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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,460 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.

2001 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Aug 102012

Passat 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles


My car has been leaking coolant. I took it to a shop and was informed that the heater core was bad. I have had to replace the inside computer already and probably all the carpet since the water has been leaking into the car. I suffer from asthma and can no longer drive this car since it smells like coolant/mold and not to mention water leaking on my foot as I drive (very unsafe since the pedal gets slippery.) I have read online on many sites that there was a recall regarding this matter and the owners were never notified. I need this fixed before something bad happens; either I get into an accident or I end up in the hospital. Thank you very much for getting back to me and getting this matter fixed promptly.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #30

Jan 042012


  • 127,980 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the vehicle was leaking coolant, causing smoke to be released. The dealer diagnosed that antifreeze leaked onto the electrical wires. The dealer denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure but denied any assistance with repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 127,980 and the current mileage was 128,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #29

Dec 192011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the vehicle was sitting at a traffic stop when he noticed smoke and fire coming from under the hood of the vehicle. The fire department was called to extinguish the fire. A police and fire report was filed and available. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 70,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lee Summitts, MO, USA

problem #28

Dec 202010

Passat 4-cyl

  • 118,200 miles


"oil pressure. Stop engine" light came on. After several miles driving and lot of noise from back off the engine. Need new oil pump passable rebuilt engine. It is sitting parked in my driveway.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #27

Nov 072010


  • 165,000 miles
Class action law suit settled with VW for oil sludge. This makes no sense by the time the settlement was reached my 2001 VW Passat, 1.8 turbo was not covered. 7 or 8 weeks ago I took my vehicle into the VW dealer (halmark VW of madison) they told me I had a sludge problem and did not even mention that it was a known problem or that the law suit was underway- very sneaky. They told me to replace my engine or to change the oil every 1000 miles for awhile. My ABS and computer module failed at the same time with no one taking responsibility for it. Now I have the problem but have no way to get it resolved.

- Goodlettsville, , TN, USA

problem #26

Sep 032009


  • 106,000 miles
I brought my vehicle into Firestone for a rountine tune-up and to replace my axle. Because of firestones mis-diagnosis of the tune-up, they determined it was the engine coil. My vehicle had to be towed to Audi of brookline for a complete diagnostic and they found this.....a pre-existing condition - E.C.M..the engine coil was only a symptom of the bigger problem in the faulty E.C.M. misfiring. Prior to bringing my vehicle into Firestone, it was operable. Because of their tampering with the ignition coils; my vehicle was subsequently destroyed. Regarding the diagnostic report, the current and passed condition of my vehicle, which is normally a healthy, safe, vehicle, is as follows: "fuel delivery inspection at present time, ignition system check, and power provided to coils tech found no communication between engine control module (E.C.M.) and a.B.S. control module because a.B.S. control module was disconnected. Reconnect and access a.B.S. system and fault detected customer aware of the a.B.S. problem and warning has been on for a while. That is true, and not the reason for this letter. Continued: Found E.C.M. fault for #3 ignition coil open circuit. Pin check wires on #3 ignition coil plug #3 post from connector to E.C.M. found height resistance in wire, replaced #3 connector and re-tested ok. Also clean and replace terminal on top of valve cover for proper ground. Start engine and road test vehicle, found engine misfire on #1, #2, #3, #4 ignition coils". I have to replace all 4 ignition coils, catayltic converter, and E.C.M. this is the second ignition coil replaced in the 1 year I've owned the vehicle. This car has more mechanical errors than imaginable. The estimated cost of repairs is in the thousands. I can't afford to maintenance this tempermenatl vehicle. I will have to junk the car. I refuse to fix this vehicle. Pushing for a recall!!

- Roslindale, MA, USA

problem #25

Feb 022008


  • 155,000 miles


1. during my wife's morning commute the oil light stop engine light illuminated in our 2001.5 VW Passat. Fortunately she was in a rural area and was able to get the car shut off immediately and coasted off the road without incident. 2. the failure was the result of severe oil coking with the 1.8T engine. VW issued a notification letter dated August 2004 advising of the "oil sludge? problem. The letter states ?engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine oil thickens and cannot continue to provide adequate engine lubrication." The letter implies the issue is due to poor maintenance. In reality the failure is due to a latent design defect of improper heat rejection attribute of the engine sump. Basically not enough oil quantity and oil cooling capacity. The oil then cokes over time in a similar manner as is encountered on gas turbine engines under extreme temperatures. Eventually the coked particles accumulate and plugs the sump screen. The oil pump then resulting in the loss of oil pressure and engine failure. The loss of engine power at a critical time is a safety concern. 3. fortunately as our car was not run without oil pressure I was able to save the engine. VW would not honor the warranty despite providing a log book from all the maintenance performed from new. They required all receipts of oil changes. I perform all my own maintenance. VW clearly has gamed the warranty and misrepresented the problem as poor maintenance and sludge. I have always changed the oil every 5K miles. This cost me nearly $2K in parts not including my labor. This is a major repair. The oil pump, sump screen, all crank case ventilation lines, turbo lines, etc. Had to be replaced. There was coffee grounds (coked oil) throughout the engine. What a mess. I hold a bs in aero engr tech and faa a&P license. I run the aftermarket for a large gas turbine engine mfg. I know engine design and warranty gaming when I see it.

- Thorntown, IN, USA

problem #24

Aug 132009


  • miles
I have a 2001.5- 2.8 DOHC VW Passat with just over 106K around 98K miles I started to experience a loss of power in the engine and got multiple misfires on the scan of the engine. This happens intermittently, although mostly when I start the car at the beginning of the day, regardless of temperature. Fast forward 6 months, after already replacing the coil pack twice, I still have the same problem. The dealership wants to charge me over $600 dollars to try and figure out what "might" be the problem. They're still not sure. If anyone is having this problem, please let me know if you've figured out what it is.

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #23

Mar 302009

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. The vehicle was serviced for a routine tune-up and a Honda dealer wrote on the invoice that the control valve joints and boots were torn, in addition to the shaft. The contact stated that the failures were related to several complaints on the NHTSA website. There had been no failure to date. The current mileage was 56,511. Updated 05/08/09. The consumer stated the cv joints were replaced. Updated 05/08/09.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #22

Nov 032008

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,004 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. The vehicle failed a routine inspection because the engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument control panel. The inspector advised the contact of a recall on her vehicle pertaining to the failure. The dealer stated that the VIN was excluded from NHTSA campaign id number 08V156000 (fuel system, gasoline:delivery). The vehicle has not yet been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 62,004. The consumer stated there was a strong smell of gas every time she turned the vehicle off. Updated 02/24/09.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #21

May 152008


  • 115,000 miles


My 2001 VW Passat ABS module became defective after 1 year of owning car from the original owner. Not sure if original owner had done repairs/replacements of the unit. Now there is no communication between the car computer and the module, therefore no ABS brake is active. ABS light stays on and brake light flashes intermittently. There are also 3 beeps when car has been started. I am a very unhappy consumer of VW due to their faulty vehicle equipment and has deter me from purchasing any VW in the future. I have recently just had a repair to replace my maf sensor, 2 ignition coils, 4 spark plugs again after purchasing brand new ones just a month prior. It was very costly!!

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #20

May 092008


  • miles
Owner driving the car when smoke began appearing from the right side of the dashboard. Fire density increased rapidly and owner drove into a safeway parking lot was able to get out of the vehicle when it immediately filled with smoke. Fire dept. Was called and broke all windows causing a tremendous amount of smoke to be released. The smoke was white and black.

- Daly City, California, CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 122007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,925 miles
2001 Passat 1.8L turbo. Car's engine pressure warning light came on. The car was towed to dwight harrison Volkswagen. They checked the oil pressure and said it was fine. They changed the oil and said the oil pressure indicator might have been caused by not using a VW oil filter. Not one mention of the oil sludge problem that has been prevalent with this engine. Drove the car for around 5000 miles without any more problems. Then the oil pressure light came back on intermittently. I towed the car into heritage VW who said it could be an oil sludge problem but that I'll have to authorize 5 hours of labor to tell for sure (about $500). I cannot find all of my oil change receipts and VW won't advise if they will cover any of the repair until I spend the $500. What am I supposed to do after they've taken my car apart and I'll already spent $500 getting a diagnosis" I never received the letter VW said they sent about the problem in 2004. I've had the oil changed at VW dealerships after they acknowledged the problem in 2004 yet the dealership never once asked if I'd like to put in synthetic oil. Don't they have any responsibility for the faulty design of the turbo engine? don't the dealers have a responsibility to tell you of the problem when you are getting the oil changed" this is typical of VW dealerships - they want you to spend money while they have a guessing game about the problem. They did this with a transmission problem I had, the cooling system and the check engine light.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #18

Nov 092007

(reported on)


  • miles
2001 Volkswagen Passat check engine and oil pressure lights illuminating. Consumer states that the vehicle also experienced a loss of power and engine made a whining noise.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 152007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I brought my vehicle for service on August 4, 2007, at VW dealership fairfax imports, in fairfax, va. At this time I informed Mr. David deloatche, service advisor, that my coolant light (stop red light flashing) had come on and there seemed to be a leak as the fluid was not sustaining and rather spilling out. On August 4, 2007, I was charged $776.99 for manifold of services including an injector flush, power steering flush, brake fluid flush, and coolant flush. The coolant bottle was replaced and I was assured that there was no engine flush needed. I was informed that there wasn't enough time to fix the temperature sensor and the car was safe for me to drive. As I left the parking lot on August 4, 2007, after my service at fairfax imports, the coolant light came on and the temperature sensor rose to 260 degrees. I called david deloatche immediately to inquire on the safety of my car. I was assured once again to ignore the coolant light and the temperature sensor, and that it is safe for me to turn on and use the air conditioning and that the car was completely safe for me to drive. My employer, ibm sent me for training to palisades, NY from August 5 to 12, 2007. On Wednesday, August 15, 2007, I was enroute to ibm office in bethesda, md from fairfax, va. My engine blew out on highway 270 and I was placed in a dangerous situation. My safety was disregarded as my vehicle wasn't properly fixed, and I was abandoned on a major highway.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #16

Aug 072007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. She stated that the check engine light remained illuminated. The dealer stated that the engine coolant temperature sensor needed to be replaced. The dealer stated that they would make the repair; however, there would be a charge. The current mileage was 67,000 and the failure mileage was unavailable.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #15

Jul 102005


  • miles
I own a 2001 Volkswagen Passat station wagen and have had nothing but trouble with it since I bought it. I had to replace the engine due sludge and Volkswagen of America would not reimburse me because I was missing one oil change receipt the lights keep coming on in the car telling me I have engine problems once again, and I bring it in for regular repairs and check ups. Currently the suspension part of the car has gone and that will cost another $2000 on top of the $7000 I already put into it. That does not include new tires and other things that have gone wrong with this idiot car. Volkswagen does not stand by its customers at all and I will never ever buy from them again and will tell people I know the car is a piece of crap. The place I bring in my car to for repair already knows that. Do not bring it into a Volkswagen repair place to have it fixed> they are the biggest ripp offs and so totally dishonest!!!! I bought the car from jack daniels in fairlawn, NJ and have had it repaired at trend motors, in denville,

- Montville, NJ, USA

problem #14

Mar 222007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
Engine sludge in engine leading to failure of the oil pump and the turbo. In addition, also had to have the front control arms, and tie-rods replaced, and even now there were still problems with the front suspension. I have researched and found these were similar problems with many Passat owners. I still recall the major issue / recall over the ignition coil failures and how VW of America denied there ever was a problem. The entire car should be declared a lemon !!!! the oil pump failure leading to failures of the turbo, and seizure of the engine should be proof enough that this car has too many major problems and should be recalled.

- Mt. Arlington, NJ, USA

problem #13

Oct 252006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65 miles
10/24/06 my 2001 volkswagon Passat has a stop warning light come on stating low oil pressure. Come to find out the 1.8 litre turbo engine which my car has is non to have oil sludge problems and that VW is aware of this. I never received a letter from them stating this or the fact that I should use synthetic oil. Called the huntsville, al VW dealership and they said that unless I have pristeen serve records they will not pay to fix it at a cost to me of over $1800. My husband changes the oil in my car so of course I do not have the service records VW is requiring. I hear the no longer make the 1.8 liter turbo but are not willing to honor fixing a problem we knew nothing about.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #12

Sep 042006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Tracking number: 2155906 date: September 09th 2006 11:24:34 am complainant: Laura fitzgerald - re: 2001 Passat vws and the ongoing sludge problems!!! complaint: My complaint is the same as everyone else with regard to VW Passats. Sludge!!!! I just spent $2000 trying to fix the problem and it happened again 2 days later. My mechanic tells me that he did some research and that there is an inherent problems of sludge in these cars especially. I would like to file a complaint and ask if you have any referral attorneys familiar with this problem. Please let me know as soon as possible. I have to rent a car at $30 dollars a day and my insurance doesn't cover it. If this is been going on so long, why is there not a class suit? if you have a number I can call for same, please advise. Thank you, laura fitzgerald, 4 robin court, farmingdale, NY 11735. You can reach me by phone at either 516-249-4515 home, or 631-293-3555 (ex. 142). I look forward to hearing from someone soon, and your help is much appreciated.

- Farmingdale, NY, USA

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