really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
133,786 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #11

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 #10

Nov 052014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. While driving approximately 40 mph, there was an abnormal sound, the gears shifted, and the vehicle decreased speed. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, but the failure was unable to be duplicated. The contact also stated that the rear passenger door failed to unlock. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Mar 102015

Passat 4-cyl

  • 92,235 miles


The car was taken to parkway Volkswagen, santa clarita ca 91355, for routine maintenance recommended transmission service. Reported mechatronic gasket leaking and should be replaced. Offered to do so at a reduced price. After dealer repair car goes into neutral randomly from drive mode. Dealership will not take responsibility. Claims failure is a coincidence and not related to their work on the transmission.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #7

Jun 032013

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
The car hesitates to the point that it comes close to causing an accident with oncoming traffic when pulling out after being stopped. It hesitates and then surges forward. The car will roll forwards and/or backwards depending whether you are facing downhill or uphill when sitting on a hill and you take it out of park. To put in gear--very scary. I just had the car serviced at the dealer and the dealer says this is a common complaint with these cars--it is a diesel not gasoline. I looked on some complaint web sites and there are complaints all the way back to 2006 about these very same issues--when is something going to be done about this--does someone have to get killed before something is done. It is obviously a design issue and has been one for a long time. Please address this as I do not want my kids or family to drive this car due to these problems--I could never forgive myself if something happened to one of them and I knew about the problem-- the dealers are obviously not doing anything about the issue--read the complaints for yourself and what consumers have been told by the dealers when they report the issues--you are our only source of help in this situation-please investigate this very potentially dangerous situation with these transmissions--thank you--[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Rector, PA, USA

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problem #6

Jan 012013


  • 5,000 miles
When I start the car, I put my foot on the brake and proceed to put the car in D (drive) or R (reverse). The car accelerates immediately even with my foot on the brakes. The only way to prevent this from happening is to allow the car to warm-up for 30 to 45 seconds before attempting to drive it. I have expressed my concerns to dealership and I was told as long as it does go over 11 rpms it should be okay. Then when I returned to the dealership and ask them to look at it again, I was told that the vehicle is operating as designed. Several times, I have forgot to let the the car warm-up and almost ran into my garage door or whatever object that was in front or behind me. Also, because my spouse does not drive the car often, he tends to forget to let the vehicle warm-up and as a result almost hit a car that was parked in front of him. If I let anyone drive the car, I tell them to let the car warm-up before they drive off. I do this because I am concerned that the driver will be overcome by the immediate acceleration and loose control of the car. I feel that there is a defect in the design which could cause an accident or injury and should be re-evaluated. Also, the brakes squeak and I have asked the dealership to check them out every time I take the car for the 10K maintenance. Each time, the dealership states that there is nothing wrong with the brakes. I am very dissatisfied with this car. I hope that if there is a defect or design problem, it can be resolved. If not, I will trade the car for another vehicle. However, I would hate for this automobile to be sold to another customer with the existing design.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #5

May 022014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 25,260 miles


Intermittent loss of turbo power during low speed acceleration. I brought the vehicle to VW of quad cities in davenport, ia on 2 May 2014. Service manager reported that the problem could not be replicated by a VW service technician. The problem occurred again on 5 May 2014 and was reported to the service manager. Again, the problem could be replicated and was return to me. I departed the VW service area and while driving away the problem resurfaced in the vicinity of the VW dealership. I returned immediately to the service center and asked to have a technician ride with me to experience the faulty condition. The VW service technician was then able to recognize a problem with the turbo locking up a low speeds. Upon return from the test drive, parts were ordered to make repairs. I was allowed to depart with my impaired vehicle while awaiting parts. The car's turbo failed again on 8 May 2014 at approximately 8:20 am while approaching the I-74 bridge over the Mississippi river from Iowa into Illinois. I called the service department to notify the service manager that I was bringing the car directly in for service since the vehicle's propulsion was severely restricted without the turbo boost.

- Bettendorf, IA, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Jul 082012

Passat 5-cyl

  • 530 miles
As I was driving my new 2012 Volkswagen Passat from my house to my destination, my transmission fluid began to leak out onto the street. I had purchased the car eight days earlier which was a new car from the dealership which only had 2 miles on the car. The amount of miles I had put on the car was 500 miles and the transmission fluid leaked because of a malfunction inside of it. The car was under warranty and they dealership had to put a new transmission into my car because of the old one had defected parts inside.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #2

Feb 012012

Passat 5-cyl

  • 10 miles
The vehicle has a significant delay/hesitation upon initial acceleration (2.5L). This is dangerous when pulling into or across traffic. This issue is known to others and is reported elsewhere on the web. www.passatworld.com/forums/111-Volkswagen-Passat-B7-discussion/344045-my-review-2012-Passat-somewhat-long-read.html (see performance note).

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #1

Mar 152012

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • miles
I recently purchased a 2012 Passat tdi. I really liked the car. However, I have a safety suggestion that may save someone's life in the future. Let me tell you my experience. I took possession on February 9, 2012. On March 15, I came home to lunch and pulled in my garage. Apparently, I did not have the back tires all the way in. Our driveway has a slight incline. I got out of my car and was watering some flowers. In a few moments my car rolled down the drive, curved and went off an embankment and hit trees on the way down. It was totaled. I had it one month and one week. Needless to say, I was sick. Now I realize that I did not have it in park. This car was different that any car that I have driven in the past because you don't have an ignition to put the key in. You just have a button to turn it on and turn it off. Because it was different, I was more concerned about pushing the button to turn it off. In all of my other cars you couldn't get the keys out unless you had it in park. I had made this mistake a few times but was always on a flat area-usually in my garage. My suggestion is that you have a feature on these push button vehicles that will sound some kind of alarm when it is turned off and not in park. My heart cringes when I think that I could have done this with my grandchildren in the back seat in their car seats. This car has many features and is very technologically advanced, but I strongly feel that a feature such as this should be placed on these cars.

- Murphy, NC, USA

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