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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently driving an older Japanese SUV. Love it to death, but fuel economy is pretty bad and my new job requires a lot of highway driving.

A few family members have Passats and love them and I've enjoyed driving them.

I have searched the forum, but what are some things I should specifically be looking for when I test drive/inspect these cars? I'm aware of the timing belt change requirements and I know if they don't have proof of doing that job, I will need to get it done ASAP.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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2003 B5.5 Passat 1.8t tiptronic
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Depending on the engine, at least for the 1.8t, check for leaking pcv hoses underneath the intake manifold. If you look with a flashlight and see oil covered hoses that means they are cracked and need replacing. The vacuum systems on these cars are very finicky from what I’ve learned. If there is one mishap in the system, your Passat will never fail to let you know…lol. There are many check valves, and old rubber and plastic lines that deteriorate over the years just from the heat of the ennoble over time. Another thing Id mention is engine mounts. These cars are known for their worn out engine mounts as they age especially. Soon I will have to replace these and upgrade them to solid mounts because the oem ones are fluid filled and tend to wear out quicker. If the car has the automatic tiptronic, check the records to see if the transmission fluid and filter have been changed at least every 60k miles. If not, I would get that changed. Timing belt, water pump, tensioners, thermostat, etc are probably the most important things you want to do first thing when you get the car if they haven’t been done In the past 75k miles or 10 years. Good luck and I will try to answer any questions you have because I have had a lot of maintenance experience and mishaps with my car that I can try to diagnose for you if you ever run into any problems.
 

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If you're in an area where it gets cold, check for heat in the car. If you don't get any heat, getting the issue fixed could be expensive with a heater core replacement if trying to flush it results in damaging the core or flushing doesn't fix the issue.
 

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If you are looking for great fuel economy highway cruiser and fun to drive. Look for a 2004-2005 Passat TDI diesel converted with a TDI specific 5 speed or 6 speed transmission imported from Europe. You'll find these conversions once in awhile with all the major TDI BHW engine family issues taken care of. i.e. Balance shaft delete and camshaft replacement.
 
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