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.

problem #49

Feb 222017

Passat GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

My car was driving perfect, no problems at all. Then all of a suden my car starts making this weird noise, then its dead? My car was in great condition, cosmetically and mechanically. Beautiful car, my first vw and i love it. I just hate i only had it for a year befor it died, my friends have cars that are a piece of garbage but they outlasted my solid car. Then i looked online and found out why, i want justice! My car is beautiful, i just became a lifelong member of vw. I hope they stand behind their work!

Update from Mar 6, 2017: Forgot to mention that there was a lawsuit against vw back as couple years ago because of oil sludge leading to engine failure, this is exactly whats going on with my car. They lost the lawsuit but if you were not aboard the lawsuit by 2011 you are assed out! Im still making payments on my car, engine dead and all.i dont have the money to buy a new engine due to the fact of a oil sludge problem that vw knew about that would kill your engine over time. I called vw international and even though they lost the lawsuit they don feel like its thier fault? The lawsuit was for the exact year make and model as mine.

- Boris S., Raleigh, NC, US

problem #48

Mar 202013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles


- Peggy D., wilson, MI, US

problem #47

Jan 012010

Passat 1.8L T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

O-rings leaking oil into cylinders. Thousands of dollars of repairs to fix Check engine codes persistent Catalytic converter full of burnt oil O2 sensor trips check engine codes as a result of oil through exhaust Thereby won't pass inspection without replacement of cat.converter and sensor, not a fix though.

To replace o-rings would be another temporary solution for thousands of dollars

Engine replacement is the only viable solution.

$ Total of repairs exceeds Kelly blue book value.

- Ed J., Havertown, PA, US

problem #46

Dec 242012

Passat GLS 1.8L T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I bought my 2002 passat in 2009. I have had Warranty until 2012. I always got a synthetic oil changes at factory recommended time/miles.

My car broke down with low oil pressure, I got it towed to my mechanic to find out engine and turbo failure due to oil sludge. I had to shell out a $4000 to fix it.

I am up for suing VW to get my money back.



- Rex Y., Houston, TX, US

problem #45

Aug 012012

Passat Highline 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,390 miles

I had an oil service on the card just a few months before. No mention as to oil sludge in system, still they refused to fix the problem on their account. Engine shut down to safe mode and was not drivable when it stopped. They changed a few parts after flushing the entire oil system. Turbo seems to be okay from what they said. Car currently works as it should, although I'm currently unsure if the problem has been removed by changing oil type. All services have been done at the dealership.

- mp3kiwi, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway

problem #44

Jan 232013

Passat GL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Engine light came on while driving. Took the car into a mechanic who thought it could be the oil pump. After researching, I came to learn it was oil sludge. On the way have CarMax look at it the engine shut down. Needless to say, my leverage was negatively impacted when it showed up to CarMax on a tow truck. They gave me $1,000 for it.

- Glyn S., Trophy Club, TX, US

problem #43

Jan 162012

Passat 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I bought a VW Passat October 2010. After taking it home I ended up taking it back on that Monday for various problems. They took 90 days to fix my car. My complaint here is that the oil light came on and I took if to get an oil change. The mechanic told me that there was sludge in the engine and that he could not five me a receipt for the change. The motor is running loud and I understand that this my cause me to have to change the oil pump or motor. VW has had several complaints about this problem and they won't do anything about it. It appears to be a design problem.

- shugavery, Redford, MI, US

problem #42

Nov 162011

Passat 1.8L T

  • Manual transmission
  • 97,000 miles

I bought this 2002 model VW Passat 1.8T about a year and a half ago with 86,000 miles on it. Event though I had not heard about the sludge problem, I put in synthetic oil a couple of times (last change actually just a week prior to the damage). About a couple of weeks ago, the car started flashing the oil pressure warning at me, but only for a second or so, then returned to normal. Now the oil pressure light is on constantly, and it was diagnosed as having the sludge problem.

Now, I was never notified of the sludge problem by the class action suit, and as far as I can tell, it will only cover damages until February or so 2011. My car was delivered in August 2001, so I am falling out of the 10 year coverage by just a few months. Both the class action suit administrator and VW are denying any claims. My VW dealer has allegedly talked to VW, and they have "declined" to help.

Is my only remedy now to "decline" to consider the purchase of any VW in the future? has anybody had some luck in a similar situation with getting help from VW?

- Mike B., Golden, CO, US

problem #41

Aug 142011

Passat GLS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

It's 8/15/2011 - I bought a nice 2002 VW w/ 85000 miles on it. After 6 months I put 10k on it and decided to buy something w/ even better gas mileage so I just sold it to a nice young couple that just had a baby (and lived through a recent tornado). The next day the stop engine light came on and the engine seized. They towed it to the dealer and they are saying it's due to sludge and the engine needs to be replaced. It's going to cost $5k. (which they bought the car for $4500 so go figure). I'm up tonight trying to figure out what I'm going do... I hate that it happened and I'm probably just going to give them their money back. But the way I see it VW has a chance to create 2 very happy customers or 2 anti-VW customers. I've read about the lawsuit and if VW would cover at least 1/2 it would be nice.. I would cover the other half and he would still have a great car.. IF not they'll have 2 people that will never buy another VW again. Wish us luck.

- Cj R., Rome, GA, US

problem #40

Mar 242011

Passat PGS 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I got this car (2002 Passat 1.8T) from a car dealer, who said he bought it from an auction. I put 1200 miles on it after getting the car, and the car ran fine for a while and then suddenly I saw oil spill wherever I park it. I pulled the oil dipstick put and it has a sludge that looks like white chocolate color viscous fluid all over the dipstick when I pulled it out, I took it to a mechanic after his inspection, he said the history is someone turned the turbo off and there are multiple places where he can see the oil leak. he said its going to cost a lot to repair it so I asked him to take an engine from a salvage yard and just switch it, lets see what he comes up with. Never a Volkswagen again........what a piece of crap I bought, even the VW dealership says the car is a fine buy after looking a it for any faults.

- reddytx, Dallas, TX, US

problem #39

Oct 132009

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

The car started taking several times to start, and the camshaft position sensor threw an error. We replaced the sensor, but the problem persisted. Eventually we were driving home and the car just shut off. The engine was completely destroyed and we had to replace it.

Unfortunately, we didn't know about this sludge problem at the time so we put a used engine in it (about 60,000 miles on the new engine), thinking the first one was due to some kind of fluke mechanical failure. Now with our second engine reaching the 70 -80,000 mile mark, it is doing the exact same thing! This time it is a royal pain in the butt! We are moving and my wife is having a baby this month and the car just decided it won't start!

We've loved the car, I just wish it had a decent engine.

- McKay C., Logan, UT, US

problem #38

Dec 212010

Passat 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 119,484 miles

I do not know anything about cars. I just knew something was wrong. I DROVE the car to the mechanic, and left it. They called me a few days later and said they did some research online and that it was an oil sludge buildup problem that would be easy to fix. Would run about $500. A week later they called and told me the timing belt was broken, and that the oil sludge stopped the cam shaft and froze the lifters. They also said that now the car will not even start and that I need a new engine. They could get me a used one for $2,500 and with $1,500 in labor, I could have the car back for around $4,000. OR that I could give them $300 for what they did do and tow the car home. Now my question is this... From what I've found out, if the timing belt was broken, I would not have been able to drive my car to them in the first place. I'm just so upset and really do not know how to talk to these mechanics and basically need some advice... They intimidate me and I really feel as if they are taking advantage of me.

- millycakes, Trinidad, TX, US

problem #37

Sep 132010

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Manual transmission
  • 120,000 miles

bought the 2002 VW Passat Feb 3,2010..bought extended warranty for it..did oil changes and maintained my car with extented warranty expectations. was driving the car and it just STOPPED completley..took it in warranty was denied.. now i read this and the oil sludge has never crossed my mined so i thought previous owners did not maintaine vehical .now by reading all of this complaints i realize its not the previous owners it the whole manufactor who has failed to do the RECALL on the probleme...somebody has to pay to repair our vehicals ...we try to protect ourselfs well in my case with warranty and even at that they fail so now i'm paying a car i can NOT DRIVE ...And still have to carry a note .

- NORMA E., Temple, TX, US

problem #36

Aug 282010

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I am the second owner of this vehicle and have received some recall notices on it, but never anything about sludge engine problems. This is the third time this problem has happened since I have owned my Passat. Nov. 13, 2006, Nov. 24, 2009, Aug. 28, 2010. When will there be a class action suit? VW clearly knows there is a problem and wants brand loyalty. What about customer loyalty and doing the Right thing and fixing the problem so is does not affect our engines!!!

- Jennifer B., Buffalo, NY, US

problem #35

May 192010

Passat Sedan 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,235 miles

VW passat needs to get in touch those who own a 2002 VW Passat 1.8T, because it is ridiculous what is going on with these cars, this way their market and consumer demand will drop sky rocketing down the hill if nothing will be done to compensate what we as consumers have to go through. If there is any other group that is getting votes together. please let me know, and i wanna be part of it, this is not how business is being done! Supposed to be about consumer satisfaction, is there such a thing anymore, or just to make a sale and see you later. If you are a car maker than you should stand behind your product and make sure what you do will serve the consumer not other way around, where you still end up making money by consumers ordering parts every other day, and this is not the way we can be safe on the road, this will just cause more accidents and others will be in danger! LETS DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

- Raiti A., Thomasville, GA, US

problem #34

Jan 052009

Passat 1.8L T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Let's just call a spade a spade - the 2002 Passat is a piece of sh*t !

I will never never never buy another VW. Too bad we didn't nuke the Germans!!

- jaws, Johnson City, TN, US

problem #33

Jan 202010

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Manual transmission
  • 104,000 miles

I had just bought this car and have a $3,500 loan. I now have a car loan for a car I cannot drive. VW should be ashamed to have produced a product like this! I will never by another VW car and will tell everyone who will listen that they should avoid VWs. Let me know if there is a lawsuit. VW should be paying for a new engine because they have known about this problem.

- kcparamedic66, Kansas City, MO, US

problem #32

Mar 212010

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought this car for my daughter in 2002 when she was a sophomore in high school hoping this would take her through college. I also bought the fidelity insurance policy as well as oil changes. My daughter took the car to the dealer for the oil changes and the dealership USED REGULAR OIL!!!! At 50,000 miles the engine had to be replaced.....Neither VW or Fidelity Insurance would bear the cost of repayment.....a few oil changes were not in what they called a timely manner.....whatever....the wrong oil was used and neither the company, dealership, or insurance company would man-up....we still have the car....and always making costly repairs.....what a piece of junk

- oloughlin, LaSalle, MI, US

problem #31

Feb 112010

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Never in all my working of vehicles have I had such a pain in the ass of changing an oil pump. What the Hell???? remove the front bumper? ok. Now pull the entire front assembly away from the body? Ifyou say so. It took some extra steps, but I did finally find the root of the problem to my oil pressure problem. The oil lift tube has a screen in it that had become restricted with the crystalized particles (sludge?) of oil. Poor design only gives approx 2.5 square inches of screen to pass through. Anyway, we removed the pump and lift tube. I went ahead and replaced the pump since I was in there. The lift tube was let soak in carb. cleaning solution, then cleaned. Same was done for the oil pan interior. I saw signs of low oil use in the pan, which I believe was a catalyst to my problem. Bottom line: A little elbo grease and frustration saved me thousands of dollars. Hope this gives some insite to what is being seen in these engines.

- Anthony L., Samson, AL, US

problem #30

Jan 122010

Passat 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Volkswagen is aware of this design problem so they extended the warranty for eight years from date of purchase for those who have proper records of car maintenance history. The problem is oil sludge is building up and destroying oil pump and then engine. Fix is an engine replacement which is more than the current blue book value of car. I am eight years plus 20 days so they will not cover damage to car. I now have a worthless car. I am looking to see about a class action suit. Please contact me if you have any information regarding this. Trish B

- trishb, Costa Mesa, CA, US

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