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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • Thanks for the responses. We talked to our mechanic, who said we should stay away from the Passat. He said he has seen problems with windows falling down, then a woman at work heard my husband talking about it and said she was riding in her boyfriends 2007 Passat wagon, when the window just fell down.

    Looks like we might skip the Passat, although it is a beautiful car. We are looking for a small station wagon, and it seems the only thing left is the Toyota Matrix or Subaru.
  • dbrozhnikdbrozhnik Posts: 1
    Hi everyone. My 2003 Passat GL 1.8T (at 100,300 miles, going strong) will need a new battery before the next winter. (Old battery works fine, but to keep it through Midwest winter #7 will be pushin' my luck).
    Any suggestions on the best cost/benefit deal out there for a new battery for this car? Brand, price, sources?
  • Have you ever considered a Volvo? I was searching for my 3rd one, when I saw a Passat wagon at a great price. After reading all of the horror stories, I can realize what a great car the Volvo is. Practical, economical, luxurious, and fun to drive. The only reason I'm looking again, is after 5 years and 170,000 miles, I would like a change. A 2 year old V70 will cost you as much as a new Matrix, and about the same as a comparable Subaru.
  • THank you for the suggestion. I might look at the Volvo. I have always considered the Volvo to be an expensive, and have not really looked at it. THanks for the suggestion.
  • elburnelburn Posts: 4
    Driving to work today, the OBD light for emissions came on, running steady. I do not live in an area where I have mandatory emission testing. Here is my question: what are the repercussions of not repairing the catalytic converter (I am assuming the needed repair)? Will I have long term damage to my engine? I am worried since I am an unlucky survivor of an oil sludge problem and 4K repair!
  • I left my 2003 Passat in a torrential downpour, but it was parked in an elevated area. Don't know if it was struck by lightening, but when I started the car, I received ABS/ TRS/ Air Bag/ and Check Engine warning lights come on simultaneously. I can start the car up without any problem and all other electrical systems seem to be functioning correctly, but I can't shift out of "Park" because the interlock for the brake won't unlock although I'm stepping on the brake. Did anybody else experienced this? I'm at a foreign country and I don't know what to do.


    Navy Guy
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    Since you are or were in the Navy.
    Look for water inside the car. VW decided to put electronics on the floor beneath front seats. If it gets wet it malfunctions.

  • Krzys,
    I'm still in the Navy, but working at an Army garrison. Thank you for the advice. I'll check for water intrusion inside the front seats.

    Navy Guy
  • Krzys,
    You're right about the water intrusion. I've found about a quart of water in the right side of the vehicle (I've parked it with about 5 deg angle to that side). The back right floor board was pretty much flooded. I barely made it to a local garage, and the mechanic told me that he'll take the floor board out to completely drain the water and dry out the computer module. What do I need to do to prevent this from happening in the future?

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You need to find the source of the water intrusion. Passats are known for this problem. Check the drains in the iar plenum area (that's where the battery is under the hood). There is a drain hole under the battery and one under the brake booster. Clear those and remove the plastic inserts from those drains. Wter can build up in that area and enter the car through the ventilation system. is a nice writeup on this issue (the car pictured is English, so some components are reversed in position.

    There was a recall in the US for replacing the seal on the air intake on the ventilation system, but I don't know if you can get that done in Korea (IIRC).

    Next cut off the ends of the sunroof drain tubes located near the upper hinge of the front doors. They are black and they are tappered. THis will help reduce the risk of having the sunroof flood the car.

    Good luck!
  • Altair4,
    Thank you for your keen insight. I have no access to normal equipment and such, so I've had the car towed to a VW service center. I'm leaving it there for them to completely dry out the car and try to salvage the electronic components. I don't know how much it will cost me, but they looked like they've done this before. I just hope the electronic components are not permanently damanged and can be dried out.
    Thanks to you and Krzys, I felt relieved to know the cause of this bizarre problem. Now the only stress remaining is the pricetag of the repair.

    Thanks again.

    Navy Guy
  • Dear Altair4 and Krzys,
    I think the Korean VW dealership addressed the water intrusion sources, including the drain under the battery and the sunroof hoses. Now, they're telling me that I need a new ABS Module. I'm currently on a business trip to Texas, so I'm checking to see if I could buy it and take it home on Saturday. However, the part # the Korean dealership provided 3B0 927 156 AH doesn't match the SKU# I'm seeing on the online parts stores. Can you shed some light on this? I have 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T.

    Thank you.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Google "Passat ETKA" for an online parts list. Maybe they have different parts for different models and or years. Don't have the time right now to look, will try to look later.

    You could get the unit repaired here in the states, but that probably doesn't do you much good in your circumstances.
  • Thank you for the info.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Okay, this is starting to make more sense. That number is not an ABS Module (which is located under the hood). It's the control unit for the automatic transmission for a AWM 1.8T with front wheel drive. That control module is located under the carpet in one of the front footwells. I'm guessing that they couldn't dry it our and salvage it.

    ETKA says this is for >> 3B-3-600 000. I don't know if that's a serial number from the VIN. It looks like that module is for a certain series of Passats. I don't know if it is the correct one for your car, though. Hope this helps!
  • Altair4,
    Thank you so much. I've finally found the part on a website strictly using the part #, and it costs $1200. Wow!

    Thanks again.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469 has it for $1,096.68. has it for $1,124.80.

    Maybe try for a salvage part, before you head back to Korea?

    BTW, thanks for your service in the military!
  • Altair4,
    Thank you for the info. I've had previously ordered from 1stvwparts, but my government computer wouldn't let me access the site due to invalid certificate. I've just called their toll free number and ordered. I had hoped to buy at one of the dealers, even if it cost little bit more, but nobody had it in their stock.

    Thank you for your encouraging words regarding my military service. I'm proud to be an American representing my country overseas. While I feel a bit uneasy with North Korean rhetorics sometimes, it's nothing compared to the hardships that our men and women face in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Thank you again for your advice.

    Navy Guy
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Sounds like you are on the way to getting this solved, albeit at a pretty good amount of coin. Good luck with the new part and your time in S. Korea.
  • Altair4,
    Thank you again for your insight and advice. Hope the car will stay together for a bit.

    Take care.
    Navy Guy
  • campermancamperman Posts: 53
    Might be a sensor only although that is still an expensive proposition. And there could be 2 of these for emissions; left bank and right bank. At $200 per plus labour its an expensive deal. this is just one of the very many reasons my 2000 Passat has a for sale sign on it. Good luck.
  • 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 :cry: 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!

  • I have a 2005 VW Passat TDI Wagon. It has 95,000 miles with the original brakes. They were checked at 90,000 miles and the VW dealer said they still had a lot of life left. I got 75,000 miles out of the first set of tires.

    The only maintenance I have had is to replace the brake light switch, which was a recall, replace the CV boots and replace the timing belt. It has been a really good car.

    My wife has an Audi A6, which is almost the same car. She got 18,000 miles on the first set of brakes. It cost about $400 to have them replaced. They had to replace one rotor. It goes through tires every 30,000 miles.

    I like the VW the best.

    Chuck Hanson
  • jpmnovajpmnova Posts: 15
    I have an '01 Passat 1.8T. I was told at 85K by my local mechanic that my rear brakes were low. He changed rear pads only (about $100) and the car has been fine. Now has 133K (mostly highway) on it and this is the only brake work I have had done. You may want to give it a try.
  • Your brake pads and rotors should last quite a long time unless you drive with one foot on the brake. Sounds like the pads werevery poor quality or you might want to get another opinion. In any event I believe something is wrong. I just sold a Nissan truck with 160,000 Miles and it still had original brakes. Of course, it was manual shift which saves brake pads and rotors. We have a Golf with about 160,000 miles and it still has originals on back. Again, it is manual shift.
    I'd be thumping someones desk at VW if I had this problem. good luck,
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Although I'm replying to Navy Guy's inquiry, I'm addressing this primarily to altair4 and shipo, as they seem to have good replies to virtually every question. I have had my 2002 Passat (1.8T w/ auto tranny) stored next to my garage for several months until I sell another vehicle. Last week I needed to move it to get a trailer out of my yard. Although the battery was quite low, it did start. I was able to shift into "Drive", but to my dismay, the rear wheels were completely locked up. Would this be related to the"interlock" that Navy Guy refers to? If yes, how in the heck do I get it disengaged? Thanks! vwdawg.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I've never had the problem, but I'll throw out this WAG: if the parking brake was on, it may simply be rust-seized in place. I don't have any good advice on the cure, but it sounds like you'll need to jack up the car and check the brakes visually to see what's goin' on.

    If you could get the transmission out "Park" and into "Drive", then it's not the interlock.
  • I need insight on how a timing belt problem should be handled by a shop. I have a 2001 Passat that was taken in and found to be in need of a new timing belt and water pump. The initial estimate made (which indicates an hour of troubleshooting) no mention of valve trouble. The car stayed at the shop for about two weeks awaiting parts. While the guys were moving the car to replace the belt, the belt slips, the car stops and now I'm looking at a valve job- thousands.

    The questions are-
    when you have a bad timing belt, would you normally check out the valve to be sure there is no damage there?
    If there is a bad timing belt, should they be driving the car?
    If the car drove fine when it went in (there was some noise, which the mechanic specifically told my husband was not valve knocking), how to handle a major prob that occurred at the shop?

    All feedback would be appreciated!
  • I have a 2004 GLX 1.8T 4MOTION (4 cylinder) Tiptronic Passat with 92K miles on it. Original owner and paid for. Dealer says I need a new transmission and tiptronic switch as well as a timing belt kit. Dealer says he can get a used transmission in for $2,000, tiptronic switch $470 and timing belt $900- Plus Labor it's about $5055 with tax!. My guess is trade-in is $500 before repairs, maybe $6,000 after repairs. Car does not qualify for the Cash for Clunkers program. I am going to put the $5000 into an Acura and donate this one. Thought I would share my first and last experience with a BAD DEAL VW. Never again. :sick:
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    I hear about Tiptronic transmission going bad.
    Timing belt is 900 including labour in my area.

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