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 1 of 2)

problem #33

Aug 042014

Passat 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


Possible cam tensioner that causes the car to make a loud clicking noise and the check engine light is on as a result. Took it to 3 mechanics and did a diagnostic but could not find the problem. Help me please!

- Devon, PA, USA

problem #32

Jul 242014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 166,000 miles
I began noticing a very strong smell of gasoline coming through the vent while driving. When I pulled over to check under the hood, I noticed that the rigid fuel line had cracked where it passed through a mounting bracket on the upper rear of the engine bay. The crack was emitting a steady flow of fuel onto the engine and exhaust manifold. We did not drive the car any further and had the line repaired with a patch of flexible fuel line material.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #31

Jun 042013


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving at low speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the water coolant system and the timing belt had malfunctioned. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 114,000.

- St. Cloud, FL, USA

problem #30

Oct 042013


  • 85,000 miles


I was driving inside town approximately at 35 mph and was stopping in the stop light. When I applied the brake the car was shaking and check engine light started flashing. After the stop light turned green I released brake and the shake was not there and check engine light was gone. I went few miles to pick my daughter and after picking my daughter and less than a mile on road the check engine light came on again and there is a slight vibration of the vehicle when the engine is turned on. I'm yet to take the vehicle to the repair shop. Not sure if there is any factory recall for this problem.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #29

Mar 012009


  • miles
2004 Volkswagen Passat. Consumer writes in regards to engine failure and unsatisfactory customer service at dealership. The consumer was informed it would cost 8,000 to replace the engine. She discovered a recall was issued for wagons for engine oil sludge. The dealer then stated, they would replace the engine for $4,000. The consumer stated the mileage was well within range, for the engine to be covered under the 65,000 mile warranty.

- Neptune, NJ, USA

problem #28

Mar 152012

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. While driving approximately 60 mph, there was a complete loss of engine power. When the vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road smoke and flames began to emit from under the hood. The contact immediately exited the vehicle. The fire department extinguished the fire which originated within the engine area. The vehicle was declared as destroyed and towed to savage facility. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 96,000. Updated 05/11/12 updated 06/01/12

- Sherwood, OR, USA

problem #27

Jun 092010


  • 107,068 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated was driving 30 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic for diagnostic testing where the contact was advised that oil sludge caused the engine to stall. The mechanic advised that the engine needed to be replaced. The mechanic replaced the engine but the failure persisted. The oil tank fractured, causing oil to leak onto the engine erroneously. In addition, the engine coil misfired and the vehicle could not be started. The failure mileage was 107,068.

- Bexley, OH, USA

problem #26

Nov 262011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the vehicle caught on fire while parked in the garage. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 105,000.

- West Cornwall , CT, USA

problem #25

Feb 012011

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
2004 Volkswagen Passat. Consumer writes in regards to class action settlement against Volkswagen, stating a series of issues such as oil sludge, engine malfunction issues, anti-freeze and coolant issues and ignition coil issues with Volkswagen the consumer stated she learned there was a specific type of coolant that only be used for her model vehicle. She stated each summer she drove around with 2 containers of anti-freeze because the vehicle would consume so much anti-freeze. Also, the brake light bulbs were replaced.

- Clinton, MD, USA

problem #24

Dec 162010


  • 150,000 miles
The driver owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the check engine warning light began illuminating. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was told that pieces of the engine block were fracturing into the oil pan. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 150,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Fairport, NY, USA

problem #23

Jan 192011

Passat 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles


2004 Volkswagen Passat 1.8L turbo. Oil sludge class action. My car had the stop engine warning come on the other day after the required oil change. Since I am the second owner of this car I can not prove the oil changes where done as VW recommends. I have only owned the car for a few months. Sadly I am looking at a total engine change with no help from the class action suit or VW. I have owned a VW on and off for 15 years. This will be my last if they don't make good on the recall.

- Slippery Rock , PA, USA

problem #22

Mar 222010


  • 35,000 miles
"oil sludge" related repairs on '98-04 model year VW Passat equipped with 1.8L turbo engines. Was not notified until engine light came on March 2010. Letter from VW of America did not prescribe 3000 mile oil change, but when contacted, said in order for "extended warranty to be enforced" vehicle must have 3000 mile oil change. Letter from VW subsequently faxed over on 3/22/10 does not state rules regulating oil change or subsequent limitations on "extended warranty". my 04 VW Passat with 35K miles had to have a new engine, and had I seen the August '04 letter prior to 03/10 would have gotten rid of car as soon as I read letter. The engine is clearly defective, and VW has an obligation to inform all VW owners of these vehicles to inform them of this deformity. I bought the car new in 2004 and never saw a copy of this letter until my engine failed. The letter states 5000 mile oil change intervals, but when I presented proof to gunther VW of coconut creek Florida, that my car was in compliance, they stated that it had to be 3000 mile intervals. There are over 197000 websites, and blogs dealing with the VW 1.8 turbo, but no one has addressed this problem, and people continue to buy these cars off used car lots, unaware that they are buying a car with limited expectations, and possible engine replacement. Please feel free to contact me at [xxx]. so that we can discuss saving someone's life before this car's engine failure in heavy traffic. You have officially been notified of the dangers of this engine. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Apr 172010


  • 75,000 miles
Oil sludge is clogging oil pick up and stop/oil light is going on. Starving engine of oil. Full synthetic oil has always been used.

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #20

Mar 222010


  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2004 VW Passat with 35000 miles. The car is like new, except the stop engine light came on. Took it to a local mechanic, and they did not address the problem. Took it to gunther VW in coconut creek Florida, for a diagnostic. I was told to go home and they would call me with the results. They left a message that the car needed a new engine, and to come and get my car. I called and asked what were my options and they said the car needed a new engine for $8600. I called VW corporate, they said that there was a letter sent in 2004 to the owners of cars with the 1.8 turbo, I had never seen this letter. It was faxed to me, I was stunned at the tone of the letter, if I had seen this letter I immediately would have gotten rid of this car. There are 197000 websites concerning this engine, and people are still buying these cars without being told they are buying a car with a defective engine. VW now states that this engine needs an oil change every 3000miles, and if you go past the 3000 mile mark, they are not responsible for the engines performance. These cars should be recalled before someone is killed when their engine stops in traffic.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #19

Oct 242009

Passat 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. On October 24, 2009 she noticed that the vehicle had an oil leak. The dealer replaced the oil pan at the owners expense for $500. On January 12, 2010, the oil failure recurred; however, the dealer replaced the oil tank for $500. She stated that the failures occurred when she drove over a speed bump and a rock while driving approximately 15 mph. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls for the oil pan; therefore, they would not assist with the repair cost. The failure and current mileages were 75,000. Updated 02/17/20

- Bozeman , MT, USA

problem #18

Jun 252009


  • 65,000 miles
2004 VW Passat 1.8T. Upon starting car, check engine light came on. Took to dealer, autobarn of evanston (il) who replaced thermal sensor for $500. Less than 2 miles after leaving dealer, car ran hot and A/C went out, had to pull over to cool. This was not an issue prior to visiting the dealer. Returned to dealer. Dealer replaced "thermal switch" for $300. Car still ran hot. Dealer now says radiator is clogged and needs to be replaced ($700+). car has been serviced regularly per VW, radiator was flushed 4,000 miles ago. Car only has 65,000 miles on it. Either car is defective or dealer is ripping me off.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #17

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 #16

Mar 232009

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • miles
I own a 2004 VW Passat tdi (diesel) with 64, 500 miles on it. I did not have a failure but I was so concerned about it, that I had it pre- fixed. The problem is that the balance shafts in this engine are driven by a chain off the motor which also drives the oll pump. This unfortunate design subjects the chain to stresses it can't withstand. On various tdi forums, especially tdiclub.com, there have been a significant number of chain failures reported. When the chain driving the oil pump fails, the engine is starved of essential lubrication and if it fails it can cause catastrophic engine damage and the engine could seize up which would be life-threatening. Recently, VW in europe recognized the problem and designed a repair, which changes the chain driven oil pump to a gear driven oil pump. This appears to be a permanent fix to the original design defect. Since, unlike VW of America, I am unwilling to put my and my child's life at risk, I recently paid almost $3000 to have the balance shaft module replaced with the gear driven one. Most of the people having this problem are experiencing it after the car is out of warranty and VW done nothing to notify the nearly 12, 000 owners of these vehicles. Most of the people driving these vehicles have no idea that their car is a potential time bomb. It is not a matter of if, but when, because of the poor design, they all will fail. I was fortunate that the parts were available; there has been a shortage and people have had to wait several weeks just for the parts to come in. If the part fails and destroys the engine, the cost for that repair is $8-10,000. This is a safety issue that needs to be addressed by VW of America and we need your help. Thank you for your consideration. The mechanic informed the consumer the module and chain drive had not failed, but they were showing signs of fatigue. Updated 04/15/09.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #15

Mar 032009


  • 109,789 miles
A potential issue has come to my attention that some engine parts related to the balance shaft assembly and the engine oil pump system drive can fail as early as 45,000 miles. And if the failure of said components do fail, severe engine damage can easily occur forcing the driver, at minimum, to pay an unreasonable and very costly service bill. If a driver experiences a sudden loss of power from the engine during a typical highway pass or merging on a roadway, the cost would be unfathomable pertaining to the loss of life, far surpassing the cost of a new engine and the labor to install the engine. Volkswagen has come up with a fix by changing the chain to a gear. They have not acknowledged this problem as yet, even with many of these vehicles having failed. It is just a matter of when not if this will happen to every 2004 Passat with the bhw engines. I would like to know what steps Volkswagen of America is taking to inform 2004 and 2005 Passat tdi owners of this problem. Good corporate citizenship would dictate a problem of this severity should be communicated to the owners as soon as possible. These engine failures could leave motorists stranded under dire circumstances.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #14

Oct 272006


  • miles
While under warranty complained to dealer of noise from engine area. Dealer could not determine where noise was coming from but said not to worry problem was noted and would be covered if/when something failed. Out of warranty now, dealer states power steering pump needs replacing, not covered under warranty. Had the power steering pump replaced, not by dealer but severe wine remains. Was told it is probably ac pump. Had belt tensioner replaced also with no resolve. Noise is a loud wine, constant varies slightly when ac is on. Have heard several other Passats with same noise. No failure has occurred as of yet.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

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