really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,611 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

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 #27

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 #26

Jul 122014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 54,195 miles
Turbo quit making a high pitch noise... blowing smoke.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #25

Apr 022014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 7,500 miles


Traveling on the highway at approximately 65 mph, the VW Passat tdi SE (the "vehicle") lost power, causing the glow plug warning light to illuminate. To prevent any additional damage, the vehicle entered into limp mode. While in limp mode, the automobile becomes unable to accelerate, forcing the driver to pull over and phone for assistance. The vehicle was towed to the dealership, at which time notification was given that the vehicle's turbo needed replacement and the repair would take approximately a week. During discussions with the service consultant, they stated that a service bulletin was issued recently by VW, on turbo failures and proper modifications of the installation to prevent future failure. Approximately 3-4 weeks after the initial failure, the vehicle experienced a second turbo failure. At which time, the turbo failed while crossing into traffic, jeopardizing lives of myself and my family. VW has once again replaced the turbo. I have lost confidence in the vehicle. There have been two other incidents of the vehicle losing power intermittently, but nothing sustained. If the turbo fails again, that would be a third occurrence. VW's response to the issue has been rather insignificant.

- Charlotte, VT, USA

problem #24

Jun 202014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 15,600 miles
Vehicle lost power while on the highway in busy traffic. Glow plug light began flashing (it's a tdi) and I heard a clicking noise. I pulled over and the vehicle was immediately engulfed in smoke. I waited on the shoulder over an hour for a tow with continued busy 60+ mph traffic. Vehicle was towed to the closest dealer. They've diagnosed it as a turbocharger failure. Clearly this shouldn't happen at only 15,000 miles but it appears to be common. Turbo and exhaust system are being replaced under warranty.

- Cooksville, MD, USA

problem #23

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 #22

May 142014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 18,500 miles


There was a whine by the turbo then black smoke. I called roadside assistance and they took the car to the dealer. The turbo went out and the engine blew. No warning lights. The car had oil. VW says pay 12K for a replacement engine and turbo. They will not cover under warranty because I missed the 10K service. We live in a remote area but I had added approved factory oil. I don't know what an oil change has to do with a turbo?

- Wellsville, UT, USA

problem #21

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 #20

Jan 282014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 7,000 miles
Turbo failed on vehicle. Began as whining noise. Vehicle then showed check engine light and wouldn't accelerate above 1st gear.

- Richland, WA, USA

problem #19

Apr 242014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 51,000 miles
Own a 2013 VW Passat sel tdi. Glow plug light came on, pulled over, called dealer, they in turn had me turn vehicle off and restart. Glow plug light on and check engine light started flashing. Drove to dealer less than 4 miles. Diagnostic at dealer "exhaust temp sensor" bad and they would have to order part. Was told these sensors are like "light bulbs", per dealer, and will go bad routinely. Pretty expensive light bulb if you ask me. I purchased a new vehicle for the sole purpose of being maintenance free, I travel extensively, this is ridiculous that a sensor should go bad with 51,000 mile on a new vehicle and if this part is a "light bulb" than VW should allow consumer to replace not charge them this ridiculous labor fee.

- Troup, TX, USA

problem #18

Apr 252014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 35,457 miles


Started hearing a whistling type of sound and noticing that the vehicle was not accelerating when I pushed on the pedal. As I tried to pull off the road the vehicle stalled and I could not get it started to get out of the road. Very scary. It finally started long enough to get to the side of the road and it stalled out again. There was smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. The vehicle would not start again. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where I purchased it and have it serviced. The service department called to tell me it was the turbo and that the vehicle needed a new engine. I will be going to the dealership on Monday to pick up the vehicle but will have a list of questions on what exactly has been replaced and what type of warranty this new engine has.

- Wallace, NC, USA

problem #17

Apr 032014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 26,310 miles
Was driving 2013 Passat tdi sel just fine. Turned around in a parking lot and when I went to pull back into traffic, the car had no power. Stepping on the gas almost made the car stall, but it would idle fine. After trying everything and even shutting the car off and restarting, it did the same, would idle fine but you could not step on the fuel pedal, it would make the car stall out. Local mechanic drove to his nearby shop by just leaving it and drive and used idle power only to get it there (yes it took a while). There were no indicator lights on the dash so he hooked it up to his computer and it gave three errors for injector failures. Vehicle was towed by roadside assistance to dealer 100 miles away. The next day, I was told the turbo charger had failed and had to be replaced. Two weeks later, I was told they were still waiting for a gasket. Finally after almost 3 weeks to the day, they said my car was fixed. I am going to pick it up tomorrow but have very little faith in this car after reading the numerous threads out there about the turbo charger failure rate in this model vehicle. I think its time for a recall.

- Tupper Lake, NY, USA

problem #16

Jul 312013


  • 1,000 miles
1. there is a noticeable hesitation after a cold start (tdi, diesel engine) going from 2nd to 3rd gear. This has occurred everyday since purchased. 2. this car has always and still has a hard right pull since purchase (car will pull into adjacent lane within 200-250 feet). My previous 2012 Passat tdi sel steered staight. My car has been to the local dealership to fix this issue on four separate occasions, to no avail.

- Gonzales, LA, USA

problem #15

Mar 282014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 6,467 miles
While driving at 55mph, the vehicle lost power and the "glow plug" light on the dashboard illuminated. The vehicle nearly stalled on the expressway while in traffic, and then would not operate above 25-30 mph. I had the vehicle taken by flat bed tow truck to the VW dealer, where it was diagnosed as "turbine shaft seized" and repaired under warranty. Review of public data reveals this to be a common occurrence with the Passat equipped with the diesel engine.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #14

Feb 042014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 9,500 miles
Driving from on freeway at 60 mph suddenly lost any ability to accelerate and power started dropping rapidly and the engine warning light on the dash started flashing. It put me immediately into a very very dangerous situation in which it was very difficult to maneuver in rapidly-moving, heavy traffic. Fortunately I was able to exit the freeway and call the dealer's VW service. I was told that it was not safe to drive the car, and that I would have to have it towed to service. I was stranded just off the freeway in the next town, and after several hours was towed to the dealership. The turbo was bad (this part had already been replaced once, about 100 or so miles earlier). However, that was not diagnosed by VW properly, and when I picked up the car it failed again within 10 minutes. Fortunately this time I was not at high speed, and was able to maneuver the car to a safe location. This situation with the turbo could easily have resulted in an accident, potentially very serious or even deadly if at high speed.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #13

Jan 242014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 28,000 miles
I bought a 2013 Passat SE May 16, 2013, it currently has 28,000 miles on it and I take very good care of it. 2 weeks ago I just started my trip to work (75 miles one way / 95% highway) when the glow plug indicator came on and I immediately lost most power. It was about 7 degrees F, I was able to limp it to a dealer, who, after contacting VW technician support determined my turbo was shot and needed to be replaced. The support tech said that they have seen this only a couple of times and it was the first incident seen at my dealership, he said the replacement was a larger turbo, pump, pipe, filters and everything.it took a week and a half to do the job most of the time was waiting for parts.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #12

Mar 062014


  • 15,059 miles
Authorized dealer stated a turbo failure. Driving highway about 50 minutes into a trip and the car approximately 25% power and the glow plug light came on the dash. Called service department and they said to pull over and have towed to the closed authorized dealer.

- West Eaton , NY, USA

problem #11

Mar 192014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 16,267 miles
While starting from a stop sign, vehicle seemed to have low power. Vehicle would accelerate, but very slowly. A few miles later, I had to stop for another car that had stopped to turn left into a driveway. When I attempt to accelerate after that car had turned, I had no power (vehicle was still running). I was able to coast to the side of the road, but a vehicle coming up from behind me had to brake quickly to avoid hitting my car from behind. I had the car towed to the dealer, which confirmed a failure of the turbocharger system and then replaced the turbocharger under warranty. Replacement of turbocharger appears to have fixed the problem.

- Penn Yan, NY, USA

problem #10

Mar 172014


  • 43,000 miles
Turbocharger failed. Dealer is fixing under warranty. Dealer stated that there have been enough turbocharger failures on the diesel tdi that they are now stocking all turbo parts for repair.

- White Hall, MD, USA

problem #9

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

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