Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Is there some fluid to run through the engine that could remove some gunk, drop the warning light and allow her to return the car without taking on great expense?


    ...And this is why I will never, ever, buy a car coming off of lease.
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    Nor would I since I fear many people who lease cars do not take proper car of them. But, I do not feel at all guilty about this approach since this car was well maintained.


    This solution was sought only because VW was not stepping up to the plate. They extended a warranty due to a recognized design flaw in the 1.8T engine, but won't allow anyone to exceed the recommended oil change intervals. So in 48,000 miles, everything that this car needed it received except once (yes once) the oil was changed at 6500 miles instead of at 5000 miles. This car was never beat or abused.


    Happily, it all worked out.
  • donein05donein05 Member Posts: 9
    Paul, thanks for your reply.

    My wife's description is that the engine turns over pretty normally (maybe a bit slower) but never catches or fires at all. At 9500 miles we are using 5-40 weight oil as specified...done by dealer. Also using premium fuel.

    The first time, it was towed to dealer, who then apparently was able to start it, but then found fuel in the oil. VW payed for the tow, we had to pay for the oil change. It still seems to me it shouldn't be that easy to "flood" this engine.


    I wish I had been home to witness this, but I had already left home both times. (2nd time she got it going after 4-5 attempts to start.)
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    How did it "all work out"?
  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    "recognized design flaw in the 1.8T engine"


    I would call it:


    recognized maintenance deficiency.


    It looks awfully similar to Toyota sludge problem.


  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You wrote on 1/23/05:

    Nor would I since I fear many people who lease cars do not take proper car of them. But, I do not feel at all guilty about this approach since this car was well maintained.


    You wrote on 01/19/05:

    2. They say she exceeded one oil change interval by 1500 miles, essentially making any problem they find be outside of the warranty (and her expense).


  • bjbird2bjbird2 Member Posts: 647
    I started using Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic oil in my 2002 Passat 1.8T starting at 1000 miles. All of the oil changes have been done with a local mechanic, not VW, with me supplying the oil.

    I thought that with the 1.8T engine sludge problems, VW is now requiring the use of synthetic, and the new larger filters. I also read that VW dropped the price of the synthetic for dealer changes, so I thought I would call VW and find out how their oil change price compared with the cost of buying my own oil, and now, buying the larger filter from VW.

    I was surprised to hear the service person tell me they were not aware of a recent requirement from VW to use full synthetic in the 1.8T, that they use the semi-synthetic oil, and the larger filter, for a $40 change cost. Using synthetic would be $20-$30 more.

    So I have a letter from VW telling me to use synthetic oil, and they are very specific about which oils to use. Then I have the dealer telling me they're not aware of this requirement. Don't these guys communicate?

     I think I'm going back to my mechanic and supplying my own oil. I'll just have to purchase the larger filter from VW.
  • donein05donein05 Member Posts: 9
    Has anyone found 5w40 non-synthetic oil?

    My dealer claims they fill with 5w40 non-synthetic "line oil" for their oil changes on the V6. Can't find it anywhere for my '04 V6...probably should use synthetic anyway, just curious.


  • donein05donein05 Member Posts: 9
    I've also been looking. seems reputable, but I'm not sure I'm quite willing to go for it yet.

    have you gotten a quote from the dealer?
  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    Get pdf from VW with approved oils, print it, and ask dealer to show you the oil. All of them are synthetics, if I am not mistaken.

    I would ask them to share this top secret information with VWoA as they are apparently unaware of it.




    PS Do search on Edmunds. This pdf was pointed many time
  • taft4taft4 Member Posts: 57
    The manual for my 2004 GLX V6 says change the oil every 5,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. I use my VW dealer for oil changes and I use synthetic Mobile 1. I may drive less then 5000 miles per year so even though I do as the warranty requires, is it wise, from a purely mechanical standpoint, for me to go 12 months before changing oil?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Member Posts: 2,363
    Absolutely no problem to go 12 months between oil changes with synthetic, for low mileage users like you [and me]. Frankly, even that interval is pretty conservative, but with the engine's limited crankcase capacity, and VW's recent problems, I can understand the concern. (Mercedes lets you go up to 24 months if you are a low-mileage user, but they start with over 8 quarts in the crankcase [for our 2.6 liter V6].)
  • jeffexjeffex Member Posts: 2
    I was thinking about buying a new 2004 GLX 4 motion Passat, but I dont know if its worth it. would i have a lot of problems with this car? i live in boston, yes, boston weather. i NEED the all wheel drive, but i dont want to drive an suv, and the passat looks pretty cheap, but the problems look like its not worth it. what do you guys think? about $30,000 for a new fully loaded 2004 passat, is it worth it? headaches, price, warrenties.. etc?
  • cj928cj928 Member Posts: 2
    Please do more research before you purchase. I was a 2000 Passat owner, and a very happy one for the first 18 months. It was a great car, runs great, handles very well in snow and rain. But after 18 months, problems started and I spent too much time visiting the dealer (9 times in 6 months)to have the problems fixed (under warranty).


    I know there are many satisfied Passat owners, but with my experience, I suggest you consider a vehicle's reliability cautiously with your $30k. It's a lot of money.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Taft wrote: The manual for my 2004 GLX V6 says change the oil every 5,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.


    Now, I'm working strictly from memory, but what does the sludge letter warranty extension say? I thought it required 5,000 miles or 6 months? Anyone have their sludge letter handy?
  • taft4taft4 Member Posts: 57
    I am not positive but I think the oil sludge problem did not affect the V6
  • tomstoms Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2004 GLX 4 motion wagon and it's a great car. It handles the snow very well. The AWD, ESP and anti-lock brakes give you a secure feeling. The wagon gives you as much room as many SUVs and it handles much better.


    I also have a 1999 GLS 1.8t with FWD. This has been a trouble free car. Better in terms of maintenance and repair costs than the Honda Accord it replaced.


    If you are looking for a safe car that handles bad weather with no problems, I would highly recommend the 2004 Passat.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Ahhhh! You're right, didn't catch the V6. My bad.
  • klh3klh3 Member Posts: 18
    I'm glad to read your message, I have a 2005 Passett Wagon GLX 4 Motion on order. It seems they are hard to get on the west coast.

  • novapullernovapuller Member Posts: 9
    sorry it tool so long to get back. something is definatly wrong. sounds like maybe a intermittant coolant sensor failure, injectors sticking, or a sensor (maf) error on cold start. i would recomend to leave the car at the local dealer for a week or so and allow the tech to drive it home, maybe it will happen to him!

    hope i helped
  • novapullernovapuller Member Posts: 9
    well i dont know the actual code # (5051 is the tester) if it was the bank #2 knock sensor and it is on the front (of the car left of the eng). 6 hours is wrth every penny. next what code for air flow valve (p0411 secondary air or p1128 fuel trim too lean possible air flow meter)?

    hope this helps!
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    This one is a bit odd... I have noticed that the rear seat floor (driver's side) has what appears to be salt crystals forming (lot's of them). They are above the floor mat literally under the driver's seat. They are in a line in front of the heating duct, as if "salty air" is blowing out of one of the nozzles. There are 2 nozzles, and the salt is to the left near the door (away from the center console).


    No one sits back there (the rubber floor mat is clean as a whistle). Please don't suggest it is from someone's salty shoes. I run the heat on "50% windshield & 50% floor" most of the time. I almost always use the "fresh air option" to keep the windows from steaming up.


    The car is quite salty from NH roads, but I can't understand how it is getting onto the rear floor and under the seat??? Any suggestions? I am not sure it is even salt...but it is too cold for mold or fungus growth. The car has only 4500 miles on it.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You wrote: "No one sits back there (the rubber floor mat is clean as a whistle). Please don't suggest it is from someone's salty shoes."


    Ummm, if it's like my Passat (which has exactly the same salt marks, it is coming from someone's salty shoes - the driver's.


    What floor mats are you using? I've got the Monster mats and the water escapes at the floor mat clip holes and rolls under the driver's seat. It evaporates and leaves the salt residue. YMMV - but I can tell you that's exactly what's happening in my car.
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    That's a suggestion. In your car, is there a salt trail all the way from the front monster mat (which I have)? Or, is there a gap under the seat and the salt only appears halfway back and in front of the heating nozzle (which is about midway under the driver's seat)?
  • mjtianmjtian Member Posts: 48
    As I recent and first time owner of a VW Passat, all the discussions here raised a question of whether or not I should purchase extended warranty on my 2004 Passat that I purchased last month.


    I was warned by the Dealer that repair cost of German vehicles are higher than the typical Japanese imports. But I figured that my Passat came with a 4 year/50,000 mi warranty, I should be fine and I thought the dealer was just trying to make more $$$$. What do you all think about the extended warranty? I believe it was 6 years/70,000 miles for $1100. Thanks!
  • seahorseseahorse Member Posts: 4
    Since purchasing a 2002 Passat (2.5 months ago), I am now on a first name basis with my local VW service dept. I have had this car in service 5 times so far for the same problem (check engine light), and they say the computer is telling them codes that do not exist. So, they have called VW tech. and tried changing many parts, though the problem continues (they just had it for 7 days). On my last visit, the service person said that it might need an electrial over-haul, and if so, I should go buy a new car. I have been very nice until this as I almost punched him. I've had it 2 days and must take it back for the same problem again. Does anyone have any advice on what I should say to them, or what to do? It's still under warrenty, but since this continues, I didn't know if there were other options (rather than run it off a cliff or go buy a Honda). Thanks!
  • mjtianmjtian Member Posts: 48
    I am not sure if this will help, but on my old 1998 toyota camry I never read the manuel which stated that when you fill up each tank of gas, you're supposed to turn the knob so it clicks over several times. I didn't do that with the Camry and the check engine light came on after about 5000 miles. It scared the heck out of initially since I bought it NEW. I went to the dealers and they charged me $50 to turn off a freakin light! Since you bought your Passat used, this may be the problem. I doubt you will need a complete electrical over-haul. Since your vehicle is still under warranty, if I were you I would take it to another VW dealer and get a second opinon. I think I have 3 or 4 around where I live. Good luck!
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    Seahorse, Check the Lemon Law in your state. 5 times for the same exact problem would be an issue in my state. There is also a provision for the total number of days the car is out of service. Arm your self with facts (from the AG's office or some state consumer bureau), and have a non-violent conversation with your dealer.
  • robotixrobotix Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2005 Passat GLS 1.8T Sedan purchased exactly a month ago. A week prior to this post, my check engine light came on...much to my disappointment. On contacting the dealer, he said they are experiencing a lot of these especially during the winter months. Is that true ? Also, he suggested me to wait for 7 to 17 cyclic starts until the computer can reset itself...and the light goes off.....does that make sense ?

    He has scheduled me an appointment a week later incase nothing changes !
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    It could be the gas cap. It must be clicked 3 times in order to properly seal fumes. Did the light come on shortly after refueling? If so, click the cap shut 3 times and then see if the light goes out after a few restarts.
  • selmselm Member Posts: 122
    I have a 2004 1.8T Sedan and am really enjoying it. Now I am not complaining about Southern California winters but when the temp is below 55 I have to constantly run the defroster. Most of the time it responds better with the AC turned on. Late at night it can get quite cold in the cabin. Is it user error even though my other cars don't have this issue? Does anyone else have this annoying problem?
  • stalwart5stalwart5 Member Posts: 1
    My 2002 1.8 Passat is emitting a burning smell. I tried to locate the source in the engine compartment without luck. It recently completed a 45,000 mi service. I suspect that the cause is an empty fluid reservoir on the driver's side in the front of the compartment. The dipstick is dry; I don't know the type of reservoir. It has a green cap and the icon makes no sense. Is it for transmission fluid? There is no explanation in the owner's handbook that come with the car (I bought it new).
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    The AC simply removes moisture that contributes to the fogging of the windows. There are times in a NH winter where I need to use it. To moderate the "cold", just turn the temperature control to warm or hot. It will mix heat in and will blow warm, dry air. No Fogging!
  • reidkreidk Member Posts: 46
    ". I suspect that the cause is an empty fluid reservoir on the driver's side in the front of the compartment. The dipstick is dry; I don't know the type of reservoir. It has a green cap and the icon makes no sense. Is it for transmission fluid? "


    Would suspect "Hydraulic Fluid" - aka "G00 2000", after the Part NO (G 002 000) - which is actually imprinted next to the green cap on my Passat.


    Note that the local dealer sold a small (12 oz) bottle of Part No. G 002 012, "Power Steering Fluid," as the current replacement for G 002 000.


    Since one sign of having a low level of G00 2000 is a car that "groans while you are turning the wheel" this seems to make sense...


    Reid / SE MI
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I tried to make sense of reidk's post, luck!!


    I believe that is the power steering fluid resevoir. In my car at least, there should be a drop symbol and a steering wheel symbol on the dip stick handle.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You wrote: "My 2002 1.8 Passat is emitting a burning smell. I tried to locate the source in the engine compartment without luck. It recently completed a 45,000 mi service. I suspect that the cause is an empty fluid reservoir on the driver's side in the front of the compartment. The dipstick is dry; I don't know the type of reservoir. It has a green cap and the icon makes no sense. Is it for transmission fluid? There is no explanation in the owner's handbook that come with the car (I bought it new)."


    Fish8 is correct - that's the power steering reservoir (steering-wheel-with-drop icon). Use VW fluid only and get it filled ASAP. You'll kill the power steering and it's an expensive fix. The reservoirs are all covered in the manual - look for the picture of the entire engine (hah! - If your '02 manual is like my '03, the pic will be of the 5 cylinder engine).


    The burning smell - I'm going to take a guess and say that your valvecover gasket is leaking engine oil at the rear of the block (between the block and the firewall). A common 1.8T complaint - should be covered under warranty. Look back there with a strong flashlight when the engine is off, but hot. You should smell the hot oil more strongly right above that area.
  • spiveygbspiveygb Member Posts: 18
    Just found out the boot covers on my Passat are ruined and I need to replace the cv joints. I've talked to several mechanics and all but one say it would be cheaper to just replace the entire axle rather than just the cv joint. However, one mechanic (who works for a German car repair place) told me that you actually don't replace the axles in this car just the cv joints. Does anybody know anything about this? Is this guy blowing smoke or off his rocker? It concerns me that 5 guys say one thing and 1 guy another. Normally I would blow him off but the fact that he owns and operates a garage that specializes in German cars has me wondering a bit.
  • dfreeddfreed Member Posts: 1
    I am in Boston too... we spent the last three weekends looking at SUV's, our favorite was the BMW X5 and as long time Jetta owners, it still doesn't drive like one, and is incredible expensive. I think next weekend we will look at the Passat Wagon AWD, glad to read some reviews that it handles well in snow, we've had plenty of that this year. Any other advice out there for a family that loves German car feel and has a baby on the way? Thanks!!!
  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    it drives like German car but interior is not like VW, it is not bad but lacks some refinement.


  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    The first set of mechanics you've talked to are correct - it's a lot cheaper to replace the entire axle than the cv joint, especially since a single cv joint (parts and labor) is usually more than half the cost of replacing an entire axle.
  • rob_passatrob_passat Member Posts: 13
    One cause of this could be that you have the recirculate activated or the control is defective.
  • tdi_tantdi_tan Member Posts: 60
    When was the last time the cabin air filter was replaced?
  • keilwerthkeilwerth Member Posts: 1
    Not sure if this will help, but my 2004 was in the shop 3 times within a month with CEL. On cold mornings the car would start extremely rough(misfiring) and the light would come on. The codes would come back indicating failures in the ignition coils. By the third time the mechanic suggested that I use 89 octane fuel instead of the 93 that I was using. I was told that the higher octane fuel was making the car misfire upon starting and causing a false ignition coil failure. I did get in writing the suggestion to use 89 since the owners manual says 91. I have not had any problems since, though it hasn't been below 0 degrees F since then.
  • cgrocho47cgrocho47 Member Posts: 12

    I have an 02 Passat GLX 4motion wagon and can only tell you my experience. On the plus side it's attractive, safe, performs well, handles the snow well and has a beautiful interior.

    However... after 3 years and 36K miles, here's the bad:

    In the dealer 20 of its first 30 days due to the car inexplicably going into limp-home mode. They finally had to replace the engine computer.

    Leather seat split at the seam.

    Homelink module fell apart.

    Headliner rattle had to be fixed.

    Rear window washer hose fell off.

    Rear end started to whine, diagnosed as impending differential failure - replaced under warranty.

    Rear brakes and rotors(!) replaced at 33K for $400. They consider rotors "friction material" and won't cover them, even at the low amount of miles they lasted.


    I really wanted this to be a car I could keep, but there's no way I can risk it. Thank God I leased it.


  • selmselm Member Posts: 122
    Never. The car only has 3000 miles on it.
  • selmselm Member Posts: 122
    I generally keep the recirculate off. What seems to be working better is cold in the beginning of the drive and then move it to a neutral spot.
  • reidkreidk Member Posts: 46
    "I tried to make sense of reidk's post, luck!! "


    Hmmm - apologies for lack of clarity!


    Was trying to make point that what was probably needed was Power Steering Fluid - which does seem to be consensus - BUT, on my particular Passat, that container is marked with a Part No that has been Superseded. A fact that often leads to confusion: "Well, THEY TOLD ME to buy Part No "A" - but The Dealer says I need Part No "B"... so what do I get????

    In this case, container in car is marked G 002 000 - but the current replacement is G 002 012.


    Apparently, some of the (older?) Audi's call this "Hydraulic Fluid" instead of "Power Steering Fluid," and the owners, finding that it often needs replenishment, have ("affectionately") given it a nickname of "Goo 2000," which I thought was a cute way of remembering the part number.....

    (Think "goo" as in the first 3 letters of "goop")
  • seahorseseahorse Member Posts: 4
    Thank you for your response. I looked through the 'Better Business' site, and called VW. I am glad that I have kept all the records, and am documenting all of this now. I called VW, and they contacted the dealer. Since I voiced the concern, outside the dealer and to VW, hopefully it will be resolved faster. At first, they said the same thing about the gas cap, but it kept coming back on. It may go off on it's own, then back on, or the dealer turns it off, and it comes on as I drive off the lot. It's crazy!! Thanks again!
  • road_hawkroad_hawk Member Posts: 2
    Owners manual for my 2002 Passat 1.8T stick shift spells premium fuel so does the sticker inside the fuel door. In the first year after driving a few thousand miles the engine started caughing during cold starts. Dealer (Billco Motors, PA) checked the codes and with no hesitation recommended switching to regular gasoline so I did. My car now has over 30K miles and the problem did not repeat itself even once. Go figure this one out.
    Honestly the engine has so much pep that its difficult to tell the difference in normal city/hwy driving. Lots of bottom torque and not even a trace of knocking.
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