Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,100 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (12 reports)
  2. replaced oil pump and hoses (8 reports)
  3. have to buy a new engine (7 reports)
  4. valve and head rebuilt & clean oil pan (2 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Oct 302008

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


One the way home from a softball game, my "STOP- OIL PRESSURE" warning came on. After checking the oil level (which was full), I proceeded to drive the rest of the way home with no problems- until I got to my neighborhood. The scary warning came back on again!!! I've parked my car and will have it towed to the local VW dealership in the morning. Hopefully, things will get resolved quickly and inexpensively. I really do LOVE this car, but this problem, on top of all of the recalls, is really making my life stressful.

- , High Point, NC, USA

problem #8

Oct 092008

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

My wife was on the way to work one morning when her oil pressure light came on. She pulled off the interstate immediately and left her car at a gas station. I took the vehicle in for an oil change. I discovered that the oil change did not fix the problem. The mechanic reported that the problem was sludge in the engine. He said he could work on fixing the problem at $100.00 an hour however could not promise he could fix it. Now the car sits in my garage because we can't afford to fix that problem. We have had the car for 2 years now and are still making payments on it. Besides the oil problem, the boots that cover the cv joints tore, the rear shocks went bad causing the rear tires to become "off round" and the fuel pump went bad and stranded my wife on I 94 in the middle of WI, (she had no idea where she was at the time and it took the tow truck 45 minutes to find her) that was a week after we received a recall for that part. We have received multiple recalls for other faulty parts on the vehicle. In closing I have never owned a worse vehicle and I will never buy another VW!

- , Buffalo, MN, USA

problem #7

Jan 172008

Passat ESL 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,750 miles

was driving down the interstate and "STOP ENGINE IMMEDIATELY-CHECK OIL PRESSURE" warning came on. Stop instantly. Towed car home. Dealership declared a total repair cost $1200. Received repair from local mechanic because vehicle isn't under warranty for $900.

Now, after 6 months, I'm experiencing the same problem in conjunction with a transmission issue requiring a $3600 rebuild.

- , Ashland City, TN, USA

problem #6

Jun 042008

Passat Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


Bought passat 2 years ago (had 2 year warranty) and had regular oil changes. Last week (june 5 2008) the oil pressure light & check engine light comes on. Brought to local mechanic and he checked the oil and other fluids. Said looks OK. Drove about 5 more minutes and and lights come on and engine dies! After bringing back to dealer (Donaldson VW Sayville, NY) they tell me it's not under warranty and worth about $1,000 after I produced 6 oil change receipts for the 2 years. We bought the car certified pre-owned for $17,000. They are not doing ANYTHING for us! DO NOT BUY A VW OR YOU WILL BE SORRY. Never again.

- , Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #5

May 172007

(reported on)


  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles

2003 Passat of ours - taken to each scheduled service etc - had a complete engine failure this week. Driving on expressway and "OIL PRESS" light came on. Called our service guy and he said bring it on in - we were literally on our way there when the whole car shut down (4 guys had to jump out of their cars and help move me to safety). Keep in mind this was the first time this message had appeared and within a few miles the whole engine quits. Couldn't believe it. Car was towed to dealership and we found out today that Olympicare Warranty has denied the claim stating that we abused the engine. The warranty company stated because the timing belt wasn't broken and the oil was fine that it was due to "severe and rapid abuse" to the engine. He said we "probably" took the gear from 5th to 2nd or 1st too rapidly and we damaged the engine and that's why the "Oil Press" came on. He also stated that while we were driving and the "Oil Press" light came on that we should have IMMEDIATELY stopped the car and had it towed to the nearest shop.

We are having a lawyer look at their conclusions tomorrow ! This is truly a nightmare -

- , Fort Wright, KY, USA

problem #4

Dec 092007

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,480 miles

I am the latest victim of this horrendous injustice from VW. My Oil Pressure - STOP light came on while heading to a family function and i went to the nearest station (about 1 Mile).

I called Volkswagen roadside assistance, got the car into the service station and that is where the real fun began. I bought an extended warranty on the car, so i figured i was covered, right? wrong.

The dealership (Carter Volkswagen in Seattle, WA) basically spelled out my options, and the guys at the dealership were amazing, but still resulted in what is now 3 days of fighting with VW USA on the claim. Without every service record on the car, they are not going to cover A KNOWN FAULT within the car that obviously several people have already discovered and battled VW USA to no avail.

I had purchased a lifetime oil change program at the time i bought the car, but the dealership that i bought the car from sold out to another company and the new guys refused to honor that contract. I then ended up shunning that dealer for a while and getting my oil changed at a local mom and pop type place. I then moved to Seattle and dealt with Carter, who have been great.

My issue is with VW usa though, and the fact that through lawyerisms and shady maneuvers have managed to find essentially a loop hole to avoid responsibility for a known defect a car that they sold to thousands. Proof of oil changes? I guess VW has a different approach to responsiblity and customer service than they preached when they sold me a car, and an extended warranty.

Right now I am at minimum 1200 in for a new Oil Pump. I will be 'notified' if it worse than that, but i will tell you right now that with all of the other issues that this car has had, there is no way i am putting another dime into it.

I just may make it my new years resolution to talk anyone I can out of buying from VW as there is no excuse for how they have treated me and the rest of the folks that have dealt with this issue.

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #3

Jan 172007

(reported on)

Passat Turbo 1.8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Engine light came on, grove to next exit ramp. Car just stopped, wouldn't run. Had it towed to dealership (under warranty only 2 years old.) Their adjuster lived in another state, he denied claim without even looking at the car. Denied claim due to lack of oil receipt (just one) Car has set in my garage for 1 year this Jan. I still have made the payments. Hired an attorney and had received from VW attorneys that they were going to settle claim. They now have not responded to his phone or written communication. Now we are seeking jury trial and should have a date this month. This car has 30,000 miles, all oil changes at 4,000 miles. Missing one receipt. VW admitted that my car was stopped on the production line and repaired for the problem. This was not disclosed to me. But I do have the audio tape were he admitted this. I have placed ads in the paper warning people of this problem and placed petition information throughout my area warning people of this. I will not back down and I wont go away. I only hope I can open the doors for others to place legal action against VW to get what we paid for "A RUNNING CAR" Their are several class action suits but i was told they could take several years to get any result.

- , Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #2

Nov 072005

(reported on)


  • 60,000 miles

Only own the car for 4 month and already have to replace the engine - these cars definitely have oil pressure problem and should be addressed by Volkswagen. VW will not take any responsibility and the dealer that I bought the car from will not even talk to me. VW told me it will take $8000.00 to replace the engine... I am really frustrated.

- , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #1

Sep 042005

(reported on)


  • 40,000 miles

40,000 miles oil pump and oil hoses are replaced due to oil pressure failures. Car broke down on road.

- , Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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