19th Nov 2006, 15:17

My 1995 Passat was wonderful for the first several years after it came home new to me. Then the warranty was done and the fun began. To date I believe I am trying to build a new auto with the parts I have replaced or should replace, but am out of dough. So far I have had windows that go up and down for no reason; a sun roof that will not shut completely; a whistling in the gas tank; two (yup 2) axles that needed replaced; boots, bearings and joints have all been replaced, brakes that whined, the battery exploded; a heater core that went bad and was replaced; a seat belting warning tone that would not stop even though the belts were buckled; swamped spark plugs and an engine light that has been on for the past five years without apparent reason. Today when I drove up the hill by my house there was yet another noise, slight vibration and well I am calling my mechanic once again. I only have 80,000 miles on this car. I drove my Dodge Dart back in the day 100,000 miles and would still be driving it had the body not rusted away. So fellow VW owners I feel your pain. I am saddened because I need this car to make it a few more miles. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

3rd Jan 2007, 10:26

My experience with VW customer service and a lack of support for older VW's have changed my mind on ever buying another VW.

The check engine light on my 1997 Cabrio with 55,000 miles recently came on. The dealer mechanic said a valve in the transmission was stuck, so the car was actually driving in third gear all the time. Although the car is almost 10 years old, I didn't think I should be having transmission problems with such low mileage.

My complaint is that although I needed only a $100 part, VW said I had to buy an entire new transmission for $3,600, including labor. I tried VW customer service to see if it was possible to get just the single part and to let them know I thought this was rather unfair.

I was told that (1) customer service stands behind their dealers (I never complained about the dealer) ; (2) the car is, after all, 10 years old!; (3) parts come from Germany and they can't make every part for just one car; (4) she's not a mechanic, she's in Michigan and can't examine my car (again, I did not question the dealer's diagnosis).

She, and her supervisor, never really listened to what I was asking and couldn't get off their scripts. If I had a real problem with the dealer, I wouldn't expect any help from VW.

25th Feb 2007, 20:51

I have an 02 Passat, about 75k miles and trouble free. Also have an 01 Beetle, no problems at all. I can't believe all the fools who go to the dealer for service. I service my own car for the most part - tune-ups, oil changes, brakes, tire rotation, etc. My dealer replaced all 4 coils when the car was still in its first year - no problem, under warranty. The only repair I have made is to replace front axle boots, and I took that to a local foreign car mechanic since I didn't want to do that job - breaking the axle nuts loose is not easy.

Sorry to see people having troubles with the vw's, but I can't stand Honda and Toyota - they are the most boring cars I've ever driven.

11th Mar 2008, 13:22

VW cars are the crappy cars.. engine check light is like a recurring deposit for the maker and the service centers. Every three months we get to deposit 600-1200 dollars to them.

Nice scam by VW.

14th Sep 2008, 17:58

Is there a hidden flaw in VW 1.8 gas turbo engine?

I have had two Passats, 02 and now 05. Loved the 02, gave me no problems, and after 12,000 miles traded it for a big v8 Tourage. It did not fit easy in the garage, so I traded it for a new 05 Passat wagon. It had issues with a fuel evaporating system early on and someone at the dealership finally made a judgment call and replaced the pump so check engine light stayed off. After 9,000 miles and car almost 3 years old, check light came on, dealer replaces a part on the same system, and as I'm driving it home there is a vibration while in gear at stop light. Back to dealer I'm told that the vibration is normal, but I know this is not normal for my car. Four months later, VW had done every thing it can to fix the rough idle, but it is still present.

The rough idle cannot be adjusted, according to Field Operations Manager because VW has locked out the access to the computer during a recent update program. I otherwise enjoy my VW, believe the service people have gone above and beyond what I expected, and have good feelings about VW of A Customer Care. I sat in another VW like mine with 3 times the miles and it vibrated more than mine. The rough idle did not come with my car, and there has to be method to fix it.

2nd Jan 2010, 04:16

I just sold my VW Passat 3B 1.9 TDI Stc. after two years of ownership. Even though it was a somewhat expensive secondhand car, I thought it a best-buy at the time. When I bought it, the mileage was merely 74.000, and when sold just 95.000.

After a few months, the fuel tank door could not be operated. It said in the owners manual, that the door could be operated manually; but that was not the case with this car. I broke the lock, - and that solved the problem for a while.

Later on, I encountered problems locking and unlocking the rear left door with the remote central locking. Next thing was that the car itself opened all windows, when I was away and the car was parked and locked.

The cause of these problems turned out to be humidity under the floor rug, where there are dozens of electrical joints laying totally exposed to humidity.

According to my workshop manual, all electrical connections should be made by the fusebox; but this was not the case in the real world. VW seems to simply apply new joints under the rug, when needed, as they move on, making the car. This is clearly a construction flaw.

Then the internal fan stopped operating. This condition was due to poor connectivity in the fusebox. The fuse housing was melting, which must be due to excessive current through the fuse. Yet another construction flaw.

I renewed the joints concerning the central locking in the wiring under the rug + exchanged the locking rod for the fuel tank door. After that, the central locking worked like it was supposed to for the rest of my ownership period.

Then the airbag warning light came on. I had to pay the dealer to reveal the fault information. It turned out to be caused by the passenger side crash-sensor. Yet another day under the rug... The sensor was wrapped in a plastic bag, and there was an old wet newspaper stuffed under the rug. This was how the previous owner had dealt with his humidity problem. I got rid of the newspaper, dried out the compartment under the rug for a few hours and cleaned the connector for the crash-sensor. Then another trip to the dealer to turn off the airbag fault condition, which meanwhile had reappeared.

A couple of times, I experienced a fault condition on the motor. When turned on, it seemed to lack power, like having only say 40 hp compared to the 110 hp, it should have.

Prior to selling the car, the windshield wiper would refuse to operate from time to time. As I had replaced the wiper motor, I knew, that this could not be the problem. I guess, it was caused by another poor electrical connection; but I never got it fixed.

As I was selling the car, the passenger side electrical window switch suddenly stopped working. The window could be operated from the drivers side, and the passenger side switch is connected directly to the power window control unit in the passenger door, and you could hear, that the switch was indeed working. So, switch is okay, power window works okay, - what could be the problem?

When I sold the darned thing, I got back approx. half the money, I had spent on it in total, which makes it a very expensive acquaintance.

Having renewed the toothed belt, the rear suspension, the brakes front and rear, the generator, the bearings for one front wheel and the front headlights over the ownership period, must be considered normal wearing due to the mileage.

However, I got rid of it, because the problems seemed to be never-ending. I suspect that some of the wheel bearings and the clutch would be next in line. Also the power steering had shown a leak.

Another annoying detail is the headlights. On my 3B, the high-beam lights and the front fog lights are combined in a H4 bulb, resulting in a high beam, which does not illuminate the road in front of you, but merely the road-sides at 4 -6 metres over the ground. Also a construction flaw.

My opinion is, that the VW Passat is a lousy car, with an endless list of built-in flaws. As you may derive from my evidence, primarily the electrical system seems to be very unstable. But it also seems, that the mechanical parts wear out prematurely.

Therefore I must reach the conclusion, that the VW Passat is a much overpriced lo-end car.

It is the only car, where I have in fact been anxious, what would break, every time I started it...