definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,868 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 #32

Mar 202010


  • 62,000 miles


VW engine oil sludge problem.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #31

Mar 272009


  • 142,000 miles
2001 1/2 Volkswagen Passat station wagon, manual, 1.8T persistent issues with ignition coils, and check engine light over 8 years.

- Ham Lake , MN, USA

problem #30

Sep 102005


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen Passat. While driving approximately 55 mph, the "stop vehicle do not drive", and oil pressure warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The indicators remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and they repaired the engine. The previous repair required the vehicle to remain at the dealer for one month. On three separate occasions, the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for identical failures, but there were no resolutions. In addition, during rainy weather conditions, five inches of water leaked onto the front passenger side floor panel. There was electrical failure due to the water leakage that caused gear component damage. Recently, the contact received a recall notice that consists of installation of a drainage filter and fuel system component repair. The vehicle has not been repaired for these malfunctions. The NHTSA campaign id number was unknown. The failure mileage was 36,000 and current mileage was 85,000.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #29

Jul 012008


  • 74,000 miles


I was driving to my new employment when my 2001.5 Passat lost power. The engine ran very rough and the idle was stable. The engine continued to stall and rendered the vehicle unusable. My Passat was taken to a garage near my place of employment and I was told the cylinder #4 has failed. I had the vehicle towed home (90 miles) to my local garage to be told the same. Cylinder #4 has no compression and the turbo has also failed as a result of the failing cylinder. I was told by VW that I need to replace the coil packs and spark plugs and the error should clear up. I had the mechanic replace the spark plugs and all four coil packs on the vehicle. After the repair the mechanic stated to me that the vehicle performance and issue was not fixed with the repair and the cylinder #4 was still down. I have been left without a vehicle now for almost two months while still having to make payments on a vehicle that I can not use.

- Lititz, PA, USA

problem #28

Jul 262008


  • 77,105 miles
I have a '01 VW Passat. I had to go to the VW dealer today since I was hearing a pinging noise when I drive. They checked and advised that the lower control arm and tie ends would need to be replaced since they were worn out. The car has 77K miles and on researching have found that other VW Passat owners from the same time frame are having the same issue. It has been attributed to design flaws. I am worried that this is going to deteriorate and lead to an accident. Additionally they identified a valve cover camshaft seal leakage. This is another issue that has been identified by other owners.

- Port Washington, NY, USA

problem #27

Feb 112007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2001 Volkswagen Passat and the check oil pressure stop engine light came on yesterday. The oil level is fine. We had an oil change the day before. The car had to be towed to the Volkswagen dealership. This comes three months after we had to send it to Volkswagen to have a cooling problem worked on which cost over 3,000. They were told to fix anything that was wrong with the car.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #26

Feb 052007

Passat 6-cyl

  • 30 miles


I have a 2001 VW Passat that I purchased a 18 months ago. The car was a certified VW and had a warranty extended till 74,000 miles. At 70,000 miles while driving I had the stop low oil pressure light come on- it was time for an oil change so I took it in for an oil change and for the dealer to find the problem. No issue was found. Now at 75,500 miles the light comes on again- this time more issues. I pulled over immediately to find that all my oil was leaking out of the car. Towed vehicle to closest VW dealer as I was 120 miles away from home. Dealer informs me that the camshaft adjusters were leaking oil badly and the cost to fix is $2,600. - car is still in the shop and hopefully no more problems will be found. 1,500 mi outside warranty and VW can do nothing to help lower the expense- even though I had a issue w/ low oil while within my warranty period.

- Plano, IL, USA

problem #25

Oct 172006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
With just about 70000 miles on the Volkswagen Passat, the engine started leaking oil from 4 areas: Cam seals, valve gaskets and some leaks on top of the catalytic converter. The oils leaked onto the catalytic converter causing toxic fumes. The problem recurs consistently even after fixing it. The Volkswagen Passat 2001 model is extremely dangerous with such rudimentary engine problems and could potentially cause death. There is no clear documentation on what parts are covered under warranty available to the customer. With the nearest dealership 30 miles away, it becomes extremely difficult to take the car to the dealer everytime this happens just to check if the parts will be covered under warranty and it costs nearly $3000 to fix these problems.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #24

Dec 152006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 98,994 miles
Having an oil sludge problem with a 2001 1/2 model year VW Passat with a 1.8T engine. Recently had a low oil pressure warning light come on, requiring the vehicle to be towed to a local VW dealership. Dealership diagnosed as an oil pump problem, most likely caused by an oil sludge problem. If it is caused by oil sludge, then engine damage is likely to be found as it seems to be a common problem based on web forum postings by other Passat owners who have experienced the same problem. Vehicle is unoperable at this time. VW is refusing to cover to the repair under warranty due to insufficient documentation of oil changes. All VW service intervals were completed for the vehicle including all oil changes and are backed up with documentation. I am still trying to get clarification from VW as to why the documentation is considered insufficient. Vehicle has 99,004 miles on it. Oil changes prior to 30,000 service interval were completed at VW dealerships and included VW approved non-synthetic oil. Oil changes from 30,000 miles/January 2002 forward were completed using synthetic oil. VW recognized the sludge problem and issued a warranty extension in August 2004 along with requirement to use synthetic oils (NHTSA tsb #10009888 and #10009873). A previous problem occured at 78,400 where a defective head gasket was replaced. During that service the head gasket, oil cooler, oil pump, and associated parts were replaced under warranty. Based on web postings from other owners this may also be associated with the oil sludge problem.

- Finksburg, MD, USA

problem #23

Nov 222006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,069 miles
I had a synthetic oil change on my 2001 VW Passat, November 7,2006 at heritage VW (dealership) and then on November 22,2006 the vehicle slowed and the display showed stop with an oil icon. I immediately stopped the car and checked the oil. There was oil in the car but I called the dealership and they said do not drive the car, there is probably sludge in the car. I towed it in the dealership and they said it needed a new oil pump with a new oil screen and it did have sludge. This repair was $1267. I was not offered any warranty reimbursement at that time. Later I found out that this is a widespread problem with VW. Why did they not see the sludge when they did the oil change Nov 7,2006?

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #22

Aug 292006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


: the contact stated while driving 45 mph on the highway, the engine stalled and there was a loss of all power without warning. The engine would not restart and the contact pushed the vehicle off the road. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who determined there was excessive oil sludge and the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #21

Jul 142006

(reported on)


  • miles
Mechanic refuses to repair 2001 Passat electronic control system. The consumer stated the problem had been mis-diagnosed on more than one occasion. The vehicle had an oil hose leak.

- Mahwah, NJ, USA

problem #20

Oct 102005

Passat 6-cyl

  • 36,987 miles
All bolts holding compressor in place broke.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #19

Dec 092005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,900 miles
My 2001 Volkswagen Passat needs a new engine because it is filled with sludge. After researching this on my own I found that this is a common problem with the 1.8T engine. VW issued an extended warranty on that engine provided the consumer can produce oil change receipts showing the car was maintained according to the owners manual. I sent them the proper receipts showing my car was maintained properly and they still denied me. My car only has about 43,000 miles on it and I just bought it 10 months ago.

- Claremont, NH, USA

problem #18

Oct 102005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
Purchased the vehcile (second-hand) from the Lexus dealership on veterans drive in metairie, la back in March 2004. Here is my complaint: My family evacuated for hurricane 'katrina' and we left the VW behind at the house. Well, it sat for about a month. Once we got back to the vehicle, we noticed it was not running good at all. Very rough. Very different than before the storm. I checked the car out and found out it was very low on oil. Yet, we have no oil leaks. I could not explain where the oil had gone. And the oil in the case of the vehicle looked "grainy" and "sludgey". we thought it was storm related and filed a claim with state farm. We then took it to the local VW dealer near my office to have to locate the problem. The VW service guy said, yes, Volkswagen has identified a mechanical problem with our model vehicle where the turbo can not handle conventional motor oil. They would fix that free of charge....however, they need the last 12 month history of our oil changes. Well, at first I thought this would be no problem. We have always gotten our regular oill changes so the receipts should be handy. Well, I didn't take into account that the destruction of our new orleans home by hurricane katrina. Our house was a total loss and so were those receipts. I think we managed to get our hands on two of them. Well, that's not good enough for VW. As a matter of fact, they won't even take hand-written receipts from the oil change places. I am extremely angry that they will not fix an existing problem with their vehicle without this information. They acknowledge the fact that it's the vehicle mechanisms but they refuse to fix it without copies of receipts I can never produce. All of new orleans was destroyed. Now, my wife, who has to commute 50 miles each way to work, has to drive her unsafe vehicle and endanger her life because VW refuses to fix a problem they admit their car has. We have no recourse but to file this complaint with the NHTSA.

- Mandeville, LA, USA

problem #17

Nov 022005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 78,000 miles
Oil pump failure: The warning light turned on "stop, oil pressure low" contacted VW and was told that I needed to bring the car in for an inspection. It was determined that there was a sludge build up in the oil which caused the oil pump to fail. Recently VW has issued a new warranty for the replacement of the oil pump due to this problem, only if you have your oil receipts from day one. I wish to keep my VW for a long time and yes oil was changed on a regular basis, however receipts are difficult to find from day one. From my findings and what makes sense is that the turbo is over heating the oil and building up a sludge in the oil. As of today my pump was replaced along with the cam. The dealership did the necessary work but has not really informed me as to any future problems that will arise. Where as other oil repair shops know of VW with turbo that have failed at 20,000 miles and then again at 40,000 miles. As of today I question if the turbo was inspected for sludge or was an oil flush done.

- Lafayette Hill, PA, USA

problem #16

Jul 052004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
While driving my 2001 Volkswagen Passat on highway 95 at highway speeds, the "stop engine" light came on. The oil pressure warning light came on and indicated no oil pressure. We had to have the vehicle towed to the nearest Volkswagen dealer where it took a complete engine teardown and oil pump replacement. The vehicle had only 40,000 miles on it and had been maintained well. This occurred without warning and could have resulted in stranding a woman or children alone. No deaths occurred, however complete engine failure at highway speeds could have resulted in loss of control of vehicle, leading to same.

- Tracys Landing, MD, USA

problem #15

Mar 312005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Engine light continually goes on and off, when blinking on, the car shakes, as if it is about to stall, and a bad odor emits. When driving, the car would not exceed 20-30 mph, even when the gas pedal was to the floor. Brought the car to VW first time, they said the light came on because the car was idle for a day or so. The 2nd time, after going to an independent repair shop and having all the plugs replaced and a complete tune-up, same thing happened the next day. Independent shop said the only other thing was the ignition coils and that they were expensive. Called VW dealership(car is on extended warranty-less than 30 thousand miles & a 2001), waited 9 days before they could look at the car, however, the engine light was out again. I explained to them the problem, and all they said was that VW does not have a recall on the ignition coils, they replaced the newly purchased plugs again, and said there was nothing wrong with the coils"?" cost me $261 plus a rental car, but there was nothing wrong.

- Falmouth, MA, USA

problem #14

Nov 282004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The crank shaft screw got loose, backed out, and rattled throughout the engine at 50 mph. Consumer was informed by the dealer that a new engine was needed because the screw ruined the interior parts of the engine.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #13

Nov 092004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Check engine light flashed on the dashboard intermittently. Consumer took vehicle to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that the sludge was inside of the engine, and engine needed to be replaced.

- Austin, TX, USA

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