Question about 2003 Volkswagen Passat

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2003 VW passat longer term likely problems.

I have a 2003 passat W8 sedan that has done 120000klm.Can I expect any major expensive repairs in the near future or are these cars bullet proof.I have read some horrific reports on internet sites telling of very expensive repairs.My car has full service history by VW service centres.

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  • reynolds4885 Sep 15, 2009

    Hi, 97F350Diesel!

    Thank you for your response to my enquiry. I wonder, however, whether your comments apply to the W8 and not just the Passat or VWs in general. I understand the W8 sales worldwide over 2003/2004 were something like 500 vehicles. When checking reports on the Internet about mechanical failures, I see the W8 has very disproportionate representation and a lot of people have had problems with torque converters, camshafts, and even replacement motors, at horrendous cost. It also seems necessary to remove the motor and transmission (as well as headlamps, fender, radiator, etc.), to investigate problems. Because these cars are so rare, it is very difficult to get a specialist who has ever worked on one, and it is interesting to observe that VW withdrew that model after only two years, because of disappointing sales (or maybe warranty claims).

    As previously mentioned, I have done 120,000 km in mine, trouble-free, but my neighbour's car, which is the same model (2003 W8) but which has done only 80,000 km is currently being dismantled in a VW service centre workshop, at enormous cost, to try and identify what may be an engine or transmission problem. After stopping at traffic lights, the car stalled, he put it in park and tried to restart it, but got only a clicking noise similar to that which occurs when the battery is flat.

    All of this makes me very nervous, considering my greater mileage and the worrying reports so many W8 drivers have submitted to Internet blog sites.

    Over to you!


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Nothings bullet proof but a good rule of thumb is if the car is well maintained and serviced at regular intervals and your are not beating it up while driving it will bring plenty more years of good driving. Being that its mechanical anythings possible but honestly in my opinion VW has done and exellant job with its new line of vehicles and i have heard very few complaints or stories of them being of poor quality. These are German made cars and as you may already have known the germans make really good quality cars (mercedes, BMW etc). Stay on top of your maintenence and any little problems, noises, squeaks and rattles. These things will minimize any major repairs from neglect or lack of maintenece. If you have 120K on it now I would say that's a very good sign so far. Happy driving.

Posted on Sep 13, 2009

  • James Brooks
    James Brooks Sep 15, 2009

    I can defininitely understand your concern. These cars were supposed to be the next generation of VW cars. The biggest reason for small sales is the 8 cylinder. There is no need for it!! They make such great 4, 6 and diesel motors that who really needs the 8 cylinder? It wasn't worth the extra money to most folks as the 4 and 6 cylinder motors had ample torque and horse power. But also keep in mind that with any new innovation the first model(s) usually still have bugs to work out. Normally the first 1 or 2 of any brand new model has issues and the real test is the consumer as we will put it to the ringer and back (something the automaker can not)

    As far as the reliability, you should use your own good judgement to make the call as I can't make it for you. If you feel your car has been reliable and want to keep a rare vehicle as your own by all means hand on to it, but it you feel the cost of repair may offset the love for the vehicle and you have no special attachment to the car or have the means to purchase another then you can do that also. I have had many cars over the years and some I love more then others, some have had no problems and I get rid of them and others I have had numerous problems and still kept them and repaired. I can tell you that my 96 taurus SHO I got rid of anticipating if it did break down would be a costly repair (with a yamaha 3.4l V8) and a $11,000 for a new motor from FORD I just let it I never had any major issues with the vehicle it was jsut personal preference. So take some time and make an educated decision that works best for you and your family. Best of luck


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