2nd Sep 2001, 00:05

I also own a VW 1998 Passat. I also have had many problems after about 20,000 miles and now have 57,000 miles.

The car will not start on the first cold days in winter (0 degrees to -15 degrees F). The vent knob will not turn to windshield on occasion. The worst problem is that the front end squeaks a lot on every bump. Just pushing down on the front end causes a squeaking sound like un-greased bushings. My wife took it in and it's $700 plus US dollars to fix, but is not a safety problem. I can't stand the squeaking so I guess I'll have to have it done. I just wonder how many other people have had these problems. My wife wrote VW a letter, but we have never heard from them.

The car looks great and handles very nice.

20th Jun 2002, 14:35

I own a 1998 GLS turbo, what a heap. I bought the car used and am in the process of returning it under lemon law. Major, major electrical issues. Ever hear of a sunroof opening and closing all on it's own? Or the alarm going off while driving down the road? I honestly do not think those are issues an owner can or should have to fix under "simple owner maintenance. The car is possessed. I do not care for the tone that the European owners take. No my VW was not made in America, on the lovely little black plate in the door frame it says "Made in Germany".

2nd Aug 2003, 08:33

I have to laugh at the comment made on 25th Jul 2001, 04:24 from the Europe VW owner. I don't currently own a Passat, but am looking at buying one. I have a 2003 "Lemond-Aid Used Cars & Minivans book" and I wanted to post a quote made in the Passat section:

"VW says a delayed upshift after a cold start is normal and a wait of 40 seconds isn't too long (typical of German logic: 'Our cars are perfect, our customers aren't.') "

A common theme?? A windshield that cracks after 6 months is not normal, but I have heard that electrical problems with German cars are. (Especially Audi and VW) I'm going to do a lot more research before finalizing my purchase decision.

18th Aug 2003, 08:28

I was the proud owner of a 1999 Passat. For 4 years, the car was nearly perfect until last month. I too have a car with electrical problems. First, the locks and windows began to take a life of their own. Both going up and down at random - even with the key out of the ignition - draining my battery and leaving me stranded. My car is garage kept - yet it still suffered water damage. I am told that the drain hoses from the sun roof collapsed. This caused water to collect on the floor of the drivers side. The rug, soundproof padding, and trunk were saturated with water. The water damaged the comfort computer which is located under the drivers seat. The water had been collecting for some time as several wires were corroded. My Passat now smells like mildew. Neither Volkswagen nor Masterguard (Extended Warranty) will even consider handling the repair due to faulty drain hoses. They claim "water" damaged the comfort computer and water damage is not covered. Even though the drain hoses caused the water to collect in my car. Buyers...Beware. I have been advised by 3 different service technicians that this is a common problem with Volkswagens. Also, please note that another source for water collection is the pollen filter in these cars gets clogged resulting in the same damage. It is also important to point out that even though Volkswagen is aware of these defects, they are definitely not covered under warranty and these hoses are NOT ever checked during any of the routine maintenance visits!

7th Jan 2004, 15:00

Well. I was considering the purchase of a used Passat as a second car. In the past I had an 81 diesel Rabbit and drove it to 180000 miles before selling it. It still ran fine...I'm saddened by these comments so I guess I'll just stick with Hondas... My current 88 Honda Accord only has 252000 miles and still runs great. I did have to replace the clutch at 185000 miles... but I guess nothing lasts forever...AL.

6th Sep 2004, 06:40

I've owned a Quantum wagon and two Jettas (all used) and they were incredibly reliable and low-maintenance. The 98 Passat wagon was to be my next used car purchase, but after what I've read, I think I'm going to buy a Subaru Legacy which has much better reviews. Apparently VW does not build cars like they used to.

8th Sep 2004, 09:15

Own a 98 Passat GLS w/58K miles. Have enjoyed it for almost 6 years, but recent electrical problems have me concerned the car is breaking down (include sunroof opening on its own, door locks that open/close on their own, car won't start intermittently). From comments here it appears I should have drain hoses looked at.

21st Oct 2004, 09:09

I too am on my second VW Jetta. Both have had extensive water damage due to the drain hoses that leak inside the car. The car has been brought in to "fixed" and every Winter, the same problem begins again. This is not right and I am beginning legal action towards Volkswagen USA.

We could use all the help we can get.

28th Feb 2007, 13:32

I have just traded in my automatic 1998 Passat Sport Estate 20V turbo after 6 years and 70,000 miles of highly stressful motoring.

I have driven VWs for years and had always been an ambassador for the brand, but this car was the worst I have ever had by far.

Apart from oil consumption of 1 litre/1000 miles and worse and regular coolant loss, it suffered a catalogue of faults, the main ones being:

- suspension trailing arms replaced all round

- steering rack replaced

- climate control replaced

- turbo replaced

- ECU replaced after the (well-documented on many websites including this one) water ingress problems

- engine cut out under heavy braking, leading to steering locking and fault never diagnosed/cured

- problems with radio/CD player wiring.

All this on a car that was lightly used and serviced regularly by main dealers.

The feeling of relief when I picked up my Toyota Avensis Tourer was enormous!

15th Dec 2007, 17:41

I am a European owner of a 98 passat, I have had all the same problems with water ingress damaging the electrics. The sun roof does work, the central locking only works on one door, the ABS light is on the whole time, etc, etc. I have spoken to a number of passat owners and all have had similar problems at some time. I have never had any electrical problems with any car I had previously. I will never buy a volkswagen passat again!.