really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 12
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,087 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.

2002 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Volkswagen Passat:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Feb 062009


  • 73,000 miles


My car had been hit on the driver side so I took it to the auto body shop to be repaired, being paid for by the person insurance co that hit me. When I went to pick the car up about 3 weeks later I drive 2 blocks and then lights started flashing (warning oil pressure) stop car immediately. I called the auto body shop so I could take the car back to them because the car was in excellent working order when I took it there no lights were on or flashing only the door was damaged. Few days later the auto body said they would have to have it towed to a dealer wynn because they don't know why the lights are on. Wynn dealer gave diagnoses of oil sludge for the lights flashing and the auto body had replaced the door with the wrong door. I was told this would cost me 2300 dollars, 2300 dollars. I was told by the deal that this is the problem and removal of the sludge will fix the problem. They had the car for a month repairs to replace the door and the oil sludge. Month later when I went to pick up the car at that time there was an engine light came on, had the manager check why. He hook up a computer and said it may be a bad cylinder he reset the light and I drove it for 2 weeks maybe and now excessive amount of smoke was coming from the car and it was losing power. I took it back to dealer stating you told me the problem was fixed I was told that now it has a turbo charger problem had been damaged which would be covered by my warranty. So I left it there for repairs. Picked it up a week later and was told everything was fine now drove it for not even a day and the car was still losing power and now shaking out of control. I had to take it back to the dealer and now was told I had a bad engine coil so the best they could do for now is replace it with a used one. In the mean time I had called Volkswagen customer service and they told me I had to take it back to them for diagnose. Because when they replaced the coil it still didn't.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #35

Nov 252005


  • 54,818 miles
Oil pump sludge on my Volkswagen 2002 1.8T Passat engine light came on. Engine quite working in the middle of the freeway. It only had 54,818 miles. I had to pay 10,000 out of my own pocket to replace the engine.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 202009


  • 85,500 miles
My Volkswagen Passat 2002 caught on fire. I know you are investigating this so I wanted to inform you.

- Shaker Heights, OH, USA

problem #33

May 152008


  • 67,000 miles


I have a 2002 Volkswagen Passat with 79000 miles, in may of 2008 while my daughter was away at school the stop engine light came on. After she took it to a local shop and I spent over $300 in diagnostic services I was advised of VW's tsb 10 07 13, 2013233, published Aug 17, 2007which acknowledged the oil sludge issue and the "magic flush". had the car towed at my expense from md to NJ. VW agreed with the diagnostics and performed the flush. Since that time (<8 months) the car has been in the garage numerous times for additional related oil issues. The latest >6K due to the turbo filling up with oil, can and crank seals leaking, valve covers leaking, premature cracking caused by the oil in the timing belt, etc. Independent mechanics as well as the dealers mechanics agree that this can be a residual effect from the oil sludge. VW of America would not listen to the facts and have left me holding the bag. Oil changes have been done every 3500 miles, with receipts. VW should be stepping up to the plate, they know that there is a design issue with the 1.8T in the Passat. I think that they intentionally make it difficult on the consumer so that they give up. Any advice?

- Mine Hill, NJ, USA

problem #32

Nov 302008


  • 52,200 miles
Need to replace at least one bank of cam adjuster. Seems to be a problem with part. Cost to replace @$6,000. No help from VW.

- North Oaks, MN, USA

problem #31

Oct 042008


  • 125,000 miles
Car driven to airport parking on 9/26 running fine. Car picked up at airport parking on 10/4. engine running a bit rough. "check engine" light started to flash. Within five miles, there was an engine fire behind engine by firewall low. Before emergency/fire personnel could arrive, car fully engulfed and totally destroyed. Car regularly maintained. No oil/fluid leakage. Running fine prior to eight day idle in parking garage.

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #30

Sep 012007

Passat 6-cyl

  • miles


2002 Volkswagen Passat with fuel odor. Consumer states that she noticed a strong fuel smell filling her garage. Mechanic stated that there was a crack in the fuel tank. Mechanic stated that the consumer hit the bottom of the fuel tank on something. The consumer stated a few months after the fuel tank was replaced, the timing belt failed.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #29

May 092008

Passat 4-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
Was driving on the interstate when the car started sputtering. Then I saw smoke coming up from the hood. Pulled the car over, opened the hood and saw flames. Grabbed my kid out of the car and watched the car become engulfed in fire. Car was in excellent condition with all maintenance up to date.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #28

Mar 132008

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle began shaking violently and shut down in the middle of an intersection. The vehicle then skidded into an intersection and almost struck a child. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the ignition coil housing burned. The dealer would not repair the vehicle or allow him to pay $785 with a credit card to repair the ignition coil. The turbo coil also failed; however, the dealer does not agree with this diagnosis. The manufacturer was unable to assist. The contact also smelled electrical wiring burning. He stated that oil breaks down prematurely, which caused the engine to seize and the vehicle to overheat. The manufacturer stated in writing that they see no reason why they should offer any assistance, and that there was a previous recall on a case by case basis related to other engine failures. The federal trade commission complaint number was 13323205. The current mileage was 101,222 and failure mileage was 86,000.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #27

Nov 262007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Engine fails due to oil sludge problem.

- Purcellville, VA, USA

problem #26

Nov 052007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles


I pay $1500 for used 2002 Passat VW two years ago now dealer wants to charge me $ 6700 for new engine. Old engine was damage due to engine sludge. I submitted regular oil change receipts and was denied warranty. My Passat has 84,000 mile and only two years of riding enjoyment. My car sitting at dealership for almost two weeks. Please help car needed for work.

- Jackson Hts, NY, USA

problem #25

May 292007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles
I'm religious about changing the oil in the car, about the maintenance and care of it. I love my Volkswagen Passat. I had the oil pressure light came on once or twice over the last two years, but always took it into a shop for regular maintenance. The light always went off and nothing ever happened. However, there has been a lot of sludge buildup in the engine, despite the best efforts. So much so that the oil pump was blocked and the engine seized as a result. I had the oil pressure warning come on the day my car died. It was a few miles after it went on it stopped running and I had to push my car into it's parking spot at home. Volkswagen dealers @ the burnsville location told me that they had started with a 100,000 mile warranty on the Passats, but that it had become cost ineffective and so cut the warranty to 50,000. My car seized at under 87,000. I've not been able to afford to fix it, as yet. Had to take time off work and so my paycheck was greatly reduced. Haven't been able to make the car payment on it either, as a result, which has a balance of near to $10,000.

- Hopkins, MN, USA

problem #24

Dec 312002


  • miles
Owner's wife drove Volkswagen home, parked it in the left bay of a two-car garage. Approximately one hour later, owner was alerted by a smoke alarm/smell of smoke. Owner went out to garage and observed flames coming from the engine compartment of the Volkswagen. Ran back into house and told wife to call 911. Returned to garage and observed Volkswagen almost completely engulfed in flames. Fire destroyed vehicle and house. Cause undetermined.

- Seekonk, MA, USA

problem #23

Aug 242006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,777 miles
On August 24, 2006 my 2002 VW Passat with 64777 miles was taken in to replace the spark plugs. No problem so far, I picked up the car a got as far as two blocks when the temp gauge pegged out. I immediately stopped the car and checked for leakage, no leakage was noticeable I drove the car back to the dealership and was informed that the water pump failed. I had fork out nearly $1000 dollars to get the car back on the road. The service manager showed my the failed pump and was astonished that the impeller was made out of plastic. To add insult when I contacted VW and request some type of relief for the expense. I requested a written response which I never received only a terse phone call. VW's response was sorry for your loss.

- South Bend, IN, USA

problem #22

Aug 022006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,561 miles
I would like to lodge a complaint regarding the excessive failure of vacuum hoses causing the engine malfunction indicator light to come on repeatedly on the 2002 VW Passat wagon. On August 2, 2006, the vacuum hose failed (replaced with P/N 06B-133-783 bc). The cost of the repair was $271.63. On September 11, 2006, the vacuum hose was replaced as per vehicle recall (replaced with P/N 06B-103-221P). And on October 18, 2006, the vacuum hose failed (replaced with P/N 1N-020-353-5). The cost of this repair was $137.93. Also to be considered is the inconvenience of taking the car to a repair facility time after time.

- Middle Village, NY, USA

problem #21

Jun 142006


  • 85,000 miles
Bought the car new and have had to deal with defective tires, defective ignition coils causing two major breakdowns at highway speeds with children in the car. The last two ignition coils were recalled. The car will not run if it is wet from heavy rain and has to be completely dried before the breaks work properly. Oil pump was replaced 14 months ago, another major breakdown on highway with children. It has broken down yet again...the dealership says it needs another oil pump because of sludge, about $2000, not under warranty because it is past the 12 month, 12,000mile mark. Two other private mechanics told me, replacing the oil pump would only disguise, temporarily the real issue....the engine is junk. It now sits in my driveway because it is not under warranty because I am missing some oil change receipts. Also the blinkers don't work, the rear door won't open, auto locks work intermittently and headlights have been replaced twice and are out again. This was the first new car I ever bought. I bought the car after a divorce because I wanted a dependable car to commute to work and Transport my children safely. The car has 85,00 mi.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #20

Feb 222006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Low engine oil pressure light came on. Turned car off and pulled over. Had it towed to the dealer. Before it was even looked at the dealer tells me that it is going to cost me $2600 and that I am lucky. He said the last person that came in with this problem had to get a new engine, but that he didn't think that my car is that bad. Don't know how he could say that without looking in the engine or turning the engine on. It sounds like a money making scam for the dealer. They know that people don't keep all their receipts so they can deny the warranty claim and the dealer charges people $2600 for this very known issue with many VW's. I was told this is a bunch of hoses that will need replaced. I don't see how or why this would cost $2600.

- Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #19

Sep 012005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
On Sept 1,2005 on my way to the E.R. at a local hospital the oil light came on telling me to stop engine/check oil pressure. I turned engine off, and checked oil level, all ok. Tried to start engine to get off of New York state thruway, engine making terrible noise, turned off had car towed to dealer. Was told by dealer it would be at least $400 to look at the car and diagnose it. After one week dealer called and said it would cost $9000 to replace entire motor, on Sept. 2 2005 called V.w. of America they stated to me at that time that they were aware of the problem with the 1.8 turbo building up oil sludge in the motor, and that they had extended the warranty on the engine. They said that they needed maintenance records to prove my case, they gave me a fax # which was the wrong #. after the long holiday weekend I phoned V.w. of America again and they stated, to fax the documents directly to the dealer that they did not receive them, the consumer advocate that I was speaking with was new and did not know the fax #. the dealer stated that my records were not detailed enough and that I was missing six receipts, I moved one year ago and the valvoline station where I had the oil changed faithfully stated that if you do not use there services for 6 months that the computer automatically drops your records. I seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place, V.w. and the dealer keep shuffling me back and forth, in the mean time I have no vehicle and I am renting a car to get back and forth to work. After searching your web site I found 8 complaints including my own out of 50 that's almost 20% of the complaints for the same problem, and the other people are given the same run around. This has to stop somewhere and some one has to take responsibility for an obviously defective product. I have contacted an attorney and are prepared to litigate if necessary.

- Gloversville, NY, USA

problem #18

Jan 132005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
I have a 2002 volswagen Passat with 39000 miles, on 1/13/2005 the oil pressure stop engine message came on the dash, and the engine started smoking and running rough. I had it towed to the dealer that day. The dealer and VW said they would not even look at it until I provided a service record. I made them a copy of my log which had the exact date and mileage, but that wasn't good enough. They wanted copies of the receipts which I went out and got, but I learned today that wasn't good enough. They wanted name and address of the mech. Which I provided, but VW says I don't have proper documt. Because there is not a specific receipt for the oil filter even though the part # for the filter is on the receipt. It took over 3 weeks and dozens of phone calls to both the dealer and Volkswagen of America to finally get a diagnosis (note: The asm of Volkswagen of amer. Denied my warranty on 02/02/2005 without being able to tell me the problem with the car!!) which appears to be oil sludge buildup.

- Milmay, NJ, USA

problem #17

Dec 012004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
I am leasing a 2002 V.w. Passat. The vehicle has aproximately 33,000 miles and is equipped with the 1.8 liter turbo. I was driving the vehicle home from work when the oil pressure warning light came on, followed by the word stop on the dashboard. I pulled the vehicle over and had it towed to the closest V.w. dealer. The dealer diagnosed the problem as an oil sludge problem and advised me it would cost $900 to fix the problem unless I could show proof of oil changes through receipts. I supplied the dealer with 6 oil change receipts from a small garage near my house where I get the oil changed. I called the dealer back a few days later and asked the status of my car. The G.M. of the shop accused me of forgery due to the fact the receipts did not have tax or method of payment at the bottom. I replied that the shop charges me $30 to change the oil, I give them $30, and I leave. He then stated if I paid cash for the oil changes, I guess I couldn't give them what they wanted(proof of payment I.e. check stub, credit card statement's). He estimated the repair at $900 and that the warrenty would not cover any of it. So because I pay cash for my oil changes I am being denied repair under warrenty. The repair consists of clearing out the oil pump pick up screen of the sludge and replacing a couple of vent tubes that may be clogged. The car is presently sitting at the dealer in need of repair. I plan on greiving the decision by V.w of amer.and hope for the best.

- Garfield Hts., OH, USA

Read the next 16 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?