really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,376 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.

2013 Volkswagen Passat drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #16

Nov 042016


  • 96,264 miles


Mechatronics unit failure- I was on highway traveling at 74 miles per hour and car just slowed down to about 10 mile per hour with no....I was in rush hour traffic on the nys state thruway and was also slammed in the rear end by cars/trucks traveling behind me. This is a known issued with VW and older models of my car have been recalled. I coasted off the highway and was towed from the exit to heart VW in kingston NY. My car in being repaired now and I am told it will be $2000+ to fix... I have estimate and report from when car towed in.

- Stone Ridge, NY, USA

problem #15

Dec 092015


  • 113,000 miles
2013 Passat tdi diesel lost power while driving is down a city street. Once I pulled off the road engine light and service now light were on. A catastrophic failure occurred in the high pressure fuel pump. Thus occurred in euless Texas. VW will not cover my indecent under a warranty extension. They will cover 2012 models my car was manufactured before July 2012 but has a 2013 listing. As of 12/17 no repair scheduled due to $6,000 cost.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #14

Mar 012013


  • 4,900 miles
Purchased the car in December of 2012. Approximately March of 2013 at 4,900 miles the turbo began to "whine" and failed. Was replaced by VW after approximately 12 days. May of 2015, at 50,000 miles, the turbo failed again, starting with "whine", followed by loss of power and a "flashing glowplug light." Second turbo replaced by VW. Clearly a design defect for the original and replacement part. VW has extended the factory warranty on this defective part until 120,000 miles, but should be compelled to replace this part for the life of the vehicle as this car was purchased with the intent of driving it for more than 120,000 miles. There are multiple occurrences/reports of turbo failure for the 2012-2014 Passat tdis listed at www.tdiclub.com. this is a safety issue as catastrophic failure of the engine can occur when the turbo fails as well as damage to the diesel particulate filter and other exhaust/emission control parts.

- Oakdale, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 262015


  • 24,310 miles


Driving northerly on I-95 at highway speed going up the incline to the piscataqua river bridge (the border between New Hampshire and Maine), the vehicle lost forward power about halfway up the incline of the bridge approach. The engine did not stall at any time during or after the event. Driver was preoccupied with [1] turning on hazard flashers, [2] safely negotiating entry to the breakdown lane, and [3] not braking in an attempt to coast to the top of the bridge such that the car could coast down the far side of the bridge and allow exiting the highway at the nearby exit #1 in Maine. The driver's preoccupation with safely addressing the power loss event did not allow him to scan any of the gauges or indicators on the front panel. Upon reaching the top of the bridge the car was coasting to a stop and the driver shifted between drive / sport / neutral to see if any power could be restored. Within 30 seconds or less the car again resumed forward motion in the drive shift setting. Car was driven to the nearby VW dealer where it was purchased. Service department checked (diesel) fuel quality which was good, and found no error codes when a scan was done. A vta case was opened and owner contacted VW customer care in auburn hills, mi. Subsequent testing at the same dealer's service department on 9 April 2015 also resulted in no findings for a cause. VW recommends I continue driving it until the power loss occurs again. I asked what they would then do if no error codes were again found. They indicated they would ask me to lend them the car to drive until they can get the problem to reoccur. (= a no-cost lease back to VW!). owners' opinion is that there is a design fault in the Volkswagen Passat engine/transmission pairing that is directly related to a deficiency of meaningful error sensors and fault / error code readout values during a power loss event..

- Greenland, NH, USA

problem #12

Dec 182013

Passat 4-cyl

  • 41,176 miles
Car was set on cruise control and engine revved up, cruise control shut off and loss of power to the motor. Tried to reset cruise control to a lesser speed and would not set. Car felt like it would not shift gears (acted like it was a manual drive being wound to tight). Drove for several miles then the warning light came on (glowplug indicator). Parked in a safe location and stopped car. After about 10 minutes I restarted the car and no warning flashed so I began to drive car...would not accelerate. Warning light came back on. Had car towed to dealership got repaired (replaced turbo charger along with oil feed and return lines). Picked car up on 11/26/14 drove for less than 30 miles and got a engine oil light and warning message: Engine off manual. Had car towed to dealership. Dealership stated that they talked with manufacturer and they are going to give me a new turbocharger and new engine. The car is still in the shop and repairs have not been completed at the time of this writing.

- Surry, VA, USA

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problem #11

Nov 092014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
On 11/9/14 the turbo failed on my 2013 VW Passat with the tdi diesel engine. VW knows they are having a serious issue with their turbos on the tdi engine (europe currently has a class action law suit against them). In August I received a letter in the mail from VW extending my warranty on the turbo to 10 years/120000 miles. They are simply waiting for the turbos to fail rather than replacing them on all 2012 & 2013 Passats. This is a serious safety concern, when the turbo fails you loose all engine power (ie. GM ignition recall). This is an extremely dangerous position for VW to put its customers in who don't have the knowledge of what to do in a situation when you loose engine power at highway speeds. Mine did just that, it failed on the highway resulting in no power. I would like to see VW recall these turbos and replace them in all the affected cars before it causes a fatality.

- Bristol , RI, USA

problem #10

Aug 082014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 15,812 miles


Complete loss of engine power: Vehicle on three occasions has experienced complete loss of engine power when shifting from reverse to drive. Display depicts 'alternator malfunction' but dealership claims no fault code stored, therefore no repair can be made. I provided photos of the trouble lights and a video of other lights that come on after the power loss happens. Dealership verbally acknowledged something is wrong. Vehicle taken in twice for this issue, dealership unable to replicate problem. Dealership troubleshoots electrical system.technician verbally told me it could be a transmission problem w/ the internal clutch failing to release, stalling the vehicle.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #9

Jun 292014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 19,000 miles
I was driving in the right lane of I-84 shifting from 5th to 6th when the clutch pedal stayed on the floor and the car slowly came to a stop with no sudden jerking motion. The brake pedal was not involved nor did it stay on the floor as the clutch did.

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

problem #8

May 222014


  • 32,000 miles
This incident had to happen twice for the dealer to see the issue. Accelerating from stop at a light when I reached 3000 RPM the engine stalled and the car will not accelerate. I pulled to the side and turned the car off and turned it back on problem was gone. I took it to the dealer and they could not see any issue. Couple of weeks later same thing happened again but instead of turning the car off or even shifting out of D. I drove the car with that condition directly to the dealer and instructed one of the service technician to get in the car and take a ride with me. He saw the issue and this time believed me and they investigated further and found out that the knock sensors were malfunctioning. I have had nothing but problems with my car. My seat frame was fixed incorrectly twice. My navigation unit replaced twice and VW still ignoring the lag and freezing of the unit. Why pay 5000 more for a navigation and camera for them not to function right. A section of my muffler was malfunctioning as well. Another issue is the key fob. I found out it is effected very easily by interference and when your key fob is in the car it can say key fob not in close proximity. I am very disappointed by this vehicle, I thought VW had better quality standards.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #7

May 092014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 11,000 miles
Turbo failed for second time and after only 4,000 miles. Began as whining noise. Vehicle then showed check engine light and wouldn't accelerate above 1st gear.

- Richland, WA, USA

problem #6

Mar 132014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 25,400 miles


When I operate my car and shift into 3rd gear I feel a noticeable stutter, this occurs at around 1200 RPM. I am afraid that it is linked to the numerous turbo failures that are occurring with the 2012 and 2013 tdi Passats. Other people have noted complete loss of power followed by a turbo failure.

- Dufur , OR, USA

problem #5

Mar 052014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 14,310 miles
Noticed hi-pitched whine which got louder as RPM's of engine increased. Had vehicle towed under warranty to VW dealership. Issue was a defective turbo. Had to be replaced at this low of mileage. If the turbo had failed on a busy highway or during a avoidance/passing maneuver, it could have caused injury or worse. I'm hearing of more and more of these turbo issues on this model/style of VW Passats.

- Williamsburg, IA, USA

problem #4

Feb 192014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 25,100 miles
Vehicle was down on power with noticeable turbocharger whining noise. Vehicle was taken to dealership, turbocharger was replaced. Original turbo had damage on impeller and turbo housing.

- Northwood, IA, USA

problem #3

Feb 112014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 22,000 miles
I have the turbo diesel version. I was driving on hwy 695 in baltimore, Maryland during rush hour (0800ish) when I began to accelerate only to lose power. The car had just enough power to get me off the road and become stranded on the side of this major highway for 80+ minutes. Dealership reported failed turbo. This was not a pleasant experience and one that I hope others do not have to experience.

- Mount Airy, MD, USA

problem #2

Sep 182013

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 8,151 miles
Total failure of transmission on a nearly new car. Fortunately occurred as I was parking at a destination and not on highway. VW replaced the entire transmission while we were out of the country but never told me what or why it failed.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 252013


  • 6,600 miles
I have a 2013 VW Passat sel tdi and have had two incidents so far with the vehicle. I bought the car new in September 2012 and in January 2013 with about 4000 miles on it the car went into limp mode. The car would not exceed 30mph and a few lights appeared on the dash. I took it to the dealer and was diagnosed with a turbo issue. The had reset something and told me they would call me when the part was in they needed to replace. A few days later the car was back to running well. Then on August 25th the car basically died while in motion with a loss of brakes and power steering. We have 6600 miles on the vehicle at the time of the second incident. Tried to restart the car and as the accelerator was depressed the car would stall again and again. Had to do this for a mile or so to get the car home, very dangerous, but since it was a Sunday we couldn't get a hold of the dealer. On August 26th (next morning) we had it towed to the dealer ship and currently awaiting diagnosis. My wife as well as myself are now worried about driving the car anywhere as we feel something is going to happen again. We believe that this is a serious safety issue as when the car stalls there is no power steering or brakes.

- Linwood, NJ, USA

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