really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
92,100 miles
Total Complaints:
49 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace engine (22 reports)
  2. not sure (13 reports)
  3. dealer cleaned engine and replaced some unknown parts (8 reports)
  4. synthetic oil must be used (3 reports)
  5. remove the oil lift tube on pump and clean screen (2 reports)
  6. oil sludge removal machine (1 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Volkswagen dealer.

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Dec 162009

Passat V4 Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

A light came on the dash saying STOP CAR. Took to the dealer, was told oil turned to sludge killing the engine. Apparently this is a known problem from VW. The oil change was done by husband by the service manual with the recommended oil and filter. The dealer mechanic said the recommendations have changed and this is a common problem. The car has no value now and I must get a new car. Last month the heated seat ignited burning a hole through the seat onto my clothing. I will never buy a VW or recommend one to anyone.

- Arlene G., Stanhope, NJ, US

problem #28

Oct 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles

You must have your engine put on the sludge draining machine every 50k miles and it will last. The cost of a shop doing the de-sludging machine is $150 average. Small price to pay. It would also help to buy an aftermarket oil cooler at your local parts store. Average around $40 with hoses. Another small price to pay to enjoy your car.

sux to have to pay anything extra but it sure helps save your car and the save you from the frustrations and problems.

Alot of the Camry's had this problem with the V6's. I have to do this treatment (which is recommended by the dealer) every 90k miles on my Solara but it sure makes the car run great and last.

- D S., Leland, NC, US

problem #27

Oct 012009

Passat Turbo 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

this 2002 passat,,worst car I ever owned...please don't ever buy one these car from vw....nothing but trbl since day one about 3 years ago..thank god I had a warranty for first 2 years...new harness belt, new timing chain u name it on the engine..now boots need replaced ...all kinds electrical pblm/s....now the oil sludge plblm...I changed oil in my car every 3000 to 5000 miles...now that I have read all the complaints from this web site and other sites..this unblvbl that vw knows this a pblm and does nothing to fix it...this pblm I think is caused by a faulty oil cooling system...WHAT I CANT BELIEVE IS THAT A CLASS ACTION SUIT HAS NOT BEEN FILED AGAIST VW..if there is one please let me know...if I had the money I would take vw to court..but we're helpless...I still owe 6000 dollars on a car that does not start...guess I will try to a used engine...trade in at car lot..just might get vw credit union to come and get the car, default on loan and ruin my credit...seems I have no other choice...well if anybody has any ideas let me know...MORAL TO THE STORY...DO NOT BUY VW PRODUCTS.....

- greg frank, Houston, TX, US

problem #26

Jul 172009

Passat LS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This is the second time my "oil pressure" light has came on.. The first time was a near $2000 dollar fix and I was thinking that would be the end of that.. Now.. a year later.. its happening again! It makes this noise like it has a jet ski motor??! Im so sick of this car I can not wait to have it paid off and get rid of it.. It has gave me problems since day one. I think we all need to get together and try to get our money back from these piece of crap cars.. Any news on a class action law suit yet?

- Wendy H., San Francisco, CA, US

problem #25

Jun 102009

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Bought with 60,000 miles owned 16 months and during that time put 30,000 on it. Daughter said Stop engine light came on at that point damage was total. Oil HAS to be changed every 5,000 miles using new high dollar oils. I heard if problem had been knowu sooner I could have ran Kerosene in the engine to break up sludge. Didn't get the chance to find out if true. It's now in the shop looking at best solution which looks like complete rebuilt engine.

- Ronald B., Houston, Tx, US

problem #24

Nov 012008

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Its my moms car. it all started with the timing belt breaking. Her boyfriend replaced it and tried to start the car. The timing was off. He bent the valves. We had the engine rebuilt. Ran good for about 5 months or so then all of a sudden the oil pressure light came on. Looked at everything under the hood and there was oil in the coolant and coolant in the oil. We've had the head gaskets replaced, oil cooler replaced. Now it makes a horrible tapping noise after the temp gauge gets about half way. It had almost no power. the oil pressure light comes on if you drive it for more than 15-20 minutes. We've already spent a few thousand trying to get it fixed. We're just going to take it to a VW dealership and get a brand new motor. Hopefully this on will last until we can get it paid off and get rid of it. Will NEVER buy another Passat!!!

- fades_to_black07, Norman, OK, US

problem #23

Sep 042007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Because I purchase the car used from carmax I had no proof about the maintenance of the car. I started out with a rubber cover underneath the car failing causing my car no to run and water building in the car. That was fixed under warranty. Everytime I took it in there was another recall. With many problems the last the the engine failure. Since I've always purchase used cars and had the habit of maintaining the paid warranty for one yr or until I get all the problems out. After one year I did not renew the warranty and the engine failed. Since I've already put more money in repairs than I've ever put in a car it's sitting in a storage unit @ $42.00 a month and I'm still paying on it. Last year I purchased a used Toyota @ 121,000 miles and no problems. I wrote both carmax and VW. There was no reply from carmax and VW stated if I could show the maintenance record they would be responsible for the engine. What a joke on a used car.

- talexander, Atlanta, GA, US

problem #22

Nov 222008

Passat GLS 1.8T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,047 miles

My Passat AWM 1.8T engine developed oil pressure problems at about 90K miles. I started doing oil changes every 1K miles but finally it got worse. During summer it was the worst due to the temp of the oil; so the viscosity thinned to the point of it stopping oil pressure. I ended up buying a used engine (2004 - 47K miles). According to CARFAX the wrecked car this came out of was serviced at regular intervals by a VW dealer. I removed the sump prior to installation and checked the screen and pan, and it was all fairly clean. I cleaned it anyway. I installed the engine and added the recommended 5W-40 VW synthetic oil and filter. I also installed a brand new bosch turbo (OEM).

I have since completed about 1100 miles, then the other day after driving for 3 hrs I climbed a mountain range in WV at 48 degrees F outside and the oil pressure warning came on near the top. My feeling is VW have poorly designed the oil cooling system for this engine. The oil is cooled via the engine water cooling system. A used engine ranges between about $1,800 to $3,200 depending on mileage minus turbo. Turbo they want an extra $400. A rebuilt unit is about $5,500 minus turbo and a long motor from VW starts at about $4,400 minus turbo. I have a good AWM bottom end for sale cheap if needed. Bearings and bore is nice, would need new oil pump installed.

VW have offered a 8yr warranty on this engine providing you can provide documented evidence that the oil was changed with the correct type and by a licensed mechanic. Stand up for yourself and go after them. There were rumors that they were denying claims when mileage was slightly over on the oil changes. The courts told them to be not be as strict. They know there is a problem!

- Chris W., Oakland, MD, US

problem #21

Mar 072009

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

My engine exploded on the way to Graduate School. I was late and the police found me yelling at the car in the middle of a corn field. I heard a load popping sound and the car told me to stop. when the car was towed to the shop. There was a large hole blown out of the side of the engine. The VW mechanic said he never seen any thing like it. I just bought the car in October and will be paying for it for the next 4 years. Now I have no car and cant drive to see my four year old little girl in Chicago. I bought the car so i could drive from Ohio to Chicago and see my baby. Where the hell am I suppose to get $4100 dollar to get my car fixed in grad school. I will never buy another VW or Audi. some body please help me out. Rashad@globalglover.com

- Rashad G., Dayton, OH, US

problem #20

Jan 202009

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

My car is still in the shop trying to get the problem fixed. I bought the car new and for every repair and oil change I took it to the VW dealer (Denny Hecker in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota) where I purchased the car. They went out of business last month (imagine that!).

- cbenjamin, St Paul, MN, US

problem #19

Nov 192008

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

Volkswagen of America knows about the sludge issues on this turbo engine. They make it hard have it repaired under warranty. Dealer in Illinois diagnosed the problem. They said it was OK to drive to our local dealer about 15 miles away. As a result the car totally died and they all deny telling us that. Volkswagen of America "customer service" department looked into the issue and said that again they claim to have never said that. Now the warranty wouldn't cover the original sludge damage because there is a new condition. When I asked about the lying they said they back their dealers. That's as far as I could go. I could not speak to anyone higher up to explain the circumstances.

- mary anna, Grayslake, IL, US

problem #18

Dec 082008

Passat GLS 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,052 miles

My wife's 2002 Passat had a warning light come on saying to STOP engine now! I did a google search and found that Volkswagen has a huge problem with engine failure due to a sludge build up in the pan blocking oil at the pick up line. After flushing the engine five times and adding a engine flush solvent four times I still have the problem. I finished with a full synthetic oil but still no improvement. I am stuck with car on the verge of engine failure with only the option of spending thousand to have it fixed. I will never buy a Volkswagen product again.

- Scott S., Troutdale, OR, US

problem #17

Nov 142008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I was driving my 2002 vw passat up to Maine from Boston one rainy Friday night when a light came on my dashboard that said to stop the car immediately and check my owner's manual. When checking to see what the manual advised it said to stop the car immediately and get the oil checked. I had changed my oil a little over 3,000 miles before, and was not due. I did get oil added as a gas station as to get myself safely to Maine. Shortly thereafter though, the light came on again. Fearing for my safety, I pulled over and had the car towed to the nearest VW dealership. The dealership called me a few days later to let me know that there had been excessive oil sludge build up (similar to many of your stories), and that it would cost $10,000 to fix. Because the car's Blue Book value was only $5,500 in excellent condition and because the car had MANY MANY other problems that cost much money, I donated the car to charity as a tax write off. I did love how the car drove when it worked (I miss it now, but drive a much more reliable Honda Civic), but the grief and money this car caused is something to be reckoned with. I have copies of 8 of the 12 required oil changes (not because I am diligent, but because I just threw everything car related in the glove compartment), and will be in contact with VW headquarters before filing suit.

- Robin C., Brookline, MA, US

problem #16

Dec 032008

Passat GLS 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Bought car used from dealer 4 years ago. I have had very little issues with this car and had been very satisfied. I put 60k miles on the car and I encountered my issue at 95k. At the end of a 3 hour trip, I got the warning �Oil Pressure Low� STOP. I stopped and drove it to a VW dealer repair shop the next day. They said the issue was �oil sludge� and did additional diagnostics. The VW dealer replaced the oil pump and did a �de-sludge� on the rest of the engine. They said this was a best case scenario as no damaged had occurred. They gave me a 12 month warranty and charged me $2,200.

I change my oil every 5k, but rarely use synthetic. I was unable to produce 7 years of oil change receipts because I am not quite that anal. The moral of the story is 1) only use synthetic oil and change it every 3K 2) Keep all receipts 3) Some cars are not build to last (still trying to figure out which ones)

I did join the class action lawsuit at www.shulaw.com/unfair/vw-audi.asp I am guessing at this point this is more of a support group (but I will take what I can get).

- tschwartz, Omaha, NE, US

problem #15

May 192008

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,500 miles

Stop engine light came on and had to tow it home (325 miles) to the dealer where I purchased this fine certified car. After much search I was able to produce the appropriate receipts indicating oil changes had occurred on average every 3800 miles. Dealer pledged to do the "magical" flush. Two months later check engine light - bad cam position sensor - probable cause oil sludge - replaced w/valve cover gaskets and tensioner pulley. Now 6 months later cam bearings are leaking, valve covers are leaking, oil in Turbo and timing belt has oil on it. Dealer gave me an estimate of $4K to repair. Trying to get to the higher ups at VW is next to impossible. Can not believe that VW will throw away customers in these economic times.

- jlkitz, Mine Hill, NJ, US

problem #14

Oct 182008

Passat GLS 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

Well I guess I should have found this website first. My problem is exactly the same as all the others. Coming home from a funeral, believe it or not, on I72 in Illinois my STOP engine light came on and immediately the car shut down. My problem is I bought my car used from a ford dealership. You want to talk about getting the cold shoulder from everybody. Not a single dealership within 100 miles would help and when I called Volkswagen they said sorry but you bought it used so there is nothing we can do. Well thats nice, I just bought the car 3 months ago and I have 4 kids and a car payment and now owe 4900 dollars more than the peice of junk is worth. I will tell anyone not to be these crappy cars. Sorry for everyone's problems and in case of a law suit. I'm IN

- Chris W., Nokomis, IL, US

problem #13

Jun 152008

Passat Turbo 1.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My sons were driving the car on June 15th to join me, my wife and some friends to celebrate Father's day and what celebration it was. The car just stopped, died, just like that. The stop light came on and it just stopped. It took me a while to take it to the VW Dealer only to find out that the repair is going to cost over $5,000 and that is using a used engine with 90,000 miles on it. If I decide to get a re-built engine is about $7,000. I called VW customer services and they told me that the only help they will provide is a 10% discount. Their argument is that the car has high miles on it and I got a good use from it. To me it sounds like VW's are a temporary car, not a car that you want to enjoy for a long time. That is to bed because I really like the car. It's looks, the way it runs, it is just a nice looking car. I can tell you now that this is it for me. No more VW for me. I have a 2001 Dodge 1500 with over 180,000 miles and is still running good. Of course I have to make a few repairs here and there but nothing like this, just normal stuff for a car with that use. I never had this issue with any car in my life. So if you are thinking about a VW, do not plan on driving it for more that 36,000 miles. This seems to be the life of this cars, and VW will not stand behind their product.

- Axel D., Kissimmee, FL, US

problem #12

Aug 212006

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Where do I being? I purchased a used 2002 VW Passat back in 2006 from a dealership who had been in town for years. They provided a "copy" of the carfacts print out which showed no activity of any type of issue concerning this car. It was a beautiful car, drove very well and in my price range, so being a first time buyer I was eager to purchase the car. My life was great! About a month later, the engine light comes on. Like any person, I immediately drove the car back to the dealership. They said it was a fuse & the issue had been fixed. Light comes on again a week later, another trip back to the dealership. Now, they are stating it was a pump that needed to be replaced. "AT NO CHARGE", to make me feel like such a valued customer I guess.

After putting possibly 2,000 miles on the car, i'm driving on a highway and an abrupt warning to CHECK OIL PRESSURE, TURN ENGINE OFF MOTOR WILL BLOW, SEE MANUAL. Looking through the car's manual, while stuck on the side of the highway it states to contact local VW. My insurance company covers the charge to tow my car to the nearest VW shop. After about 2 weeks VW diagnostis states: 30,000 miles worth of OIL SLUDGE DAMAGE, needs new engine, cost of engine with turbo $9,000.00. Unless I come up with 8 Oil change receipts, indicating this is a manufacturing malfunction in which case VW will cover the costs of repair. The car was originally purchased in 2002 from this VW dealership, they have no record of this car in their system. The dealership I purchased the car from amazingly, filed bankruptcy and closed down 2 weeks before this happened.

I tracked down the mechanic that worked at the shop at the time I purchased my car, who was already working for another dealership. He stated he remembered the day my car came onto the lot. He was instructed to turn the oil sensor off and hung up the phone when I started asking to many questions I guess. I have had no luck locating anyone else from this dealership nor finding a resolution for this horrible issue other than paying between $3,500 and $9,000 for new or used engine.

It's been almost 2 years, I am still paying every month for this car that sits outside. It is driveable, however once you reach 30MPH it states the TURN ENGINE OFF, MOTOR WILL BLOW. I drive it down the street every now and then remembering the good old days that only lasted for a short time. As you can imagine I am VERY hesitant to deal with any mechanic, dealership or anyone that says they can fix it. I don't want to end up in this situation ever again. Right now, I have one guy telling me to buy engine flush, change the oil and repeat if necessary until indicator is gone and sell the car. Another is asking for $500.00 upfront to change the oil pump, filter, pan etc, clean out sludge and if that doesn't fix the problem he will put the $500 towards a used engine that will cost $3,500.

Can anyone advise on how I can get out of this nightmare I've been living for the past 2 years???

- ccastorfl, Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #11

Jun 162008

Passat GLX 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

After running 61,000 miles my 1.8 turbo Passat engine has called it quits. I go a call this morning from the local dealer telling me I had complete engine failure and that I needed to replace everything in my engine including the turbo. I asked him what caused this and he was (seemed) reluctant on giving me a detailed description. I have researched this issue for 4 hours today and found many, many people suffering from similar issues with the 1.8t.

I was able to find a law firm who has a suite open on this issue. The url is http://www.shulaw.com/unfair/vw-audi.asp. I have already email and will follow up tomorrow with a call. Viewing the complaint is very interesting.

- Darin D., Greensboro, NC, US

problem #10

May 082008

Passat GLX 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I had a 2001 Passat with the sludge issue. Volkswagen had released a statement that the turbo engines need to have synthetic oil. The dealership, West Houston rebuilt the engine at their cost because they sold me the car that way. If you purchased a car from a dealership I would assume they HAVE to repair the car or it will fall under the lemon law. Don't give up or back down. Make the dealership repair the car. For a quick short term fix, run a bottle of transmission fluid in the oil, then go have an oil change with synthetic oil. Do this again a week later. Transmission fluid will flush out some of the sludge. The dealership told me to do this and it worked, the Oil Pressure warning light stopped screaming at me. I am on my 2nd Passat a 2002 for almost 3 years and I have had no engine problems.

- Jamie M., Richmond, TX, US

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