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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues



  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282 are going to get allot of feedback (mostly negative) on this board, but I will attempt to provide my honest OPINION. When a car is purchased either new or used you should get a little book called a owners manual. Within that manual there is a section called Maintenance. In the case of a VW Passat, it CLEARLY states that the oil must be changes EVERY 5000 miles. Upon your own admission, you extended the oil change 2000 miles to 7000 miles on occasion.

    Now, since VW clearly states in writing that the maintenance due on your vehicle is 5000 miles, not 7000 miles, why should VW pay for your new engine if you did NOT adhere to their specified oil change intervals (OCI)?

    Since I don't know you I cannot call you irresponible. But, as far as maintaining your Passat you were irresponsible in regards to getting your oil changed as specified by VWoA. Prior to 2004, regular Dino oil was being used in Passats (1.8t and 6cyl). It '04 / '05 VW sent all 1.8t owners a letter regarding the sludge issue and specified certain oils (synthetic) that are to be used to prevent oil sludge. If ALL oil changes were completed on time and you (dealer) used regular dino oil up until 2004, then VWoA would most likely be footing the bill for a new engine.

    I think your comment about going back to a Toyota (great cars BTW) is a smart move. They tend to be able to take some abuse (read: lack of maintenance) and keep on going. VW's on the other hand NEED to be maintained religiously. When they are taken care of they should provide many years of happy motoring.

    Also, you stated you are from the Atlanta area? Me too. EVERY dealer I have taken my Passat to has offered a free shuttle and most of the time a free loaner. What dealer were you dealing with? I have used Jim Ellis (Atlanta & Marietta), Heritage VW and my current dealer of choice is Gossett VW in Alpharetta. Your comment about the dealers not providing a shuttle leaves me a little confused since all the ATL dealers I have been too have always offered a free shuttle and most of the time a free loaner.

    Good Luck!!
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    well said. the warning was there and some people just didn't pay attention to it. and what an interesting comment about a dealer requiring monthS in advance appointment for an oil change. hmmmmm...nice try!
  • mrtreizemrtreize Posts: 3
    I agree that if you follow the recommended maintenance schedule and document everytime you have work done to your car that you should have few if any problems from the car or any problems from the manufacturer.
  • mrtreizemrtreize Posts: 3
    And of course you are mad because you did not follow the recommended maintenance schedule. As for the claim that they just started using synthetic oils, thats false. Ever since the beginning use of the 1.8T they have been using the synthetic oils. Its not an engine malfunction but rather negligence.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I think it totally depends on the dealer when it comes to the use of Synthetic oil. Not all dealers have always used synthetic.
  • mrtreizemrtreize Posts: 3
    I think your car buying methods and instructions are very thorough. I wouldlike to add one more thing to your list of things. Including all the research mentioned in this advice, also look at the vehicles certification. You can buy a used car and you can buy a certified used car which is nearly like new in its condition and come with sometimes a two or three year warranty from the manufacturer or dealer that sells it to you. In some cases if you get a car from a dealer that is not the same brand as the car the warranty is limited meaning you will pay about one tenth of the repair bill and the warranty company will pay for the rest. I got my car used with a warranty and am glad I purchased it because I had one problem with the turbo exhaust system that would have cost an arm and leg to fix.
  • pjp9999pjp9999 Posts: 13
    "Ever since the beginning use of the 1.8T they have been using the synthetic oils. Its not an engine malfunction but rather negligence."

    Okay, so if sludge in a result of "negligence," then how do you explain it happening to Passat owners who DID follow the manual and changed their oil EVERY 5k miles at the dealership, had the sludge problem, got a new engine under warranty, AND, now have sludge again in their second engine. Couldn't a conclusion be drawn that the 1.8 turbo engine has a sludge problem??????

    And re: synthetic oil, all my oil changes, done at the VW dealership, were all done w/ non-synthetic oil!!!!! I specifically called and checked on this and they told me they don't use synthetic oil and the directive to use synthetic oil has only come out a few years ago.

    AND, these were the types of oil that they used:

    none of which are technically on the approved list!

    There is a reason Lexus consistently ranks #1 (JD Power and assoc) and VW trails on the bottom w/ Hundai and KIA. The only thing I will say is that the VW interior designs are nice, but what's the good in that when the car is a moneypit and trim randomly falls off here and there............
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    You said:

    "Okay, so if sludge in a result of "negligence," then how do you explain it happening to Passat owners who DID follow the manual and changed their oil EVERY 5k miles at the dealership, had the sludge problem, got a new engine under warranty, AND, now have sludge again in their second engine. Couldn't a conclusion be drawn that the 1.8 turbo engine has a sludge problem?????? "

    That is a pretty strong statement. Please back it up with facts...please provide proof. Who? If an owner can prove they got their oil changed at 5K OCI's at a VW dealership then VW should not deny a warranty claim for sludge.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    I guess he's just trying to make a case that the 1.8t has sludge problem.

    VW however did give new engines to those who followed the manual and changed oil every 5k miles, according to his statement.

    As far as having sludge again in their 2nd engine... how many people you think would actually perform a turbo cool down at the end of driving? Again, I'd blame it on the dealerships and salepeople for not informing customers how to take care of turbo charged engines. For those who don't have 2 mins to let the turbo cool down should buy the V6 or W8 model instead. Oh wait... then they might complain how expensive it is to change oil on the W8... nevermind... :shades:
  • pjp9999pjp9999 Posts: 13
    I posted a while back re: sludge w/ my '03 Passat 1.8 turbo. After investing almost 4k into maintenance/service FINALLY dumped the car and got an Infinity G35 over the weekend.

    OHMYGOD........ THIS IS A GREAT CAR and everything the Passat was not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think they are comparable in price, but you get so much more w/ Infinity, including (knock on wood) a car manufacturer that actually stands behind their product and extends good customer service. Something I NEVER got from VW of A.

    My advice to all of you w/ VW problems is this: cut your losses now and get a Japanese car. Not as stylish as European cars, but, fun to drive nonetheless and won't be a moneypit in the long run! Just my 2 cents.

    p.s. thanks for all your advice/feedback too.
  • hi. I'm new today to the forum. I have always bought buicks before, but now I am looking to trade in and try something else. I drove a '95 Passat today and loved the drive and handing. But all the sludge stories are scaring me. The Camry on the other hand is harder to see out the back window. I am careful about 3,000 mile checkups, so
    that won't be an issue. Also, my sis swears by her Honda Accord, which I think the backseat is horribly uncomfortable...... What is an old girl like me to do?
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    Not familiar with a 95 passat, so I can't really comment on that particular model. However, if you're worried about the sludge issue, perhaps you can look into getting a passat with a v6. good luck :shades:
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    has a potential for major breakdown.

  • oh man do I feel stooopid!!! did I say '95 passat? I really am in the wrong decade. The car I am trading in is a '95 buick. (I told you i was an old lady..). the car i drove is a 2005 with 13,000 miles on it. it was a rental for a major airport. they are asking apx. $21,000. It drives like a charm and is in excellent condition. The records show regular servicing every 3000 miles. My hubby says all cars build up sludge if not serviced properly. we don't know anything about volkswagons. The dealer is a Chevy place and they said they can handle servicing the car. should i buy? (Please tell me this is an awesome car and i won't regret it)
  • Krzys, boy do i feel like an idiot. sorry for the confusion. It is a 2005 Passat (not a '95)It is a pretty little car and drives smoothly. please read my "idiot" post! thanks for replying and calling my screwup to my attention. I'm just so happy you replied to my message.thanks, jezebel
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Don't worry about the mistake, no biggie. At least now that you clarified, it's no biggie! ;)

    For more general Passat conversation, it would probably be better to drop by our ongoing Volkswagen Passat 2005 and earlier discussion. We can let this one stay focused specifically on sludge issues.

    See ya there! :)
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    I bet Chevy dealer is not using suggested, recomended, "you have to use it" oil. I think that 3000 miles on improper oil on rental car is deal breaker for me.
    Ask them what oil they used to check what they know.
    Oil must meet VW 502.00 (I think I have it right) specification.


    PS I have never seen VW rental in US.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    was it a 1.8t or a v6? if it's a 1.8t, i wouldn't buy it (my opinion only) for 2 reasons. one, $21k is too high of an asking price and 2, i would not buy a car with a turbo charged engine that's used as a rental. :shades:
  • I can absolutely understand your issues. My husband and I purchased a 2002 Passat Wagon last June and have nothing but problems with it. It is honestly the WORST car I have ever owned, even over my 1997 Geo and my 1998 Hyundai that I do not still own but wish I did every time I think about my Passat. After having the car in the shop four times over 10 months for various lights, including the Oil Pressure light, it broke down about 200 miles from my home and has been down for the past two weeks because of the sludge build up. Yes, I will admit that I am not one of those anal retentive people who are Nazi about maintenance, however, when we purchased the car there was a sticker in it saying that there was just an oil change on it and on one of the occasions when it was in the shop, at the dealership, I was told they had changed the oil. Well, after being stranded 200 miles from home, I was informed that this car had NEVER had an oil change and because I can't prove that the dealership told me they had changed the oil and that the sticker wasn't proof enough for them, they would not cover it under warranty. Luckily, it doesn't require a new engine at this point, however it is costing me over $1,200 to have it remedied. As a "less than perfect owner" I would just like to say that I don't think that we are trying to necessarily push off the blame onto Volkswagen, but it seems that the quality of their products in conjunction with the quality of the work being performed by their "certified dealerships" is not up to par. I feel that if this sludge building up was causing problems for a number of months, one of their "certified mechanics" could have been smart enough to figure this out earlier. I am glad to hear you are enjoying your new car and I too soon will be going back to Honda, and I vow to NEVER AGAIN OWN A VOLKSWAGEN!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your "new" Passat. First off, how many miles were on the car when you bought it? Did you say that the car NEVER had the oil changed prior to you buying it?

    If that is the case, how on earth are you blaming VW for the cars sludge issue? Are you really stating that if a car NEVER has the oil changed it should still run without problems?

    How long have you owned this car? How many miles?
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    without maintenance.


    PS Thanks for calling me names as this probably describes me: "anal retentive people who are Nazi about maintenance".
    Could you explain in simple English what you mean?
  • I purchased the car with about 35,000 miles on it and over the course of about 10,000 additional miles, of which I admit to only having the oil changed once, at least that is what the dealership told me when it was in there for one of the "issues", they said it had been changed as part of the repair.

    I am not "blaming" VW I am basically saying that this car is a nightmare and not just for the reasons of the sludge. Set aside the fact that this car was in the dealership auto shop four times for this issue yet none of their genius mechanics could figure that out. I don't blame VW for the sludge buildup I actually would like to hold the dealership at fault, or partly at fault, for the falsified oil sticker in the window for one, and two for lying to me about changing the oil.

    I also have come to the conclusion that VWs suck in general. Really I do now believe that. My sister owns a Jetta that has had nothing but problems including recalled electrical problems that have had to be fixed four times since 2001, that was just fixed about four months ago and yet again all of her lights are not working. I now know a number of VW owners, I live in a city of VW owners and I don't know one at the present time that doesn't regret getting a VW.

    I would also like to say that I am totally disgusted at the RUDE behavior some people on here are displaying. I'm sorry that I am having problems and HATE VW and that you are fine. I’m sorry that you are probably one of those people who washes their car with a cloth diaper, but sorry, I have a life to attend to and can't constantly worry about a car that was practically brand new when I bought it, (at least it was sold to me as a “almost new” car, but then again I guess I should never trust a car salesman should I.) I joined this Forum to view and seek out advice and stories from other VW drivers not to be criticized by people who think they know everything!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    With all due respect, you didn't really ask for advice in your post, you were just telling what happened and saying you'd never buy a VW again.

    I think people were trying to get the details clarified rather than directly criticizing you. Maybe if you have some specific questions, we can try to answer them for you.

    I'm sorry for what you've experienced with your Passat.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I surely hope you don't place me in that category of "rude" people. Reading the various posts that relate to your entry, I don't see anyone being rude.

    Lets see, you bought the car with 35,000 miles and proceeded to drive 10,000 additional miles. You changed the oil once during that time. That is not negligent. Passats are required to have their oil changed every 5K miles so you did nothing wrong there. You said besides the oil sludge issue, the car has been a nightmare. But you haven't stated what else was wrong with it. You told us all the problems your sister has had, but I must have missed the other problems you have had with your Passat.

    I am not trying to be rude in anyway, but I am sure you didn't post on Edmunds and not expect responses from fellow forum members. Right?

    This is a complete shot in the dark and excuse me if you take offense to this comment, but here goes.... If you are talking to your Service Advisor and Service Manager (at the VW dealership) in the same tone you are writing your messages on this board, then no wonder they have not been too willing to work these issues out with you.

    BTW: Did you get a mechanic, other than the VW dealer, to look over this car before you bought it?
  • camwilcamwil Posts: 1
    Ok, I've never heard of this sludge issue before we checked this forum. I am interested in buying a 2002 passat with a 1.8 turbo engine from a private seller. Without having to ask the seller, is there any way of checking for this issue before I actually purchase the vehicle? Thanks!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Have your mechanic check the car out thoroughly!!
  • Up until last weekend my 2002 Passat has been awesome. No problems - runs great and fun to drive. I have 75K miles on it and have only had to replace the headlights and tires. I drive it pretty hard and have never paid any attention to cooling down the turbos or anything else. It has been an excellent car.

    I have always taken it to the dealer for maintenance ...but I am sure I have skipped an oil change or two. Since the warranty expired at (50k? 60K ... I forget) I haven't had it serviced. I was planning on taking it in when I hit 75K this week (thinking 75K was some big checkup) and of course this past weekend I got the "STOP engine" oil pressure low light.

    I pulled over - checked the oil and it was empty. I put a couple quarts in it and drove a couple miles - the light stayed on. I then had it towed to a dealership. 1200 later I had a new oil pump and my 80K sparkplug/filter change. I had never heard of this sludge issue before ...

    I am wondering if I should sale it while its all tuned up and running again. The dealership told me that the engine was a-okay. Does this seem plausible? Does it seem likely that if I maintain a strict schedule of oil changes that the car will be ok for the next few years?

    Thanks -
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    "not serviced"?
    No oil change for from 50K to 75K (warranty expires at 50K). Please explain.

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    No service in 15K - 25K miles?
  • Maybe ... maybe not ... who can remember? Who cares ... probably got the oil changed once and nothing else in that 15K or so. The real question is if these 1.8Ts are really timebombs no matter what ... or if maintained like mad they are ok.
This discussion has been closed.