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VW Passat Wagons (GL, GLS, GLX & W8)



  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    What tires do you have?
    What was wrong that you changed them? Regular wear or abnormal wear?
    What kind of transmission do you have?
    Do you ride brakes by any chance?

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Heh, I'm going to be mounting my third set of tires before 35,000 miles! I got 22,000 miles out of the OEM Michelins MXV4's and I'm at 12,000 miles on a set of Continental CH 95's. I was really disappointed in the Contis.

    My driving is strictly urban/suburban. In my area, the road surfaces are very abrasive "tar & chip" topcoated.

    This is all despite religious attention to rotation, alignment and tire pressure - all borne out by the fact that the tires wear very evenly across the tread pattern, both front and rear.

    I'm still on my original set of front brake pads and on the first set of replacement pads for the rears, installed around 25,000 miles. I don't ride the brakes and I downshift descending the hills here in hilly western PA.

    The second set of pads is wearing much better than the first. I used aftermarket pads (PBR Deluxe Plus - good wear, very low dust, and quiet, too). I replaced the rotors with the pads just on general principles. DIY it cost me around $80 to do the job on the rear brakes.
  • I don't ride the brakes and I have stopped stomping on the gas when taking off from stop signs etc. I changed my driving habits after I wore through the OEM Michelin's at 31k. I replaced the OEMs with Bridgestone RE750's. The Bridgestone's wore out at 57k (24k miles on the tires) and were replaced by Yokohama h4-v4's. The tire guy swears these will last 50k. I'm not holding my breath.

    I have a GLX 4 motion with automatic transmission. I downshift on the hills as my transmission seems to be a lot stronger than my brakes! I do normal around town and highway driving. I'm on the California coast where there's no snow and nominal rain fall.

    My tires wore around the edges. Proper tire pressure was maintained and the alignment has been checked frequently. I'm now having the tires rotated myself and am looking for a good independent mechanic in Santa Cruz to work on the car as I don't think the dealer really does what they say they do.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    2003 VW Passat 1.8T wagon auto.
    60000 miles. 2nd set of tires. OEM Michelin MXV4 replaced around 30000 during winter as they were getting scary. Still plenty of tread left. Replacement - Bridgestone RE950. Still good to go.
    Rear brakes replaced, fronts original - unless my memory is really bad.

    Questions: Alignment - does good mean withing spec or right where it is supposed to be? There is a range and if you get border cases then it may not be that good.
    The edges - outside edges? It could be toe out (I wish I knew but it looks like this from front \---/). It could also be aggresive cornering. Do you drive through mountains? California has everything but where do you drive?

    Bridgestone RE750 is "Ultra High Performance Summer" tire with UTQG rating 340 AA A. Such tires usually wear faster than grand touring tires (like original Michelins).


    PS I just did 60000 service at dealer and they did rotate tires. I should have asked them not to as I did it recently myself. I treat it as a workout ;-)
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:

    My tires wore around the edges. Proper tire pressure was maintained and the alignment has been checked frequently.

    Do you mean that the tires wore on both the inner and outer edge? To me, that's a classic sign of underinflation. What PSI are you using?

    Personally, I've gotten very even wear (albeit rapid) using 32 PSI all around. This is a higher amount than the tire pressure placard calls for in my driving situation (under 100 mph and half load).
  • asjaasja Posts: 22
    I have a 2002 Passat V6 glx wagon. The OEM Michelins lasted 62K and they were great tires. I just had the rear brakes replaced at 63K (5 years).

    This car has been great, no problems. It's surprising to hear about all these complaints.
  • flying1flying1 Posts: 2
    my car is 2000 VW passat, 91000 miles. for recent days, I started receiving a Warning indicator light on my dashboard, "Oil Press. Stop Car. See Manual." what should I do? does anyone has same problem before? I booked a appoinment with VW dealer at next friday, can I still drive this car before that?
  • flying1flying1 Posts: 2
    forgot to say that I checked there is no leaking, oil is at normal level, and it runs no different from before.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Suggest you don't run the car until you have it checked. I'm guessing this is a 1.8T engine. I'll further go out on a limb and hazard a guess that your engine is suffering from a clogged oil pickup screen in the oil sump. Do a Yahoo search on "Passat oil sludge" and you'll find all the info that you need and what it is, why it forms, and what can be done about it.
  • barondbarond Posts: 1
    The window trim on the inside of my 99 Passat came unglued, and I can’t find anything to make it stick. Any ideas? The dealer wants to charge $270 to replace the whole window trim.
  • Traded my 2003 Passat GLS Variant tonight. Really tough to let go. Mine was an excellent example. 52k, still handled very well, looked great, held up well. Loved the 1.8t engine, great performance and economy. Never had any issues other than the recall stuff that came up although I never had the problems that were cited in the recall(right rear wheel well gas filler neck protector, coilpack replace, seat heaters replaced). Normal wear and tear....2 sets of tires(originals and set of Nokian WRX's) Rear brakes twice and fronts once. Someone out there is going to get a great car. Loved the Monsoon stereo too. Kids are getting bigger so bought a minivan! Honda Odyssey. Hope to get a VW GTI 5 door when we get ready to sell our 98 Honda CRV.
  • hoganjahoganja Posts: 1
    I am new to forums... So be patient. I've got the 2003 W8 Passat wagon with what seems a burnt out daylight bulb (not headlamp, the low beam/daylight lamp.

    Can't find them locally or on-line. Can you assist?
  • lora727lora727 Posts: 2
    Update on the brake booster issue due to debris clogging the air plenum drain area...VW has finally admitted this is a problem on ALL 2002 Passats & Passat Wagons and issued Service Action P9. In brief, the dealer will "inspect, clean & modify the air plenum drain, modify the sunroof drain and install an improved seal for the pollen filter..."
    They will also reimburse for any repairs caused by dirt and debris clogging the air plenum area. I had this problem 14 months ago, and even though I was past the Warranty years, I contacted VW Customer Care and they did reimburse me for the part. I have sent in the form to get reimbursed for the repair costs.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Thanks for posting a happy conclusion to your problem from last year!
  • Take note of the last sentence in 1st para of "What is the Problem".

    "In rare cases, during cold weather, frozen water may impede proper performance of the brake vacuum assist."

    I think they are referring to my car. We get a lot of rain in Vancouver, but this day it was -8C, and as i entered the first corner I found we had next to no brakes. Luckily there was a snow pile on the side of the road (rare here) so I dumped the car into that. No damage as only going 20kph, but not fun. I wasn't meant to be driving that day, and my wife usually takes the alternate route where the first braking area is a T-junction onto a major roadway.

    Once in the shop (not a VW dealer) it turned out that water had pooled where the brake vacuum assist is located, as the drain BELOW the vacuum assist was plugged by leaf debris. Therefore, when the temperature dropped below zero it froze and either seized and/or cracked the assist, rendering it inoperable.

    So when you take the car in, ask if the drain is blocked.

    I reported the incident to Transport Canada and VW back in Nov 2006, so seems like they followed up.

    All labour and parts, plus required towing and rental car, are going to be covered by VW, but having no brakes is not fun.
  • I have suffered from this problem and Alan Day (their main London based dealer) are refusing to repair my car. VW are being evasive about claiming responsibility for the damages it has caused. Do you have any info or links to websites where I can find information about this issue. I may have to sue.


  • Joe,

    See if you can, get a copy of Service Action #9 sent out in November 2006. If you can't I can dig it out and send you a pdf.

  • OMG!!! I am sooooo Pissed! I have an 02 passat where last winter of 06' I experienced this exact issue. My vehicle made a sloshing sound in the dash area when I would make a turn then my brakes failed to work when the temps where below freezing. I brought the vehicle to my local dealer (winter 06') in Syracuse NY Roger Burdick VW and they told me they didn't notice any issue and charged me to flush the brake lines which I didn't need ($90). The temps never went below freezing so my brakes where fine until this thanksgiving evening (07') same issue lost brakes, couldn't push on the brake pedal felt frozen (problem 1). Then the next day same thing happened and after pushing with all my force on the brake pedal the brakes totally seized up while driving. I was told by the dealer (after having to have vehicle towed 30 miles) this was due to the brake vaccum failing which obviously was a result of problem one. Now the dealer wants to charge me $560 to fix the brake vaccum and $90 to diagnose a problem caused by the faulty item saying they don't think think my brake issues are caused by water in the brake booster freezing.
    Hopefully this makes sense. I have never been a fussy customer, ever. I have seen some posts about joining a lawsuit which I would love to do because this is just wrong vw should pay for all expenses related to this problem. If anyone has had success in getting reimbursed for damages caused by this recall please contact me at my name is Rob. Thanks in advance for any info.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Have you contacted VWoA directly?

  • Thanks for the post.

    Firstly; I am in the UK and have been dealing with VW UK directly. I never received any correspondence as the one you have there. I dont believe they sent them out in the UK.

    VW refer to this as a workshop action and not a "recall" with the real difference being that a recall would be considered something that they are legally obliged to do because of safety concerns.

    They refer me to p28 of the service manual which alludes to the regular cleaning of the air plenum to prevent debris build up and since they've declared in the manual any damage occurring from this neglect would be my responsibility.

    What they dont mention in the manual is HOW to clean he air plenum and the consequences of not doing so (no brakes).

    I will be pursuing a legal action. Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.
  • Yes I have. Basically the jist of what they said was that they defer to the dealer to provide the diagnosis. My dealer is saying that they can't recreate the first issue of the brakes freezing up so they can't draw a clear conclusion that that is what caused the brake vaccum pump to fail even though the brake vaccum pump failed at the exact time the issue of having to push on the brake pedal as hard as possible occured. I feel like I am going to get screwed.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'd try another dealer, and I'd take that letter with me and say "this is exactly what my car is doing."
  • If you need something else besides the Srevice Action posted in msg #1881, this is the email i sent to the Canadian Federal Govt Dept - Transport Canada:


    From: xxx, Michael
    Sent: December 06, 2006 9:36 AM
    To: ''
    Subject: VW Passat (2001): failure of brake booster


    As discussed, please find attached the scan of the repair bill for the frozen booster pump.

    VIN #: WVWVD63B12E100480


    Brake booster pump failed on our 2001 Passat and I had to dump the car into a snow bank. The failure mechanism seems to be related to a blocked drain hole that led to pooling of water and both corrosion of the part and freezing on the day of the incident. Temperature was -8 or 9C at the time. Brakes may have “worked”, but VERY marginal as I did not slow appreciably from approximately 15 to 20 kph.

    Michael xxx
    xxx xxxx Road, North vancouver, BC
  • Hi,

    I'm also in the UK and having what could be similar problems (Passat Estate Sept 2001)

    Firstly, brakes appeared squelchy as though there was air in the system, then a week later approx -3 degrees the brakes locked on and would not release and clips breaking below the dash - this ended up with £200 bill for replacement. 3 days later -5 degrees and the brakes again locked - car taken to VW and they say they cannot reproduce the problem although changing the servo ~£700 "might" fix the problem.

    Showed them the VW letter posted earlier and all they say is that cars in the UK are not necessarily the same build an parts as those in USA/Canada.

    Have you got anywhere with VWUK? I would like to follow this up in parallel with you.
  • Hi Rob,

    I've got what sounds like the same problem, but no luck getting VW to fix it yet; I'll watch this forum; please post (or send me a message) if you have any luck getting paid back by VW. I am glad just to see your message, as I haven't been able to get my car's brakes fixed, and am scared to drive it (I've tried both my VW dealer and another mechanic who has helped me with tough-to-diagnose problems in the past, and they cannot find a problem with the brakes).

    I have had the brakes fail _twice_, both times in wet conditions right before I was leaving town for a couple of weeks, and both times there was water in the passenger compartment when I returned and tried to have someone address the brake problems. The brake pedal would move maybe 1/2 an inch or so, and then get really hard and not move at all, with perhaps 5% of the brake power one would expect when pushing on the brakes. Fortunately the hand brake was not affected, and I have a manual transmission and can downshift to slow the car, but neither of these is an adequate replacement for the main braking system! By the time I returned from my trips the brakes functioned normally again, making it hard to diagnose the problem or know whether it is being fixed.

    The first brake failure was in August (2007), when the problem occurred during heavy rain. The local dealer did the "P9" repair on the plenum and took out, dried, and re-installed the carpet (and even got VW to pay for it --- kudos to Piazza VW of Ardmore for that!). But they didn't do anything about the brakes, as far as I know (the "P9" letter had arrived while I was away, and I took this to the dealership and asked them to do the required service, but may not have specifically told them to fix the brakes. I can't remember exactly what I said when I took it in. I think I was relieved that the brakes where a known problem and could thus be fixed).

    The second failure happened just a couple of weeks ago, on a cold morning when the car had been covered in snow. I took it back to the dealer for service this morning, and emphasized the brake problem was not fixed. They have examined it and cannot find a problem (which is understandable, as I can't demonstrate it now, but not exactly reassuring). Also, they say that this is a different problem, and the water is coming from a leaky door seal, which is probably true, but they want me to pay the $95 for inspecting the brakes since they don't think that the P9 service is involved. Ugh.

    Did the brake vacuum repair actually fix your brakes? Exactly what did they repair or replace? At this point I am more concerned about being killed while driving than getting VW to pay for this, but it would be nice to both get it fixed and get VW to pay if it is related to P9 or otherwise a manufacturing issue.

    Also, I submitted a complaint to NHTSA at According to the person I called on the phone, they will send me a printed copy of the web form in 4-6 weeks, and I'll need to sign it and send it back, and an engineer will review the problem to determine whether or not there needs to be a recall. I assume that the odds of this go up if there are several people complaining, so you might want to submit a description of your problem, and we'll see if NHTSA decides to act on it.

    Dave (in Ardmore, PA, USA)
  • Replacing the brake booster solved my problem, which involved lots of smoke pouring out of the exhaust and a total inability to drive the car (Passat 2002 wagon). Though I was past the maximum-years warranty, I was under 50,000 miles and VW did pay for the part! I have since had the service for the P9 recall, and submitted the paperwork to have the labor paid. VW refused my request, though, as the dealer's service dept. did not cite the air plenum as the cause of the brake booster failure.
  • My wife and I are very happy with our 2003 4Motion Wagon Passat. We bought it in 2007 wih only 30k-mi. After living in AK for 27years and driving big SUV's we decided to downsize in hopes to gain better gas mileage. Like I said we are very happy with our purchase, but the gas mileage wasn't what I expected. We are getting 21-22MPG on the HWY and about 19in the city. Is this about right? The Passat has the 2.8L and I use Royal Purple on my oil changes; no major change. Although the mechanic did say I could save money by continuing to use Royal Purple and changing the oil every 9k-mi. I know this isn't what VW recommends. I would like to see some feedback on the use of Royal Purcple and what I can do to improve gas mileage.
  • I have the same problem. Although my Passat pulls hard to the left.
  • I got the problem fixed by changing the servo. I will be writing the letter very soon and will let you know of the outcome.
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the information, the VW garage recommended this as one of their engineers had carried out a private fix for another customer and this had seemed to work. Unfortunately this an very expensive experiment although it looks like I may have to take this route. The car is currently with an independent garage as VW franchised dealers hourly rates are too high for "experiments".

    I will let you know what he finds.

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