Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    The transmission oil used in VW automatics is an expensive synthetic oil that is supposed to last 100,000 miles between changes. If you can find a synthetic that meets VW specs, by all means go for it. Using conventional transmission fluid is tantamount to asking for future transmission failures, IMHO.
  • janicemjanicem Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 GLX Passat which I purchased one year ago. About 2 months ago, it began making a high pitched noise when I back up out of my garage in the morning. This is the only time it occurs and it occurs perhaps four out of seven mornings. I have taken it to the dealor twice for repair. The have told me two things: 1. they can't find anything wrong and 2. it is "normal" to hear this noise when backing up.
    If it were "normal" why is there nothing in the owner's manual about it and why did it just start? Has anyone else experienced this noise?
  • mpowellmpowell Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2004 GLS. Washers are spraying over the top of the vehicle. Adustment doesn't appear obvious. Manual says it requires a special tool so go to the dealer.
    Is it really that hard?
  • lin8lin8 Member Posts: 5
    Hi there, I just bought a brand new 2004 Passat Wagon yesterday. Drove the car for less than 1 day and it already has big problems:

    1. All the lights within the car stop working (it was ok last night)
    2. Power windows don't work.
    3. Remote control can't lock or unlock the car.
    4. Can't lock all the doors at the same time.

    It looks like the power supply within the car is broken. I can still drive the car and the headlights, dashboard and the radio are working. I found one potential cause of the problem. The dealer didn't close the passage door on the driver side properly when they cleaned the car. So the carpet was flooded with water (I blame myself for not seeing that when I inspected the car). Will that be the cause of the problems? Have any of you experienced a similar problems? Will the dealership take car of the problems? I left a message with the dealership regarding the problems. Thanks for your help.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    Absolutely!!!! The dealer will fix ALL problems. Especially if they caused them. Take the car to the delaer and have them make the car perfect. Ask for a loaner as well!!
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    Sounds the the CCM (comfort control module) is fried.
  • tst1tst1 Member Posts: 1
    After many decades with vw i became increasingly discouraged and went to toyota. unbelievable reliability but ride is to soft and am attracted back to vw if i can be somewhat confident the past is behind. Any thoughts will be appreciated.
  • lin8lin8 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for your response. I think you are right about the problem. But for some strange reasons, all the problems went away this morning. I called the dealership and the service people asked me to bring in the car tomorrow. The service guy sounds very helpful. I hope I will have this fix by tomorrow. Will post with result later. Thanks again for your help.
  • lin8lin8 Member Posts: 5
    Also, with the water problem in the car (again, about 1/2 inch of water in the driver side backseat), will there be any long term issue with the car? Is there any wiring around that area? I'm afraid they will fix the problem tomorrow but it will keep coming back. Thanks.
  • venkatnukalavenkatnukala Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same (Burning smell) problem with my 2000 Passat GLX. Could you please tell me if you found out the reason for this, and how did you fix this. This would save me some bucks with the dealer.
    Thank you
  • vw2kvw2k Member Posts: 2
    Hi, Could anyone tell me if this is around reasonable. my car (VW Passat 2000) has around 83000 miles, are these problems common?
    Front Axle Boots (Both) - $440,
    Carbon Flush and Coolant Temp Sensor - $350
    Rear Brakes - $409
    Serpentine Belt- $120,Right Front Fender Liner- $128
    80,000 mile service - $600 -- Thanks a Lot.
  • niki1niki1 Member Posts: 52
    Does anyone else have this problem????

    I just purchased a new 2004 Passat 1.8T with the manual trany, and when we put in the garage it has this burnt oil smell. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Thanks In Advance
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    How many miles are on your Passat? ALL new cars I have ever owned have a certain smell after I drive them and park in my garage. I think it is just the oils and such burning off. It will go away in time..
  • RivieraRiviera Member Posts: 2
    Hi. Thanks for the info. Am consiering diy on my 1999 rear pads (no pulsing or scraping sounds on the rotors so I am only doing pads). I would like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind.
    Do you know the correrct size of the allen wrench and crescent wrench needed to do the job?
    Is it really necessary to replace the bolts? Haynes says yes.
    Also, Haynes says you can retract the pistons using "a pair of needle nose pliers" but they don't illustrate that. Is it necessary to apply pressure while you rotate the piston or does it "screw" itself back?
    I have done disc brakes on a 1990 buick and replaced one caliper on a saab. How good do you have to be to do this job and get the complex parking brake adjustment right?
    Any help is appreciated.
    Larry Lapham
  • niki1niki1 Member Posts: 52
    The vehicle has about 2000 miles on it, but this smell will linger for hours, and yes I agree with you, that new cars will give off different smells for a while. This is a nasty burnt oil smell. I have owned many new cars, and this one smells the worst by FAR.

    Thanks For The Reply!!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Member Posts: 2,363
    It's not unusual to smell the cosmoline [a protective coating applied to the engine area for overseas shipping] burning off the exhaust manifold as a new car gets used for the first time. This may take a while to get completely burned off. If it persists past 1000 miles, then it is time to start looking for oil leaks around the various seals in the engine - this engine [the 1.8 turbo] has been known to have this problem. Not common, but not unheard of, either...
  • ptgalboptgalbo Member Posts: 3
    I have the same salt problem in a 2004 Passat. My dealer has suggested Monster Mats. Do they help or add to the problem.
  • ptgalboptgalbo Member Posts: 3
    My dealer said that TSB only applies to 4 Motion. Is this true?
  • will12will12 Member Posts: 1
    I have 1999 passat 1.8T and ABS light is ON and Break light is blinking when the engine is ON and hand break is OFF. I checked:
    1. the level of the break fluid
    2. the tightness of the connections under the hood
    3. used 3 computer decoders which said something about communication problems

    Car runs O.K. Any ideas where to start looking?
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    I have the Monster mats. At least they can be cleaned without showing salt on the mat. In the future, i will have to soak up any melted snow that forms in the mat. I never thought there was enough water that it could escape the mat and puddle under the seat, but that does seem to be the case.
  • djcdjc Member Posts: 10
    See my message #768. It sounds like you have the same problem I do. I still haven't gotten any help from the local dealership or the Regional Service department. the estimate to replace the module remains at $1700.
    You're right, the car runs OK, but the blinking lights are an annoyance.
    Let me know if you find anything different.
  • bronsonbbronsonb Member Posts: 170
    I am sure others on the board will respond, but here's my experience. You have a 2000 VW Passat with 83000 miles. I have a 1999 Passat with 90000 miles and a 2003 Passat with 35000 miles.

    You reported the following (my comments in parentheses):

    Front Axle Boots (Both) - $440,

    I had to replace my axles two years ago at much higher cost (went ahead and did the whole axle rather than the boots). The boots are a wear item, so I guess it's no unreasonable to expect that they'd wear out at 83000 miles.

    Carbon Flush and Coolant Temp Sensor - $350

    $350 seems a bit steep. We had the temp sensor replaced for $125 in 2001 (out of warranty). The coolant was flushed recently by a non-VW owned repair shop for about $50.

    Rear Brakes - $409

    Seems about on par with what my dealership charges, which is why I have someone else do it for less, not much less, but it is less expensive, and the parts are better than VW parts (last longer).

    Serpentine Belt- $120,

    I've had mine replaced twice (never broke - just preventive maintenance). My mechanic used the VW belt, which cost $60. He charged me $40 for labor, so $120 at the dealer seems like a good buy.

    Right Front Fender Liner- $128

    I had one of those wear through too. Something knocked the engine cover out of whack, and that pushed the fender liner to the wheel. But all of that ended up being covered by my insurance (longer story).

    80,000 mile service - $600

    I've not had any of the "dealer recommended" services done because they do a lot of "check fluid level" stuff and charge you a bundle. The one time I did let them do the service, they didn't check ANY of the fluid levels because they were all low and were still low when I picked the car up. So I do that stuff myself now or have a private mechanic do it. $600 does seem in line with what VW charges for that kind of stuff though.

    So overall, I'd say you weren't taken for a ride except that the coolant flush and temp sensor replacement seems a bit steep. You could probably do better on prices if you can find a trustworthy mechanic.

    Hope this helps.
  • peteipetei Member Posts: 1
    The windshield in my 2004 Passat developed an 8 inch crack overnight, while in the garage which is heated (55F). The crack started at the side of the windshield, at the support and is meandering inward and upward. The vehicle hasn't been wet and it hasn't been excessively cold, so I think freeze and thaw isn't an issue, and there was no damage to the windshield from a rock or anything else that would cause and imperfection in the glass to lead to a crack. Any ideas?
  • melloumellou Member Posts: 5
    My fiance and I took delivery of our 2005 Passat GLS last night. We drove it back to my place on the freeway...about 12 miles. By the time we were getting off the freeway, the MIL light was flashing on and off, the car was slightly shaking, and it almost stalled when the light turned green (it has an automatic trans). Also, it SMELLED so a disgusting burning smell.

    What the hell could all this mean? We called the dealership immediately and left a voice mail for the sales manager (they were closed). He called my fiance back this morning and we had the car towed back to the dealership so they can inspect the car.

    It was fine when we test drove it an hour before we leased it?? Any suggestions? We're really worried about this considering the car only has about 30 miles on it in total!!!
  • melloumellou Member Posts: 5
    This happened to my fiance when we took deliver of his brand new 2005 Passat last night. It was fine on the test drive, but when we took the 10 mile drive home on the freeway, it started freakin out. Slight shuddering, and when he exited the freeway and stopped at the red light, the MIL light came on and it almost stalled when the light turned green! When he parked the car, it smelled VERY burning rubber?

    We called the dealer right away and it was towed back over there this morning. The car only has about 30 miles on it!! What the hell is going on?
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I am so sorry to hear about your car problems. I would be upset to. I really don't know what the issue could be....if I had to guess I would say it might by Coil Pacs(sp) (Stalling). These were recalled in earlier model year Passats, but should be fine in newer models (i.e. '04 & '05). But, the burning smell confuses me. Others on this board will have more to say of the cause of your problems. Please keep us informed on what goes on and good luck!!!!
  • melloumellou Member Posts: 5
    Update (you're not going to believe this)....

    Service manager called yesterday at 4:30pm. Said that he believes he's found the problem - the manufacturer installed the wrong "coils" on the car! Have you ever heard of such a thing on a brand new vehicle? He said that's what was causing the problems we experienced on the freeway when we drove it home Sunday night. He said they would replace them and all would be well. I'm very worried.
  • mlb2mlb2 Member Posts: 1
    I am new to this forum and this topic may have been discussed in the past, but I did not see it.

    I have a 2003 Passat Wagon.

    I have a hard grease like substance on the lower outside door jam edges that continues to appear overtime even after cleaning.

    The dealer stated that this is cozmolene??? undercoating that is seeping out from underneath the vehicle when it gets hot.

    I have noticed a hard white/clear wax like substance if I run my finger along the bottom edge of the door and appears to be around the lower door panel screws.

    The grease gets on my pants legs when lifting out the kiddos and drips on my drive. It is truly an annoying problem and it does not seem like an undercoating should seep like this. I live in a coastal area of southern CA where the temperatures are moderate.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  • bindhubindhu Member Posts: 20
    Thank you 600kgolfgt for your answer, do you have pointers as to where i could find the oil or the specs?
  • redhookredhook Member Posts: 1
    I turned my car on the other day and the two temp gauges were reading Celsius (after showing Fahrenheit for 5 years). I am unable to find how to set the temp gauges back to Fahrenheit.

    Anyone else figure it out?

  • melloumellou Member Posts: 5
    Update to my update.....

    They said the car is ready to be picked up...they replaced ONE coil, not all of them. That bothers me. Shouldn't they have replaced them ALL?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Member Posts: 2,363
    Yep, it's cosmolene. They inject it into the doors, and apply it on surfaces that might be subject to corrosion during shipping. Some cars seem to have this problem with seepage more than others. About the only thing I can suggest around the door sills is to use a paper towel regularly until the stuff stops showing up, which it will eventually do. The stuff from under the car is being heated by the exhaust system, so the ambient air temp has little to do with how much you see.
  • mrjettemrjette Member Posts: 122
    I had the same problem on an '02 Jetta. I think some cars get too much of the stuff sprayed on. Mine was in the passanger door, and it seeped everytime I parked with that door facing the sun. Just like the interior heats up in the sun, the temperature within the door panels must get fairly hot (it was a black car which probably did not help).

    I just kept cleaning it up. It did not stop for a year, so they must have really oversprayed! I finally traded it for other reasons, but this was annoying.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    Good question!! Did you ask you dealer the same question? It does sound odd, but not unheard of for the coils to go bad. As you probably know, the Coils in models with the 1.8t engine were recalled a couple of years ago. But, it was my understanding, that VW switched suppliers and all was right with the world with the Coils. I think Passat's have 4 coils in the 4cyl engine, so I would ask the service manager why only 1 was replaced. If all 4 are the incorrect one's then all need to be replaced at once and not as they fail!!!
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    The VW specs for Automatic transmission fluid is
    ATF 7176+4. However, the only places you will find this is either at the dealership or online.

    Here's a site where it's referenced:

    AMSOIL is an excellent synthetic transmission fluid that exceeds VW's standards. Here's a couple of links to AMSOIL related sites: amsoil-automatic-transmission-fluid.htm
  • melloumellou Member Posts: 5
    We picked up the car last night, although we still have our Jetta which we will keep until the weekend (we're turning in the leased 2000 1.8T Jetta for this new leased Passat). The car ran great. We drove it for hours and I drove it this morning to work.

    Service guy said that only one coil was bad and "they only got authorization from VW to replace ONE coil and no more...."
  • vicki2vicki2 Member Posts: 2
    I got an '01 Passat on Feb. 12th. two weeks later there was a pinkish/red leak under it that evaporated. took it in to the dealer, they couldn't find any leaks and all fluids were fine. two days later, same fluid leaked under it, took it in, same story-- they can't find anything and the fluid levels are fine. it's done this same leak every couple of days for a month. I finally caught enough of it to get the mechanic to identify is as coolant, but the levels are still all at "max" and they can't find where it's leaking from. it only does it after it sits OVER 12 hours. 8-9 hours at work it has never leaked. it's always over 12 hours, then it lets loose! all levels are still at max, the car has been at the dealer for almost three days this time and they say it isn't leaking a bit for them.
    any ideas of where this phantom leak is coming from and how it is leaking this much if none of the fluid levels are dropping? it's making me -- and the mechanic-- nutz!
  • vw2kvw2k Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for your response. I did do some shopping around and got the dealer to the following prices:

    Serpentine Belt- $95
    + 10 % off on all the parts and labor including the 80K miles service.

    Brakes - I did not get them done from the dealer. Other shops are offering $180-190 (Probably the dealer will replace the rotors??) and these other shops will just turn them???
  • bronsonbbronsonb Member Posts: 170
    vw2k - Glad to hear you got a reasonably price on the serpentine belt (at least for a dealership). Regarding the brakes, VW said that VW factory brakes have to be replaced, including rotors. They cannot be turned (at least on 1999 Passats), but I think that's also true for later models.

    The guy who does the service on my Passats put different rotors on last time that he said would (a) wear better, (b) aid in not generating so much brake dust(along with the pads he got as well), and (c) not have to be replaced with each brake job. He said they could be turned at least once and maybe twice.

    So far, I've not had to have the brakes re-done on the 1999, and it's been two years, so that's pretty good. Plus, brake dust is WAAAAY down on the '99 Passat. Our 2003 Passat still gets TONS of brake dust - must clean the wheels weekly to keep on top of it.

    I would guess that if a shop is pricing the brakes at less than $200 that they're not replacing the rotors. Even with after market rotors, my brake job still ran in the $500 range, if I recall correctly...

    Hope this helps.
  • bronsonbbronsonb Member Posts: 170
    Hello - Today my wife discovered that this small plastic/rubber gasket at the base of the antenna on her 1999 Passat sedan is split and was coming off.

    I just looked online to see if that part can be purchased by itself, but it looks like you have to purchase the entire mast and base and replace the unit.

    That would mean removing the headliner to get access to the nut that hold the unit in and connect the cable.

    Has anyone on this board had an antenna replaced at the dealership before? If so, how much? I found one post from 2001 where a guy said the dealership quoted him $600 for a new antenna. Yikes! Part of me is ready to put the split gasket back on and try some silicone to seal it rather than pay $600 to replace it.

    I saw one post where someone mentioned going to a stereo shop to get them to replace the antenna. That's an idea I might check into.

    I will stop by the VW parts store tomorrow to see if they do, in fact, sell just the gasket and if there's a way to replace it without removing the mast base. We'll see. But in the meantime, any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

  • japherjapher Member Posts: 10
    I bought a 2004 Passat with a 1.8L engine last October. Six months and 5000 miles have now gone by and its time for the first oil change, which I prefer to do myself. Unfortuately, I can't find the oil drain plug. I've crawled around below the engine and can't find anything that looks like an oil drain plug. I hope I don't have to move the plastic fairing that covers the bottom of the engine.

    I'd apprecate some guidance.
  • bronsonbbronsonb Member Posts: 170
    Japher - Yup - you have to remove the plastic skid plate at the bottom of the engine. It's not TOO hard. There are two plastic screws located on the inside of each front wheel well. One half turn unlocks those and they pop out.

    Then there are 2 screws located under the front bumper along with a nut (11mm?) at the center of the front bumper. Then at the back of the skid plate are three screws, one on each end and one in the middle. I think a half turn removes each of those.

    The skid plate will then drop down but shouldn't come off entirely. Once it drops, you should see the oil pan and the drain plug.

    Also, to get to the oil filter, you'll need to remove the coolant reservoir. You don't need to disconnect it - just unscrew the screws and move it to the side to access the oil filter.

    And I am sure others will reiterate this: Make sure you use a VW oil filter (should be a rather large one) and use 5w40 or 0w40 motor oil. 5w40 is available at NAPA and 0w40 at various places (I know Advance Auto Parts carries it).

    I know when you remove the filter, a lot of oil comes out, so be prepared to soak it up with something. You'll see what I mean when you get it off.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.
  • japherjapher Member Posts: 10
    Thank you very much Bronsonb. It wasn't much fun, but I completed the job.

    I used 5W30 oil, which my owner's manual lists as an alternative. Unfortunately I did not have a VW filter. I used a penzoil filter I bought earlier today. It isn't quite as big, but it does fit,> I won't make a habit of using aftermarket filters and hope this one will be okay until the next change.

    Thanks again.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Member Posts: 2,363
    If you're a serious do-it-yourselfer, you should invest in a Top-Sider, or similar device, to pull the oil out through the dipstick tube and not use the drain plug at all. These are very effective and not all that expensive these days - do a Google search and you'll see plenty of alternatives.

    Also, be VERY careful about the oil you use, and keep meticulous records. VW loves to deny engine claims if you have deviated even in the slightest way from their maintenance recommendations. For that reason alone, I would be very wary of using a non-OEM filter in this car. Make sure the oil you use meets precisely the standard VW states in the manual for this engine.
  • duchess809duchess809 Member Posts: 1
    My question is how do I enter the radio code. I have my husband's 1999 v6 Passat, I have the radio code but do not have the owners manual. Can someone tell me how to enter the code or where to find the directions of line. Thank you for your patience as I did not discuss oil changing issues but I saw you were online earlier today and seemed knowledgeable. Sincerely, Maggie
    ps the tow truck driver left the lights on, the battery went dead when it was towed to the mechanic for new cv joints. It will be a great surprise for him if I can get this fixed today.
  • bill1975bill1975 Member Posts: 19
    Hello. I've been monitoring this forum quite a bit and have been on some other VW forums as well. I'm going to be purchasing a "new used" car soon. And have it down to a Passat and Mazda 6. I'm a little confused as it seems people either love and have few, if any, problems with the car, or they hate it, and its a total piece of junk. My impression is: 1) Internet forums usually are home to many people who want to gripe or have problems, so I'm not getting a balanced view :) 2) The Passat requires more vigilent maintenance, 3) If I can find one that has used only synthetic oil and has no ignition coil issues, I should be ok. 4) Some early models had control arm issues. Was this fixed? If so what year? 5) VW has fixed things bit by bit since the introduction of the B5 - I've noticed most complaints are on models through 2002. I've heard few complaints about 2003 - 2005 models. Anyone know specifically what has been fixed? It seems the last few years (03-05) have been better but VW got such a black eye from the oil sludge and coil issues, that any improvements have gone unnoticed.

    So thats what my impression has been. I would appreciate any input. I really love the car and was shocked to hear so many bad things about it. It seems to be more reliable than most VW cars. I also don't mind doing some of my own basic maintenance so hopefully that will prevent some dealership horror stories.

    Thanks for your help!
  • dasatodasato Member Posts: 2
    I'm not a mechanic but I would. I'd suggest you ask th dealer

    anyone out there know Passat's? I have a 2001 and Have a OBD code of P0171 "Engine Too Lean". I've replaced the suction value and cleaned the air passage to the turbo (4cylinder). Car only has 35k on it and I'm frustrated that this this is occuring w/ such a new car.


  • dasatodasato Member Posts: 2
    Hello there. Yea, you are probably right about people and their responses. Most people only voice concerns not positives. I think this is human nature (right or wrong). I own a 2001 Passat. I would say from a looks standpt it is good but from an engineering one prone to require maintenance. I'm dealing w/ an emissions control issue w/ my Passat w/ only 35k miles. In addition to that there was valve cover leak that needed to be replaced due to leaking oil, cup holder issues, etc... Personally I think Honda's and Toyota's are the most reliable out there. Nutshell, I'll never buy a VW again. Can't say much about the Mazda but I haven't heard near the issues as VW.

    Good luck!

  • cammlcamml Member Posts: 3
    Informed ambivalence is probably a pretty reasonable response.

    After a year, my 2004 AWD manual 4 cylinder wagon is just a pleasure to drive. After my last two Hondas, there was a short adjustment to the feel of the car, but the interior is beautiful and the sense of solidity is very gratifying. I love this part of it.

    The downside is little maintenance details. A couple of plastic strips on the roof needed gluing down (under warranty) and the emissions system protested briefly during the coldest part of early Feb. after sitting out a week at night (new programming for the ECU probably fixed it, warranty again, happy since).

    The other issues (oil sludge, only in 4 cylinder engines without synthetic; control arms; coil packs) are likely to be past history from 2003 on.

    What will follow is never certain, but the car is just fun to have if you are mechanically informed and patient. Sorry to be cliched, but owning VWs will in my opinion remain thus until European car makers prove a new emphasis on reliability.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    Just Curious: Was the 5W30 oil you used Synthetic? VW sent a letter out to all 1.8t engine owners giving the oils that need to be used in order for the sludge issue to be covered under their extended warranty. According to the list. The only 5W30 synthetic oils vw recommends:

    - Pennzoil-Quaker State European Formula Ultra
    -Quaker State Full Synthetic European Formula Ultra
    -Valvoline Synpower
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