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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,216 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.

2012 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Sep 082016


  • 93,000 miles


After the nox sensor went in this car exactly a month to the day later the adblue heater is shot. I was driving the car when the mil light came on. A scan showed it is the adblue heater. This is the 2nd emissions related part to go in this car since the diesel scandal broke and the 2nd issue in a month.

- Port Carbon, PA, USA

problem #25

Aug 062016


  • 91,000 miles
Check engine light came on and a 200 mi. Countdown began indicating the car would not start again. We were over 500 miles from home on the weekend. We had to drive the manual transmission car home 10 hours to nearest dealer with the threat of stalling in traffic on interstate. We could not turn the car off, nor stall it as the car indicated it would not start again. It was the nox sensor. I paid $625 plus tax to fix part of the fraudulent emissions system.

- Port Carbon, PA, USA

problem #24

Jul 082016


  • 454,031 miles
Ad blue reductant tank failed. Thus making the emissions system not work properly. Part # 561-198-970-a is defective. The same failure occurred on my 2013 Passat within less than a month. This is a known defect from VW. Here is a link to a thread on the extent of these failures.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #23

Jul 202016


  • 103,000 miles


The check engine light came on 7/14/16. I brought the car into the dealership on 7/15/16 and learned that the car's adblue heater had gone and will cost just over $1,000 to replace. The adblue heater heats the adblue to remove NO2 for emissions, however Volkswagen is claiming that this is not covered under the emissions warranty. The adblue system has not other purpose than for emissions and should be covered under the federal warranty, as the emissions would fall outside of the federal regulations without this component. Proper emissions help to keep our entire population safe and healthy from the harmful pollutants generated by vehicles. Now the car will not start because of this false emission sensor reading.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #22

May 012016


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. While operating the vehicle, the check engine light illuminated. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Morgan, GA, USA

problem #21

May 222016


  • 82,000 miles
I was driving at night on a limited access highway. The turbocharger failed without warning. Rather than offer to replace the affected parts with the updated part they redesigned before the entire engine is contaminated with metal filings they allow their customers to attemp to destroy their engines first. If my car could not survive the original design of the turbo no car like this will survive. After receiving the warranty extension I was relieved that I had done the right thing by always changing the oil at one half the recommended interval and always driving light footed for optimal mileage. I supposed that since I had taken perfect care I would certainly not be a candidate for this tragic failure. I was stranded at night on the side of an interstate and had to be flatbedded to my home and then further to the dealer, who kept the car for two weeks and charged 5000 to try to undo the damage done by this turbocharger self destructing under my feet. It remains to be seen if repeated oil flushes and all new oil system parts will be enough to secure my car's mechanical future. If you choose to remove the turbocharger before the catastrophic end occurs you will pay out of pocket. Only after your car is ruined will they step in. This is a safety issue because you will be stranded as part of the problem. The owner's manual clearly states you must pull over immediately and shut off the car when the glow plug light blinks. This will occur with no prior notice from the car. Many people are killed and injured after pulling over in an emergency situation. Having done the correct thing immediately did not lessen the severity of the damage done to my car. The light only comes on after the damage is done!

- Lindenhurst, NY, USA

problem #20

Apr 192016


  • 59,200 miles


I own a 2012 VW Passat tdi (diesel). Check engine light is on. The fix apparetly is over $1000 and it seems to be the same problem for many 2012 VW Passat tdi vehicles which are right out of warranty. The fix is a kit for the adblu emissions system. This vehicle should be recalled and fixed free of charge from VW. Code P203B reductant level sensor circuit range/performance

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #19

Jun 152014


  • 50,000 miles
Vehicle developed a, " loss of power" issue at approximately 1.5 years ago around 50,000 miles. It usually occurs within the first 10- 15 minutes after cold start up and when vehicle is traveling between 10 and 40 mph. The vehicle will be operating normally, then instantly lose power and start shuddering. When merging onto a highway on numerous occasions since then, the sudden loss of power has nearly caused me to be struck by other vehicles. Along with loss of power, there has been a noticeable odor of diesel fuel which comes from the observed fuel pooling on the top of the engine. This is a fire hazard only waiting to happen. I will not let any other members of my family drive this vehicle for fear of their safety. Manufacturer dealer has been able to duplicate the issue but not resolve it. The manufacturer engineering and technical dept has been involved but still not able to solve after 1.5 years and numerous shop visits.

- Hull, MA, USA

problem #18

Oct 062015


  • 78,994 miles
Turbo failure, was driving down the road and turbo failure. Was able to get to side of road safely.

- Whittier, NC, USA

problem #17

Nov 082014


  • 112,000 miles
Despite performing the regularly scheduled (very expensive) maintenance for this vehicle, we had many issues with our 2012 Volkswagen Passat tdi. This car was a commuter vehicle and was driven 110 miles/5 days per week at 55-65 mph. We thought that with proper care and maintenance this car with its diesel engine would last more than 111,000 miles... we are so disappointed and frankly irate. What a waste of money. Our issues were: At numerous mileages, our head, tail and running lights had to be replaced at about $50/instance. At 104,738 miles, the passenger window would not go up or down. The window pin was replaced for $184.05. At 101,019 miles, the timing belt was replaced at a cost of $1,260.76. At 111,166 miles, our 2012 Volkswagen Passat tdi began to run very rough and loud on trip. We made it home and my husband brought the car to the Volkswagen shop where we were told that bearings broke off and destroyed the interior of our engine. We replaced the engine at a whopping $6,865.76. At 127,115 miles the car would not start. We towed it to the dealer where we were told the starter had gone out and needed to be replaced. We sold the Passat on the spot to the dealer before fixing this issue. We could not bear to sell this car to a private party.

- Sweet Home, OR, USA

problem #16

Aug 112015


  • 27,811 miles


Was on ramp entering I-5 South off clairemont (san diego) when engine completely died with no warning light or previous signs. Steering and brakes stopped but I was able to pull to side. The car did not start right up right away. My daughter-in-law and I had just stopped to get gas; she got out of car to check gas cap. It was on tightly. She got back inside car and the car started again. A couple days later, doors unlocked on it's own while driving. I took it to dealer 8.21.2015 and they could find nothing wrong and nothing recorded in the car's system. They know I am very concerned and this is very disturbing.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 062015


  • 1,284,000 miles
The car was on cruise control then engine light came on and glow plug light started flashing. Also a winding noise was heard when accelerating which did not accelerate very well. I took it to the dealer and they said it would need a turbo which was just replaced 20,000 miles ago, mechatronic unit, , ad blue hester kit, particulate filter part. The car is 3 years old I put about 35K miles on a year. I service the car religiously never have missed required service. Over $6,000 dollar repair

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #14

Jan 202015

Passat 5-cyl

  • 27,500 miles
2012 VW Passat with no previous signs of problems begins sputtering/flashing engine light. Car was driven apx. 1/4 mile back home, where it began smoking and caught fire. Entire engine burnt out. Car was under warranty. NHTSA investigated Passat's faulty ignition coils yet did not issue a safety recall because there was no safety issue...but if the engine catches on fire...with all the combustibles in a would think that was a little unsafe. Glad my 4 year old was not with me.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #13

Feb 222014

Passat 5-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, all of the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel and the horn became inoperable. The problem recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the clock spring needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unknown...updated 03-11-15 updated 6/18/2015

- Corona , CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 152014

Passat 5-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
I was driving down the street and heard a loud pop like a tire blew or belt broke or something, then I saw a lot of smoke, so I pulled in a party store parking lot and it was engulfed in flames burnt the entire engine up to a crisp. I have video and pictures of this traumatic event. So please investigate to see if this is a manufacture defect. I need another car as soon as possible. Thanks. The car has been towed to vyletel Volkswagen dealership in sterling heights, Michigan.

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #11

Jul 162014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 44,800 miles
On July 16, 2014 at approximately 5:00 pm, my 2012 Volkswagen Passat tdi sel premium lost power on the highway. The engine failed and shut off while I was traveling on interstate 95 North and left me stranded on the highway surrounded by cars traveling at speeds greater than 65 mph. The engine failure put my life, my colleague's life and my fetus'¿ life in danger and could have been disastrous for other motor vehicles as well. My car was towed to a Volkswagen service center, where they inspected the fuel system and found a broken bolt. This bolt held the fuel rail and fuel injectors in place and when it broke, caused the injectors to pop out of the cylinder head and the subsequent engine failure. The installed bolt was part of the fuel system replacement repair that another dealership service center, closer to my home, performed back in April 2014. I'¿ve had three major incidents with my VW now, all within the last 3 months and it seems to be stemming from the fuel system replacement. When the fuel system was replaced, the service center blamed it on a "bad batch of diesel fuel" from a local gas station. They said that within 3 weeks, they've had around 25 cars come in with the same problem. My car is not even 3 years old and has only 44,000 miles on it. This is completely unacceptable. Because of these incidents, the last one of which put my life as well as 2 other lives in grave danger, I would like to submit this complaint, in case it is a more wide spread problem.

- Montgomery Village, MD, USA

problem #10

Mar 152013

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 14,609 miles
Whining sound when driving forward not when it's coasting and it sounds like slipping. Caught before complete turbo failure. Cause reported by dealer: Verified, found metallic whine noise under boos. Ran gff an found P02900 - turbo under boost.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #9

Mar 252014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 32,000 miles
Heard a whistle sound followed by some sort of puff and loss of power. Ton of white smoke, thought car on fire, pulled over. People passing by called fire department due to the amount of smoke from the exhaust pipe. After car smelled like burned oil, exhaust pipe covered in oil, and oil drops on the exhaust pipe. Told by the dealership new turbocharger is needed.

- Bartlett , IL, USA

problem #8

Mar 222014


  • 46,000 miles
I was driving when suddenly my car started surging and revving high. Check engine light and epc light came on. Its drivable but not safely and needs fixed asap.

- Williamsport , MD, USA

problem #7

Feb 262014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 38,200 miles
I left my home and drive my vehicle approximately 1.5 miles at speeds at or under 25 mph. I stopped at a stop sign before making a right turn onto another road. When I accelerated the car had a sudden loss of power and I could not maintain speed. I was able to go approximately 10 mph and I was able to get my car out of traffic. Later the dealer diagnosed the problem as a premature turbo failure. If this type of failure had occurred at highway speeds I may have been in danger or endangered other motorists. I have found that this problem is being more frequently reported on internet forums and many people are experiencing turbo failures at low miles.

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

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