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Volkswagen Passat Brake Questions



  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Ah, so it was a "new-to-you" at around 43K. I'm going to guess that the first owner did the rears once before you did. I've read, but can't prove or disprove, that light braking actually tends to wear out the rear pads more quickly. Some forums have posted that the Passat's brakes are biased towards the rear, to keep the car from nose-driving while stopping. It sounds good, anyway....

    The PBRs are pretty nice pads. Low dusting, better than OEM wear, and at least equal stopping power and at lower price point than the dealer's product. You can find them at, and other places.
  • My wife took her car into the shop this week after complaining of poor gas mileage lately. What the suspect happened is that her back brakes got stuck in the applied posistion. The car was in a couple months ago to get the ABS and traction system checked out (both lights were on constantly) they just said that it needed to be reset. This time they are telling her that the back brakes and rotors need replacement (both were done less than 2 years ago or about 20,000 kms). I am very handy and have worked on several cars and different brands but never a VW and now that her car is off waranty she is letting me start to work on it. First question, will I need any special tools to change the brakes and rotors? Second question would the rotor really have worn out that fast (we haven't moved since she got the car and she has been at the same job with no change in driving habbits)? Can I just take the rotors to get machined or should I just buy new ones? Third question what type of pads and rotors should I look at for her car? I really don't want to go OEM most of the time they are crap. Fourth (and final question for now I swear) is there anything I can do to stop her brakes for sticking? We live in Winterpeg Canada so there is always lots of slush salt and sand that cakes on everything, but I try to do a good cleaning with water atleast once a year.

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    The rear brakes aren't that difficult at all. Google "brake pad and rotor replacement passaturbonium" and you might find step by step instructions.

    The only special tool needed is the piston retractor. The piston must be turned while pressure is applied against it to retract properly.

    Regarding the rotors, maybe. Aftermarket rotors were pretty cheap when I last did my rear brakes. I think $28 or so apiece. I realize you are in Canada, and your taxes are pretty high, but I'ld look into ordering them on the web.

    I used Ate plain-faced rotors and PBR/Axxis Deluxe Plus pads. They wear better than OEM, produce less brake dust and what they do produce is light in color and cleans easily. Their stopping power is equal to or better than OEM.

    I dunno what to say about keeping them from sticking other than to lube the sliders well.
  • rjaytrjayt Posts: 1
    Hi hdabe,

    I read your post with considerable interest. I have a 2000 Passat that has the characteristic flashing "brake fault" symptom. I took it to a local dealer who said I needed a new ABS brake module to the tune of $1100 USD. Reconditioning was not mentioned as an option.

    Questions are:
    Who can provide the necessary reconditioning of the module?
    Is removal of the module dependent of special tools and extensive dissambly?

    Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  • quprofquprof Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 wagon with an automatic transmission and 1.8 engine. There are 35,000 miles on the car. I have a weird vibration and resistance in the brake pedal when slowing down to a stop. It is intermittent and when the service director of the dealership test drove my car it didn't happen and he didn't have a clue. For me, which is often at least once a day, there is a whining sound and then the brake seems to resist my foot pressure but will always stop. There is no brake failure only a sound and a resistance or vibration. Anybody have something like this?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Anytime I hear weird vibration I think warped rotor. That might give you a lead on the problem.
  • quprofquprof Posts: 2
    I asked my service guy about that and he said if it were a warped rotor it would happen all the time and not intermittently. I am going to have them check the ABS though it is not exactly the same kind of feeling on the pedal as when the ABS kicks in and the light does not go on. I also read somewhere online about a coating problem on the brakes of this year's model.
  • nitz23nitz23 Posts: 1
    I have a 06 passat 2.0T and I need to change my rear brakes and rotors, does any one know if I need any special tools besides the caliper tool?

    I read somewhere that I need some kind of a sensor that I enter in the brake pad thickness which is suppose to reset a brake indicator, is this true and if so does any one know what its called and or where I could get one?
  • I am having similar problem that happened today. It seems to be intermittent and comes off and on...when it turns off, my traction control light turns on and does not let off.

    Would love to hear peoples findings and suggestions!
  • Hello Adrian:

    I will greatly appreciate if you can give me the name and address of the company who fixed your ABS module.
  • wyatt3wyatt3 Posts: 2
    i have a 2000 passat wagon. the abs control module went out. i found a complete abs unit. but after reading up on it everything sais not to let air get in the unit. whats the best way to do this?
  • quprof,

    I have the same vibration problem with my 2000 Passat. I don't have any ABS or worn brake pad warning lights, but right before a stop even on dry pavement the ABS kicks on hard. Sometimes it has prevented me from stopping and I nearly rear ended the car in front of me; I had to pump the brakes to get the ABS to stop so I could stop the car.

    Anyone know what is causing this? The manual says that at 4mph the ABS system kicks in as a system check, but I can't imagine this is what is going on.
  • pmarhipmarhi Posts: 1
    Had the same problem with my 2000 Passat. The only way to fix this is to repair/replace your ABS module. I brought my Passat into the dealer and was told I needed a new ABS module. Cost: $890. I found a company not far from me that that will rebuild your ABS module for $139 and guarantee it for as long as you own the car: BAA Reman, Taunton MA They also will sell you a rebuilt module for $199, but you must have the module re-coded, and my local dealer would not do that for me (nice guys, huh?). And you must send them your original module. If you have your own rebuilt and re-installed, no re-coding is necessary. So I had my local mechanic remove the module (you can still drive the car), and drove down to Taunton, MA where they are located. They were kind enough to do the rebuild on the spot (only takes about 45 mins.). Had lunch nearby and came back in 45 mins and took it home with me, had it re-installed by my local mechanic and problem solved! No more beeping, no more flashing lights. Total cost to me: $214 ($139 + $75 to remove and re-install). Highly recommend BAA Man. They couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. Even have removal instructions on their website.
  • srn3srn3 Posts: 20

    I just went for an oil change and the dealer told me my rear brakes (both pads and rotors!!) need to be changed. I found this very unusual given that the car has only 29,000 miles. The dealer was like rear brakes tend to wear out much faster than front brakes on VWs. The dealer quoted a price of $415 Couple questions -

    1. Do rear brakes really wear out at 29,000 miles?
    2. Do I really need to change both pads and rotors? I would think that changing pads only would be fine.
    3. Isn't $415 a lot? Does this sound right?
    4. Is it usual for rear brakes to wear out before front brakes? I always thought front brakes tend to bear most of the braking load and would thus wear out much faster.

    I am hoping someone can help me with my questions.

    Thanks a lot and any insights are much appreciated!

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I don't have the current gen of Passat, but my '03 wagon definitely goes through rear brakes more quickly than the front. Original factory pad wore out in less than 23K miles. I've never had a car that did this before - neither driving habits nor location have changed. Anyway, I used PBR Deluxe pads and new rotors from Ate. Those lasted longer - 32K - but the rotors started to get rust rot on the swept area and wouldn't pass state inspection. The pads, though, had a lot of meat on them yet. Fronts were done around 57K.

    I don't ride the brakes andI downshift when descending hills. No other car that I've owned in the past or in the present has this wear pattern.

    $400+ sounds right for a dealership. You can do better elsewhere, but make sure you use quality products. Can't comment on doing the job yourself because of the electric parking brake - I think you need a VAG-Com to do the job.

    DIY on the old gen Passat was easy-peasy.
  • Where could I get the information to get my ABS module rebuilt?
    99 Passat 2.8 V6
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Have you tried googling it? Try: vw abs module rebuild
  • how do I change brake switch for 99 VW Passat
  • Ok, bear with me here. Quite some time ago I was driving down the road and brake failure lights came on on my dash. I pulled over and tested the brakes on the side of the road. Noticed no degradation of performance of the brakes so I drove the car home. The warning lights intermittently would come on and off seemingly randomly. I realized it had been quite a while since I replaced the pads so, not having the time to do it myself, I took it to Mineke. They kept the car a day and said I needed rotors and pads. I Ok'd this and they replaced them. The brake warning lights did not go off. I mentioned this to Mineke and they said I may need to take the car to Volkswagen to get them to turn the light off. I have not done this yet because it appears to be just a nuisance. Now, however, the brakes are scrubbing. I have pulled the brakes apart and found that nothing obvious is wrong. Pads are still good, rotors are smooth and unworn. Caliper piston is not sticking and it's getting brake fluid from the brake lines. The car stops just fine but there is a constant scrubbing or grinding as if the pads are not releasing all the way after I apply them. I haven't driven the car much since the brake problems began but need to get it running now.
  • rgutrgut Posts: 1
    My owner's manual for 2004 V6 (2.6L I think) Passat shows a fully visible plastic brake fluid reservoir which can be checked by observation. My actural brake fluid reservoir is concealed behind a dark plastic shield so you cannot see the min max level indicators and the shield cannot easily be removed. Unscrewing the fill cap and you see a plastic screen so you cannot see the actual fluid level. How do you know if you need to add brake fluid. There is a yellow 1/2" dia slotted cap next to the filler cap that i turned 90 degrees with a screw driver hoping I could remove the entire reservoir cap but no luck.
    I bring this up because our brake STOP warning light came on recently and
    I am told adding brake fluid may correct this condition but I dont want to over fill.
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