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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.

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35
Known Problems

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

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.

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.

Symptoms include illumination of the check engine light, engine running roughly, and loss of power. Engine codes associated may be P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0087, P1093 and P2293.

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. 

To ensure longevity of the engine, our technicians recommend to follow the maintenance schedule for the timing belt.

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

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

Erratic turn signal operation can be a result of a failing turn signal flasher relay which will require replacement.

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. 

Possible trouble codes include: P0300P0301P0302P0303P0304, P0305, P0306.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.