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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am new to these cars, which is the reason I am posting this. I am supposed to be starting a job soon, which requires me to put on about ~35k miles per year. I have decided to purchase a car and have been looking at some 03-04 passats.

So in my search I have been interested in both the sedans and wagons in automatic, but I come across a good deal in a manual 03 passat wagon gls with 33k miles.

My questions are:

This car I am purchasing is in the vicinity of ~30k miles, what will I be looking for in maintenance issues?

Do the 1.8L 20V's (other than the sludge) have any major problems or issues that I need to know about?

Since I am getting only the CPO warranty (factory ran out in september of 06...4 yrs.) do you think this car is reliable enough to get me by for a couple of years doing ~35k a year?

Lastly, are these cars worth the 15-16k price tag the dealers are getting?

Any thoughts, suggestions or concerns are greatly appreciated.

TIA,
Chris.
 

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Chris, you've come to the right place. I responded to your post on 'vortex, but I think you will find this place an invaluable resource as well. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Chris, you've come to the right place. I responded to your post on 'vortex, but I think you will find this place an invaluable resource as well. Good luck!
Yes, and I appreciate your response. I am just trying to get some feedback before I actually go ahead and purchase this passat.

Thank you again,
Chris.
 

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35k miles a year....y not just buy a honda?....After one year youll have 60k+ miles...within one and a half years you are looking at liek 5gs worth of maintenence. Timing Belt, Water pump, etc. Clutch, etc. I just dont think its worth it, if you put that many miles on it a year
 

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Other than the timing belt and the sludge, IMO the Passat is a reliable car. since I've never had any major issue with it. does it have leather power seat? you might wana look into the "seats catch on fire" issue if it has the heated seats. ...

Check the coolant and make sure it's in PINK before you buy it. best thing you could do is, take a VAG with you, scan it before you buy it..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Other than the timing belt and the sludge, IMO the Passat is a reliable car. since I've never had any major issue with it. does it have leather power seat? you might wana look into the "seats catch on fire" issue if it has the heated seats. ...

Check the coolant and make sure it's in PINK before you buy it. best thing you could do is, take a VAG with you, scan it before you buy it..
The seats are not powered, but are heated. The car just recently came off of a lease, and has low miles for the year. The coolant is also pink. In addition, all maintenance on the car has been serviced through a VW dealer according to the Carfax report. I have dealt with this dealer before when I purchased my mk3 jetta, and they replaced almost everything that needed to be so that they could call it a true "112 point inspection." With the CPO warranty I don't think I should have any issues in the first year with this car, and then the warranty expires due to mileage.

-Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
35k miles a year....y not just buy a honda?....After one year youll have 60k+ miles...within one and a half years you are looking at liek 5gs worth of maintenence. Timing Belt, Water pump, etc. Clutch, etc. I just dont think its worth it, if you put that many miles on it a year
I understand ur post....but where does the 5g figure come from?
 

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Check the coolant and make sure it's in PINK before you buy it. best thing you could do is, take a VAG with you, scan it before you buy it..
\Pink or purple or a mix. New G12 plus is purple.
Also, 5 grand is way to much unless you ahve a bad clutch.
Many people's clutches last till 100k. TB on a 1.8T is at most $1k with all the parts
 

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Many people's clutches last till 100k.
I got almost twice that on the stock clutch on my last Passat.

Have you considered looking for a Diesel? If you're going to be putting on 35k a year, a TDI may be a good option for you.
 

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I was really nervous to get a Passat after a few horror stories, but even if some of them turn out to be true, I'm still happy with my purchase.

The 1.8t manual is a lot of fun to drive (my last car had at least 50 more HP but wasn't nearly as much fun on the road) and the car is QUIET and comfortable and well thought out. Not to mention I get between 35-38mpg on the highway, just depending on which road I'm on.

My brother works at a GM dealer and his harshly GM-loyal and really tried to get me to get a Saab since they deal with them now, but after a ride in the Passat (even though mine is OLD- a 98!) he was impressed and now anytime they get a VW on the lot he calls to tell me about it and how well it drives. There is not a day that I drive my car without thinking "wow, I really like ____ about it."

The real question is, are you willing to buy a car that requires to you keep up with the maintenence? Will you take it in for synthetic oil changes? Will you make sure the dudes at Jiffy Lube don't pour green coolant in? Will you give it good gas and change the timing belt early? Will you let the turbo cool by letting the car idle 1-2 minutes after driving it really hard?

If yes - cool, you're good to go. It sounds like you've done a lot of research on the car. I think the reason that some Passats go bad is because either the owners don't take care of them (someone online posted a 24k oil change interval and was complaining about sludge issues... HELLO) or mechanics who don't know what they're doing (just don't go to Jiffy Lube, and always do a search on here before you take it in to the dealer).

The big question I have is ... after the warranty runs out in one year as you say, will you be able to afford a repair if it does come up? Say you need a $400 repair on something and then two months later you need a $700 repair. I'm just pulling numbers out -- nothing particular in mind. If you are stretching your budget to get this car, and you know you won't be able to do maintenence or repairs if they did come up, I'd consider another vehicle.

I bought my car through Carmax last year -- even though it was a '98 they put a 3 year warranty on it covering pretty much everything. If you don't end up going with this CPO (although it sounds good, seeing as the Carfax records show VW service being performed), definitely give Carmax a try. You can search them online and any car can be warranteed to 100k, some even past that.

Good luck, make sure to post pictures if you end up getting one!
 

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As expected the Passat will cost you more to maintain than most cars.
That being said, they are a great highway car able to soak up mile after mile in comfort.
You will need to do plugs, air/cabin/fuel filter, and tires at 50k, then the big job at 80k (tb/roller/water pump/atf change/brakes) so budget maybe $2000 total for maintenance over the next couple years. This is assuming mostly highway miles.
With enough care you can get 200k out of these cars.
 

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As expected the Passat will cost you more to maintain than most cars.
I'm not sure that's true. What I've found is that the Passat actually requires the regular maintenance that all cars should get ...but most other cars don't throw hissy fits when they aren't properly maintained. Does that make sense?

Chris - On my first Passat ('05, 1.8t, 5MT), I chipped the car after about 5k miles and put just shy of 30k on it in the first year. It ran like a champ, was comfortable during those long commutes and it returned something like 28-29mpg overall for that first year. If it weren't for my daughter being born and my wife's inability to drive stick (and her unwillingness to learn), I'd still have that car.

As it was, I ended up getting another '05, but this one is a wagon - and it's autotragic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I didn't check out the radio system in the car. Are they pretty good? Also, how would I know if this one has a Monsoon equipped other than it saying it on the actual unit (I have seen the glx ones that say Monsoon).

TIA,
Chris.
 

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When you start it up, the radio will say monsoon. Also, there's an amp in the trunk (under the rear shelf on the sedan).
Its more than ok, but not an audiophile's dream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When you start it up, the radio will say monsoon. Also, there's an amp in the trunk (under the rear shelf on the sedan).
Its more than ok, but not an audiophile's dream.
Well it's a wagon that I am purchasing so I assume the amp would be in the same location? I'm not expecting anything audiophile, but I love the sound in the mk3 that I have and don't expect anything worse.

Pic of the car.




Pic of my mk3



-chris.
 
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