hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,818 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Volkswagen Passat:

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

2004 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #18

Aug 262010

(reported on)


  • miles


2004 Volkswagen Passat. Consumer expresses discontent with VW regarding defective engines the consumer stated VW has acknowledged that the engine's were defective.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #17

Oct 022009


  • 116,153 miles
While driving the engine lamp came on and the test message indicated "emission workshop". the dealership found the mass air flow meter (P0101) to be faulty. It was replace but the problem and code recurred within 6 miles. Next the dealership found a crack in the turbo air cooler, it was replaced but the problem and code recurred within miles. The dealership has had the car for nearly 2 weeks when they found a slight air leak in a turbo hose. The "O" rings were replaced and it may have corrected the problem but I have not had the car since they are still working on the engine surge problem.

- New Baden, IL, USA

problem #16

Aug 012009


  • 72,000 miles
Excessive noise from engine - chain driven oil pump. This noise has gotten progressively worse and will lead to catastrophic failure while driving. Oil will cease being fed to the engine and seizure will occur. At 70 mph this will likely lead to death of occupants and possibly others in vehicles behind mine. This has been reported to dealer as well.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #15

Jun 122009


  • 100,243 miles


Vehicle: 2004 Volkswagen Passat gls sedan with 2.0 tdi motor problem: Chain driven oil pump has serious vibration. It is not on Volkswagen's suggested maintenance list or things to check during preventable maintenance. The cast metal chain tensioner cracks and fails, causing loss of tension on the oil pump drive sprockets which leads to : 1. wear on drive sprockets. 2. catastrophic failure of the oil pump. 3. complete loss of engine power without warning at any speed in any traffic condition. I do not know the complete failure rate for this equipment, but I do know this setup was sold on approximately 20,000 2.0L turbo diesel motors, stamped bhw. This setup was only sold in North America and other similar motors in european markets have a gear driven oil pump that do not show the failure rate being seen in the N.a. market. Volkswagen in North America has discontinued making the chain driven oil pump, replacing it with the gear driven pump originally available only in foreign markets. Volkswagen continues to stand by that there's no problem with chain driven pump, yet there a numerous accounts of failing tensioners, chains, sprockets and balance shafts (hex shaft holding the driven sprockets) due to loss of tension and poor design. Every chain driven oil pump on the bhw motor will fail. Mileage does not appear to be a determination on when this will fail as reports of wear and failure from 45,000 to 180,000 miles are being reported on internet Volkswagen diesel forums. For photos of failed parts, see: See post #743: forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?T=233651&page=50 note: This complaint does not refer to the timing belt assembly or timing belt. It refers solely to the chain driven oil pump and balance shaft assembly on the bhw type turbo diesel motor.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #14

Jun 042009


  • 35,000 miles
It never occurred to me that there was a problem with the engine...everytime I have the oil changed but it seems to be losing a little bit of oil. I need to add oil every 200 to 300 miles to the engine....I've checked for oil leaks..cant find any...please advise...rear seals? maybe

- Waterville, NY, USA

problem #13

Apr 032009


  • 55,000 miles
I purchased a used 2004 VW Passat with 34K miles in September 2007. The car was running file and has been kept current with oil changes. On April 3, 2009, my fiance was driving us home from work and a loud knocking noise started and a message displayed saying stop! oil pressure low. This has never happened before. We were still far from home so we pulled over and took a look under the hood. The oil was low for some reason, although it was recently changed, so we purchased a quart to get us home. We continued to drive home and starting losing power as this knocking noise continued. We did make it home. The car was towed from our home to a VW dealer the next day. We were told that the crank shaft was damaged due to oil sludge build-up in the engine. Basically, the engine was shot and I needed a new one, which would cost about $4K with about $2K in labor. The car only has 55K miles on it - how could this happen? we then went online and conducted a search. We found that this is a well-known problem with 1.8 T engines between 2003-2005. I was mortified. I was never given any information from VW about this issue, although the car was purchased used. The dealer told us that VW extended the powertrain warranty for to 8 yrs due to this issue but we must provide oil change receipts. We had none, because not only did we not have ones from the previous owner, but my fiance changes my oil and although he used the required synthetic oil, the dealer told us that there are "approved brands" that must be used. We were never given this info because the owner manual only says use 5W40 or if not available, use 5W30 oil. So, we are left with nothing. It can cost anywhere between $4-8K to fix. The cost to get a new or used engine plus labor is ridiculous. I'm driving my old Honda that has 231K miles while my VW sits at the shop waiting to be fixed. I fear the bill. I planned to purchase a new VW in a couple years, but now I will never buy a VW again and will make sure my story is heard!!

- Lehighton, PA, USA

problem #12

Mar 012009


  • 112,000 miles


The balance shaft chain drive in the bottom end of our 2004 Passat tdi has started to make noise. They will all fail. I am a car enthusiast and from what I understand through the pains of many that have already replaced their failed or failing chain driven balance assembly, many break apart completely, and cause the oil pump to quit turning and the engine to lock up suddenly. VW has come up with a fix for this, to retrofit a gear driven unit, but as of yet has not even acknowledged this very serious problem that more times than not manifests itself in the 60 to 80K mile range. The cost to repair proactive is about $2500, but if the engine is damaged, the cost is about $9000. This is a very serious safety issue, and can cause the engine to suddenly seize while underway! currently there is not even a warning of any kind from VW to owners of these vehicles to be aware of this issue. If not for an internet forum, fred's tdi club.com, I like many others who still are, would be completely oblivious to this serious and potentially catastrophic failure.

- Riegelwood, NC, USA

problem #11

Jul 102008


  • 96,000 miles
The chain on the oil pump, balance shaft assembly failed at 96,000 miles. It was detected by a mechanic before the engine seized. The entire oil pump and balance shaft assembly was replaced. Had the problem not been detected, and the chain broke, the engine would have been starved of lubrication and failed. This is the diesel Passat with the bhw engine.

- Bucyrus, KS, USA

problem #10

Feb 232009


  • 82,387 miles
The balance shaft chain drive in the bottom end of our 2004 Passat started to make noise. They will all fail. I am a mechanic specializing in these cars, and have currently had to repair 27 of these, including my own. Many break apart completely, and cause the oil pump to quit turning and the engine to lock up suddenly. I have one such car here right now. VW has come up with a fix for this, to retrofit a gear driven unit, but as of yet has not even acknowledged this very serious problem that more times than not manifests itself in the 60 to 80K mile range. The cost to repair proactively is about $2500, but of the engine is damaged, the cost is about $9000. This is a very serious safety issue, and can cause the engine to suddenly seize while underway!

- Union, MO, USA

problem #9

Sep 122008


  • 40,000 miles
Oil sludge developed in the engine of my 2004 VW Passat wagon 1.8T, causing excess engine wear and $2800 service charge to desludge the engine. The sludge was caused by a problem known to VW but not made known to vehicle owners. I would like VW to reimburse me for the cost of this service. At a minimum, I would like VW to notify all customers of this defect (including warranty coverage requirements) and provide periodic sludge checks, every one to two years.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #8

Jun 302008


  • 100,500 miles


After hitting 100,000 miles on 2004 Passat, the warning light came on for low oil pressure. I took it in to VW and they quoted me $2,800 to replace all oil lines and vacuum lines. I did some research and found out that this is a known problem with VW engines and even after doing the $2,800 worth of work, the engine will still fail within a year. I have gone to another repair shop to perform an oil flush and I was able to drive another 500 miles before the light came on again. I have gone for 2 more oil flushes. Now, they will do 2 oil flushes each time. The first time, there will be a lot of sludge that comes out and the 2nd time is clear. There is an obvious problem with sludge build up and will eventually ruin the engine. I know there was a recall on 1.8T engines for this same issue. It is an issue with all VW engines, not just the 1.8T.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #7

Jun 012008

Passat 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Engine started fine, and let it ran for a minute or two on drive way. Then suddenly it died. Computer screen displayed "stop", oils pressure can, and low oil pressure warning lights came on.

- Pooler, GA, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Jun 112007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,955 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. While driving 30 mph, the check engine light illuminated and the engine began to shutter. The contact smelled rubber burning and the vehicle was towed to a local mechanic. The cause of failure was diagnosed as a failed ignition coil. The vehicle was repaired. The current mileage is 56,010 and failure mileage was 55,955.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #4

Feb 032007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,787 miles
My car, a 2004 VW Passat glx automatic, has had a transmission problem since the day I bought it, when the salesperson told me it just needed to adjust to my driving style. Months later, it was clear that it wasn't adjusting to my driving style. I took it in and it was "fixed." About may or June of 2006, it began to experience problems again, e.g., slamming, surging, delayed engagement, etc. I gave it some time, hoping it would "readjust, " then took it in November of 2006, when the problems had become more acute. In a 4-5 minute test drive within a mile of the dealer, the most worrisome malfunctions could not be repeated. The service manager at the time said the minor issues were normal, and that I would have to "write a letter" to get the problem addressed. On Saturday, 2/3/07, a transmission surge propelled my car over a speed bump and into the concrete, causing what I presumed was an oil leak. This transmission issue presents obvious hazards to people, in addition to property. As of today (2/6/07), the dealer is requesting that I pay approximately $900 to fix the oil pan so they can drive the car and address the transmission malfunction.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 092007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
VW Passat 2004 purchased new from dealer in Jan. Of 2005. We did our own oil changes following the manual recommended schedule and oil specifications (every 5,000 miles 5W-30 or 5W-40 regular or synthetic oil). We never received a letter from VW nor the dealership about the extended warranty for the known oil sludge problem nor any new requirements for oil changes. Most of the oil changes were done at home and recorded in the manual; two were done outside and have receipts. Oil pressure light went on at about 45,000 miles, car was towed to dealership. They recommended a new motor. Dealership contends that warranty will not cover it because they require synthetic oil only and for oil to be changed at the dealership. VW warranty denied warranty service. Car is still at the dealership.

- Lehi, UT, USA

problem #2

Apr 262006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a VW Passat with less than 30,000 miles on it that has sludge in the motor and have been faithful with my oil changes but I am missing one receipt. VW of America refuses to cover the work under warranty stating lack of maintenance on my behalf for the problem. They are taking no responsibility for the defective engines they are putting in these cars but blaming it on the consumers. I am sorry I ever bought this car and I am now left with no transportation for my kids to get to school and for me to get to work and I have no money to fix the car because I am a single mother living paycheck to paycheck. It is very frustrating that I have to be driving down the freeway with my 3 daughters in the car and have my engine freeze up and almost crash into several cars trying to get over to the side of the road. I then take it to the closest dealer to be treated like dirt and told I did not do enough to take care of my car. They then shuttle me off to some advocate for VW and he treats me even worse and tells me sorry the answer is no have a nice day.. I have never been treated so poorly in my life and I am appalled that I ever bought this car and will tell everyone I know about this issue and warn everyone I know to get rid of their vws.

- Louisville, CO, USA

problem #1

Nov 302005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 23,700 miles
My 2004 VW Passat has 23,700 miles on it when the stop engine light went on. I had it towed to East coast VW where I had leased it. They told me I have the well known 'engine sludge' problem and it will cost between $2700 and $5000 to repair it. I was told that I needed my oil change history documentation. I produced 5 invoices for the time I had the car (Dec. 3, 2003). I was told my invoices were not good enough and VW will not honor my warranty.

- Fort Lee, NJ, USA

Not what you are looking for?