The Volkswagen Passat is a great family car, perfect for taking the kids on a Saturday afternoon or bringing the big groceries home from the supermarket on a Thursday night. This is a model that gets quite the attention, and if you in particular are interested in a design like this, you need to read more about the common faults of the VW Passat .
Like many of this manufacturer’s cars, the Passat is definitely built to last. With a new car you can get years of fun and therefore a second hand vehicle is a good investment.
Common VW Passat faults
It has been one of the stalwarts of the manufacturer’s range, since the first models went on sale in 1973. There are some common faults with the VW Passat that you should be aware of before considering buying a car and parting with your money in a private sale or in the dealer’s yard.
1- Control panel problems
There is a common VW Passat problem that affects the control panel. Due to poor fixing, it often creaks and makes strange noises at the front of the car , which can get worse in colder weather.
When you take the car to the street, pay attention to the creaks that occur when taking curves or when driving on more irregular roads.
2- Faults with the second gear
Thinking of buying a Passat with a manual gearbox? Pay special attention when shifting to second gear as there are many opinions on many forums reporting a gearbox failure that could cause a problem.
If there is any sort of difficulty getting the car into this gear then consider an alternative purchase as you could end up looking for a complete gearbox replacement.
3- Starting problems
Be aware of a widely reported coil problem in 2004 Passat models. The failure, which usually occurs after 75,000 kilometers, causes shutdown, bad starting, backfiring and low engine power due to lack of charge reaching the the spark plugs
Also, similar problems on the same model could be caused by a faulty cam follower that caused a recall. Beware of slow car throttle response.
4- Oil sludge
One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear from 2000 Passat owners is sludge buildup in the engine. This problem usually occurs when the car has done more than 70,000 miles and is caused by the car’s engine not reaching its full potential on short drives around town.
It is likely that you will have to go to a mechanic to check any car of this production, since the problem is not always evident while driving.
5- Problems in the direction
There may be problems with the Passat’s steering . Some Passat owners have reported control errors, which require the driver to push the steering column in one direction to start the car. If the person who sells you the car tells you that there is a trick you have to do to make the car work, be very cautious.
6- Failures in the clutch
When the vehicle starts, is there a background noise in the car? This could be caused by a problem with the clutch causing strong vibration which is most noticeable when shifting through the first few gears. It is also an expensive problem that requires complete gearbox replacement.
7- Filtering problems
Watch for water where the feet go on the passenger side. This could be due to the pollen filter sitting poorly in the car or a buildup of leaves around the battery housing, preventing the water from draining properly. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to fix , simply by reseating the filter or cleaning out any debris.
8- Smell of burnt oil
You may smell burning oil and you may be able to see puddles of oil on the ground under the car. Most likely the valve cover gasket and/or cam chain tensioner gasket is failing.
This is a fairly common problem on older Passats, and the only remedy is to put a new valve cover gasket and cam chain tensioner gasket over the worn ones.
9- Electrical problems
These vehicles are known to have problems with the electrical system. Therefore, Volkswagen has released a series of software updates to help solve these difficulties.
As mentioned above, you will need to call a dealership and give them your registration number to see if your vehicle needs any software updates. This should be done for free.
10- The horn, radio and cruise control stop working
You can’t get the horn, radio or cruise control to work. Being one of the most common problems for the Passat, this is being caused by a broken clock spring. This means a complete loss of communication between the steering wheel panel and the car’s computers.
It’s also going to affect the airbags, which won’t activate in a collision . You will need to buy a replacement watch spring, although replacing the faulty one is very difficult. You will have very limited access, so you will have to be very patient.
However, a mechanic will charge you a lot of money for this job, so it’s worth a try yourself. Alternatively, you can replace the entire steering column, which can be more expensive but is much easier to do.
The VW Passat is a good car and will run for years with good maintenance. Just make sure you drive the car at least once a month at its full potential on the highway to remove any sludge from the engine, as this is a fault that could occur if the vehicle is only used for city driving. Otherwise, it holds its value well and makes a great second car or vehicle for the older driver.