Volkswagen Passat Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volkswagen Passat based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.
Condensation may develop in the heater case which can cause a musty odor from the heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) system. Our technicians tell us a cleaner is available for the heater case. Also, the drain system should be checked for debris.
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.
Clogged sunroof drains can allow water to enter the interior and accumulate under the carpet where various control modules are mounted. Over time, the accumulated moisture can damage the control modules.
The 2006-2017 Volkswagen Passat uses FSI and TSI direct injection engines. These engines are subject to carbon buildup in the intake system which can cause power loss, OBD codes and a check engine light, and a rough idle. In normal engines, the engine is cleaned by the gasoline flowing through the injectors and into the intake system, however, since the Passat uses direct injection, gasoline does not flow through common carbon buildup areas.
The solution is to remove the intake manifold and professionally clean the intake manifold, intake ports on the cylinder head, and the intake valves. This may need to be done in as few as 20,000 miles.
This engine (2.0L FSI) uses direct injection which requires very high fuel pressure. This high fuel pressure is achieved by using a high pressure mechanical fuel pump (HPFP) that is driven off of the camshaft.
The HPFP may fail due to damage from a camshaft manufacturing defect. The defect causes abnormal wear of the mechanical barrier between the camshaft and the fuel pump. This barrier, the cam follower, will wear down and cause failure of the camshaft and the HPFP.
To correct this issue one or all of the following will need replacement: the camshaft, high-pressure fuel pump, and/or the cam follower.
To help prevent this issue from occurring, the cam follower should be inspected every 10,000 - 15,000 miles.
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.
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.
Erratic turn signal operation can be a result of a failing turn signal flasher relay which will require replacement.
Popping sounds from the rear of the vehicle may be heard moments after starting the engine, or when slowing to a stop. This noise is from the leak detection pump filling the fuel tank with air, and releasing to retest the system when it finds a fault. The sequence of faults identifying this issue are as follows:
- Succession of loud pops from rear of vehicle
- Pops go away, and fuel economy decreases
- Check engine light illuminates
- OBD trouble code P2404 and/or P0441 is stored
- Engine will not start after refueling (must crank for over 30 seconds)
- Vibration when slowing to a stop
The cause is a valve which is mounted on the front of the intake manifold, commonly called the N80 valve, or EVAP system purge valve. The valve is designed to open under specific circumstances, but a worn valve will remain open at all times, preventing the pressurization of the fuel tank.
Correction of the issue is to replace the N80 valve with the latest revision.
Drivers of the Volkswagen Passat may experience a clunking noise associated with acceleration from a stop, or downshifting for hard acceleration. This will also be accompanied by a light impact sensation under the drivers feet. Drivers may also notice unexplained changes to their front end alignment while driving.
This issue is commonly called " VW Subframe Clunk", and is caused by the gradual stretching of the bolts that secure the subframe to the vehicle. The subframe is a large plate that secures to the bottom of the engine bay, and connects the body of the car to the engine and suspension. Over time, the bolts that secure the subframe stretch, allowing the subframe to move and hit the bottom of the car when accelerating.
There are many aftermarket kits that can be installed to correct the issue, and Volkswagen has issued a correction including better bolts, and spacers which fit between the subframe and the car.