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Problems with 99 VW Passat GLS



  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    1. >>>RECALL I have a 99 and missed the recall, double checked my VIN and I wasn't in the bad batch. Did you recieve a recall notice or are you just assuming you are effected? Lack of parts for the recall is a nationwide problem.

    2. >>>DEALER
    Which dealer do you go too? I go to Kinney in Rutland and have recieved absolutely fabulous service. A lot of your complaints stem from poor service at your dealer, I suggest you try someone else, because they are obviously not taking good care of you.

    Tire pressure numbers are noted on the inside of the GAS TANK DOOR. How long have you had this car that you have never even checked the tier pressure before this? I have the stock Michelins and after 18k+ miles, you can barely see any wear, I keep all 4 at 38 psi and rotate every 5-8k miles.

    If you have a pre-2000 1.8T you do NOT have the ASR traction control. You have the EDL traction control which is only operable under 25 mph and can not be turned off and has no dash indicator. All 2000 Passats now have both ASR and EDL(previously only V6 cars had it.) The ASR works at all speed and can be turned off via a dash switch. My EDL has worked brilliantly this winter, but it is not some sort of magic device. Basically it keeps both wheels turning while most front wheel drive cars, once they lose traction, will only spin one wheel. It has pulled me up slippery hills more then once with careful throttle modulaton. This is practically an invisible system though.

    5. >>>MPG Your average speed is the greatest variable to your MPG. You may not have a lot of stop and go, but if your not actually doing 55 or more for a length of time, then you can only expect the EPA's "City" MPG rating. Those MPG numbers on the window sticker are NOT set by the manufacturer, they are set by the EPA, sue the gov't for false advertising if you want to.

    The light can easily be triggered by even a slightly loose gas cap. This is quite common in new cars due to stricter emmisions standards(quite common on new VOlvos as well.) Make sure it clicks at lease 3 times when you screw it on. If you are positive this isn't the problem, then the next time the dealer hooks up his diagnostic tools, it should register a fault code to describe what happened.

    Yup, no idiot lights to tell you if you left the door open, personally it's not been an issue to me, perhaps with kids it might be. Your frozen lock mechanism is just that, a frozen lock due to our lovely cold weather. It sucks, but that's life.

    8. >>>CANOE ON ROOF
    Your right, no where to tie it, if this is important to you, why didn't you check on it before you bought it?

    Seriously, it sounds like your problems are a mix of poor dealer service and not throuroughly checking out stuff at purchase. I hope you get the problems resolved to your satisfaction. I am at over 18,000 flawless miles with mine and I couldn't be happier.

    Good luck fellow Vermonter!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    The parts problem is worldwide, is not specific to the recall, and is starting to hurt customer relations in this country both for VW and Audi. The problem is a new parts/inventory system installed at Kassel that had exactly the opposite effect than intended (new technology often does this), causing inbound shipments to pile up from parts suppliers, even while dealers all over the globe are clamoring for their parts. At last reading, there is no immediate relief in sight.

    The rest of the story above is indeed probably traceable to still another example of a crappy dealer - they are out there, and once they have touched your automotive life, it is often hard to give any of them the benefit of the doubt again. I concur that a change of dealer would be called for, IF you really have an alternative...I know in some markets that is not the case. And like the parts problem, incompetence is widespread; the fact is that VW dealers as a group [in the US market] simply do have a reputation for being spotty at best: a good one is wonderful, but there are 2 lousy ones for every good one.

    I'm old enough to remember having my '61 beetle being taken care of by a hole-in-the-wall dealership in the SF area who maybe sold 15 cars a month, but had a fanatically dedicated service manager [with a good German accent], and thus a fanatically loyal set of customers. This lesson seems lost on too many in the business these days.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066

    My "local" dealre has a horrible rep and sells literally 15 makes.

    The dealership I choose to go to is 1 hour away, but well worth the trip. Service manage's is Hans Pfadt and they service only VW and Audi in that shop. They really know their stuff and treat the car and me very well.

    Kinny VW-Audi
    Rutland, VT

    A LOT of the problems I have seen here can be directly attributed to awful dealer service that continually misdiagnoses problems and mistreats customers. VWoA needs toseriously get theor act together.
  • tomvttomvt Posts: 6
    Sporin-Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed input to my post (#376-Becoming Dissatisfied).
    Your comments appear quite authoritative, and I have taken a close look at them. By the way, it's
    nice to hear from a fellow Vermonter. A little more info from me may help you and others understand the developing situation, so I'll respond to your comments as you have to mine.

    1. I received a recall notice, so I'm not assuming anything-it's a fact, and the dealer agrees work needs to be done.

    2. I purchased the car at Kinney Motors, the dealership you hold in high regard. This is not my first new car from these people. Please note that Hans Pfadt has retired, and perhaps some of my less-than-satisfactory experience is in part related to this change in personnel.

    3. You are right, tire pressure is on the inside of the gas tank door. I walked out to my car after
    reading your post and there it was. The manual says PSI info is by the driver's doorjamb,
    and so did the dealer over the phone. I hope that this VW labeling logic doesn't mean the
    recommended octane ratings are located in the wheel well!
    The actual tire story goes like this: I had the dealer rotate my Continental tires at 5K mi. as recommended. Then, at around 10K mi. I asked my local mechanic to rotate and check pressure, wear and balance. But he wasn't able to do it because he didn't have the adapters for the security bolts. My mech should have called me and told me of this problem, as I would have led him to the VW tookit and ostensibly he could have made more progress. Maybe not. Admittedly, the security bolt feature was shown to me in the purchase phase. I made another appointment with my mechanic to have the tire work done. Advised him that I left the tool kit on the seat. I stopped by at the end of the day and he had not rotated the tires because the adapter in the tool kit was not the only specialized piece needed to get the security bolt off. I looked at the tool kit closely and sure enough, inside a little compartment was a second piece needed for this (otherwise simple) job. The car now had about 16K mi. on it and I was picking up some rumble from the rear. Worried that tire problems were in the making, I set up yet another appointment with my local mechanic for tire rotation and inspection and oil change. I stopped by at the end of the day and the guy charged me for oil change only. I asked the young kid, "What about the tire rotation?" He replied, "The boss didn't tell me anything about that!" I gave up on this outfit. (Remember now, at this time my dealership has me on hold for parts and is in the process of bungling my attempts to set up appointments with them). So out of desperation for a fix to what is becoming an obvious tire wear problem, I went to another local garage who found the tires to be nicely in balance but the left rear really cupped on inside. So you see, I have been fully occupied trying to minimize this tire problem. My efforts have not worked, and this is painfully obvious.
    There is a limit to the time most of us can spend on crapola like this, and I had reached mine just about then. That the inflation info is located on the inside of the gas cap rather than where the manual and dealership says it should be is indicative of miscommunication at Volkswagen. It is not, as you may have assumed, an indication that I am ignorant of proper tire pressure.
    Incidentally, half-load PSI recommendation is 28 front & back on my gas cap, yet you say you keep yours at 38 PSI? That's a huge difference, can you explain?

    4. I have noted your comments on traction control. My car goes exceedingly well in snow. I am simply looking for proof that the feature is there. Maybe I have it and it is working so well I don't know when it is engaged. That would be nice.

    5. Mileage-I do not travel in excess of 55 MPH on my backroad commute. If I am interpreting your words correctly, this means the car will get only city mileage on my country drive. This does not make sense, and if it is true I will trade it in.

    6. Check Engine Light-Hasn't illuminated in 6-7 weeks now. Problem resembles earlier posts I have read here. That you agree a large variety of things can cause this, including tightness of gas cap does nothing to instill confidence in this car. I'm not worried about it around home, but I would feel different if it came on during long trip far from home.
    6.A. Twice now I have had gas pumps at two different station overfill during dispensing. This has not happened to me in years with other cars. It may be a fluke, as I've filled the Passat's tank dozens of times since. The first time it happened was followed by a rough start, and the car then stalled in traffic. Restarted quickly, and after driving for another 20 minutes or so, it subsided and did not return.

    7. No Door position lights in dashboard-you have verified this as fact. This is an expected feature in a driver-friendly car, but the Passat does not have it. Volkswagon should defer the excuses and put one in the bloody car!

    8. Unable to carry Canoe-Not that important to me, but it was a surprise to the service manager and the salesman. They both thought the car could handle one until a knowledgeable dealer mechanic saw their puzzled faces. He set them straight. The inability of the car to accomodate a canoe was mentioned only to show the reality of ownership isn't necessarily what is shown on the bruchures. I knew that going in. Most of us do.

    I'm glad your Passat has run flawlessly for you. The acknowledged parts supply problem has kept me from being a satisfied customer. I am unhappy that I have been affected by this problem.
    I still think it is possible to get past this "Bad Patch" I'm in with my Passat and have an experience that is similar to yours. I'll let you know.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I'm sure we're boring a lot of people, but this is about the only way to address each problems and keep it all straight.

    1. I didn't mean to imply that I was questioning whether or not you needed the recall work. What I meant was that even though I DIDN'T recieve a notice, I just assumed that I needed it done, checking the VIN proved me wrong thankfully, and I was hoping you might have the same experience.

    2. I'm sorry to hear that Hans is gone, It must be VERY recent as I was there less then a month ago. I have never recieved anything but top notch service from them.

    3. I also did not mean to imply that you were ignorant of tire pressures, so please do not take offense. If it were ME, I would have tried to figure out were the sticker REALLY was long before 16k miles, especially if I was having tire issues, but I'm really into cars and stuff, so maybe I shouldn't assume everyone is.. I run 38 PSI all around for a few reasons; 1) This PSI has proven to show very even tread wear for me. 2) The Comfort / Handling / MPG balance is good for me and the kind of driving I do everyday. 3)Neither I or my wife are "petite" and thus the everyday load on the car is quite large. 4) A lot of research and surveying at Club B5 and VW Vortex showed that a lot of people. were having very good luck at this PSI, and my experience has proven it for me.

    4. Agreed

    5. The fact is that the EPA Highway Cycle consists of constant speed at 55 mph or above. Anything under that is considered "City" driving and should corrospond approximately with the EPA's stated "City" number. I think your expectations are a bit high here, just my opinion. I know for a fact that I could be getting better milage, but this car is SO ENJOYABLE to drive and drive HARD, that the giggle factor is far more entertaining to me then a few more dollars at the pump.

    6. Sounds like there is something wrong with your gas tank. I am unable to overfill my tank, no matter what, so I expect you have a problem somewhere in there and this could certainly be related to your Check Engine light issue.

    7. Again, I don't have a need for them and if you DO, then it should have been something you checked out BEFORE you bought the car.

    8. Again, it sucks, but it's certainly not false advertising.

    I mean this with absolutely no malice fellow Vermonter, but it sounds like you should have just bought another Toyota. Your new Passat is missing a lot of the things the Toyota had that you really liked. Of course the Toyota offers none of the intangibles that the Passat offers, but is would seem that the tangibles things like idiot lights, better then expected mileage, tie downs, etc are more important to you then all that style, soul and character.

    I hope you get things worked out Tom, and good luck. :)
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    It occured to me that you might find the term "idiot lights" offensive and I just wanted to clarify that I don't consider you an "idiot' just because you want them. That is, however, the common term for that sort of light as well as those "upshift lights" that they used to put in cars.
  • I rather prefer the investment in the underdoor lamps (which let me see whether that's a puddle or
    an ice patch I was about to step on) rather than those inane door open idiographs. (There is one for the trunk, though).

    I had the 'upshift light' on my 85 Jetta. It taught me a few tricks on improving fuel economy which I applied to 9+ years of Toyotas before returning to the VDub fold.

    I've been getting consistent high 20s (running about 28.4 this week) in daily suburban commuting. My Camry was usually good for just over 30ish but didn't have all the extras (quad airbags, CD-jukebox, sunroof) nor any where near the pickup the 1.8T has.

    Times and priorities change. But my 99 PASSAT is the best car I've owned (so far).
  • tripwtripw Posts: 1
    I have bought three new 3 VWs, 1986 GTI (UK), 1998 Polo Classic (Russia) and a 1999 Passat GLS V6 (USA) in three different countries and I have found VW dealers to be the worst on earth. The level of service, whether in the UK or the USA is a joke.

    In reading these complaints on the Passat, it becomes clear that everyone likes the car. The problem is that cars, in general, are going to have problems and if we could have these problems taken care of in a timely, professional manner, I think the majority of us would be very satisfied.

    VW of America needs to re-teach the fine art of customer service to their dealers, before we, the consumer, look elsewhere for our next car!

    As a minor note, I also had an 1997 Audi A4 and Audi dealers have learned this skill!
  • asil65asil65 Posts: 1
    I own a 98 VW Passat. At the end of April, I will have had it for 2 yrs. Back in January the engine started making a funny noise. On January 30th I brought it to the dealer (Aquidneck Autocenter in Middletown, RI)to be looked at. They told me that they didn't know what was wrong, but that I needed a new engine. The car has almost 44K miles. First I'd like to note that I've never had to replace an engine in any other vehicle I have owned and I have exceeded 200K miles with those other vehicles. Needless to say, replacing an engine on a car that only has 44K on it made me nervous.

    It is now March 1st and I'm still without my Passat. They told me back in January that I would have it within a week. Volkswagen doesn't provide loaners so I borrowed a car from a family member. A week went by, I didn't hear anything so I called. They didn't know when the engine was going to be shipped. Week #2, they still don't know when the engine is going to be shipped. I called Volkswagen directly about giving me a rental since I needed to return the car I borrowed. Told me that they'd call me with a decision by the end of the week. Never did. Week #3, I called my state's attorney general's office and they recommended I speak to the owner of the dealership. I called and when I asked to speak to the owner, I was told that the owner does not take phone calls! They told me that they'd call the General Manager of the dealership, who then had the Service Manager call me. I ranted to him about how being without my vehicle was becoming at this point ridiculously inconvenient and annoying. He said that he'd call VW and see if they would authorize a rental.

    Volkswagen authorized a loaner and the dealer lent me a Mazada from their lot. I have a long commute and driving home one night everything within the car and the remoteless entry went dead. Dealer said it was a fuse which they replaced. Drove off the lot and on the way back to work, it all went dead again. I was furious and called the Service Manager who just laughed at me and told me that he doesn't make the cars, he just fixes them. They brought me another car, a 97 Jetta. Car was filthy and reeked of smoke. I called the general manager to complain. I was shocked by his rudeness to me. I've never had a manager of any business or establishment speak to me in the manner he did. Big change from his demeanor when I purchased the car...back then he was falling all over himself to make sure I was happy.

    I called Volkswagen and filed a complaint against the dealership. I received a call on February 23rd from the service manager telling me that my engine arrived from Germany and it would take a couple of days to put it in. On Monday, February 28th, I hadn't heard from the dealer, so I called and was told that they were almost done and it should be done by Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoon I call the dealer. Still not done but will be done soon. It is now March 1st, and I'm still without my car and have not heard from the dealer!!!!

    I am definitely a dissatisfied Volkswagen customer. As soon as I get the car back, I plan on selling it and forever stay away from Volkswagen!!!!
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Exactly as many have stated, a terrible dealer will taint the entire brand for a dissatisfied customer. You should be talking to a lawyer, in most states, if you are without your car for mor ethen XX number of days over a certain time period, you qualify for the lemon law and they have to buy the car back.

    Forget the Sales Manger, Owner, etc, call a lawyer because you've been screwed by them royally.

    btw--I just turned 19,000 miles on my 99 GLS and not one problem. :-)
  • I noticed that a lot of you have had many problems with dealerships...I have a 1999 VW Passat and I love it. I got it from Beaudry VW in Tucson and have to take it to Joe Florek in Flagstaff for college...Beaudry has been wonderful while Joe Florek hasn't. All I can say is that you should check the dealership out if it concerns you that much. Or, if you hate it that much, learn how to fix it. That lost art. I have been very satisfied with performance and stuff and have learned that if you think VW service is bad, try Chevrolet's service or the warranty on the Malibu, that doesn't even come with rear defrosters unless you buy the more expensive LS. Just know that it can get worse, butI'm living the highlife in my V-dub Passat.
  • mbcmbc Posts: 7
    I'm spoiled by living in a very large city with close to 10 dealers to choose from, but out of those 10 I can garuntee you a couple are bad if not horrible. VW dealers range from crooks to near Lexus treatment. Fortunately enough, I have found a great dealer, I just brought my '99 Passat GLX for its 10,000 mile check up (with no problems except a deffective air bag crash sensor, which was replaced that day)I complained that the front cup holders and right speaker rattled a little, and without asking they replaced both. I find the car dealership really does make or break your experience with a car company and the car. No matter how nice the car though, it's not worth buying a car, VW or not, if you're stuck with only one, crappy, dealer to choose from. Lastly, for those of you that have a ratling/squeaking sound, it does come from the right back seat, I put some w-40 on the clamp that attatches the fold-down seat to the car and haven't heard the squeak since.
  • hashanhashan Posts: 2
    I am very seriously considering buying a 2000 Passat (yes, even after reading all of your comments!). Does anyone have a great VW dealership in the CA Bay Area? (San Jose-San Francisco?). Thanks for the thoughts and comments...I will be listening for squeaks from the back of the passenger seat! Happy Volkswagen'ing to you all!
  • abqbornabqborn Posts: 1
    Hi all,
    I'm seriously thinking about buying a 98 Passat GLS V6. Dealer in Sacramento received 2 back from VW lease auction? But, I've been told there is a problem with the front breaks, soft feel, excessive dusting and just plain dosn't work well.
    Anybody have problems like these. Also, Audi is doing a recall in europe on front breaks, does anybody know if the passat has same model of brakes??
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    The front brakes on the Passat are nothing short of spectacular, far better IMO then the competition. The only negative is that they DO give off a lot of dust, but that's simply cosmetic.

    There is a recall effecting SOME Passats concerning the front brake booster and extreme cold weather. This was a voluntary recall on VW's part and effects only a certain group of VIN's, mine was not in that group.

    Test drive one and see if it stacks up for you and the kind ofdriving you do. For me, they are just great.
  • bushman1bushman1 Posts: 2
    For all of you concerned about the problems with the VW Passat brakes, I would like to relay the story of a German friend who drives an Audi A6 (yes, in Deutschland). Last Winter his brakes failed on a cold day nearly causing him to be involved in a very serious accident. He explained to me that problem was in the material used to manufacture the brake pads. At temperatures below freezing, the brakes on his car simply did not operate. After his near miss, he returned the car to the dealer and refused to take it back until the brakes were replaced. They eventually acknowledged the problem, installed new pads made from a different material and he has since had no problems.

    If this is related to the Passat, I cannot say. But, everyone knows VW owns Audi and the theory of interchangeable parts is not new.

    Make of this story what you wish.
  • bushman1bushman1 Posts: 2
    I forgot to mention, that I too find the VW Passat fun to drive and am very close to purchasing one. The stories found under this topic are causing me to think twice because of service. My current vehicle is a '95 Windstar (yes, with blown headgasket) and whatever the case, I want the next vehicle to have a substantial warranty for the drivetrain and good service.

    Question: are there any sites out there rating specific dealerships?

    Your help would be appreciated.
  • ecrlecrl Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a Passat. Can anyone recomment a dealer that they have had good experiences for servicing cars in NY area and Cambridge area? Any ones to avoid?
  • milford1milford1 Posts: 11
    We traded our 95 Windstar for a 99 Passat V6 sedan 9 months ago. The blown head gasket was the last straw. BTW, did you know Ford extended the warrantee to cover the problem with the head gasket? I found it on the internet (my Ford-trained mechanic was unaware). I just couldn't believe 40k on any auto, even a Ford, would have this problem. We let Ford fix it *one more time* and then drove it to the VW dealer.

    We like our Passat but with 2 kids and 2 dogs, its not big enough to be my primary car (I'm the mom of all). We are now looking at a Passat 4Motion bit are concerned about having 2 of them if they turn out to be a big mistake. Love my Passat, but it has only 11k... I'm still researching. Someone suggested Taurus but I just laughed.

    Good luck getting rid of the Windstar, trade in on it is sad.
  • pjjqbypjjqby Posts: 3
    I've had good luck w/Garvey in Queensbury. We've only had our '99 in for req maint and a brake booster recall repair.
  • gunraweegunrawee Posts: 1

    What ever happen to the #313 &#147;Lack of torque….&#148; And #317 &#147;New car… big trans…&#148;? Did you ever find out what is wrong with your cars? I thought I was the only one having this problem: lack of power when the transmission shifts after a turn or stop then accelerating. Dealer said it was my driving style. I've never had this problem with other cars (Accord and Prizm). I'm at 5k miles now and it's still there. Very annoy with it especially in a city traffic.
  • ekkoh99ekkoh99 Posts: 17
    keeps on going on every six months or so. they reset the switch and rehave replaced the central computer module. it still happens. and yes, i screwed the damn gas cap tight.

    any ideas
  • bogey87bogey87 Posts: 1
    I bought a 98 gls 5 speed in 1/99, a little over 2 years and 19k miles ago. The check engine light came on one time about 6 months ago, I pulled over , turned the car off and then back on again, and it went away, never to return again.

    Otherwise, 19,000 trouble free miles . The car is a blast to drive and used to get a lot of admiring looks. Now that the Jettas have the same body style, the uniqueness is somewhat gone.

    A great car so far !
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Just past 20k miles in 11 months here in Vermont.

    No problems, great car.
  • nkk1nkk1 Posts: 2
    A dealer casually said that ordinary fuel will do even thoguh 1.8T says it needs Premium fuel. Could it be true?
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    The manual says 91 octane or higher for optimum MPG and HP and that is exactly my experience.

    Costs me about $2.00 extra for a tank of premium over regular. Small price to pay to get the most out of my $20k investment.

    The engine wil cope with lesser grade fuel by retarding the timing of the engine resulting in less HP and fewer miles per gallon.
  • nkk1nkk1 Posts: 2
    I am considering Passat Maxima and Intrigue in that order for my new car. I can get Intrigue GLS with PCS + Sunroof + Bose for around 24k and 2.9% financing. But Passat still looks cuter. Please offer your experiences
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Have you taken a look at our Sedans conference? That is the best place to find/join discussions about the pros and cons of purchasing various vehicles.

    A quick way to find these discussions is to use the Topic Search on the left sidebar once for Passat and again for Intrigue - you'll find many topics on both vehicles.

    Good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • jab4jab4 Posts: 1
    Very sad. I just totaled my new Passat. Only 17K miles. Good news, neither my 11 mo old daughter nor I had a single scratch or bruise. The front air bags deployed and since I am only 5'3", I was very grateful for the reduced strength ( I forget what they call it)

    My dealer is Hudson Valley VW in Wappingers Falls, NY and they have been AWESOME. The service is out of this world. I am planning on replacing in kind!
  • I am looking for a Volkswagon Passat, 2000 V6 model in the Rockford, IL area. Does anyone know a good dealer? I will be looking at buying or leasing next month.

This discussion has been closed.