The 5 Most Common Passat Problems

We've pulled together a list of the most widespread problems that Passat owners have to deal with.

Clock Spring Failure

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Volkswagen owners continue to have clock spring problems years after the parts were first recalled. The failed recall is under investigation, but in the meantime VW owners are staring at a disabled driver's side airbag, horn, and steering-w…

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Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine

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From 1997-2005, VW manufactured a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine with a tiny 3.7 quart oil capacity. That’s simply not a lot of oil to compensate for the amount of heat this engine generates. Complaints sparked a class-action lawsuit with an…

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Defective Timing Chain

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Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0-liter engine has a history of tensioner problems that can lead to a loose timing chain and catastrophic engine failure. A series of lawsuits eventually led to a settlement that offers an extended warranty and potentia…

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Diesel Emissions Scandal

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Volkswagen has admitted to using a defeat device on its supposedly 'clean diesel' vehicles. The reason? To skirt around US emissions standards. This doesn't sit well with ... well, just about anybody. In fact, the only group who seems reall…

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What Passat Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

Worst Topics

Worst Years

Comparing 5 Generations

Generations are groups of model years where few, if any, changes were made to the vehicle which means their model years tend to break in similar ways. The Passat has 5 generations with the latest starting in the 2020 model year.

What Owners Say About Their Passat

Clock Spring Failure

I made a left turn and heard a loud crack and all lights in the control went off. I got a message :Airbag Error, and check engine. I lost all of the steering wheel control and connection to the car. Every turn it makes a big noise and I was afraid the airbag will deploy.

Clock Spring Failure

Late November 2017 horn quit working too. Got car into dealership in December 2017 for Air Bag recall and they replaced air bag, unfortunately that did not fix it. Dealership told me that it was a clock spring failure and would cost about $700 to replace clock spring. Tried to get Volkswagen to stand behind product and fix but they won't.

Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine

My car was driving perfect, no problems at all. Then all of a suden my car starts making this weird noise, then its dead? My car was in great condition, cosmetically and mechanically. Beautiful car, my first VW and i love it ... Then i looked online and found out why, i want justice!

Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine

My 2003 VW Passat has an oil sludge problem. The engine died on the freeway in very heavy traffic and would not restart. Have been told I need a new engine. The dealer told me the 'sludge warranty' (I didn't even know there was one and did not know about oil sludge) was for eight years. I have owned my car for 8 years and 3 months.

By the Numbers

  1. 926 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to CarComplaints.com.

  2. 1,946 service bulletins

    Documenting the process of troubleshooting common problems.

  3. 51 recall campaigns

    Time-sensitive, free repairs for widespread safety problems.

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