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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,628 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 #28

Aug 102007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 168,975 miles


ABS controller failed. Module scan showed: 01203 - electrical connection between ABS and instrument cluster 03-10 - no signal - intermittent.

- Galesville, MD, USA

problem #27

Nov 302006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Volkswagen Passat 1998 dashboard indicated that the ABS brakes failed. Replacement or repair was estimated at approx $1,000.

- Fontanelle, IA, USA

problem #26

Jun 102003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
ABS light came on with less than 30,000 miles on it. For 4 years, the VW dealer said it would be over $1,800 to replace the ABS pump. Last year they said it would be $2750. After seeing on internet threads that the common cause is only the ABS module, I confronted the dealer, and they sai it would $650, and it has worked fine since. I feel VW dealers are not forthright in telling customers about the less expensive solution, and they should pay for it, since it is a known common defect, and a safety hazard. I have been told that many people are pulling the bulb out, and buyers may not be aware the ABS doesn't work. Until its too late.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #25

Jan 102005


  • miles


1998 VW Passat ABS control module failure. This $1000 part seems to be a very consistent failure at Volkswagen.

- Corinth, TX, USA

problem #24

Feb 122006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,175 miles
ABS failed, flashing lights continually. Spoke with dealer in seaside, ca said common event and not worth replacing.

- Seaside, CA, USA

problem #23

Sep 072005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 99,500 miles
I have a 1998 VW Passat that has had it ABS system go out. From what I understand this is a common occurrence with this car. The only problem is when the ABS module goes on the car it has a hard time modulating the brakes correctly causing a dangerous situation. I will have to either buy a new unit or send it out and have it repaired.

- Andreas, PA, USA

problem #22

Jan 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 103,000 miles


1998 VW Passat wagon 2 wheel drive 4 cyl. 1.8 L engine. Manual transmission VIN: [xxx] things broken on this VW. Blinking ABS light on dash indicating ABS malfunction. It intermittently goes off once or twice a year for a couple of minutes, indicating function properly. Temp. Gauge on dash reads no temperature or 0. it intermittently comes back on and functions properly. I need to pull sending unit wire and clean connector. Driver's auto door lock button malfunctions. Window switches on drivers door doesn't work well. Stereo plays cd without pushing the button. (goes on buy its self) left rear passenger door does not open from inside.. moon roof malfunctions. Maybe won't close after opening. Brake light's don't light up right away when you step on the brakes. Outside door locks stick. When it rains, water gets into the lock and makes it difficult to turn the key inside the lock. Plastic dip stick guide is prone to crumbling due to heat. (this is the orange piece of plastic that extends the length of the dipstick tube. Antenna got screwed up in rain and wind. Dec. -05. Updated 07/17/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Noavto, CA, USA

problem #21

Jul 162005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 106,000 miles
98 Passat, ABS pump is not working anymore at 106000 miles. I wanted to replace the part but the dealer told me I have to pay $1200 just for the part. Is VW usa considering a recall because in my opinion a $1200 part should not fail to work so fast.

- Roebling, NJ, USA

problem #20

Oct 102005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 51,000 miles
ABS electronic control module failure.

- Southlake, TX, USA

problem #19

May 012005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles
The ABS module failed. First noticed on 5/1/05 when driving and ABS light came on and brake lights (exterior) started flashing. Then a beeping noise came to warn along with light. When emergency braking the brakes lock. Happens at any weather conditions/up and down hill or any type of road. The problem has not been looked at by dealer, but has been looked at by mechanic, the ABS module is the part that needs replacement..

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #18

Apr 152005

Passat 4-cyl

  • 92,600 miles


I drive a 1998 Volkswagen Passat. After about 2 weeks of annoying warnings that something was wrong with my ABS system I took the carto my independent mechanic. He hooked a scanner up to it and checked the brake system all day, and found nothing wrong with the car, other than the fact that the brake fluid was overfilled. He fixed that minor problem, but did not fix the original issue. After another week, I finally broke down and took the car to the dealer - heritage Volkswagen on reisterstown road in owings mills, md. They hooked a scanner up to it as well, and found that I needes a new ABS control unit. This was a part that, they said, would cost $3,000 just for the part! after doing my own research, it seemed this was one of many Volkswagen Passats that experienced the problem, but every one was being charged $1,500 for the part. This ought to be a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen of America, and heritage Volkswagen ought to be investigated for overcharging their customers.

- Windsor Mill, MD, USA

problem #17

Nov 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
ABS failure.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #16

Feb 272005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,700 miles
I am the original owner of a 1998 VW Passat, 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission automobile. The ABS brakes warning light came on (February 27, 2005). I consulted with my independent mechanic and he said the ABS brakes were necessary in wet or icy weather in emergency situations. The problem did not result in any accident or injury. I took the car to the dealer on March 21, 2005. The dealer performed diagnosis and determined the ABS pump needed replacing. The dealer (new century Volkswagen in glendale, ca) quoted a price of $3125, parts and labor, to fix. I am unable to repair the car at this time due to the expense. Research online and in discussing with independent VW mechanics reveals that this is a very common problem with this model VW. I checked with an independent VW mechanic and he told me that so many people have had this problem that the price of ABS used parts is rapidly rising. In investigating this problem please refer to the following website for a remarkable number of similar complaints:

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #15

Feb 162005


  • miles
1) ABS warning light/sounder came on, told by dealer that ABS system was out, would need to be replaced for $1800 before any other engine problems could be diagnosed by computer. 2) did not fix this, which led to their excuse that they could not accurately diagnose other issues, but "did their best" to fix acceleration problems (replaced hoses and plugs) 3) current acceleration problem miraculously diagnosed as some sort of power regulator device w/O mention of fixing the ABS system so that computer "could get past it" 4)electrical problems including moon roof opening and closing at will, door locks opening and closing at will, interior lights not shutting off and alarm going off all by itself (unable to lock doors B/C it sets the alarm) 5) now dealer says that it's a battery problem and resetting everything should fix it all, including the ABS light problem. Can you say rip-off?

- Ft Myers, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 202004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 122,550 miles
1. events: ABS light would intermittently go on and off while driving. Now the ABS light stays on all the time and the brake light now flashes with 3 beeps and stays on. 2. failures: I have no working ABS in the car. 3. correction: Have been advised by an independent VW repair shop that the ABS module is not communicating with the diagnostic computer and must be replaced. This module is a dealer-only part ($2,038). Note that this cost is for the part only and does not include labor. I've contacted 3 other independent Volkswagen/Audi repair shops and they've advised that they've repaired an in ordinate number of these ABS systems in Volkswagen. One shop indicated he repairs/replaces VW ABS at least 4 times a month, which would mean that VW dealers are likely doing a lot more of these repairs, yet there hasn't been any recall effort on VW's part. I've notified VW America customer service of the problem, but they said I would have to absorb the cost of fixing it since a recall notice has not been issued. My car is scheduled for replacement of the ABS module on 1/27/05. The mechanic advised that the total cost to replace the ABS module will be approximately $2500.

- El Granada, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
Complaint received via E-mail."the ABS light started coming on intermittently. Whenever the light is on, the ABS do not function. This is a safety hazard and will cause the car to fail inspection. The ABS light now stays on constantly. The dealer diagnosed the problem as a bad ABS control module (it would not communicate with the diagnostic computer) and stated that the ABS pump had to be replaced. The quoted cost of a new ABS pump was $2250."

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #12

Nov 262003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 78,000 miles
VW Passat 1998 has a manufacturing defect. The ABS light stays solid and brake light flashes. This can cause serious consequences. The manufacturer has taken no measures to rectify this problem. They have shifted responsibility on the consumer to pay them extra $ $2000 to fix their problem.

- West Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #11

Nov 242004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Anti lock brake control unit.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #10

Oct 062004


  • 76 miles
I owe a 1998 VW Passat gls( 77,000 miles). ABS and brake light came on a month ago. I contacted VW dealer and they asked me to bring the car in. But before I did that I almost had an accident with that car because of the ABS problem. It was raining and I had to brake so the ABS turned on. It blocked brakes and steering wheel and the car kept sliding. ABS was clearly not working. The car kept sliding for about 30 yards and I almost ran trough the red light and hit another vehicle because I had absolutely no control over the vehicle. When the car finally stopped I've noticed that the car had shut itself down. Seven month pregnant wife and my two year old daughter were with me in the car and we almost lost our lives because of this problem. I took the car to the dealer and I was told that the ABS module must be replaced and that it would cost me about $2000. I did some research on this issue and I found that there is hundreds of people that have this same problem, but apparently VW of America do not want to do anything. This is just one of the websites where you can read about this problem something must be done because this is clearly a safety issue. Please do something because before you hear about dozens of people loosing their lives because of this. Thank you, enes skopljak.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #9

Oct 202004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,000 miles
Earlier this month (10/2004), the ABS brake failure warning (light and sound) on our 1998 VW Passat gls started coming on sporadically. On Oct. 20, I took the car to wheaton service center, a VW-only independent shop. They hooked the unit up to the diaganostic computer and got no signal. They also got not signal when they tried to access to engine computer, indicating that the ABS computer has a short (the engine computer worked fine after they disconnected the ABS computer.) I confirmed this diagnosis over the phone with ftizgerald VW in frederick, md. I later tested the braking on a wet road -- there was no ABS, although the conventional brakes worked fine. The 1998 car, which we have owned since new, has been scrupulously maintained, as the regional VW factory rep can attest (from a drivetrain warranty repair done 5,000 miles ago). The car now has 69,000 miles on it. The wsc mechanics tell me that they see numerous ABS failures in late '90S Passats, the web seems to confirm this. The widespread, premature failure of ABS systems is a significant safety issue. Since the repair costs $2,500, many owners will simply disconnect the ABS computer to avoid the annoying lights and sounds, and avoid the expensive fix. Having become accostomed to ABS, how many will adjust their braking accordingly, especially the need to pump the brakes to avoid skidding?

- Kensington, MD, USA

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