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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • kvan59kvan59 Posts: 4
    Thanks brozhnik... I found the post. I heard from the dealer a little while ago... they fixed the door handle problem. Apparently, there's a cable that connects the handle to the latch system in the door and it wasn't tightened properly at the factory.

    As far as the sound I've been hearing goes... the service guy did confirm that it is indeed the ABS/ESP system and that it is perfectly normal. So thanks to both you and markcinncinati for the information. I feel better.
  • taft4taft4 Posts: 57
    When I bought our Passat GLX V6 Sedan in April I did so with some concern. The car fit our needs well, was better than the six other cars we tried, even though it cost more then any of the others. My concern came from the poor reliability reports I had read on this board and others, and from some national publications.

    Shortly after taking delivery I found the AM radio reception was lousy and not fixable. That was not a big deal because we use the radio very little, yet it was not only annoying but also worrisome.

    Then the transmission started to noticeably thump as we slowed to a stop, a very annoying feeling, to say the least. Fortunately a participant on this board pointed out that the problem was fixable and that I should insist on its correction. I decided to wait until I put some miles on the car before getting it fixed to see what else went wrong so that I could take care of all the problems at one time. Much to my surprise, and relief, nothing else went wrong, and so at 2500 miles and 3 1/2 months of usage I took it in for the transmission work. The dealer knew of this problem, knew how to fix it, and said it would take 1 1/2 hours including their long test drive. They did a good job, treated me well, and the problem is gone.

    This car is a dream to drive, and its power is more then adequate for my usage.

    However, because of the poor reliability record of VW they have created a psychological problem for their owners. I am afraid that we end up always listening for that little sound that may indicate some problem, while in other vehicles with a good reputation, we would ignore it. After all, these are all just machines that from time to time do make odd noises. Hopefully I can now put the reliability concerns out of my mind.
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    I have an 01.5 Passat GLS. I noticed brake pulsing when stopping last year. I was informed by the dealer that the front and rear brake rotors had warped and needed to be replaced at around 18k miles. I thought that was really fast for rotors to warp ... Now the car has around 33k miles on it and I have the pulsing occuring again . The dealer has informed me that the rear rotors are warped again and that the rotors and pads need to be replaced ... AGAIN. I think it is rediculous to have the rotors fail this quickly (but just happens to be long enough to get out of the 12mo/12k warranty).

    I use the car as my transportation to and from my office each day. The total distance from home to office is around 10 miles. I also use it for driving to family activities on the weekends (to the local park, swimming pool, etc.) and runs to the grocery, shopping etc. From time to time I will have a long trip of a couple hundred miles or so and those are typically all rural hwy with infrequent braking. I'm 37 yrs old and have three young children (read "conservative). I do NOT drive recklessly or too fast and I don't use the car to "Rally" on the weekends. All my driving is typical day to day usage. I have had multiple vehicles in the past (2 Subaru, 2 Mazda, 2 Ford, 1 Chevy, 1 Dodge, and this is my 2nd VW). None of the other vehicles I have ever owned had any kind of brake problems except having to replace brake pads and shoes and turning the occasional rotor. None of these conditions ever occured before 36k miles on any of my previous vehicles. All but one of the previous cars I owned were used cars and were higher mileage cars to begin with. The Passat was "fresh off the truck" with only 12 miles on the ODO when I picked it up. I don't understand why the rotors on the Passat are so "weak".

    I will be talking to the service guy at the dealership to see what types of options I have. My Passat is on a 4 year lease and I have about 10 months left on the lease. I opted to get the "Mastercare Platinum" service agreement at the time of signing my lease so I would have coverage to the end of the lease term. That little piece of paper has paid for absolutely NOTHING when I have brought my car in for service (the B2B was 2 years when I leased my Passat).

    Anybody have any suggestions about what I can do?
  • My rotor(s) are warped too. Definitely the rear. Been that way since about 23K mi. Most noticeable during mod/hard braking at hiway speeds. Will repl rotor(s) if/when rear brake pads wear out (not yet 67K mi.). Don't think rotors care how you use them if they are determined to warp. M-B says rotors are not a warrantable item - they are wear items like tires/brake pads/etc. We see it a lot on M-B, so don't worry. Big buck cars can have brake problems too. So far, haven't needed a service contract on my '02 Passat. Just a torn axle shaft boot. Not enough to warrant a service policy. You should remember, a service contract is an insurance policy - meant to give you peace-of-mind. You don't really want to use it. It's a health policy for you car.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647

    Do you mind if I ask how much it cost to repair the torn axle shaft boot?
  • rea1rea1 Posts: 1
    I have a new 2004 Passat GLX with 2600 miles. I have the same problem with the transmission. Just before the car comes to a stop there is a very noticeable thump. The dealer confirmed that it is a software problem with the transmission downshift. Here is the strange part: They say a factory engineer has to install the fix. Only he has the software program and he has to take it with him when he leaves. I had to take the car in on one certain day when the engineer would be there. What if someone else has the problem the next day? Do they have to wait until the engineer comes around again? I think VW is trying to keep the problem out of the public eye and protect their software fix from being duplicated. I will find out this week if it solves the problem.
  • taft4taft4 Posts: 57

    When my dealer fixed my transmission problem he did not tell me they had to have a VW factory engineer do the work. They said that their mechanic would fix it in a short time, and it took about 1 1/2 hours. I saw the mechanic drive my car out of the shop about 1 hour after I got there and he was gone 20 - 30 minutes while he tested it, which was okay with me. My dealer has three locations in Chicagoland with a total new car stock of around 650 cars so he may have more trained mechanics then other VW dealerships.

    Incidentally, I noticed another improvement after this fix. My car at times seemed to hesitate as I accelerated out from a stop before, but all that hesitation is now gone and the start up is very smooth. That may or may not have something to do with the transmission fix, I am too technically inept to know.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Heads up, gang! I received a notice in the mail yesterday from VWoA that states the following:

    1) Outlines an extension of the warranty to cover oil sludging to unlimited miles / 8 years for the 1.8T engine only.

    2) Specifies that engine oil should meet VW Spec 502.00. A list of oils that meet 502.00 was included - it only lists synthetic oil in either 5w-40, 0w-40 and 5w-30 multigrades. To repeat, there are no dino oils on the list. Specifically mentioned were: Synpower 5w-30 and 5w-40, Mobil 1 0w-40 only, Castrol Syntec 5w-40 and a handful of others from Pennzoil, Kendall, Havoline and Quaker State. Notably in their absence was Amsoil, Royal Purple, and Redline.

    3) Specifies a 5,000 mile / six month change interval. In certain cases (short trips, stop & go driving, and extended below-freezing temps) could require more frequent changes.

    I've cross posted this on the VW Passat thread as well. Moderators, delete this from one or the other if you desire.
  • revvannrevvann Posts: 2
    I'm currently in the market for a new car and it is between a Honda Accord EX-V6 and the Passat GLX. I currently have a '98 Accord V-6 with 90,000 miles on it and it has been flawless. I perfer the Passat over the '04 Accord for the features, and style and I want to try something different but I'm concerned about durablity and reliabilty. I notice that when most owners complain about what I consider serious mechanical failures the response is don't worry about it let the dealer fix it. That's great under warranty but does anyone know how much it cost to fix an A/C system or run computer diagnostics to repair electronic failures. I am used to taking my car into the dealer only for scheduled maintenence. As a matter of fact my Accord still has the factory spark plugs, drive belts and timing belts. Can I expect this kind of reliablity in a Passat.

    I hope so because the new Accords are extremely ugly and I really want the Passat. I think I will take my chance Friday if I get a good deal.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Not sure what to say here. Will the Passat be as reliable as the Accord. NO! But the Passat provides a different driving experience. Drive both and see which is best. The Passat will cost more for repairs once the warranty expires. But, the B2B warranty on the passat is longer than the Accord. Good luck!
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    I got the notice too.
    Are you sure about 5000 miles/6 months. I remember seeing 7500 miles and nothing about 5000 in new addenum.

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Yes, I'm sure - 5,000 miles or 6 months, with a note that under certain driving conditions, the interval could be shorter.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    MSN has a car site where you can compare cars and reliability ratings. It's intreresting that the Passat looks better that the Accord, Camry and Maxima.

    Just click on reliability ratings and punch in the car you are interested in. To some it will be a surprise.
  • nflecknfleck Posts: 2
    I have had the same problem with my transmission. I have had my passat for 4 months and about two months in the transmission started to "bump" when stopping. It was "fixed" by the dealer, and just a couple of days ago it started up again. This is the only problem I have had with the GLX. I really like the car and would recommend it to everyone.
  • For the past 3 or 4 months, I have had condensation behind my left front light. It looks more like fog than droplets, but it has persisted for a long time. Has anyone had this problem and if so, what's the solution? I live about 40 miles from the closest dealer, so if this is an easy fix, I'll do it myself. Thanks.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'd say that the headlight housing has lost it's integrity and allowed moisture to enter. Although it's also possible, if you've recently changed a bulb in that light, that the bulb was contaminated by oil from your hand and that the heat of the lit bulb has caused the oil to coat the interior of the lens.

    I'd guess in either case the answer is to replace the unit. You might be able to buy one from someone on the other online forums. People occasionally upgade their standard lights to HIDs and then sell the old units.
  • brozhnikbrozhnik Posts: 172
    Still love my '03 GL, but one problem: at 17K miles I notice that the driver's shoulder-harness belt is getting sort of frayed at the edges. I began to notice this before 10K miles, and thought it was normal - but recently noticed that my sister's '03 Accord, at 16K miles, doesn't have this problem. (Note that I get in and out of the car far less frequently than my sister - she has a 10 mile commute, mine is 60 one-way.)

    So what's normal seatbelt wear? What should VW do for me? Thanks.
  • They should give you $5.00, a swift kick in the butt, and then fix your belt---only because you dont complain alot.
  • vwfanvwfan Posts: 1
    Hi Bill159, Congrats on your 2004 Passat GLS wagon. I just got a wagon ourselves. Just want to check with you if you till hv the vibration problem? Also, hv you ever had any vibration and noise when the the sun roof is fully open going at abt 28mph? I read abt the helicopter noise and I suspect that is what I have but I am not sure since I still figuring out the features and functions of the car, switching over driving a stick-shift to the auto/triptonic. Appreciate if you could share with me your experience.
    :) Thanks!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Brozhnik, our cars are at about the same mileage and age. I looked at my seatbelt this morning - no fraying on mine whatsoever.
  • I guess I should have indicated that this is a (reasonably) new car. It is a 2003 Passat (5-speed wagon) with 13,000 miles on it. This is the only problem I have had with the car (which I love). Sounds like a trip to the dealer is the solution. Thanks for your insight, especially if I ever change the bulb in the future.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    are 5 speeds. Since 1998 they all are (except manual W8).

  • dryverdryver Posts: 1
    I had that shattering sunroof experience at highway speed driving my new Subaru Outback a few years ago. It was like a bomb going off next to my ears, with no warning. Glass was everywhere; dog in the back was petrified; I was shaking; and it was very fortunate that there were no vehicles ahead of or behind me when I hit the brakes. It's the only thing to go wrong with that Outback, but I've never really felt safe in it since. Your note (and many of the others here) are helping me decide against the Passat as its replacement. thanks
  • amdamd Posts: 3
    Hi there,

    I know this is off-topic, but I was just curious to find out your experience with GLX. I recently purchased a 2001.5 (NEW BODY SHAPE) GLX V6. Any feedback from you, would be great help.
  • amdamd Posts: 3
    I recently purchased a 2001.5 GLX V6, and Im scared after reading your problems. Do u think its accross the board or only your particular car is having such problems. Because I choose Passat over a Jetta, based on less electrical issues. Any feedback will highly be appreciated.

  • makakiomakakio Posts: 25
    Something here sounds strange. You state you drive slowly and conservatively and that you don't speed or drive "recklessly" (which I would take to mean that you don't brake hard). You also don't mention having any repeated panic stops. Or living in an area of the country where it's regularly below freezing (big temp differentials between ambient weather and brake temps in places like Minnesota or upstate New York can actually contribute to warping).

    Yet your brakes have warped twice, at an average 16k miles each time. Without having been turned.

    Hmmm. You also don't mention if you pull anything with your Passat (but I'll assume you don't).

    I've research Passats - a lot - and haven't found that this is a common problem at all. Sure, people expecting 60k miles out of the brakes are dreaming (it's German and it uses soft pads to get those excellent braking figures). But this is an extreme example.

    My only conclusion is that someone who drives the car must be constantly riding the brakes. Do any of the drivers drive with two feet?
  • I own a 1996 Passat the car..5 speed...

    the problem I have had is that when I go to start the car i have to rotate and push up on the key to get the starter to engage...recently, (yesterday) while doing this my key broke at the biggie right? so I put the key in turned, pushed up and I have to push start the car...

    so..i know i need a new key...I did notice that is is very worn..could this be the cause or do I need a new ignition swith and key?

  • sandeebsandeeb Posts: 2
    My 99 Passat 1.8T had the same timing belt problem. It failed at 84,000 miles causing $5,000 damage (new engine). I'm also writing to VW, and I have found about 10 other people with the same problem of the timing belt breaking between 70K and 90K. To those of you that love your Passat, get the timing belt changed at 60K. My maintenance schedule had replacement due at 105,000 miles.
  • sandeebsandeeb Posts: 2
    I traded my Accord for a Passat, but after experiencing several instances of being stranded on the roadside by my Passat, I'm going back to an Accord. The Passat looks great and driving it was sheer joy. But I didn't look or feel great as I stood on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. My Accord never failed me in 170,000 miles. The final straw was when the Passat's timing belt failed early (prior to scheduled maintenance) while I was 150 miles away from home. The damage cost about $5,000 for a new engine. Driver beware... If you buy a Passat because of the driving experience like I did, just make sure to get a roadside assistance plan with unlimited towing. And get the timing belt replaced at 60K.
  • Hi, I find my Passat 1.8T (with K04 chip and a catback exhaust) consuming much fuel. Getting about 7 or less km per litre (sorry, metric here). Wonder what's the source of the problem. Are there O2 sensors in this make? It is a Oct2000 model. Nice solid car to drive with good turbo kick, but with petrol prices almost the price of a good loaf of bread per litre, it's harder to justify ownership. I rather go sponsor a Third World kid.
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