Common problems with Volkswagen Passat

VW Passat Problems

The Volkswagen Passat is a premium executive mid-size sedan that undercuts the Audi A6 in price but tries to deliver a similar experience. The Passat was first introduced in 1973 and is now in its 5th and sadly final generation.

However, VW recently stated that there are discontinuing the Passat entirely which means that after 29 million units sold, one of the most popular family sedans is finally going out of production. It’s good to know that whoever is interested in the VW Passat, will be glad to know that the Passat has always been a fairly reliable vehicle.

The most common VW Passat problems are associated with the timing chain system, clock spring failure, ignition coil failure, faulty O2 and MAF sensors, and oil leaks. The good thing is that most of these can be resolved fairly easily, but if you fail to address them early enough, they are likely going to be expensive.

All in all, the Passat has always been a dependable family sedan option, but the very latest Passat models are the best of the bunch. It’s a sad reality that SUVs and crossovers have become so popular that they are now retiring one of the best sedans of all time.

VW Passat – Timing chain issues

The chain is tasked with keeping the valves of the cylinder in sync with the pistons. However, the issue happens when the chain becomes loose due to either stretching of the chain or due to a failed tensioner. Either way, if these are not resolved as soon as possible, they can completely destroy an engine.

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Sadly, the VW Passat is no stranger to timing chain issues and most owners have had their chains replaced after 100,000 miles or so. Given the fact that many VW Passat models are able to last more than 250,000 miles, it is rather an issue if you have to replace the chain three times to manage that.

VW Passat – Clockspring failure

A faulty clock spring is one of the most defective VW components ever. These small springs are associated with the steering system, and when they fail they tend to disable all sorts of steering wheel-mounted components such as the horn, the air bags, and the steering wheel itself.

VW issued a few recalls because of this, but it seems that they have not yet resolved the issue completely. NHTSA states that more than 1.2 million VW cars have been diagnosed with clock spring issues after the recall was finished. This means that issues such as these are still out there and that the Passat you are looking at might be problematic.

VW Passat – Ignition coil failure

The ignition coils are tasked with transforming voltage from the battery and turning it into energy that can be used by the spark plug. If the ignition coils fail, they are likely going to stall the engine and fail to start the engine up again. It’s difficult to anticipate an ignition coil failure, but when they do fail, you will know.

Most owners have reported that their VW Passat models suddenly start backfiring, hesitating to accelerate, or experiencing harsh start-ups. All in all, if the ignition coils fail, you need to take the car to an experienced mechanic as it is not always easy to tell which one of them is the one to blame.

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VW Passat – Faulty O2 and MAF sensors

The mass airflow sensor is tasked with monitoring the amount and the density of air entering the engine. The sensor then sends the data to the ECU which then decides how much fuel needs to be delivered to generate a spark. The MAF sensor in the Passat works in tandem with the O2 sensor which means that they are in constant communication.

However, if one fails, chances are that the other one could also. Faulty MAF sensor symptoms are engine misfiring, poor acceleration, poor idle performance, and an everlasting check engine light that is going to haunt you in your dreams.

VW Passat – Oil leaks

As is the case with most European luxury cars, the VW Passat is also known to often experience oil leaks. The oil leaks in the VW Passat are mostly down to faulty valve cover gaskets and the camshaft chain tensioner gasket. Many owners have reported these issues happening on both low mileage examples and high mileage examples.

The easiest way to fix this issue is to replace the gasket. The very latest model years of the Passat are a lot better while the mid-2000s models seem to be the worst.

FAQ Section

Why is the VW Passat going out of production?

The VW Passat is going out of production because the Arteon exists and because the VW Passat estate is actually the more popular choice overall. Moreover, automakers these days are concentrating on SUVs and crossovers because these are the most popular cars these days.

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Either way, the latest VW Passat is a tremendously nice car and while it is available, you should consider it.

Which VW Passat is the best one to get?

The B8 Passat is the best one of them all because it is the most technologically advanced and the most reliable one of the bunch. As far as engines go, the 2.0L 4-cylinder is the best one to get because it balances power, reliability, and efficiency the best.

You should also check out 4MOTION models as they do offer the most sophisticated driving experience. The Passat looks best in the R-Line trim while Highline and Comfortline trims are also really nice looking.

Is the VW Arteon better than The VW Passat?

The VW Arteon is a more stylish and more expensive version of the VW Passat. The differences between the two are rather minimal and are only substantial enough from the outside. Inside, they look almost identical which is a shame because the Arteon looks a lot sleeker overall.

It makes sense for VW to retire the Passat from that perspective, but the Passat is always going to be the stronger name. Who knows, maybe the Passat makes a return one day.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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