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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    VW recommends premium, but your manual will probably state that regular is allowed, since the engine management system will simply dial back the timing to eliminate pre-detonation.

    Let's look at the numbers though:

    Assumption: 12,000 miles a year, overall average 22.5 mpg, and 20 cents price per gallon difference between premium and regular.

    Right now, prices in my area are $2.299 for 87 and $2.499 for 93. So, over the course of a year, I would need 533.3 gallons of fuel. For regular, that's $1,226.06. For premium, that would be $1,332.72 for a difference of $106.66 over the course of a year. That's $8.89 a month, or $2.05 a week, or $0.29 a day. Interestingly, this price difference was the same when premium cost $1.499! The price spread between regular and premium has stayed at $0.20 during the price raises.

    Personally, I'd rather give up one decent coffee a week and run the recommended fuel in my car, especially since I drive the 1.8T.

    Now, Car and Driver magazine did a test on this very issue. On cars that don't recommend premium, they concluded you would be wasting money buying it. However, on cars that do recommend premium, their testing revealed a loss in performance and economy roughly equal to the price difference, roughly 10% loss, when using regular. But that article is a couple of years old when gas was much cheaper.

    I'd say if their findings were true, the price of fuel has risen high enough that running regular in a Passat could actually cost you more than running premium! Again, let's look at the numbers. If C&D is correct, and you lose 10% fuel economy running regular, my car would get 20.25 mpg. I would now need to use 592.6 gallons of fuel, at a cost of $1,362.39.

    I'm sticking with premium from top tier suppliers to minimize my chances of fuel problems. In the truest sense of the phrase, YMMV!
  • tichtich Posts: 1
    I also have a problem with a dropped window. If you've got the answer on how to get the door panel off I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know as well - Thanks
  • jc9799jc9799 Posts: 70
    Thanks for the answer. I guess my ? should have been more specific. Can using regular instead of premium contribute to the so-called oil sludge problem?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I have not heard of any connection between oil sludge and regular fuel usage.

    The sludge (I'd prefer that it be called a "coking problem") problem appears to be directly related to the following:
    1) Hot turbocharger.
    2) Small total oil capacity for a turbocharged engine.
    3) Poorly phrased owner's manual that should have come right out and said, in plain English, that the 1.8T engine requires high quality synthetic oil in the correct grade.
    4) Poor maintenance by owners - too long of oil change intervals using poorly chosen oil.
    5) Poorly written owner's manual that doesn't specify what constitutes "severe" usage.
    6) Lack of 2 minute turbo cool-down by most drivers, when stopping after hard driving.

    Experienced VW techs have written in some other forums that what actually happens is the oil cooks in the turbo and cokes into hard particles that make their way back to the oil pan and then clog the oil pump intake screen, under some circumstances. The clogged screen starves the engine of lubricant. Undetected, this will eventually destroy the engine.

    Your best defense is to use synthetic oil meeting VW's 502.00 spec, change the oil at no more than 5,000 miles or 6 months, use the larger "068" oil filter, and let the engine idle for two minutes after a hard run before shutting down.
  • mard940mard940 Posts: 4
    I am shipping a car from NJ to Colorado next week. What types of adjustments , if any, would I need to make for the 2002 passat. should I just drive it and let the computers do their job i re setting itself, do I need to take it to a shop for a "tuneup", I even had one mechanic reccomended that I remove the battery cables and reattach them :confuse: which would enable the system to reset itself at altitude.

    what do you reccomend ?

  • nomorevw2nomorevw2 Posts: 4
    June '05
    alternatator (ball bearings replaced) - $365 :(
    timing belt - $300
    plastic container that holds wiper fluid - $280

    July '05
    brakes and rear disk - $639 :cry:
    a/c - 1056.62 :sick:
    front passenger side window 'droped' - ???haven't fixed it yet??? (anyone know) :lemon:

    August '05
    trade in - PRICELESS!!!
  • jc9799jc9799 Posts: 70
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Out of morbid curiosity, what year was your car?

    Also, for your $639 brake job, was that just the rear brake pads and rotors, or brakes all the way around plus rear rotors? I ask since I just replaced my rear brake pads and rotors for under just $80.

    So, what did you buy to replace it?
  • chaz318chaz318 Posts: 16
    a family member currently owns a 2002 passat gls 1.8t with 45 or so thousand miles. until about 43000 miles this car was a champ but at that point some elctrical quiblles began coming about. It started with the window switch that would only work with auto for the drivers side, meanwhile the clock began displaying the times of many different countries and timezones but somehow was unable to get the time for the area it was located in, a great trick if only htere was a seperate display that stated what countries time it was showing. then came the gauge cluster which would decide to take breaks while driving and would jsut sit there like a lifeless animal, all the while the doorlocks had become possessed, on soem occassions they performed as they should but others they would lock an unlock as they pleased giving a nice little jig rivaling that of river dancing. So the car was brought to VW, needless to say after a new gauge cluster and some computer reworking the car was back, yet only about a week later the car began to act up again. The clock again was pulling off its little trick, but not had somehow gotten the trip odometer to follow suit and reset itself as it pleased, meanwhile the new gauge cluster again decided knowing how much gas was left in the tank or hte engine temperature was irrelevant to the driver. The windows began to not respond to the inputs the driver gave to the switches, acting like a stubborn spoiled kid (if you pushed up it stays down, down it stays up) meanwhile the locks were back to practicing there jig and had gained a lead singer, the car alarm, namely by the fact that the keyfob has begun to stop working in locking the car, but somehow the car knows you pushed lock because when you go back to the car to open it after pushign the lock button the alarm sounds off. The rear locks though have gotten a bit lethargic and have begun to stya in the locked position making it impossible to open the rear doors.Now i ask has nanyone else suffered similar or maybe even the same situation (im sorry if this has already been posted before but i read ten pages and didnt see anything of this and its jsut to long to check the whole thread) and what was it that was wrong (frying circuit board, computer just needs to be reworked???) and has this problem reoccured after the supposed proper treatment for thos ethis have occured to? sorry but until now this car has been a blast , and hope that it can continue to be.
  • quackattakquackattak Posts: 13
    These cars are for people that can do the work themselves, or have enough money to not worry about taking it to a dealer. All the people that complain about this being such a terrible car should just go buy a camry or accord. This car is unique compared to what else is on the road, it takes special oil, good gas and a few more tweaks than the other sedans on the road. If you like running cheap gas, cheap oil and looking like everyone else just go buy another car. My 2002 1.8t is very safe, very comfortable, fun to drive and I enjoy working on it. If you do not like your passat, get something else.
  • rob_passatrob_passat Posts: 13
    Egad (as my Dad used to say) :confuse: . You have so many problems it is hard to believe that they do not have a common cause. My guess is that the electronics have a loose (ground?) wire. Probably very difficult to find.
  • jason19jason19 Posts: 1
    hi does anyone know how what to do when the computer is giving the code P1128 the repair book says that the long term fuel trim is to lean (bank 1) does anyone know what this means thanks
  • nomorevw2nomorevw2 Posts: 4
    Well, enjoy your wonderful 2002 while you can. In less than 5 years it is going to fall apart around you :sick: . Then you will enjoy it more because you can put all your time into it and all the money that you have. :cry:

    Mine was fine for the first 3 1/2 years too.
  • nomorevw2nomorevw2 Posts: 4
    Typo $619

    Here's the breakdown:

    Original Equipment front brake pads $119.99.
    Original Equipment rear brake pads $89.99.
    Original Equipment rear brake rotors $159.98.
    Labor $170.

    Shop fees and taxes bring the price to $619

    2000 GLX V6.
    I haven't replaced it yet.
  • I bought my passat in March 2002. I bought the car overseas in germany and had to get all of the fuel coils replaced before October 2002.

    I brought my car over to the states and since have had nothing but trouble.

    The check engine light keeps coming on. I go to auto zone and I borrow their computer reader and the fault is that the Evap System purge flow valve is bad and that the system is running to lean. I have replaced the fuel filter Apr 2004 and the gas cap May 2005.

    I also have the same problem with the presure paint peeling off inside of the car.

    I also had to replace enitire bracking system $500.

    If you have any information about the error codes and what i need to do to fix the problem please help!!!
  • quackattakquackattak Posts: 13
    Every car needs work, more so with age. Where ever you have taken your passat to get repairs done have really enjoyed your business. Those prices are insane, they actually told you that you needed alternator bearings! New complete alternator for the passat about 120.00, Timing belt runs about 35.00, Brakes and rotors about 120.00 per axle, a/c compressor about 250.00. All these are normal prices and normal wear items. If you have to go to the dealer you should find something very common to drive that a good local mechanic could work on, or a good local foreign car mechanic to keep your vw going. 95% of the time you go into a dealer your gonna get hosed. As most people that come on here to complain about vw, you didn't register to this site until you were already fed up with vw. Alot of people on here support vw products and would have been more than happy to help you with any questions.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:
    Here's the breakdown:

    Original Equipment front brake pads $119.99.
    Original Equipment rear brake pads $89.99.
    Original Equipment rear brake rotors $159.98.
    Labor $170.

    Here's my breakdown:
    Upgraded PBR rear pads: $26.75
    ATE (OEM) rear brake rotors: $25.77 x 2 = $51.54
    Labor: D.I.Y.
    Total: $78.29

    Haven't done the front yet, but:
    Upgraded PBR pads: $46.81
    Brembo front rotors: $41.20 x 2 = $82.40.
    Labor: D.I.Y.
    Total Expected Cost: $129.21

    Wow, 200% mark up on parts....
  • zorro16zorro16 Posts: 31
    Gentlemen, I need your help,

    I'm a 1996 passat owner. One of my headlight bulbs was blown off.I need your advise weather is it a do at home thing to replace the bulbs or do i have to take it to the dealer??

    can't afford to take to the dealer. for a 10 min work he is going to charge for an 1/2 hr work. already spended more than 5000$ :mad: in last 3 yrs at the dealer.

    need your advise people.

  • nomorevw2nomorevw2 Posts: 4
    Every car needs work, more so with age.

    Understood; I actually have a '96 Saturn that I brought brand new and it's only had an alternator relaced and regular maintence.

    Where ever you have taken your passat to get repairs done have really enjoyed your business. Those prices are insane

    Now I'm not handy by any stretch of the imagination. But I know enough to shop around. I don't even think about the dealer! for the a/c compressor (rebuilt) and dryer with labor two different places gave me quotes of $900 - $1000 (these were the best I could find). The two dealers I called wanted $2000!

    Could high prices be a result of the area you live in almost like realestate? I live in Miami and I'm just about convinced shops here are thiefs and in league with each other.

    As most people that come on here to complain about vw, you didn't register to this site until you were already fed up with vw

    True. I didn't even know about these fourms until I started looking for a replacement car. I actually searched different fourmns to see what car had the least complaints. Seems to be the civic, but I don't know if I can handle the step down. The VW is a sweet ride.

    Alot of people on here support vw products and would have been more than happy to help you with any questions.

    I got a quote for the dropped down window - $275

    Also, The mechanic says my engine mounts are going bad. I asked him how much to fix it and he just stared at me with a look that said don't ask. How much should this run me?
  • quackattakquackattak Posts: 13
    Big city does mean big prices, I live in rural idaho so everything is a little cheaper. A independent mechanic would be what I would search for, someone that would just do the work and you buy the parts. That way your only paying labor and no parts mark up. Ebay is a great source for good priced parts, just look around alot. I do think the passat requires more care than other cars, thats why I think its not that good of a match for some people. The VW is a sweet ride, kinda of a no pain no gain thing. The window regulator sounds high and if you pay that price I hope you get a warranty, VW has trouble with that. Motor mounts should not cost more 2-300.00 dollars for everything, I would put that at the bottom of the list, not a real critical thing yet. Also just curious what year and model of the car, maybe I can help point you in the right direction for some parts.
  • vwsucksvwsucks Posts: 1
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my brand new Passat has been in the shop longer than my driveway. I had it for less than 3 days and it has been in the service bay for 6 days with no end in sight.

    The transmission went immediately and the tech's cannot figure it out. They are fix #3 and may have it ready in another 5 days.

    VW Corporate refuses to switch me into another comparable car or buy me out.

    The dealer suggested that I get a lawyer and to document everything as it is most likely a LEMON. Neither the dealer nor corporate care about me.

    Beware - VW's #1 priority is FIXING THE CAR. This means they want to fix the car and keep my money - no wiggle room at all.

    The "Customer Advocates" told me that the customer is not a priority and telling me otherwise would be a lie.

    Vincent Volkswagen in East Rochester, NY SUCKS as does VW the company.

    If I'm stuck with this Lemon it will be the last VW I ever buy.

    Tell a friend and be forewarned.
  • c141c141 Posts: 2
    I bought this car because I didn't want to be like everyone else. I hated the idea of driving around in an Accord or Camry.
    I also had no desire (or have the extra $) for a BMW, Mercedes... (those are pretty common too).
    But to say the car is meant for people who know how to fix it themselves essentially limits the audience down to about 2000 people (okay I know it's not the exact number, but you gotta admit it won't be a lot of people).

    More so, is that the motto for VW - "Be different, buy a VW -but make sure you know how to fix it yourself because this baby's going to cost you"

    It's doesn't make much sense. Make the car work and stand behind your product. Otherwise the only way you're different is that you look like a fool.
  • quackattakquackattak Posts: 13
    That's all the same reasons I bought mine, its to bad vw has such a bad dealer reputation. I think its rewarding to learn and know about how your car works, and it will definitely benefit you if you do that with your vw. The thing with vw is when you reach a problem that stumps you, the options on where you can go to get help is limited. I think the dealers know this and thats why they really charge what they want and treat you as they want. If this was different more people would be driving vw's and we would be back to looking like everyone else. I'm not a auto mechanic, but I do work as a heavy equipment mechanic. The company I work for has three diesel jetta's from 2000-2005, I've been able to handle the problems so far, but the couple of time I called the dealer for input I found out how much trouble a person is in if they have no car knowledge What I was trying to say that if people don't have the money to go to the dealer, its best to buy a book and learn about your car. I learn most of my info from reading and searching alot on the internet. I'm not a genius by any means but a code scanner and the internet goes along way.
  • emoniqueemonique Posts: 3
    I wasn't sure which thread to post a reply so I am starting a new message. I have a 2003 Passat 1.8T (my 2nd VW after my 2000 Passat). I love the car but am frustrated with the rotor/brake problems. I replaced the rear rotors at 28k miles, the rear brake pads in the mid 30k, and have just put my second set of rear rotors on at 40k miles :mad: When I first started having problems last year, this site (along with an honest service rep) led me to what the problem was. Unfortunately VW doesn't seem to acknowledge the problem as there are no service bulletins or recalls. I am having serious heartburn over thinking that I will have to have brake work done every 10k-12k miles in order to keep it within warranty. And now my husband thinks that I am making this up, just so I can get a new car.

    Can anyone point me to where there might be some more backup for this problem, or expand a little more on it in here. I have had both of the replacements done at Stohlman VW in Tysons Corner, VA (where I purchased). I had both Springfield and Brown's tell me there was nothing wrong.... Thanks!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Well, if I were you, the first thing I'd do is find out what the lemon laws are in your state. Usually, the car has to be disabled for so many days with the same problem. Looks like you're well on the way.

    The second thing I'd do is consult with one of the lemon-law attorneys. In my state, it appears that they get their money out of the auot companies, not the customer. It looks like you have a :lemon: .
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Could you clarify a little bit? You say you replaced the rear rotors at 28K and then replaced the pads in the mid 30's, then replaced the rotors again at 40K. Are you saying you ran old brake pads on new rotors from 28K to say, 35K? I don't believe that's recommended.

    And exactly what is the problem? Are the brake pads wearing out? Are the rotors warping? Both?
  • emoniqueemonique Posts: 3
    What I have been told is that the rotors are warping. I get a pulsating, non-smooth braking, when the problem starts. It is intermittent at first and then becomes more consistent. When I first had the problem in the 20K mile range, I had 1 dealer tell me there was nothing wrong, then the next dealer say that he could see the problem starting but they weren't to the point the could be replaced under warranty. Which led me to dealer #3 who replaced them at the 28K mark. At that time, they said the rotors were warped but the pads weren't bad????? I then started having problems again, which is when I took it back in and they said the rear pads needed to be replaced. Problem again just last month, which is where I am at now.

    I vaguely remember reading somewhere that there was some type of flaw that has the rear brakes engaging before the front brakes? I have found numerous posts on the consumer complaint board on NHTSA of people having a lot of problems but nothing from VW itself.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:
    I vaguely remember reading somewhere that there was some type of flaw that has the rear brakes engaging before the front brakes?

    This has been debated back and forth. Does the Passat have a rear brake bias under some (light to moderate) braking conditions? Whether it does or not has never been fully clarified to my satisfaction.

    The rear disc does has a tendency to warp. I've read that it's due to the brake bias, or that the rear disc is smallish for the size of the Passat, or that it's due to over-torquing/unequal torquing of the wheel bolts.

    All I can tell you is, I replaced my rear rotors and pads at 25,000 miles. The pads were worn more on the left rear than the right rear. I can't say that I noticed any warpage while driving. I did an extra thorough job cleaning the brake carriers to remove as much rust as possible and I lubed everything well. I wouldn't have put new rotors on a car without changing the pads, as happened to your car at 28K. I think that's just asking for trouble. If they machined your rotors at 28,000 miles, that would lend itself to having the rotors warp - rotors on many cars are not thick enough to re-surface.
  • Any recommendations for cleaning the leatherette upholstery in an '04 gls? How about the dashboard? I've heard to stay away from Armor-All, and maybe go with a microfiber dust rag. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
  • So what happened? We have had many, many problems with our VW 2001.5 Passat Wagon. It is now, for the 2nd time, had the STOP engine oil pressure warning come on. They fixed it after much fighting for free but it's doing it again. Anyone else had this experience???? What was your outcome?
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