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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, I've been car searching to replace my 94 Grand Am. The Grand Am had it's problems but had some power, when I came across a 98 Passat for 6k I was like that car looks nice. Then I saw 5 speed auto tiptronic and turbo, in awe I was but the 150 hp seem kinda low but mods will be easy with the turbo. Anyway to the point what would everyone say about the Passat w/ the 1.8T w/ the tiptronic, is it a good car? Is 87K miles to many? How many miles can I expect and what all can I expect to go wrong?

Thanks
 

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You could probably get a newer Passat with way less miles for about 5-6 grand more, it just depends on your price range. I got my 2002 with 20Kmiles on it for less than $15K. I've seen some with about 30K-40K miles in the 2000-2002 range go for $13K-$14K at auctions.

If $6K is your price range though, it might be a good deal. Passat's are awesome cars, and you're right about the modding. Turbo=fun :lol:
 

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as long as you dont get the first year the passat was made... and get a glx at the same time.... in short, dont get my car

98 glx variant

but from what other people say there extreamly reliable.. and i LOVE my car, its amazing
 

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Don't jump too hastily into the mirky waters of a '98 Passat. Spend a few hours doing searches on this web site. Search for the following things...

common problems
Timing Belt
Ignition Control Module (ICM)
belt tensioner
Turbo failure
oil coking
control arm failure
Reliability

You will find many people - myself included - who have had numerous problems with their cars. Very few cars are perfect, but the problems that I am referring to tend to be rather expensive to repair and potentially fatal to the car (specifically the timing belt and tensioner) if left unserviced. The '98 probably has a few more problems then newer Passats, but don't believe that buying an '01 or newer gets you any assurance of reliability.

To answer your question directly. No, the Passsat is not well reviewed for its reliability. Based on problems with my car, the poor service that I have received from dealerships and the general lack of independent mechanics who will work on the car, I personally don't recommend buying a Passat to anyone. It is even a pain to have the oil changed because of a shield that has to be removed from the bottom of the car that oil change techs can't seem to reinstall correctly. Passat owners tend to put up with quirks and annoyance in order to enjoy the finer points of this car - like driving it! If you enjoy driving you will probably fall in love with the car, but if you are looking for pure reliability, look elsewhere.

That is the other thing you'll learn from the searches. Many of the same people that write about their problems also say stuff like..."I still love this car!," and "This is still the best car I've ever owned!" Go figure... I think we all must be a little :crazy: !

And if you buy that '98 make sure the timing belt has been replaced, or else have it replaced immediately! Once you've done that you can be reasonably sure the engine isn't going to self-destruct without a moments notice. Then you can concentrate on the fun things like chips, exhaust and suspension mods.

Cheers!
 

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jaero summed it up well. Owning a late model VW can be a love/hate relationship. If you are simply looking for a reliable commuter car that doesn't spend much time needing something repaired you are better off looking at a Japanese or even another Big3 make. While my experience with my 99 GLS V6 has been a pleasureable one so far, I am well aware of what may go wrong. I have accepted that fact and moved on.

If you are not one who meticuously follows the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule, don't bother trying to make a warranty claim if you happen to get a certified pre-owned vehicle. Dealers have been known to ask for proof of maintenance not performed at a dealer before agreeing to warranty a major repair.

If you can provide us your general location, I am sure members can and will tell you which dealers are worth visiting and those you should avoid. It would be wise to avoid the 98 Passat as they seem to be more plagued with problems. A lot of people here recommend the 2000 Passat as the most trouble free model year.

Good luck! Don't be afraid to search aroud here and ask questions.
 

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I will beg to differ on the reliability issue. My 2000 V-6 Variant has 170,000+ miles and I feel that it has been more reliable than the following cars I have owned: 1990 Lexus LS 400, 1987 Toyota Camry, 1991 Lincon Town Car ( don't ask) 1993 Dodge Intrepid, 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP (POS), 1994 Honda Accord. Yes, there are some areas that as an owner you must watch out for (timing belts, water pumps) but overall I have not been plauged by the issues that are discussed on this board.

As a high mileage driver, my Passat ranks at the top. It has never left me stranded. With the exception of maintence it has been fill it up and go. 8)
 

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According to Consumer Reports, the reliability of a Passat is similar to a Grand Am (see their winter Used Car magazine). Jearo said it straight - we love our cars, but they are likely to cost more money and/or time than other cars.
 

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Lisa Simpson
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^^ has one fine looking car. You would never guess it had 170K on it from sitting in the passenger seat.

The 2000s are very good, but one also must consider what reliability means. If you drive the living crap out of it (as the VW gods intend you to do) these are great cars. The less you drive them, the more unhappy they are. Mine is at about 55K and is in very good shape. I would venture that anything less than 12K per year is not good for these guys. Maintenance is not that bad compared to my old Acuras (it's actually cheaper!) and if you keep up on it you will be fine.

Please know that I grew up with a British car. This colors my perspective on reliability! ;) It also feeds my desire to have a car with some personality, and you will find that Passats are just like every other VW out there - they are loaded with it. :)
 

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I wouldn't buy the car UNLESS you can get some sort of good extended warranty. I love my 99 1.8T tip. It runs just as smooth and perfect at 80k as it did when we got it(45k). I really attribute that to Mobil 1. The car has never left me sitting anywhere. BUT, in the past year, it has cost about $2400 in engine repairs. Luckily, we did get the warranty which has paid most of it. My family thinks I'm stupid. "I like you're car, but I wouldn't want to have it. I won't pay that kind of money to keep it running". Well, I'm not paying that to keep it running. I'm paying that to keep it running PERFECTLY. They'll get a cheap domestic car, never change any fluids but motor oil, and only get repairs if the car is broken down. It's okay for them to run it in crap condition. I'd almost guess that if you take any car to a dealership to keep it in top notch condition, it's gonna cost some dough.

Jonathan
 

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atomicalex said:
If you drive the living crap out of it (as the VW gods intend you to do) these are great cars. The less you drive them, the more unhappy they are.
AA, care to explain what you mean by that? I try to baby my '02 some, ie, it stays in garage in snow if possible, etc. and only have 14K on it in about 18 months, most of that long highway. If I have a choice of putting miles on it vs my wife's lease taxi, it sits.

Why should that make it less happy?
 

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Lisa Simpson
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Long highway miles are the best! Yours is probably fine. It is the short trips into the city that they hate. Mine kind of hates me right now, but it will be happier soon as a trip to Grand Rapids may be in the offing.

All of our VWs (and probably most cars in general) benefit from getting heated up and blown out good. VWs just seen to appreciate it more. I used to swear that our old Golf drove better for a month after every trip to Ohio from Philly. When we took it to DC on an overnight (22hr round tip!) from Savannah, it was tickled pink, displayed by good power from a 2l.

The Passat seems to gain advance from long trips and lose it as the highway miles fade off in the blend.
 

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atomicalex said:
Long highway miles are the best! Yours is probably fine. It is the short trips into the city that they hate. Mine kind of hates me right now, but it will be happier soon as a trip to Grand Rapids may be in the offing.

All of our VWs (and probably most cars in general) benefit from getting heated up and blown out good. VWs just seen to appreciate it more. I used to swear that our old Golf drove better for a month after every trip to Ohio from Philly. When we took it to DC on an overnight (22hr round tip!) from Savannah, it was tickled pink, displayed by good power from a 2l.

The Passat seems to gain advance from long trips and lose it as the highway miles fade off in the blend.
Sorry for the hijack, thanks AA for the clarification. I totally agree. 8)
 

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'99 1.8T, 5spd, 175K no problems just making a few noises but will find out at the dealer today. Love my car and going to get a TDI when they are finally here 8)
 

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If i could do it over, well since im 17 and my rents gave a v6 00 b5 i can't, id get a 1.8t golf :) and mod that thing like crazy!

But if your looking for a good car for a family and/or a good amount of room go with the b5/b5.5 Since we got the car we have had only minor problems that the dealer shipped fixed for free (now thats a suprise, but that just shows how minor they were).

VW makes great cars! beware of what dealer ship you goto though!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow lots of replies :). Yeah I'm looking for around a $6K car, I was looking at a nice Grand Prix w/ 55K miles but insurance could be an issue. Yeah when if I do get this Passat I'll do everything I can replace to make sure it'll last. Timming chain is rather scary to go bad the others sound like no problem after the GA. I'm not really looking for something reliable like a civic, but something more reliable than a fix or repair daily car. Yeah it's a 98 which I understand could have more problems but long as it isn't like the head will crack in like 5K miles from 88K and that the tranny will last about a few more thousand miles till it goes, I'll be fine.

Thanks for the timming belt info though, I'll replace that ASAP as well as any car I'll buy used I'll get the tranny tuned up. Oh plus the GA blew gaskets all the time, so if I can get away from blown gaskets every 5K miles I'll apreciate that and be in heaven. I hate checking my oil cap and seeing the gunk of coolant mixed with oil.The turbo going doesn't sound all that good either but that'll be a pro with a con, cause I'll just upgrade to the lager turbo.

The Passat is a 98 GLS for sale here in Pittsburgh, though it's not a VW dealership.

Thanks for the info.
 

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i wish i had a manual...but theres times i hit traffic and am pleased i have a tip. One thing about tip turbo is the turbo lag...i have a v6 so i dont have experience w/ that
 

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The Passat is a 98 GLS for sale here in Pittsburgh, though it's not a VW dealership
Get it looked over by an independent. If possible get the VIN and have a dealer run it for recall work and other service.
 
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