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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,911 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.

2004 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Feb 252009


  • 68,000 miles


The balance shaft assembly and the engine oil pump system drive will fail. Failure of balance shaft assembly and the engine oil pump system drive can lead to catastrophic engine failure with loss of oil pressure, broken oil pan, broken front engine seal flange, and damaged crankshaft. This can result in damage to the extent that the engine must be replaced. If this occurs while the vehicle is in traffic, it can lead to a collision with injuries or deaths.

- Greenlawn, NY, USA

problem #12

Feb 242004


  • 80,000 miles
It has come to my attention through the B5 forums at that all 2004-2005 VW Passat tdi engines have been outfitted with a faulty chain driven oil-pump (aka balance shaft) assembly that has an extremely high rate of failure. Failure of the oil-pump assembly has proven to cause multi-thousand dollar repair bills for owners that experience a failure while driving. A bulk of the failures have been occurring on 04-05 Passat tdi's well before the cars reach 100,000 miles. There are no warning signs to oil pump failure other than louder than normal engine noises. VW has since redesigned the oil-pump assembly to incorporate a gear-driven mechanism that isn't prone to failure. Unfortunately VW has not taken into consideration the thousands of Passat tdi owners that are being forced to upgrade their cars on their own dime. The upgrade costs ~$2,500 (parts & labor). It is of my opinion (and the thousands of fellow Passat tdi owners) that this faulty design should be recalled immediately as the potential for an oil-pump failure causing property damage and/or death is eminent.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #11

Jan 262009


  • 56,000 miles
Sludge buildup cause by VW design flaw led to engine locking... VW refusing to cover engine replacement even though covered by power train warranty.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #10

Dec 272008


  • 101,000 miles


In the 2004 VW Passat tdi (diesel engine) the balance shaft & oil pump are driven by a chain. The chain failed at 101,000 miles and stopped engine lubrication instantly. Required unsafe maneuver in traffic to get off road to a safe stopping spot.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #9

May 012008


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. While driving 50 mph, the stop warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Within seconds, the contact was unable to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the engine failed due to a massive oil deposit. The engine was replaced. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 77,000 and current mileage was 89,000.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #8

Nov 232008


  • 69,800 miles
About 1/2 mile from my house car indicated that there was an oil pressure issue and displayed "stop engine". proceeded to drive home and let the car cool off and checked oil level. Oil level was fine, based on the dip stick. Started the car up and the car was very loud and exhibited a rough and irregular idle. "stop engine" indicator came on again. Did research on the internet and found that there have been numerous other issues with exactly the same issue. Issue apparently sludge build up in the engine. Car is currently at repair shop and I have no faith that this will be resolved in a positive way (ie not costing me as the car is out of warranty) as apparently there is a design issue with this engine and manufacturer, repair shop recommended changing the oil filter and oil, yet the most recent oil change was performed just about 3 weeks ago. Next they are recommending that they take the oil pan out and look for "repairable culprits", which I believe is just nonsense as I'm sure this is not the first time they've dealt with this specific issue. This is a cash cow for the repair shops/dealers. I would like to know what if any recourse I have. I've seen other similar complaints as well, has Volkswagen acknowledged the issue? I've stuck with the manufacturer's recommended service interval and product requirements, so I am at a loss if this is not being investigated as some form of negligence on VW's part.

- Somers, NY, USA

problem #7

Dec 282007


  • 46,332 miles


On 12/28/2007 the oil cooler on my 2004 Passat failed and allowed large quantities of oil to leak into the coolant. The oil cooler repair was covered under VW's powertrain warranty. Per the Passat owner's manual and per verbal confirmation from VW, when a part covered under warranty fails and causes damage to other parts, those other parts are covered under warranty as well. In this case the dealer, flow Volkswagen of greensboro, nc, replaced not only the oil cooler but also the coolant reservoir, and flushed the cooling system 3 times. During the service they telephoned me at work and gave me a quote of nearly $300 to replace the thermostat because they felt it could have been damaged by the fouled coolant. At that time I was not aware that the thermostat was covered under warranty, nor did I know that the dealer already had the thermostat completely out of the vehicle. The dealers service technician noted that the coolant was the consistency of mud. The $300 quote that the flow Volkswagen dealer gave me involved a double charge on the labor as well as violated VW's warranty policy that the thermostat should have been covered. The dealer was already going to charge VW for the removal of the thermostat and other cooling system components, yet they were calling to ask me to pay for the labor as well as for the warranty covered part itself (the thermostat) that was damaged by the oil cooler's leak. During the phone call when I was given the quote the flow Volkswagen service personnel told me that the thermostat might be okay since they were cleaning it. In August of 2008, the Passat's check engine light came on. According to flow Volkswagen this time, the thermostat needed to be replaced and the total charge would be $478.

- Jamestown, NC, USA

problem #6

May 082008


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. While driving 40 mph, the turbo booster became very hot and the engine warning light illuminated. The first time the failure occurred, the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealer replaced a certain part of the vehicle, which temporarily corrected the failure. Less than two months later, the turbo booster began to overheat again. The contact believes that the vehicle has a manufacturer defect. The vehicle is currently located at the dealer being repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 63,000 and current mileage was 68,000.

- Chester, VA, USA

problem #5

Apr 122008


  • 37,000 miles
2004 Volkswagen Passat with the oil pressure light on. Consumer states that the mechanic refuses to see why her vehicle is acting up. She was told to produce receipts saying that the oil was changed. The consumer stated she did some research and discovered the vehicle produced sludge no matter how often the oil was changed. A mechanic informed the consumer that VW should issue a recall and fix the oil pressure pump immediately.

- Old Lyme, CT, USA

problem #4

Oct 122005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
1. new 2004 Volkswagen Passat, V6 sedan. Returned car several times under warranty for many types of repairs. Volkswagen unable to repair car. Both the dealer and Volkswagen of America were made aware of the problems. 2. several failures including but not limited to: Excessive oil consumption, loss of power and acceleration, transmission problems, failure to start, malfunction indicator lamp constantly on, braking problems, climate control problems, and several electrical problems including failed brake lights. 3. several attempts by Volkswagen has failed to fix the problems. They are unwilling to resolve the problems adequately.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 132007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Oil sludge problem with my 2004 VW Passat 1.8L turbo has caused irreversible engine problems.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #2

Oct 162007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
The sludge problem that is common in Volkswagen 1.8 4 cylinder engines has happened to our car. The dealer has repaired the problem but Volkswagen refuses to honor the warranty even though we have jumped through every hoop they can think of. The last one is that they wanted the VIN number printed out on every oil change receipt.

- Wheeling , WV, USA

problem #1

Nov 072005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,075 miles
I own a 2004 Volkswagen Passat, which I lease from VW. I was backing out of my driveway at no more than three miles per hour into the street. As I cut the wheel to keep the vehicle on my side of the traffic lanes, I ran askew of the driveway and over the rising edge where the driveway rises to meet the curb - a mere 6". I have pictures. I heard a faint scraping noise and lamented the fact I scraped the bottom of the car, but given the miniscule height of the drop from mid-curb edge to the street, I didn't think anything of it and proceeded to my destination and then back home without incident. The next time I used my car I noticed a large puddle of oil and was shocked to find that the oil pan, which was strategically engineered to reside at the lowest and most susceptible place on the engine, had the tiniest crack and was leaking oil. I called VW to inquire about a new part where they informed me that the oil pan is aluminum and cost $158 for a new one, but that because it is bolted to the vehicles sub-frame it will cost me $650 in labor to repair the part. Nearly $800 to fix an oil pan" this is clearly an attempt by VW to extort more money from its customers. Who would design a vehicle in such a manner as this otherwise" to place an aluminum oil pan at the lowest point of the engine with no protection is criminal. Luckily I noticed this leak, but others who may be less observant could easily rupture this oil pan as innocuously as I did and failing to notice the leak, continue to drive the car as it leaks oil - potentially burning up the motor and causing dangerous engine fires or worse, the engine seizing at high speeds. I contacted VW about this issue and that they wouldn't do anything to help me recoup the costs of this repair. This car has a major safety flaw that could make millions of motorists susceptible to serious harm and I hope that the NHTSA will further investigate this issue and help save any future loss of money or life.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

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