The 7 Most Common Passat Problems

We've pulled together a list of the problems Passat owners.

  1. Ignition Coil Failure

    Ignition coils produce a high-voltage current that fires the spark plugs. But VW coils often fail causing the engine to suddenly lose power. This can lead to shaking or hesitation and leave the driver in a vulnerable position.

    Continue
  2. Clock Spring Failure

    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…

    Continue
  3. Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine

    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…

    Continue
  4. Defective Timing Chain

    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…

    Continue
  5. VW Vehicles with Recalled Takata Airbags

    A large number of VW vehicles have been recalled because they contain dangerous airbag inflators made by Takata. The shrapnel-hurling inflators have been recalled in over 37 million vehicles (and counting).

    Continue
  6. Diesel Emissions Scandal

    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…

    Continue
  7. Bad O2 and Mass Airflow Sensors

    What is it about the VW mass airflow sensor that keeps causing VW owners problems?…

    Continue

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.

What Breaks

Years to Avoid

Passat Generations

The Passat has 6 generations, each with their own issues. Using the same PainRank™ system we've determined that you're better off avoiding the 5th generation (2006–2010).

  1. 6th Generation Passat

    Years
    2012–2021
    Reliability
    39th of 46
    PainRank
    9.72
    Complaints
    212
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Passat
  2. 5th Generation Passat

    Years
    2006–2010
    Reliability
    45th of 46
    PainRank
    19.98
    Complaints
    216
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Passat
  3. 4th Generation Passat

    Years
    1996–2005
    Reliability
    42nd of 46
    PainRank
    15.21
    Complaints
    492
    Continue
  4. 3rd Generation Passat

    Years
    1990–1995
    Reliability
    7th of 46
    PainRank
    0.19
    Complaints
    6
    Continue
  5. 2nd Generation Passat

    Years
    1981–1989
    Reliability
    7th of 46
    PainRank
    N/A
    Complaints
    0
    Continue
  6. 1st Generation Passat

    Years
    1978–1980
    Reliability
    9th of 46
    PainRank
    0.26
    Complaints
    1
    Continue

Passat Key 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.

Recent Relevant Lawsuits

The Passat has been named as a class vehicle in the following lawsuits.

  • Cole, et al., v. Volkswagen Group of America, et al.

    A VW sunroof class action lawsuit alleges California customers must cope with leaking sunroofs that cause water damage to carpets, audio systems, electronics and multiple parts of the interiors.

    2016-present Arteon, 2016-present Atlas/Teramont, 2016-present Golf, 2016-present Jetta, 2016-present Passat, 2016-present Polo, 2016-present Tiguan, 2016-present Touran

    Status
    pending
    Class Vehicles
    • 2016-present Arteon
    • 2016-present Atlas/Teramont
    • 2016-present Golf
    • 2016-present Jetta
    • 2016-present Passat
    • 2016-present Polo
    • 2016-present Tiguan
    • 2016-present Touran
    Location
    California
  • Gjonbalaj, et al., v. Volkswagen Group of America, et al.

    The sunroof leak lawsuit alleges the sunroofs were defectively designed and manufactured due to their drainage systems and seals. In addition, the automaker allegedly doesn't honor warranties when water leaks occur on these vehicles.

    Status
    pending
    Class Vehicles
    • 2015-present Arteon
    • 2015-present Atlas/Teramont
    • 2015-present Golf
    • 2015-present Jetta
    • 2015-present Passat
    • 2015-present Polo
    • 2015-present Tiguan
    • 2015-present Touran
    Location
    New York
  • Settled

    Stockalper, et al., vs. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, et al.

    A VW timing chain lawsuit alleges Audi and Volkswagen vehicles have defects that cause the timing chains to suddenly fail without warning, causing the engines to fail.

    Status
    settled read original case
    Problem
    Defective Timing Chain
    Class Vehicles
    • 2008-2010 Beetle
    • 2012 Beetle
    • 2009-2013 CC
    • 2008 -2012 EOS
    • 2008-2012 Golf
    • 2008-2012 GTI
    • 2008-2012 Jetta
    • 2008-2012 Passat
    • 2008-2011 R32
    • 2008-2010 Rabbit
    • 2009-2012 Routan
    • 2008-2012 Tiguan
    • 2008-2013 Touareg
    • 2011 Touareg Hybrid
    Location
    New Jersey
  • Settled

    David Zimand, et al v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Audi of America, Inc.

    A Volkswagen timing chain tensioner lawsuit alleges numerous VW and Audi vehicles have defects in the timing chain tensioning systems that cause complete engine failure.

    Status
    settled read original case
    Problem
    Defective Timing Chain
    Class Vehicles
    • 2008-2010 Beetle
    • 2012 Beetle
    • 2009-2013 CC
    • 2008-2012 EOS
    • 2008-2012 Golf
    • 2008-2012 GTI
    • 2008-2012 Jetta
    • 2008-2012 Passat
    • 2008-2011 R32
    • 2008-2010 Rabbit
    • 2009-2012 Routan
    • 2008-2012 Tiguan
    • 2008-2013 Touareg
    • 2011 Touareg Hybrid
    Location
    New Jersey
  • Settled

    David Zimand, et al v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Audi of America, Inc.

    A Volkswagen timing chain tensioner lawsuit alleges numerous VW and Audi vehicles have defects in the timing chain tensioning systems that cause complete engine failure.

    Status
    settled read original case
    Problem
    Defective Timing Chain
    Class Vehicles
    • 2008-2010 Beetle
    • 2012 Beetle
    • 2009-2013 CC
    • 2008 -2012 EOS
    • 2008-2012 Golf
    • 2008-2012 GTI
    • 2008-2012 Jetta
    • 2008-2012 Passat
    • 2008-2011 R32
    • 2008-2010 Rabbit
    • 2009-2012 Routan
    • 2008-2012 Tiguan
    • 2008-2013 Touareg
    • 2011 Touareg Hybrid
    Location
    New Jersey

Recent Passat News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Volkswagen and Audi are recalling 119,000 vehicles to replace dangerous Takata airbag inflators.

    This campaign is part of an industry-wide effort involving more than a dozen automakers and 1.7 million vehicles. The chemical inside of Takata airbag inflators can become unstable over time, leading to violent and sometimes deadly airbag deployments. The recall is for both driver and passenger side inflators in the 2015-2017 CC, 2015-2016 Eos, and 2015 Passat.

    keep reading
  2. There’s an important deadline coming up for VW owners who previously paid for repairs to their timing chain system or damage to their engine from a timing chain failure, and want the automaker to pick up the tab.

    A recently approved timing chain settlement benefits thousands of owners by providing them with an extended “new vehicle limited warranty” for any future repairs, plus conditional reimbursements for any previous repairs.

    The extended warranty is applied automatically if you own or lease one of the affected vehicles and didn’t opt out of the class-action.

    Owners who want to be eligible for reimbursements must file a claim by January 25th, 2019. More information is available at TimingChainLitigation.com.

    How to Submit a Claim

    1. Use the VIN lookup tool to check your eligibility
    2. Gather the documents requested by the Claim Administrator
    3. Submit your claim before 11:59 PST on January 25th, 2019
    keep reading
  3. When Volkswagen agreed to a multi-district settlement for selling polluting engines marketed as clean diesel, it did so knowing it’d have to pay billions of dollars to customers that owned or leased an affected vehicle when the news about the scandal broke.

    Some owners that had sold their affected vehicles before the news came out tried to file for compensation in court, but didn't get very far. That may be about to change due to an interesting court decision in California.

    Former owners and lessees of Volkswagen "clean diesel" vehicles can proceed with their lawsuit even though the customers got rid of their diesel vehicles before anyone knew the emissions systems were illegal.

    Volkswagen, as you might image, is less than impressed with this decision.

    Volkswagen says the case is nothing more than trial attorneys trying to suck more money out of the automaker that has already paid more than $25 billion for its emissions sins.

    keep reading
  4. Like many diesel vehicle owners, Allen and Jennifer Pickard chose to keep their two Passats as part of Volkswagen's $10-billion diesel emissions settlement.

    The agreement came with compensation contingent upon the exhaust system being modified to meet EPA standards. And sure, every owner knew that likely meant a knock to engine performance or fuel economy. But I doubt anyone expected this...

    According to court documents, both Passats have been in the custody of an authorized Volkswagen mechanic for months because the emissions repairs caused both cars to not start.

    The plaintiffs claim numerous attempts made by VW technicians have failed to fix the no-start problems, so the owners tried to trade in one of the Passats. The lawsuit alleges they were told a trade wasn't possible because the car was worth $0 since it couldn't be started.

    Needless to say the couple is … let’s call it, “unimpressed” with VW’s “fix” and has filed a lawsuit against the automaker.

    keep reading
  5. Owners and lessees of certain 2008-2014 VW and Audi vehicles may soon be eligible to receive benefits for their engine’s defective timing chain.

    On November 19, 2018 a judge will rule on a proposed settlement that would either reimburse owners for previous repairs or fund future work on the timing chain tensioner system.

    This decision has been a long time coming. Even snails are embarrassed by how slowly this case has crept along.

    keep reading
  6. It appears Volkswagen is close to settling 7 lawsuits regarding defective timing chains and the threat of engine damage.

    The proposed settlement includes all consumers who purchased or leased certain 2008-2014 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles that will be determined by the vehicle identification numbers (VINs).

    According to the terms, reimbursement amounts will be determined based on the age of the vehicle, how many miles are on the odometer and if the timing chain tensioner, timing chain or engine was replaced."

    Reimbursement amounts are highly favoriable to owners who get work done at an authorized VW dealership. Our advice – if something goes wrong with your timing chain or tensioner and you're covered under this settlement, skip your local mechanic and go to an authorized dealer.

    keep reading

See All Passat News

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.