Volkswagen Passat Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volkswagen Passat as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Clogged drains can allow rainwater to accumulate in the plenum tray (at the base of the windshield). The water may leak into the vehicle's interior, brake booster, or electrical components, which can lead to major problems. Our technicians recommend keeping the tray clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.

The water pump may fail resulting in engine overheating and possible timing belt damage. Overheating and/or timing belt failure can result in very expensive engine repairs. As a precaution, it is recommended to inspect the timing belt and water pump at regular intervals.

Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are common.

The water pump and/or other cooling system may develop a coolant leak. Oil leaking from the  valve cover gasket is also common.

Ignition wire breakdown is common, resulting in misfires.

Our technicians recommend having the constant velocity (CV) boots and CV joints inspected at each service. Servicing torn CV boots early can prevent the need to replace the CV half shaft or CV joint.

A problem with the torque converter can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate.

Check Engine Light illumination can be related to a catalytic converter fault. Our technicians tell us a re-flash of the ECM may correct the concern. If not, replacement of the catalytic converter may be required.

The digital display portion of the instrument cluster may fail. Our technicians tell us the entire instrument cluster will need to be replaced to correct this concern.

Engine oil leaks are common from the valve cover gaskets and camshaft chain tensioner gasket.

An ignition coil or spark plug may fail unexpectedly resulting in an engine misfire and possible illumination of the Check Engine Light. Vehicles equipped with spark plug wires may also develop a misfire caused by a failed spark plug wire.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) control module may fail causing the ABS light to illuminate. Failed modules should be replaced to restore ABS operation.

A damaged water pump impeller may cause an engine overheating condition. Our technicians tell us the repair should include replacement of the water pump, thermostat, and flushing the cooling system.

The parking brake may not operate correctly. The correction involves addressing any stored anti-lock brake system (ABS) fault codes, replacing the rear brake pads if required, and following the basic settings procedure as per the scan tool. Our technicians tell us these procedures must be performed in the correct order for the parking brake to function correctly.

Premature wear in various multi-link suspension components can cause noises that are difficult to diagnose. Worn suspension parts can also cause uneven tire wear and create steering alignment problems.