 2019
OK, that worked, here's the continuation:

So now we come to the fuel filter. There are reports of them going for the lifetime of the car! RUM himself has still the original on one of his cars I think? I've seen one cut open and there's nothing terribly technical in there. On the inlet side is a spring operated diaphragm which controls fuel pressure, allowing excess fuel to recirculate to the tank and a very conventional yellow convoluted paper element on the output side. For me the problem with treating this component as a "fit for life" - what does that mean anyway? - is that there are too many variables to worry me. You might pick up a load of somewhat dirty fuel, luckily doesn't happen much but not unknown. The pressure regulator seal could wear and allow the supply pressure to vary. At higher mileages the paper element could start to disintegrate and system contamination could result - don't want to think about that one. I could probably frighten myself by thinking up some more horrid things to happen if I really try. So I'm not going to ignore mine. At coming on for 7 years old and with approaching 25,000 miles under the wheels I'm still at the lower end of the risk scale I think. However the filter is not especially expensive and should be easy enough to change so I'll be doing one at the next service this spring. RUM contributed some interesting thoughts on the quick release pipe connections recently. I've heard they are easily damaged, being made from plastic, so I've bought a simple tool:

View attachment 34742

which I found on Ebay (around £8.00) and I've tried it on one of the connections. It depresses the tabs easily and allowed the pipe to be removed satisfactorily. When doing the filter the two pipes on the tank side have their detent tabs facing downwards so could be done quite easily with something like a pair of long nose pliers, but be careful not to break anything as I believe you can't buy just the connectors, you have to buy the whole pipe (RUM may know more on this) However the front pipe - which takes the fuel forward to the engine - has it's detent tab on the top. between the floor and filter pipe, so making it necessary to loosen the filter from it's fixing (admittedly you're going to be doing this anyway to change the filter) to get a purchase on the tab with your pliers. The tool I bought has little protrusions on both jaws which allow it to depress the tab whether it's on the top or bottom of the connector. Just makes the whole job easier. By the way there are 2 delivery pressures - that I know of - controlled by this filter. One is 4 bar and the other 6.6 bar - mine's the 6.6 bar one. If you're doing one make sure to buy the right filter. (it's written on the old one so you can easily check)

So there you are. Another of my lengthy posts. hope some of it may be of use/interest to someone.

Edit : you'll see attachment 34742 in the previous post - it's the pliers for doing the quick release clips on the fuel pipes.