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.

8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,842.00
Average Mileage:
79,746 miles
Total Complaints:
44 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (15 reports)
  2. not sure (11 reports)
  3. class action law suit (7 reports)
  4. vw to pay for $8000 for a new engine (5 reports)
  5. had to pay dealer $2000 to fix, but no garantees! (3 reports)
  6. complain to warranty co./dealership until they agree to fix (1 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Feb 012009

Passat 1.8T V4 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I still cannot explain why my engine seized. I noticed an odd sound, checked the oil level, looked good, and drove straight to a shop for an oil change...all Checked out. Soon after, Engine seized. I need help or direction on how to get VW to fix this.

Thanks!

- , Boston, MA, USA

problem #23

Mar 192009

Passat GL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Are we living in the dark ages here? Since when does a car (ANY car) with 38,000 miles (and proper maintenance) require a new engine? this is ridiculous. The 2003 VW Passat has had so many recalls, that make/model year should just be retired completely. Our Passat is in the shop, completely un-drivable due to a VW manufacturing flaw. I will be tracking the class action lawsuit related to this issue. And, I will never ever buy another VW!

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #22

Jan 062009

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I am very unhappy owner of 2003 VW Passat with 1.8L Turbo engine. Oil pressure warning light came on at 120000 miles. Towed to the dealer, found that the whole engine has to be replaced. At 120K ? Browsing the net I found about the now famous sludge issue with this cr_p engine. Contacted VW, they told me that since I have proofs of oil change for only last 50 K (shop thad did it before went out of business] they won't cover this problem. Even though I mention that since this engine is a lemon from the very beginning and regardless of normal oil changes it still would go bad, VW rep didn't want to accept it, of course. Now I got stuck with a piece of German junk, wonder what happened to that supposedly famous German craft? For sure, will never buy any German car again..

consequences? I need a reliable transportation to work and now I will have to buy a new car. Done with German cars for good, sorry i bought it in very first place...

- , Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #21

Oct 242008

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I FEEL THAT THE SALESMAN AT OUR LOCAL VW DEALERSHIP SAW A SUCKER WHEN I CAME IN TO LOOK FOR A CAR. I THINK IT'S POSSESSED! TWO DAYS AFTER I GOT IT SOMEONE REAR ENDED IT. AND NOW, THREE YEARS LATER, IT'S DEAD. THE OIL GAUGE ALWAYS SHOWED THAT WE HAD ENOUGH OIL IN IT BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT WASN'T GETTING TO THE ENGINE. SLUDGE! THE SERVICE MAN SAYS IT WILL COST $1000 TO REPLACE THE OIL PUMP AND THEN IT'S NOT A GUARANTEE THAT THE ENGINE STILL WORKS, THAT'LL BE AT LEAST ANOTHER $5000 FOR A NEW ENGINE. I HAVE TWO MORE YEARS TO PAY ON THIS CAR. WHAT DO I DO?

- , Rome, NY, USA

problem #20

Jul 242008

Passat

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,200 miles

I'm back........., and let me tell you. They charged me $1008.79 to fix what they already knew was a problem. I definitely feel cheated. Whats more,they also told me that the repairs were not guaranteed. Riiiiiiiiiip-off. Volkswagen! You ought to be ashamed. I'm done.

- , Willow Grove, PA, USA

problem #19

Jul 242008

Passat

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

ON JULY 24, 2008 I WAS PROCEEDING DOWN I-76 IN PHILA. ATTEMPTING TO PICK UP MY DAUGHTER FROM THE AIRPORT. WHEN AN ALARM SOUNDED IN MY 2003 VW PASSAT! WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON? IMMEDIATELY! I PULLED OVER FEARING THE WORST. MAYBE, EVEN THOUGH I TRY TO MAINTAIN MY CAR IMMACULATELY. JUST MAYBE, I HAD NO OIL. I JUMP OUT OF THE CAR AFTER POPPING THE TRUNK BECAUSE I KEEP X-TRA OIL THERE. (SYNTHETIC). TRUCKS AND CARS WHIZZING BY. I POP THE HOOD AND CHECK THE OIL. FULL! IN A STATE OF PANICKED BRILLIANCE, I POUR IN ANOTHER QUART OF OIL (SYNTHETIC) THINKING I SOLVED THE PROBLEM I JUMP BACK INTO THE CAR START IT UP AND PROCEED ON MY WAY. ALMOST IMMEDIATELY THE "STOP ENGINE" LIGHT COMES ON. I EXIT THE HI-WAY AND GO TO THE NEAREST GAS STATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OFF RAMP. WHERE II ADD 2 MORE QUARTS OF OIL. I GET BACK ON THE HI-WAY. AGAIN!, THE "STOP ENGINE" LIGHT COMES ON. I EXIT THE HI-WAY AND HAVE THE CAR TOWED TO MY VW DEALER I CALL FIRST, AND INFORM THEM OF THE PROBLEM. NEEDLESS TO SAY, MY WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER THE REPAIRS. BUT, VOLKSWAGEN KNOWING THE PROBLEM HAS SET UP AN 8 YEAR PROGRAM DESIGNED TO FIX THE PROBLEM FREE OF CHARGE IF YOU PROVIDE RECEIPTS OF ALL YOUR OIL CHANGES.NOW I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT, MY NEPHEW WHO IS A CERTIFIED MECHANIC AND WHO OWNS HIS OWN REPAIR SHOP AND GAS STATION CHANGES, MY OIL AND DOES OTHER MINOR REPAIRS TO MY CAR. I TELL HIM WHAT I NEED,HE FIXES IT I PAY AND GO ON MY WAY. RECEIPTS........MY ASS! VOLKSWAGEN KNOWING THE PROBLEM IS AS SERIOUS AS IT IS, FOUND A WAY TO NOT RECALL ALL THE CARS AFFECTED BY THIS PROBLEM. WHICH COULD POSSIBLY AFFECT ALL VW'S ON THE ROAD NOW.IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE THE COSTLIEST REPAIRS TO CARS WITH HIGH MILEAGE THEY IMPOSED A RESTRICTION THAT COULD ALLOW THEM NOT TO HAVE TO FIX YOUR CAR.....RECEIPTS FOR ALL OIL CHANGES NOT PERFORMED BY THEM........NO RECEIPTS NECESSARY IF SERVICED BY THEM FOR OIL CHANGES. SO I SUBMIT RECEIPTS FROM MY NEPHEW THE SERVICE STATION OWNER. REJECTED.!!!!!!!!!( TO BE CONTINUED SOON)

- , Willow Grove, PA, USA

problem #18

Dec 272007

Passat GLS 1.8turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My husband and I were driving back from Indiana to Iowa in December 2007 when the car began alarming and the "STOP ENGINE, DO NOT CONTINUE DRIVING" sign came on! (We were on I-80 in the middle of Illinois when this happened.) We pulled over,and checked the oil level. It appeared to have plenty of oil but we added some anyway. We decided to continue driving however 10 minutes later, the same alarm came on as well as the STOP ENGINE" light. We then called our VW dealer in Des Moines who stated we should not continue driving. We had to have it towed to the Quad Cities and make other arrangements to get home. My husband then had to get a ride back over to the Quad Cities a week later, amidst bad weather and snow, to get the car. They felt it was a "sensor" problem so we paid $200 and thought the problem was resolved. We drove the car for a few more weeks and then the same thing happened again. We then took the car into the dealer who said it was a "sludge problem" because we hadn't used synthetic oil for our oil changes (however, no one had ever told us we were supposed to use synthetic oil and had always gotten the oil changed from 3,000-5,000 miles). Volkswagen did end up paying for the engine repairs. The whole experience was a real hassle and we're looking to trade...we don't feel we can trust a VW engine anymore.

- , Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #17

Mar 092008

Passat GL 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Yes, yes, another oil sludge engine destruction complaint.

The day after my VW Passat Wagon was serviced, at the dealership, which charged my, btw, $200 for a new battery on top of an oil change, I was driving with my kids for a much needed vacation and the oil light came on. Hmm, I thought, how odd, just had the oil changed. I pulled over, checked the oil and it was fine. I continued on and a giant red "STOP DRIVING" message came on the dashboard. Alarmed, I got off the hwy and to the nearest garage. Oil checked again, and the level was fine. I checked the owners manual, which advised me in no uncertain terms to not drive under these conditions. I called VW roadside assistance, which was NO HELP at all. I ended up having to have my car towed 200 miles to my idiotic dealership, Lewis Motors of South Burlington, VT. (Stay Away.) They said offhandedly, "Oh, yeah, oil sludge problem," and since I'd had my car serviced there every time they agreed to fix the problem without charge. But they kept my car a week and didn't offer me a free rental or even an apology for the stupid car's stupid oil sludge problem--they'd seen it so much that it was no big deal to them.

I'd loved my car until then, but I got it back on a Friday afternoon and traded it in for a Volvo Saturday morning.

If you own one, you know it's fun to drive, it's euro-stylin', it's fun to drive, etc. But what you might not know, yet, is this car will TURN ON YOU. Remember my words of warning and sell it NOW to an unsuspecting dupe.

- , Burlington, VT, USA

problem #16

Jan 182008

Passat

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

I hate my car, do not ever by a Volkswagon. I have had thousands of dollars of engine problems and it only has 80,000 miles! I will warn you, if you buy one and when you are driving down the highway and the entire dashboard starts blinking "Pull Over Immediately, Engine Failure", you can think to this post and think that crazy lady told you so!

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #15

May 032007

(reported on)

Passat GLX 1.8L TURBO

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,103 miles

At 50,103 miles, oil pressure light came on. 2 minutes later, a series of loud, obnoxious beeps occurred, then engine light came on and flashed "STOP ENGINE". 30 seconds later, and after I had pulled over on a busy interstate (I-10 in San Antonio, TX) the engine light beeped again and this time read "STOP ENGINE NOW!" with exclamation point and all! I called a tow company, which towed my Passat to Ancira VW on Bandera Rd. Charge, $135 for tow. Service dept was very cordial, friendly and nice. Head of service dept told me "oil sludge" just from my description alone (before any diagnostic test). In the mean time, I have rented a car for $38/day.... at my expense. Next day, diagnosis proved him right, he took me to the side and recommended he fix it then for me to sell the car ASAP. Wow! Told me he sees this issue w/ the 1.8L Turbo 2003 Passat a few time a month. Wow! Again, I appreciated the honesty. Then told me, repairs would not be under warranty since I had not kept all my oil change receipts, but gave me VW headquarters PH# to call them. They told me the same, no coverage w/out those receipts. I had purchased the car used, but "certified preowned" at 7500 miles from local Lexus dealer and had purchased from Lexus an extended warranty 100K miles and 6 yrs for additional $1400. I called the extended warranty company, and was told issue would not be covered under the warranty! I had Ancira go ahead and "clean up the gunk. They had to replace 28 engine parts and I do have a receipt to prove it. I had to pay for 3 days of car rental on top of the $135 tow charge and $2000 repair bill. How angry would YOU be as a consumer who had covered his ass every way possible to prevent something like this from happening, yet it still happened? Well, now you know I must be very upset. Every time I drive my car, my anxiety level is through the roof, wondering if the engine will seize again. I will never own another VW and I have told my story to everyone I know. This story must be told. I have created an email that I am about to send to everyone in my email address book and I will ask those 250 people to forward the email to their 10 closest compadres and we'll see how many people in the end this will affect.... millions, I hope. So long and thanks for listening.

Mark M PS. VW, get a life!

- , Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, USA

problem #14

Feb 282008

Passat GL 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I had the oil pump replaced about 2 years ago, (oil sludge, oil pump clogged, 2000 dollars), OK cars back on the road. Then out of nowhere the engine light comes on. The vehicle begins to sputter and I pop the hood to find the turbo and catalytic converter glowing red. When the oil pump was replaced VW told me that the oil had not been replaced enough, that I should have used synthetic oil, and that they needed all of my receipts for the oil changes. Then my turbo blows up. Oh and by the way I too had an extended warranty, but could it be used?, nooo.. because I didn't have all of the receipts. All right so what I am going to do? First I bought a new car, Second I will donate my half running car. Third I will make it life mission to stop anyone that I know, (even if I don;t care about them), from buying a VW. If VW can't back their product and I stop 3 people from buying a VW, then I figure I made my money back by keeping it from VW.

- , Manteca, CA, USA

problem #13

Dec 092007

Passat

  • Manual transmission
  • 64,106 miles

After having purchased this vehicle in a short period of time the car broke down and would not start we had it towed to a volkswagon dealership where we found out that the fuel pump was in recall and that was part of the problem. Luckily it was still under warranty because there were other problems that were electrical in nature,water had gotten in around the door seals and had caused problems with the electrical connections under the carpet. Now that most of he warranty has expired the engine is blown because of this oil sludge problem. The car is still under finance contract.

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #12

Sep 102006

Passat 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 32,000 miles

2 years ago, my wife was out of town and I was taking my two young sons to a train museum about an 45 minutes away from my home. When we were almost there, I got a warning light telling me to stop the car (it had been running completely normal up to that point). I just happened to be passing a gas station, so I pulled in. All fluid levels checked out and the gauges were completely normal. When I restarted the car, it still sounded completely normal and the light was no longer on. I drove the rest of the way to the museum with no issues. On the way back, I again got the "stop" light again and pulled the car over immediately. This time I looked it up in the manual (which I'll admit I should have done the first time) and it said the car should not be driven and needed to be towed in for service. So there I was, stranded on the side of a busy highway, a few miles from the closest town, 40 minutes from home, with two young boys in the back seat and a wife who was a few hours away! ( fyi, several months before this happened, we had received and complied with a notice from vw that recommended we switching to a synthetic oil during our next oil change.) The VW dealer told me that the turbo "runs a little hotter", turning the oil into sludge quickly. (Something they didn't mention when they recommended the oil upgrade). The sludge had clogged the oil pick up tube and burned out my oil pump. Because I had not had the oil changed in about 5500 miles, VW consider me a "negligent" owner and would not cover the repairs on a car that should have still been under warranty. (At that time the car was 2 1/2 years old!!!,) They told me it was going to run $3500 for parts and labor. After several arguments over the phone, threats to contact the BBB and a promise never to buy a vw again, I had the car towed to a shop that specializes in VW's (oh, by the way the VW dealer also charged me $200 just to look at the car) The service center felt that the dealer was recommending replacing more than was necessary. In the end I walked away with a fixed lemon and $1700 less in my pocket.

- , Exton, PA, USA

problem #11

Dec 312007

Passat GLS 1.8L T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

Okay guys, here goes! I am not sitting on my butt about this problem and whether or not VW of America is going to replace my sludged up engine, I am not taking this sitting down. My 2003 Passat, bought new and regularly maintained with synthenic oils every 3000 to 5000 miles blew on New Year's Eve. Oh yes, VW is giving me a run for the money alright even with every oil change for the last 25,000 miles as they requested. So, I contacted the law firm of Green Wellings, LLP of San Francisco, CA and I encourage everyone who has had the same problem to register the complaint with them. I am providing the link to their site : http://www.classcounsel.com/contact.html copy it and paste it into your browser and register with them. I am hoping to get just more than satisfaction from this action. I will post at a later date, the outcome of my car's repair.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 192007

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

Everyone should report their 2003 VW Passat Complaints to the Better Business Bureau. The more complaints they see of the same problem, maybe some kind of compensation can come towards all of us. The BBB requests alot of information so have all your paperwork. These complaints will be shown to anyone looking up VW in the BBB and hopefully discourage them from purchasing! It's like a hit on a credit report! They deserve it. I've never been treated so horribly and basically told too bad for you, your problem. Well, it's not and everyone I know that has had VW's, all have had issues and are reporting them to the BBB. Good Luck!

- , East Hampton, CT, USA

problem #9

Apr 182007

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

IF ANYONE IS OPENING A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST VW, PLEASE COUNT ME IN. 1 YEAR AFTER WE PURCHASED, THE CAR FAILED DUE TO OIL PRESSURE FAILURE. IT WAS REPAIRED UNDER THE WARRANTY. THIS SEPTEMBER IT HAPPENED AGAIN AND THE ENGINE FAILED AS WELL. VW ASKED FOR ALL OUR OIL CHANGE RECEIPTS, WHICH I PROVIDED, AND STILL DENIED TO REPAIR THE ENGINE CLAIMING THE CAR HAD HIGH MILEAGE AT 133,000 MILES. IF A VOLKSWAGON, WHO CLAIM TO BE HIGH LINE, IS GOING TO FAIL THAT EARLY ON, I DON'T RECOMMEND A VW TO ANYONE. I ASKED FOR ALL THE PAPERWORK FOR THE FIRST REPAIR AND I GOT SOME EXCUSE ABOUT THAT DEALERSHIP BEING SOLD OFF AND THE ORIGINAL OWNER TOOK ALL PAPERWORK. SOUNDS LIKE A COVERUP TO ME. I WAS SO UPSET AS I AM STILL PAYING THE LOAN FOR THE VW AND HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PURCHASE ANOTHER CAR YET.

- , East Hampton, CT, USA

problem #8

May 102007

(reported on)

Passat GLS 1.8T V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The dealer sends me to the credit group who then sends me to VW of America; Neither the dealer or VW credit have address information on VW of America; in addition the dealer has messed up my front end and it is not attached correctly, the fuel pump failed, the cv joints had to be replaced. This is the worst 3 year old car I've ever owned. total repairs rental cars and travel cost over $8,000

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #7

Aug 242007

Passat GLS 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 59,000 miles

last august 24 when i was driving to the airport, the stop sign start blinking and the car just died on me within seconds. it was the worst day in my life. I took the car to a VW and they told me thats an oil sludge that caused the problem and they needed all the receipts of oil change. I cannot believe that they asked me that , its like asking me to give them all the receipts of my groceries that i have done for the last 4 years, i dont have it.

Well, i had no choice but to take it to a mechanic, it cost me $4500 dollars it was supposed to be more but i had to shop for the engine myself.

If anybody has a problem like this please report it, hopefully it will be a lemon law that give me my money back because i'm in lots of debt, my life is not the same.

- , St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #6

Oct 092007

(reported on)

Passat

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

I already had the transmission replaced under warranty and now they want my oil reciepts. I don't save them. Volkswagen has a problem and they should fix it. Does anybody know of a class action suit going for this?

- , Benton Harbor, MI, USA

problem #5

Sep 182007

(reported on)

Passat 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I've had my 2003 Passat for 4 years. Prior to purchasing the Passat, I owned a 1994 Volkswagen Jetta. The 94 Jetta was a fabulous car. With regular maintenance the car ran like a dream. The car was 10 years old when I got rid of it and the only major problem I had to repair was for the AC. Granted the paint job was looking shabby but it was still on the road!

On August 10th the battery of my Passat died and I had the battery replaced. The following weekend, something cracked the windshield of the car and I had it replaced. The same weekend I had some routine maintenance completed, oil change, new windshield wipers, all fluids checked. Before leaving for vacation, the transmission goes out on my car. The car is barely 4 years old and it only has 83,000 miles. And of course my warranty ended 2 months earlier (not that the transmission would have been covered). I paid nearly $3,000 for a new transmission.

10 minutes after leaving the repair shop my check engine light pops on and the oil light came on. I took the car back to the repair shop and they informed me that the oil pump had failed and would need to be replaced. I had another mechanic look at the car and he informed me that the engine needed to be replaced.

Volkswagen knows that they have created a bad product. No matter how regularly you service your car, this frequently reported engine/oil problem is going to happen. I would glady join anyone prepared to start a class action law suit against Volkswagen!

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

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