2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America
This is the worst car I have ever owned
Turbo gasket was not installed properly and it leaked. Fixed under warranty.
Fuel pump went at 28,000 miles.
At 40,000 miles the radio LED went blank and the back drivers side window would not roll up and down. Had to fight hard with customer service to get it paid for despite warranty. Got the car back from the dealer and one headlight pointed directly towards the ground. I have no idea why! I fixed it myself.
Fog lamps have a short in them and immediately blow the fuse when they are turned on. This happened at 60,000 miles.
At 78,000 the turbo blew. The dealer states that the bearing in the turbo wasn't getting properly lubricated. Friction caused pieces of metal to break off of the bearing and travel through the engine as the engine and the turbo are on the same oil loop. These pieces of metal ruined the valves, piston heads, cylinder walls, etc. The engine has to be replaced and despite a perfect maintenance record, VW will not pay a dime towards the repair. They will extend the warranty on oil sludge for people who don't conduct oil changes at regular intervals, but they won't fix a problem for a customer who cares for his vehicle perfectly. I have to pay for a new engine to be installed. I found on-line that VW has had to replace over 400,000 1.8 Turbo engines.
This car performs okay, it is not fast, but has a little umph to it. The turbo isn't bad when it isn't falling apart. The car is safe and handles nicely when it is running.
However, the car is completely unreliable. VW continues to manufacture cars with electrical and drivetrain problems. Please, please look up reviews of VW's cars and customer service on-line before you buy. If after reading all these reviews, you still want to buy a VW? Then your asking for the headache you are going to receive. Buy the extended warranty on the drivetrain. The customer service in my opinion is the worst in the business. They only have a five year 60k warranty on the drivetrain enough said! They have no confidence in their own product.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 5th August, 2005
Interesting comment on the Turbos.. As an old farm boy, I'm used to having turbos on our large John-Deere Tractors and we never seemed to have trouble. I"m SERIOUSLY considering buying a Passat with the TDI, but this post has me thinking twice.. My concern it whether or not this is Maintenance related OR Quality related... Any help would be greatly appreciated... firstname.lastname@example.org.
My wife and I are on our second turbo Passat GLS. The first was a 99, the current one is a 2003. We love the car, but have had a few issues. Mostly minor electronic things with the exception of the replacement of a sensor in the engine. The customer service is the worst I've ever experienced. The customer service alone has convinced us that we've bought our last VW.
Volkswagen's 1.8 Turbo four is a disaster. Every time I go to see my mechanic, there are at least three 1.8T Volkswagens and/or Audis in his shop, each with their own set of problems. The turbo, timing belt, and ignition coils seem to be the most common problems. Now, to top it all off, an oil-sludge problem has become widespread. It is such a shame to me that VW and Audi, with all of their resources, cannot build more reliable cars. The V6 engines seem pretty good, but I will never own a 1.8T. I don't have much faith in the TDI engine either. My mechanic gets TDIs in there all of the time that have injector failures.
Do not buy a VW!!!
Oil sludge problem will wreck your motor. Have 96k on my Passat and the motor needs replacement. VW customer care was no help. Sent in my oil change record, but told it was not acceptable as the oil change interval was over the accepted limit. Funny that the dealership never mentioned possible oil sludge problem when I was getting the extra high priced super duty oil they recommended.
I had a Passat (1998) moderate Kms, with a well cared for engine, that inexplicably destroyed itself one day. The mechanics could not say why.