Last post on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM
You are in the Volkswagen Passat
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Volkswagen Passat, Sedan, Wagon
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#125 of 3340 Re: Reliability concerns
Aug 01, 2003 (9:07 am)
There are a number of criteria for people to choose a car. To be objective, there must be something of Passat that attracted me. I appreciated its "style and character" too. Ironically, when I bought my Passat in 2000, I saw similar messages in this discussion group saying that "it seems the reliability problems are on models prior to 1998/1999?"
However, compared to other cars (Camry, Accord, Maxima, Subaru Outback, etc) that my friends and I bought around the same time, there is simply much more hassle and money to spend on a Passat. I reluctantly experienced a transition from denial to acceptance of this reality.
Again, let yourself be objective. If reliability is not your top concern, you may look at Passat from a different angle. But still be prepared with the unexpected. If you are concerned with time and extra money to spend down the road, you need to think twice.
Don't get fooled by the propaganda in VW show rooms that how they care about quality. They may be good in some aspects, but quality is certainly not of them in my opinion.
#126 of 3340 99 Passat Experiences
Aug 03, 2003 (7:15 am)
One thing to keep in mind is that satisfied Passat owners may not bother coming here... The only reason I got back into Edmunds was that we're looking to buy a Toyota Sienna minivan (replacing '93 Volvo wagon).
Our '99 Passat has been superb (not 100% perfect but no car is!). We have 112k miles on the car. Never had a breakdown. There is one flaky recurrent problem that we have had. The left headlight likes to burn out! We are on our 4th headlight (the original + 3 purchases). Haven't replaced the right headlight at all. My sister-in-law & her hubby have also experienced a higher than normal replacement rate (also a Passat). From prior experience with other cars, I have only RARELY replaced a headlight (once or twice in 200k miles). This is kind of odd.
Overall, I'm tickled pink with the car. When the engine eventually goes (depending on the condition of the car overall), I may have a rebuilt engine dropped in. I like keeping cars 'til they won't drive anymore. My prior experience w. VWs is good (87 GTI w/ 213k miles, engine did go, 86 Golf w/ 195k miles, sold when we had a third child & needed more space).
BTW, one of the keys to long engine life is frequent oil changes. With my earlier VWs, I used conventional motor oils, Fram filters, replaced every 3k miles. With Volvo wagon & Passat, it's synthetic oils, roughly 5k miles (OK, sometimes 6k miles...).
#127 of 3340 Re: reliability concerns
Aug 03, 2003 (8:58 pm)
We have had a '02 Passat Wagon for about 18 months
with current mileage of nearly 20,000. Only one
problem: replace a headlight. Our dealer volunteered to replace all the coils even tho we
have had no problems. I disagree with the writer
who said that VW is not interested in quality. This wagon is beautifully assembled with outstanding paint quality and interior fittings
and very decent leather. I have owned 5 Accords
in the 1980's and 1990's and none of them seemed
to be as well assembled. Besides the Passat is a
lot more fun to drive.
Aug 04, 2003 (1:28 pm)
I owned a 2000 Passat GLS and loved it the minute I drove it. The car handled well, cornered flat and had decent performance for a reasonable price. I loved the way it looked and felt. But man, did I ever have problems with the car.
It started the day I drove the car home. I opened the trunk that night and realized the trunk light was flickering out. I took it in the next day and that was that. But the check engine light came on a couple thousand miles later and that was to become a recurring problem for me. Various warranty repairs took care of that.
But the charges after my 20,000 mile mark passed were the beginning of the real trouble. The check engine services started costing me money. One tire rotation revealed a bent tie rod, which was hard to explain since I had never had an accident at that point with the car. The 30,000 mile maintanance was pricey, needing a new O2 sensor and some various other engine problems. It ran over $1,000.00.
The 40,000 mile job was the kicker, though. My usual dealer wanted $2,300.00 to fix a whole array of problems (check engine was on again). The brake wear meant not just pads but new rotors - I was told they could not be surfaced - and a secondary air pump needed to be replaced, the O2 sensor was bad again, etc. I thought I was being ripped off and went to another dealer. This one wanted less, partly because they were saying they could surface the rotors (later turned out to be a big mistake).
At the 50,000 mile mark someone backed into the hood of my car and it went to the body shop. The guy there explained that my brakes looked like crap and had been butchered. He told me that the European cars usually have thin, dense rotors not suitable for surfacing. As a result, my rotors were pitted and uneven. The car didn't stop well.
The last visit to the dealer came when the car wouldn't start one morning. It was towed and the resulting repairs cost me $1,200.00. I wrote the check in disgust and sat waiting for the car to be pulled around for me to leave. Well, the mechanic couldn't start the car. I waited for an hour for them to try and rediagnose the problem, but it couldn't be fixed without more time. I left without my car, already $1,200.00 poorer with the chance of more expense to come. Nice, huh?
Two days later the mechanic tells me he replaced the main control unit and every other part he could think of and finally nailed the problem. The part had to be shipped and that finally fixed it. It still ran poorly and I could smell gasoline inside the car at a stand still. He had mercy on me and only charged an additional couple hundred dollars, sensing the abomination that was taking place. He charged it off to VW even though the work wasn't under warranty.
I asked the mechanic if he thought the repairs I was having done so frequently made sense. I didn't drive the car very hard, and it seemed like expenses that someone who owned an $80,000.00 car might be prepared for, but not a guy on a tight budget like me. He asked if I wanted to hear the "real answer," and I said yes. He told me that it happened all the time, and that although my car was a good performing car that was well conceived with great technology, there were all kinds of electrical and mechanical failures that would creep up way sooner than they should have.
I wish I could say that I chanced out another VW, but I recently leased an Acura and have had no problems but will withhold judgment until I've had the car a little longer. The bottom line is that after owning the Passat and a '96 Jetta before it, and having lots of problems with both, I was gun shy from buying another VW. I wanted to because I loved the car in theory, but the reality of the costs were too much to risk another bad experience for me.
Just one experience, I know. But for myself, the decision was easy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I sure hope those of you with Passats don't have experiences like me and that mine was an exception.
#129 of 3340 No more VWs until I See 5 Years of Above-Average Reliability
Aug 05, 2003 (5:04 am)
There's no doubt in my mind that the current model jettas and new beetles are LEMONS. Both are manufactured in Mexico. The Passat is assembled in Germany and has had average reliability according to Consumers Report.
I used to think VWs were the coolest cars on the road that I could afford. Finally, 3 years and 2 months and, surprise!, 15,500 miles later I'm looking to dump my jetta. My glx still looks new inside and out and is running great right now. I just don't have confidence in the car anymore.
It would be nice if we didn't have to take our vws in so much except for routine maintenance. My sister owns a 2000 Civic and only has the oil changed every 3k miles as well as other scheduled maintenance. She's gone over 100k miles with her Civic.
I've decided that I won't be buying a VW in the near future, not until I see at least five straight years of above-average reliability for all their cars and better reviews from real vw owners like you and me. Plus, I don't like buying cheaply-made products from Mexico.
It's funny that I'm always wondering if the other vw drivers I see on the road are experiencing similar problems as I have had with my jetta.
I hope someone from Corporate VW is reading this web-site and does something to improve their reliability.
Aug 05, 2003 (6:54 am)
I'm just curious. If you don't like buying cheaply-made products from Mexico, why did you buy a Jetta? It's no secret that they actually are cheaply-made products from Mexico. I just bought a brand-new Passat GLX 5 weeks ago. When comparing the Jetta to the Passat originally, I decided to go for the German made car rather than the Mexican made one.
Aug 05, 2003 (8:32 am)
How is your Passat GLX treating you so far?
#132 of 3340 new GLX and loving it
Aug 05, 2003 (9:10 am)
I have only had my GLX for 5 weeks now, but I love it It has 1700 miles on it. It's so fun to drive that I just can't stop. The only problem I have had is a discoloring on the chrome trim around the rear windows. The dealer is going to replace the defective trim, though, so I'm happy. I love the climate control, the alarm system, the black leather interior, the radio controls on the steering wheel ... My only complaint is the mileage, which has been about 21-22 MPG so far with mostly city driving, but I bought the car expecting that.
Aug 05, 2003 (9:24 am)
I thinking of getting the 2003 wagon GLS 1.8T, but I have some reservation in regards to the reliability of the Passat. It has been up and down. Some of the reviews I have read on this site range from either good or poor. There seems to be constant glitches with this car. However, Volkswagen is now offering 48 months/50,000 miles, which at least shows that the are standing by there product. what are you thoughts?
Aug 05, 2003 (9:50 am)
I chose the GLX because that was the car Consumer Reports ranked as the #1 vehicle of choice this year. The other Passat models ranked well too. Most people who come to these sites want to vent their problems. A lot of people who are content with their cars don't come here. The longer warranty was one of the reasons I chose the Passat. I also had a great experience with the dealer when I was just looking last fall. I received a thank you card for looking, while none of the other dealers for other cars I looked at acknowledged my presence after the fact. I think the roadside assistance is also a benefit, although I hope I'll never need to use it. There are a lot of satisfied Passat owners out there. You should check out www.clubb5.com, where a lot of VW owners hang out. So far, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase. I don't know what other cars you are looking at, but I would recommend the Passat. Another reason I bought it was for all the safety features and the great crash test results.