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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Depends n the year of the Passat. The last time I looked into a Haynes manual, it only went up through 2001 model year or what many people call the B5 model. It didn't cover the B5.5 model. For most repairs, that's probably not a problem. Could be for electrical stuff, W-8 issues, etc.
  • Just wanted to update all that replied. Well, the source of the smell has been found. The car started to shake and then stall on me the other day. The mechanic found the #2 spark plug was missing the top metal arm of the plug and the plug itself was not installed properly. When it was replaced, along with the #2 coil pack, the smell vanished. Phew, I was getting ready to junk the car.
  • Hi all, just signed up, so please forgive me if my protocal is sub-standard. I promise to try to learn the rules. My history with the car, if you will ablidge me, goes like this: My car is a 2000 Passat. The engine is a 2.8 litre V-6. The trans is a 5-speed manual. The body is a GLS sedan without 4-Motion. I must say that for the money, I love this car. I am no stranger to MB, BMW, Lexus, and still I am very impressed with this vehicle. I bought the car used 1 year ago with 85k on the odo. It now has 111k and I have seen no evidence of aging. I have had to replace the ABS module, which I did with a reman unit from It worked great, by the way. New tie rod ends and timing belt, tensioner, water pump etc...Finally, my question: Does anyone have a car like mine with high miles? Should I flush the vehicle in favor of a newer one based on common probelms, or do you think the car will be good for a long time to come? For instance, when I was a service Manager for Lexus, I knew which cars to ditch before X miles. Most cars of the same model, by my experience, share almost the exact problems, and I just don't want to be blindsided by a (whatever) at X miles costing $$$!!! Your input is greatly appreciated, and thank you all.
  • My '01 Passat 1.8T (104,000 miles) recently had the check engine (MIL) light come on. Brought the car to a dealer in NJ and ended up having the Mass Airflow Sensor replaced ($380) as well as replacing the coolant temp sensor ($220). While the car was in, I was also told that one outer axle boot was torn, so had that replaced also (for another $275). Anyone have any insight as to whether these charges seem reasonable, or if I was taken for a ride? Thanks.
  • feilofeilo Posts: 128
    These are fairly typical dealership prices - you were taken for a ride for sure but you are in good company ...
  • Please advise how to adjust the clutch pedal; it is pretty high to release/engage it in gear.

    thanks for advise.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I don't believe that it is adjustable as it is most likely a hydraulic linkage.

    Best Regards,
  • So, just top it up with hydralic oil???

    Or, if there is any linkage that I can adjust???

    I got this 2000 V6 GLX 5-speed 1-month ago...
    Car has 224K Km on odometer; but the engine + transmission was a recycled one; clutch, startor + battery are all new (I believe it has been stolen & insurance company replaced the above parts..I have the receipt on hand)
    It only has 7000km after that.. Paid Canadian $5K for it.

    Is there any way to check the year for this second engine???
    (called dealer with VIN #, no record for timing belt changed record)

    Car is running strong & only 1 code pop-up :P431 (the oxygen sensor after
    catalyic converter) I will replace this later on. not a big deal.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    There is nothing you can do to change the clutch pedal position, it is what it is. Also, there should be no need to top off the fluid in the clutch reseviour as it should easily last for two years (and then it should be replaced just like the brake fluid).

    As finding out the history of your engine and tranny, I have no idea how you would go about doing that.

    Best Regards,
  • well as replacing the coolant temp sensor ($220).

    Sorry to hear that...

    The dealer took you for a ride. I just had the coolant temp sensor replaced on my wife's 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T at a private mechanic (specializing in VWs) for $96 (OEM parts and labor). I only take the car to the dealership for oil changes and recalls.
  • Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy a dependable (yet, comfortable and as-not-boring-as-possible) car in the $6-8k range that I can use for primarily city driving for the next 6-12 months. I've come across a 1999 Passat with 67k miles, V6, automatic, leather, sunroof, alloy wheels, etc. The asking price is $7k and I feel like I may have some leverage in the price b/c the timing belt has not yet been replaced. So, I have two questions:

    1. I really like the Passat versus the Accord. Price-wise, a comparable Accord tends to have 100k+ miles, but usually has had the timing belt replaced. Which is the better decision?.
    2. What is the likelihood that I'll need to replace the timing belt if I own the car from 67k miles at a maximum of 73k miles over the next year?

    Thanks for your help!
  • Four years ago I purchased a 1999 Passat V6 with about 35,000 miles on it for my daughter. We had the car checked out and did a couple of required maintenance items. Since then we have had nothing but trouble. Despite doing all the preventive maintenance, the car has cost us about $4,500 in breakdown maintenance the first three years. The car has broken down in highway situations three times. This year we spend $2,600 fixing the car before my daughter went back for her last year of school. Last week in freeway traffic, a sealed bearing in the engine failed, causing the engine to stop immediately and doing about $5,500 or more in damage to the engine and attached components. The VW mechanic said there was nothing we as owners could have done to prevent the failure. The dealership offered me $500 as-is for the car plus an extra bonus for "customer loyalty" if we traded the car in on a new model. My sense of humor does not extend that far. My recommendation is run don't walk to the exit, a used Passat is unreliable, dangerous and a money pit.
  • Thanks for your reply. Is there an easy way to try to locate private mechanics that specialize in VW's that you (or anyone else) might know of? It's certainly a great way to go, just seems tricky to find one....
  • Since I live on the East Coast, I have access to several VW mechanics. The one I usually go to is New German Performance (NGP) in Aberdeen, MD. That's where I took my wife's Passat to get the coolant temp sensor replaced.

    What area of the country do you live in?
  • 2. What is the likelihood that I'll need to replace the timing belt if I own the car from 67k miles at a maximum of 73k miles over the next year?

    If I were you, I would get it replaced immediately. The factory timing belts on pre 2001.5 Passats (1998 through early 2005) were designed to last 60,000 miles.

    The newer timing belts today are designed to go at least 100,000 miles. So my advice to you is to get the timing belt replaced now - to be on the safe side.

    Normally, on the 2001.5 Passats, the water pump (with a plastic impeller) has to be changed every time you change your timing belt, but since you have a 1999, your water pump is the older (and more durable) all-aluminum design which will last at least 180,000 miles.

    Bottom line - inform the seller you will either pay the $7,000 (provided they have the timing belt changed) or you will offer $6,000 and get the timing belt changed yourself.

    If you don't feel comfortable with either option, then I would look elsewhere for a car purchase.

    HTH, & Good Luck...
  • We have a 2003 Passat Wagon and just learned we need a new radiator. Does anyone know what the lifespan of a radiator should be? We love our Passat but there is always something needing repair. Ugh.
  • I would say 5 years is on the short end, but I replaced the Civic's radiator at 8 years and the Accord radiator at 7 years. Did you follow the recommended fluid flush intervals? That adds considerably to their lifespan by reducing corrosion.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    If they followed the owner's manual and VW's web site, then they wouldn't have changed the coolant at all. Both will say it's "lifetime" coolant, just like they say the timing belt is due at 105,000 miles.
  • If they followed the owner's manual and VW's web site, then they wouldn't have changed the coolant at all. Both will say it's "lifetime" coolant, just like they say the timing belt is due at 105,000 miles.

    Wow, my last Audi had to use the equivalent of holy water in its cooling system and it had to he changed every 2 yrs or so. Even the domestics require changin coolant after 5 years and thats considered long life.

    I know in the 80s BMW got into trouble for having ridiculous maintenance costs. To combat that they started to include maintenance for the first few years. Then I think they realized how expensive it was, and they started to eliminate maintenance items like transmission and differential fluid changes, and much less frequent oil changes, etc. I don't think I would buy a post-E46 BMW because of this. I didn't realize VW did it too.
  • I didn't realize VW did it too.

    1998 through 2005 Passat powertrains are basically Audi components - and as such they tend to charge accordingly for maintenance...
  • The engine on my volkswagen 98 passat is shaking a lot during start up and is barely drivable. The free check I did on it said it was a P0304 which is the 4th cylinder misfiring. I blieve it might be just a coil pack problem but I was wondering if anyone had any advice or extra knowledge on what to do or what it cold be, what I should expect to pay or how to handle it. Please let me know.
  • After driving our 2006 GLX Passat for 5 years, here's the tally for the repairs on the vehicle...

    Home-Link buttons replaced 2X
    Rubber molding on the door handles rubbing off
    Windshield drain clogged up and had to be cleaned
    Brake Pads replaced

    I'll be honest, I was surprised that it has been this reliable - but that's a good thing.

    The country of origin was Germany, Emden plant.

    As for their other models, my wife and I will still steer clear of them....
  • Hi there, I can see your comment is old, did you ever get a resolution to this issue? I bought a 2007 model Passat in Aug 2006. I have always had a problem with the transmission in exactly the way you describe. I think it is actually dangerous, in that if you donot actually STOP, it really gets confused at low speed. Most dangerous example is to cross a lane of traffic, I put my foot down, NOTHING, the car just sits there for several seconds, deciding which gear to be in. I really think one day there will be an accident. I took it back to the dealer many times and eventually they simply told me it was a 'feature' of the gearbox, are they crazy! I contacted VW who said that they had not heard of the problem and relied on local dealers. So as the dealer isn't going to report the problem, I am stuck. I like VWs, I like the Passat, I hate the gearbox. Any comments most welcome.
  • centcent Posts: 3
    My 2006 passat low controls arms are gone, one volkswagen dealership tells me. The dealership where I purchased it from says that there is nothing wrong with my car, the squeaking sound like an old spring mattress is all in my head.
  • Our 2002 Passat had that problem - 24,400 miles but out of warranty. Supposedly the transmission module is bad. We are to pick up the car within a few days. The 1st sign of the problem was like I ran over a 4" x 4" board on the Interstate. On the return trip home that night the same thing happened. On both occasions there was nothing on the road. Then we had the no power problem. e mail me in a few days. The module is $2500. And VW is aware of our problem - (their) Ref # 702 559 16.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    What year do we have today?


    Brake pads are wear item and I would not count them as repair.

  • my 1999 passat glx has the same problem even though it has 144 K miles on it. For the longest time I thought my transmission was giving in. But you are saying its a transmission module problem. It still costs 2500 dollars which is a hefty price. Tell me if it actually fixes the problem!
  • We have 2000 Passat and we can only get cool to warm air to come out. No interior smell. Car heats up fine according to thermostat.
  • bought it at 122000 miles, knew there was something wrong with it because I only paid 4k at a dealer.

    Expected the initial repairs-
    replaced passenger side tie rods because the car kept bumping on something.
    leaks fluid all the time, usually oil.
    then did the whole timing belt, serpentine belt, thermostat, water pump, valve cover gasket and the rest in that area, cost $2000 at dealer. but after that repair supposedly according to an independent mechanic, dealer forgot to put the belly pan back and forgot some clips on some hoses. took it back to the dealer, they say it could have fallen out at some point! yea right!
    leaking stopped for a while, now it still leaves small spots.. thats fine with me

    now at 144k miles i need a lot of suspension parts up front. I noticed the problem when I heard clicking sounds usually when i turn at low speeds. Then the problem worsened to a point where i thought i was driving the flinstones car with the square tires. need both axle CV shafts, ball joints, tie rods (again? but im thinking its the outer driver side this time)
    $1600 dollars is where I am at right now at the independent mechanic.

    And then Ive had that transmission problem that was posted before where the car hesitates to kick down a gear on an automatic trans, when i try to accelerate (problem goes away if i floor it- i usually switch it to triptronic and shift down usually to fix the problem before i actually damage something).. but the problem is pretty rare so i havent done much about it. I know I sound like I dont take care of problems till it all goes wrong, but I am a college student and I might as well be driving a brand new bmw 3-series off a cliff every year, considering how much i spend on college.

    So I was wondering, other than what im thinking is that transmission module, how much more money do you think I could put into this car? Is it time to sell or is this car going to do well, now that I have replaced most of the faulty parts?
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