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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,815 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Volkswagen Passat brakes problems

brakes problem

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1998 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Aug 012008


  • 115,000 miles


ABS module failure. Was driving shortly after having front end work done and light when on. This happens intermittently while driving. Braking is affected.

- San Lorenzo, CA, USA

problem #21

Feb 152007


  • 90,000 miles
ABS module in operative ABS system.

- Clear Lake, MN, USA

problem #20

Aug 102006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
Electronic control module for anti-lock brakes failed. Anti-lock brakes are non-functioning.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #19

Dec 272004


  • miles


Many Audi and VW models manufactured starting in the later '90S and ealry '00S, use the Bosch 5.3 ABS controller, which is prone to catastrophic failure, ostensibly due to defective design. This module controls multiple brake-related functions including the ABS which is important for winter driving, but the most critical function of this module is probably the electronic brake force distribution, or ebd. These vehicles are designed such that if the ebd is inoperative, the proportion of hydraulic force applied to the rear brakes during emergency braking is as great as it is during moderate braking effort when there is minimal transfer of vehicle weight to the front wheels. The ebd is supposed to adjust the front/rear braking distribution dynamically according to the measure of the deceleration, so that the rear wheels will not lock up during emergency braking. If this module should fail during emergency braking on dry pavement, the rear wheels could lock up and cause an accident which could easily include fatalities. This is an expensive repair for owners, costing roughly $2000, and many owners have probably put off the repair indefinitely. Evidence which can be found through a simple web search, suggests that the problem is widespread, and that if it has not already led to serious accidents, it is only a question of time. This problem is genuine, and VW/Audi should be compelled to take immediate corrective action.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #18

Jan 122006


  • miles
Failed ABS unit.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #17

Sep 182006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles
(1) ABS warning/brake light started blinking intermittently. Since then, braking became unreliable (long braking distance. The car wobbles on a hard braking). (2) the ABS controller module (part #: 8E0 614 111 P) found to be faulty, resulting in no ABS. (3) the ABS controller is to be sent for a rebuild service.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 012003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles


Anti-lock brakes fail. Warning light and buzzer come on. Dealer said it would cost $2800 to fix. After telling dealer that 99% of ABS failures is the ABS electronics module, and not the ABS pump, dealer offered to replace module for $600. I feel this is a wide spread problem, as this problem is noted by many people on the internet. In addition, it has been reported that people have been disconnecting their warning light to be able to sell their car. This could be a big problem for the next buyer who doesn't know their ABS isn't working.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #15

Jan 042006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
ABS controller failure.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

May 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 92,000 miles
ABS unit failure on my 1998 1.8 turbo Passat gls sedan at 92,000 miles. Sending unit to be refurbished because VW of America won't replace it under a recall.

- Milton, VT, USA

problem #13

Jun 032005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,100 miles
While driving on freeway the anti lock brake warning light flashed and then disappeared. Consumer took vehicle to the dealership, and was told the ABS control module chip failed.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 152005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,993 miles


I own a 1998 Volkswagen Passat gls 1.8T, and I have had the ABS control module fail. I was driving the car and my ABS and brake lights turned on and started to blink. This would happen everytime I would start my car. I had diagnostics run on the car, and found that the control module could not communicate with the cars ECU. I had my local Volkswagen dealer replace the ABS module. This cost me $850 for the control module, $360 for labor, then tax. I had to pay $1270 for everything to be fixed. I find that this is a common problem with Volkswagen Passats, and I do not think that the owners should pay for something like this if it is a recurring problem.

- Landenberg, PA, USA

problem #11

Nov 072004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,808 miles
Brake warning bells sounded followed by blinking red brake, and solid amber ABS light in dashboard instrument cluster. Took automobile to dealer for diagnosis. ABS module was determined to be defective, and required replacement for anti-lock brake system to work again.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #10

Jul 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 143,000 miles
Failure of the ABS control unit lead to the failure of the ABS system. The part was replaced at a cost of over $2,000.

- Bedford Hills, NY, USA

problem #9

May 282003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 98,000 miles
ABS light blinking constantly on my 98 VW Passat for past 19 months. Dealer indicates no fault code anunnciated with computer diagnostics. Quotes $1300. Control unit needed. ABS system not functional.

- Burlington, CT, USA

problem #8

Nov 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,832 miles
While driving at various speeds ABS light illuminated. Vehicle was taken to the dealer, who informed the consumer that the problem was the ABS module pump.

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #7

Sep 172004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,800 miles
On my 1998 Passat with 86,000 miles the ABS light goes on intermittently and the ABS does not work. The dealer states the problem is the ABS module 8E0-614-111-Q which will cost $2,036 plus labor of $111. Upon research, a large number of other VW owners have the same problem. This causes a safety hazard.

- Cincinnnati, OH, USA

problem #6

Jul 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles
ABS and brake warning lights flashing. Brakes work but ABS may not. Dealer quotes $1450 for repair part alone, plus labor. This is a very common problem for these cars and VW refuses to either recall or cover repair cost.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #5

Aug 252004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
ABS controller failed on my 1998 VW Passat. The vehicle has only 70K miles on it. This apparently is quite a common failure on the VW/Audi vehicles.

- Charlotte, VT, USA

problem #4

Jun 072004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,500 miles
ABS light began blinking along with brake light on dash, took it in to volkswa gen to be diagnosed. They told me "the ABS control module and pump failed. There is no signal between the control module & pump with the computer in the car. The module is supposed to send back a signal saying everything is fine or telling what the problem is, but in my case, there is no communication at all. The only thing that can be done is to replace the ABS control module and that should 'most likely' solve the problem." And the estimate - $1885 - about $1500 for the part and about $300 for the labor - plus tax. Vwoa refused to assist with costs, even though I only have 67, 000 miles on the car, and this problem is rampant and there are tons of people in the same situation. Not sure what justifies a recall, but if there are a lot of people out there with the same problem, who have paid for a car with ABS brakes, why shoudl we have to cough up that kind of money to replace something that is obviously faulty just to get our ABS working again?

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #3

Jan 072004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
My 1998 VW Passat has 57,000 miles on it and a problem with the ABS control unit. The ABS light stays on steadily and the brake light flashes with an audible four-chime tone. The VW dealer tested and confirmed that I need a new ABS control module. The cost of parts and labor is $1900.. VW of America declined to help with this problem.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

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