1999 Volkswagen Passat

A detailed explanation of common problems with the 1999 Volkswagen Passat such as brakes, radio, windows, and recalls.

Every new car is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Even though your car is not a lemon it still is going to have troubles over time. This article will discuss three common problems with the 1999 Volkswagen Passat, in particular, the brake system, windshield, Radio, and Recalls.

You probably were not informed before you drove off the lot that the 1999 Volkswagen Passat has very thin rotors that cannot and should not be turned or machined. What does this mean to you? This can mean an additional few hundred dollars each time you take your car in for brake work. It is not uncommon to have to replace the brakes on a 1999 Passat every 30K miles. Replacing your brake pads will run you ~$50-200 dollars depending on if you do it yourself or have it done by a mechanic. Thus, if you take it in and there is damage to the rotor a complete brake job can run you $300+ depending on if you do it yourself or have it fixed by a mechanic. Avoiding damage to the rotor can save you hundreds of dollars! Listen for squeaking as a warning sign that your brake pads are getting thin. Scraping or loud crunching noises can be a sign that damage is being done to your rotors. Do not be fooled by mechanics complicated lines. Remember to ask to see the old rotors before you agree to have them replaced to make sure there really is damage. Keep in mind that 30K miles is an estimate, some cars can go to 50K without needing a brake job.

When driving during daylight you may not notice it but as it starts to get darker you may see a hazy film on the inside of the windshield. It has been falsely accused as being "smoke film," and is overlooked by a mechanic because s/he looked at it in mid-day. Most people might buy that, but what if you don't smoke? I've taken three trips to the mechanic to diagnose this nearly blinding haze that only appears at night and when the air conditioning was in the off position. It turns out that the brand new and newly detailed Passat was scrubbed down tenderly with Armor All which was reacting somehow and producing a white haze on the inside of the windshield. Thoroughly cleaning the dash with water with a tad bit of soap to remove the Armor All and cleaning the windows with window cleaner should clear up the problem.



A common flaw with the radio is to have poor or no AM radio reception. Although Volkswagen may want you to blame it on your Jack Ball hanging off the antenna, it is a known problem with the 1999 Volkswagen Passat due to a variety of possible connection problems. I suggest getting this fixed when you take your car in for other maintenance to avoid paying the standard ~$70.00 fee for looking at the vehicle. If you are getting a new system installed anyway, have the vendor check it out before they put the new deck in to assure that all the connections are good. If your car has a 1 year/24K warranty then this work is most likely covered under the warranty. More specific information can be found at web sites or you can find copies of your technical manuals at your dealership and bookstores.

Recalls happen; they are a common thing! Recalls will normally be shipped from Volkswagen of America, Inc.. One example is a recall from February 2001: Replace Tie Rod ends. The recall statement gives you a lot of information to assist you. One item is a description of the problem, basically that a seal may not function properly. It also gives a repair schedule that tells you the anticipated time to repair, and that it is covered at a dealership (only guaranteed at a Volkswagen authorized dealer). In addition, it lists information on what you need to do to fulfill this recall and precautions that you should take while driving (prior to maintenance). This repair is in most cases FREE with in a "reasonable time." Take your car in and get it fixed because if this item breaks later you foot the bill for a known defect!

As you can see, even a high quality new car can have its ups and downs. These can be costly if ignored. Avoid damage to your vehicle by taking care of your braking system and participating in recall alerts. The small things (fogging windows and AM radio) are just nuisances but can affect resale value of your vehicle by making it less than excellent condition. Expensive rotors, fogging windows, dead AM radios and occasional recalls are a pain, but definitely a small price to pay for the joy of driving a Volkswagen Passat 4-cylinder 1.8 Turbo or Passat 6-cylinder turbo.

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