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VW Passat Troubles (B5 platform, nee Audi)

bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
This is a continuation of this topic:

Problems with 99 VW Passat GLS

which is now over 500 posts and was too specific

Please use this topic to discuss all maintenance
and repair issues related to the "new" Passat
platform (which was derived from the Audi A4). I
will create another topic for the older (pure VW)

Confusingly enough, this platform has the VW
internal designation "B5"...and of course the new
Beetle, Golf and Jetta ride on the "A4" platform
which was first seen in Europe as the Audi A3...
Got that...?!?


Your host, Bruce.


  • To all those with repeated problems, you might be driving a lemon. In California, there are strict criteria to declare a car a lemon. However, if you think your car is more of a headache than its worth, particularly paying over 30,000 for it, then it is time to consider legal options. I suggest you go to the webpage of the Department of Motor Vehicles (I dont' know it offhand), and get objective information from them about your rights as a car consumer with respect to the lemon law.

    Good luck and I hope you'll get what you deserve as a paying customer.
  • I have a 98 VW Passat 1.8t with a manual transmission. I've already had a cv joint replaced and they now say I have a failed bearing. The car only has 48,000 miles. I can't imagine that these sorts of failures aren't a design flaw that should be covered by VW.

    The guy at the dealership said they've had a number of failed bearings on cars with around 45000 miles.

    Any chance VW will cover it?


  • I read a number of people writing about oil leaks in their Passat. I leased a '98 1.8t that also had an oil leak at about 20k. The dealer changed the valve cover gasket and the head gasket to no avail. Finally, they diagnosed the problem as a leak from the turbo. It took a week to order and change. But, I haven't seen a single drip of oil since. The work didn't cost me anything but frustration and being without a car for several weeks. I think part of the frustration most of us experience with problems on the Passat stem from poor (and sometimes, inconsiderate) service from the dealers. Generally, I am very happy with my Passat and intend to either purchase it or a new Passat at the end of my lease.
  • jagat1jagat1 Posts: 31
    I just purchased my B5 Wagon GLS 5 weeks ago. Through the weeks of getting familiarized with this fabulous car, the more quirks I discover and wonder if these are "normal" or common among other B5 owners.

    First I noticed was the way this car steers in low speed. It tends to "hesitate" when turning to either left or right. I feel the tires seem to resist changing direction. My tire pressure seems right for a FWD car though (34f/32r). Is it just a psi issue or worse an alignment(toe-in/out)problem?

    Another quirk I noticed is that sometimes this car hesitates to start while the brake pedal is depressed. When this thing occurs, I noticed the brake pedal is lower than usual(no brake vacuum/pressure??). Is this normal? Now I had the habit to pump the brake once or twice just to make sure the engine starts.

    Lastly, does everyone have some
    "pitting/chipping" on their paintjob? The liftback door of my wagon has some minute pits/chips near the taillight I discovered during it's first wax. I also noticed near the lower left panel some sort of particulate underneath the paint itself. Am thinking if I should bring this thing up with the dealer. Will this pitting cause problems in the future? Will a few dabs of the touch-up paint fix this permanently??...or a paint redo is in order(Hope warranty will cover...will it?)?? Your comments/help will be greatly appreciated.
  • ms9628ms9628 Posts: 1
    I am about to buy a 98 Ford Windstar Gl and wanted to know if the head gasket and the trans problems that they had in 95 & 96 were fixed in the 98s? Also do you know of any other issues they might have with the 98s?
  • You're kidding, right? What does that question have to do with this topic?
  • I purchased a leftover 99 Passat in March 2000. Since purchase, the seal around my sunroof was buckled, the directionals would stick, the ignition had to be replaced. Also, the lighter was nonfunctional and the trunk would not open with a key. The major problem is the airbag light. The light came on the first time and I was told by the dealer the sensor was was replaced. The second time I was told they had a bad batch of sensors and again it was replaced....this time with a "good batch" went off again. The third time ...obviously they are not sure what's wrong...they replaced the "main computer"???? Now I'm looking for the dealer to replace this car with a new one, at no extra cost to me. It's been a nightmare, the car is at the dealership more than I have it. Certainly not what you would expect from a new car!!!
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    My 99 Jetta VR6 GLS had the tires replaced under warranty after the 10k service. They were 15" Goodyear Eagle LS I believe. They wore prematurely - VW replaces - gets reimbursed my Goodyear. Kind of a silent recall.

    Nothing wrong with suspension in my case....

    Just FYI
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Why don't you use the Topic Search feature on the left side of this page for Windstar - look for a current topic on this vehicle in our Vans conference and check through the posts there to see if your question has been discussed.

    If not, feel free to repost there.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • writer2writer2 Posts: 1
    Here's one for the record books -- a busted light switch on my 2000 Passat wagon (6400 miles on the odometer) shut down the engine and left us stranded for two days. Last weekend during a 500-mile drive from Yellow Springs, Ohio to my home in Virginia, my wife noticed that all of a sudden the windows and moon roof would no longer open or close. I pulled off at a rest stop in Jackson County, left the engine running because I was afraid that it wouldn't re-start, and called the dealer in Virginia on my cell phone. It was 3:00 Saturday afternoon and service was closed, but a salesman told me I might have a stuck relay. He told me to turn off the engine and turn it on again to reset the relay. I thought this was a very bad idea but I figured he knew what he was talking about. I'm sure you already know the rest--I turned off the engine and it wouldn't restart--no response, dead. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere. It took VW Roadside Assistance four hours to arrange a tow (not their fault--we were way out in the country on a weekend) and another two and a half hours to get towed to a dealer in West Virginia, who would not be open till Monday morning. Wife suffering from a back injury. Two nights in a motel by a highway. No car rental places open. Monday's business appointments up in smoke.
    The service man ("Rocky") at Moses VW in Barboursville (a very nice guy and a very courteous staff) got to work on the car first thing in the morning but he was puzzled by the problem. Rocky was able to diagnose the problem when I told him that three days earlier the sliding switch broke on the front interior light behind the rear view mirror. The slider is held in place by a small spring, which apparently popped loose when I moved the switch. Rocky took the light unit off and found that the little spring had rattled around in the light unit until we were driving home, when it rolled onto the contact plate for the light, shorted it out, and blew the fuse. Here's the fun part -- the fuse for the damned little light cuts out vehicle's central control module. As long as I kept the engine running I could have kept driving; the blown fuse would not have shut down the engine, but I could not have closed the windows if we ran into a storm. (Did you know that you can hand crank the moon roof shut when you lose power?) I could have driven part of the way home but not the whole way because that light fuse also controls the fuel tank flap! I could have refueled only by prying the flap loose with a screwdriver--there's no manual release for the fuel flap if the fuse blows.
    The dealer did not have a new light unit in stock, so they just disconnected the old one, and I was able to drive home without trouble. Now I have two days of motel and restaurant expenses to present to VW for reimbursement.
    Random observations --
    VW Roadside Assistance answered repeated calls immediately--a couple of times I was on hold for a minute or two. They were courteous, concerned, and helpful. They initially thought the alarm system needed to be reset and talked me through the process (including cranking the moon roof shut); but that didn't work. VW provides towing through AAA, and AAA had a hard time finding a truck available that could make a haul over 100 miles.
    I got an Ohio dealer on the phone who said that Passats have had problems with the power supply relay going out prematurely.
    On older VWs, there has been a problem with the power deduction relay, which causes electrical accessories to remain shut down after the engine starts. You CAN reset this relay by turning off the engine and restarting.
    Do not ever leave your power mirror control knob (the "joystick") in the central position. This leaves the mirror heater on continuously and will burn it out.
    Moral of the story -- Passat owners should be aware that, because of the wacky design of the Passat electrical system, the SMALLEST electrical problem needs IMMEDIATE service.
  • I am close to buying a 2001 passat. It will be 5 speed but am undecided about 4cyl with turbo or 6cyl. Any recommendations?
  • I am also looking at buying a 2001 Passat. I am going with the 4cyl. The biggest problem I have heard about here with the four is the turbo lag. I test drove one and learned how to drive it in 2 miles. This is a small engine with big power. Like all 4s it needs a few RPM before pulling out from a stop. 2000 rpm and you are off. If you like to DRIVE a car buy the 1.8T. If you want an easy, relaxed car get the six. They both can fly down the road, but think about your driving style.

    The manual is best with the 4 cylinder. Those that want an automatic buy the six.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    The best place to look for advice about that is in our Sedans conference. You can use the Topic Search feature on the left side of this page for Passat and then join one of the existing discussions taking place in Sedans.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • Hello all,

    I've had my 1.8t GLS for 2 years now. As most love the car...handling, acceleration, style..all great, but my biggest problem I can tell is that I bought the car about a month after the new style was released....never do that again. Anyway I was wondering if any of you have seen or heard of the following problems:

    1)Dash lights flicker on and off - this was really annoying not to mention a little scary. All inside lights go out whenever I drive over bumps or rough roads..exterior light never blink only internal...replaced all contacts, dash, fuses...everything...finally seemed to stop about 8 months ago, but now it's where as often but occasionaly...and now of course I've blown past the 2/24 warranty. I do have the extended 5/75 but feel that damn thing is worthless...more on that later.

    2)Thermostat show overheating - This one was fun...only went the outside temp dropped below 32 deg did the warning light come on. As soon as car warms up to 190 deg. it goes out. No noticable problems other than it being a nuesence (sp?) of course dealer couldn't reproduce because they are idiot's, but that's another story.

    3)Rotors shot - This one really ticked me off....I have 49,000 miles almost all highway..and have a 5 speed, so when I went to get the brakes done and they told me I needed rotors, I almost hit the I took it to my local mechanic and he confirmed that they were out of spec. Come to find out that this isn't considered a desing flaw and that VW rotors are known to need replacing just about every time you change your pads...insane

    4)Moonroof - windows - Another electrical bonus...the moonroof and windows have a mind of their own....I push up and the window goes down...I shut the moonroof and it decides to re-open. The moonroof seems to be fixed..sensor was too sensitive...but the windows (all of them) still have this phantom problem...

    5)Rattling after letting off of Gas - Not during acceleration only after releasing...I've scoped it as well as's definitely in that area Catalytic Converter, but of course VW disagrees...they have no idea but it can't be the Cat...why can't it? Because then they have to replace it free under the Clean air this is a work in progress...all I've gotten so far is we don't know but the computer shows no problem..thanks and that will be $100....did I say they were idiots...anyhow I'll keep you updated on this one...

    That's about all I can think of right now....if any of you have had any of the smae problems I'd love to hear them...ecspeially if you got them fixed....


  • rdfwwrdfww Posts: 2
    I've had my passat GLX for six months. Love it...except that the "oil pressure stop engine" warning light and alarm has come on every day that I have owned it, usually repeatedly. It occurs after I have driven at highway speeds and then am driving below 40 MPH. Several dealers have looked at it. One replaced the instrument cluster (no success). All tell me that there is no oil pressure problem. Probably a bad sensor. None have replaced it???? Overall VW's service network is courteous, but apparently too overworked to spend any time looking into problems. Has anyone else experienced the oil pressure warning problem? If so, how was it corrected.

  • Hi,
    I just bought a new 2000 Passat GLS - just 2 weeks back. There was a minor problem, the brake lights were not working, so had to turn it in to the dealership. I also noticed that, when I set the cruise control "on", as per the owner's manual, a cruise control light should come up in the left panel (one which shows RPM ). This was not coming up in my car, although i was able to actually do a cruise.
    When I mentioned this to the dealership, the head guy told me, that none of the Passat's in US has this thing working. He said, only the cars in Germany, have this cruise thing working. For US cars, they have dummy lights for cruise control signal, and those dummy lights dont work.
    Is anybody aware of this ? Or, does this cruise control light work propely on your cars ?
    Thanks for your time,
  • dgrillodgrillo Posts: 4
    The cruise light definitely does not work in US Passats ( although we all know this should in a $21000 car).In fact the oweners manual doesen't even mention a light.My 2000 Passat GLS has had one problem that only happened once. The passenger side power window and door lock just stopped one day and then started working again about two hours later. Anyone out there have this happen yet? Other than this everything else has been OK.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I have just over 29k miles on my '99 GLS Turbo, manual tranny Passat... trouble free! :-)

    The only things that have broken on the car, I personally broke myself. I drive a mix of highway and city and certainly don't "baby" the car, nor do I "beat on" it. I have averaged around 28-29 mpg with lows of 25mpg and highs of 32 mpg.

    At 23k miles, I switched to Mobil 1 Synthetic oil. I have 2.5 years left on my lease and thouroughly enjoy the car. The service at my dealership has been very good, but others have not been so lucky.

    My best advise is to find a dealer who does good work and that you can trust. Mine is a VW/AUDI only dealer and I travel 50 minutes each way to get there... it's worth it for the great service I get. A bad dealer can make any little problem into a huge headache.
  • thicks23thicks23 Posts: 42
    A friend of mine has a '00 Passat GLS w/5000k
    miles in Black Magic and I noticed a disturbing
    blemish in his paint. It is an actual hole in his
    clear coat! It is only about as big as an eraser
    head on a pencil but it looks like moisture is
    getting under the clear coat and could cause
    problems. It is on the trunk lid and I haven't
    told him about it yet. He's getting ready to take
    it for the first oil change soon. If the dealer
    is shown the problem will they repaint the trunk lid under warranty or will he be responsible for it?
  • rdfww
    This is either a bad sensor, sending bad data to the computer, or some bad programming in the computer. AFter your long drive, the oil is hot and thin, and it is natural for the oil pressure to drop. The problem is that your computer thinks it is dropping too much, and turns on the light.

    It COULD be that there is some serious problem with the engine oil pressure, but I think you would have found that out by now (with a loud noise). Keep on them, and good luck!
  • socatasocata Posts: 2
    My wife is the primary driver of our 1999 Passat GLS Turbo, and she constantly complains about squeeky brakes. The service techs blame it on harder-than-normal brake pads due to the decrease in asbestos use, and that all cars will have the same problems. Personally I think it's a bunch of crap. I just sold a 1997 Integra that had perfect brakes for 50k and now drive a new Pathfinder that of course is perfect as well.

    Has anyone had the same problems and found a dealer that will address it?
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    My Passat's brakes squeak occasionally too, so do my Volvo's new front brakes.

    It seems to have a lot to do with not only they brand of brake used, but also temperatures, humidity, pedal pressure, etc.

    I know there is a spray that the techs can put on your pads to quiet this... I think it's called "Brake Dressing" or "Brake Quiet."

    If your brakes are in good shape though, you might just have to get used to it.

    Brakes that tend to squeak are harder and cause less dirty brake dust on your wheels. Softer brakes are quieter, but tend to leave your wheels black. It's a trade off.
  • kirshkirsh Posts: 1
    I took a bus today 150 miles from the mountains of Flagstaff, AZ to the Phoenix desert to pick up a new GLX with auto trans.

    After a great indoctrination session with the fleet manager and a test drive, our business was complete. We were sitting in the car saying goodbye and I was preparing to drive home when we heard what sounded like a vibration under the hood.

    I suggested that it might be an intermittent rattle, so we left the engine running (there were no warning lights on) while the manager went to get a mechanic. When they arrived back in two minutes, the sound was gone and the battery light was on.

    Turns out the AC compressor had self-destructed and taken out the fan belt which also turns the alternator.

    The dealer was great. They took me out to lunch while searching in vain for a replacement car in the area or a new compressor. Finally they put me in a free rental car to return home, having ordered the part overnight from LA, with a promise to fixt it Monday. The fleet manager himself will drive it up to Flagstaff Tuesday or Wednesday and take the rental back to Phoenix.

    I couldn't ask more of a dealer. However, I keep thinking about what would have happened had the failure occurred when I was fifty miles out in the desert in the blazing sun with no AS and no phone.

    I'd like some opinions, please. Is this a random failure that can happen on any new car or a portent of unreliability in the future?

    Has anyone else had a similar problem?
  • I've been having clutch problems with my 2000 Passat GLS V6. It only seems to happen after the car has been running for awhile in warmer temps. As I release the clutch and press down on the accelerator, I get some sort of "squealing" noise. It only happens in first and second gear, but does not happen in reverse. I've been getting the runaround from my dealer. Now they've had it for about ten days and don't seem too sure if they've fixed the problem. Has anyone had this problem with their car?
  • yanhaoyanhao Posts: 3

    I posted the problem before and didn't get any answers. Now I am posting again.

    I have a 2000 Passat GLS auto for about two months. I mostly drive on local roads and spent half of the communting time in my company's parking garage. The problem manifests when I drive slowly to find a parking space. There is a skip in the low gear. Whenever the speed reaches 10mph, the car would skip -- feel like jumping forward. I took the car to the dealer for inspection, but after a test drive, they told me it's normal. But since the skip is so obvious that makes me very uncomfortable, I doubt it. Is it normal to have an obvious skip in the passat's 5-speed auto transmissio
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    I'm sorry you didn't get an answer the first time, perhaps this time someone with some thoughts about this will see your post and respond.

    Meanwhile, if you haven't already, you might also want to ask your question in our Passat topic over in the Sedans conference. You should find lots of owners of this model year. Here is a link:

    VW Passat Part VII (Topic #3208)

    If you get some assistance over there, come back here and fill us in, okay?

    Good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • Thank your lucky stars for the timing and a great dealer.

    The A/C unit probably made by an OEM supplier to VW as well as other makers. I don't think it relates to the overall reliability of the car. A tranny on the other hand....

    Drive carefully, break it in properly and keep us posted!
  • I have a 99 Passat GLS 4 cylinder. Please anyone help if you have had anything like this. The car when stopped has at times felt like it nudged forward even with the break on. Well the other day it shot forward like a bullet. I slammed on the breaks but NOTHING stopped the car until it hit a tree. A few years ago the Audi had a similar problem when the RPM's jumped and the cars hit all kinds of things. This is really DANGEROUS and I am concerned about anyone driving a Passat right now with not knowing if the problem is there but no one is talking. Another member of our family has the exact same car and I am concerned for his safety. Also, how do I find out if there is a problem? Will a VW rep. be honest? Would I be allowed to bring an independent mechanic to check the car? Please respond ASAP.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    First I've heard of that happening.

    The Audi "sudden acceleration" issue was found to be purely driver error by multiple invesstigations and courts. Audi was not at fault for anything at all... the people it happened too were pushing the gas instead of the brake. Silly stuff, I know, but that's what happened.
  • Sporin, thanks for the response so quickly. If you read yanhao's question it does appear similar to what I experienced. If that car is moving forward alittle (as I thought mine was doing before while I was stopped) there may be a real problem. The car will not go out of gear unless the break is released. So with at the most 2 ft. to finish parking I put my foot on the brake take it from park to drive and zoom it jumps over the curb and into the trees. One mechanic friend said it sounded like something stuck and the car went to higher RPM's right away or the computer in the car read things wrong. I am concerned for yanhao because that car may jump in traffic etc. How would I get this checked out other than with a dealer. The car is still under warranty. Can a mechanic with a computer that checks these things check them either in our presence or the VW dealers presence. And in case anyone is wondering the carpet was not under the gas peddle. The car accelerated on its own and that is my concern. Thanks for all the input can you give me more.
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