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The Worst Volkswagen Passat Model Year You Should Never Buy

Volkswagen is generally known for making good quality cars that anyone can afford, but VW has made some mistakes in the past. There’s Dieselgate of course, but VW has also made some bad cars before. Here is the worst Volkswagen Passat model year that you should avoid at all costs.

The 2002 Volkswagen Passat 

As Car Complaints said, the 2002 VW Passat was by far the worst model year of the car. In fact, it was such a horrible model year that Car Complaints gave it the “Avoid Like The Plague” badge. There were many reasons why the 2002 Passat earned that award, too.

The most common problem with the 2002 Passat had to do with its engine. In particular, it had to do with oil sludge that caused the 2002 Passat’s engine to suddenly die. This was not only a common problem, but it was also a costly problem. Car Complaints says that the average cost to repair this oil sludge issue was over $2,800.

Additionally, Car Complaints says that there were various other minor issues with the 2002 Passat’s engine. These issues ranged from cooling issues to flooding issues. In total, Car Complaints found that 18 fires, two crashes, and four injuries were caused by the 2002 Passat’s various engine issues.

A similar issue had to do with the 2002 Passat’s fuel system. For some reason, fuel would start leaking and that could lead to a fire. Car Complaints reports that at least three fires were caused by this fuel issue. On top of that, VW recalled almost 900,000 Passats of various model years due to this issue. 

The 2002 Passat’s other issues

Another common problem with the 2002 Passat had to do with its ignition system. Not only was this a common problem, but it also happens to relatively new cars. Car Complaints says that the average mileage on the Passats that got these ignition issues were only about 11,000 miles. 

These ignition issues could also lead to a fire. In fact, Car Complaints says that at least three fires were caused by this issue. On top of that, one user on Car Complaints quoted their mechanic who said that “they catch fire all the time.” 

A less common but still frequent problem with the 2002 Passat had to do with its brakes. This was a minor issue with the Passat’s anti-lock brakes where they wouldn’t work properly at random times. 

The 2002 Passat had another similar frequent and annoying issue where the garage door opener would fall out of the visor for some reason. Some users on Car Complaints paid money to fix the visor permanently, and the average cost of that was about $500. However, some users simply duct-taped the visor shut. 

Avoid the 2003 VW Passat too

The 2003 VW Passat wasn’t that different than the 2002 Passat, and it inherited many of the same issues. In fact, the 2003 Passat actually has more complaints than the 2002 Passat did and Car Complaints also gave the 2003 Passat an “Avoid Like The Plague” badge. 

Just like the 2002 Passat, the 2003 Passat had very common engine issues, largely due to oil sludge. The fuel system in the 2003 Passat was also faulty and many users on Car Complaints reported that their 2003 Passat caught on fire. That said, there were some differences. 

For example, the 2003 Passat doesn’t have the same annoying problem where the garage door opener fell out of the visor. The 2003 Passat did have a common issue with its heat and A/C, though.

In fact, Car Complaints reports that over 44 fires and 25 injuries were caused by the 2003 Passat’s faulty heat and A/C system. Many of the injuries were caused by the heated seats turning on by itself and burning the driver’s pants.