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My 2013 Passat now has about 65,000 miles on it and is on its 4th heater core. I knew the heater core was clogged because there was no heat on the passenger side, but I didn't want to spend yet another $1,000 to fix it. The dealer claimed the heater core was a "wear item" and made us pay each time to get it replaced.

It recently started overheating - specifically after a long drive in hot weather, it would overheat when stopped. I had my (independent) mechanic tear apart the entire cooling system and what he found was pretty nasty.

Bottom of heater core:
Automotive lighting Hood Guitar accessory Bumper Motor vehicle

Top of heater core:
Shoe Musical instrument Folk instrument Wood Gas

He hasn't had a chance to cut the radiator in half yet, but I am assuming it will be pretty similar. He is going to do a major flush of the whole cooling system and replace the thermostat while he is in there (by the time this is done, it will cost me about $2,000)

Is this normal? Is there any other part that should be specifically checked/replaced?
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