As long as you stay on top of the maintenance on the mechanicals, these cars will last forever.
The interior things happen to all cars after 10 years of use and abuse.
My 2002 1.8T Passat 5 speed manual that I am original owner has just passed it's 10 year birthday (135K miles), thought I would give an update for longterm ownership of this Volkswagen.
What is good:
- Paint: I don't know how VW paints their cars, but the paint and clearcoat on this car is flawless. I rarely wax it, wash it only once a month or so, and today it gleans as bright as the first day. No chips at all on the hood or front bumper. Strong finish.
- Engine: The 1.8T is just running strong. No sludge that I can see, the engine still pulls, I'm getting 31mpg on highway, and no oil usage or burning. Great engine in this car. Love how it sounds when I floor it.
- Suspension: Still pretty tight. The minute I put on 17" rims to replace the stock 15" rims the car handled better.
- Interior: still looks really good. Have one tear on the drivers seat from getting in and out.
- I love the interior design. The trunk is huge, the seats fold pretty much flat. I can fit a surfboard in the car, I can also fit in a bicycle with the seats folded down pretty easily.
What is bad:
- Friggin heater core plugs up easily. My heater is operating at 10%. Very common flaw in this car. Will cost $1000 to fix.
- The MFA does not display when it's hot outside, like 80 degrees +. I comes back when its cooler outside.
- Some interior cloth door panels are drooping.
- The headlights are yellowing. I need to figure out how to fix this.
I know the Consumer Reports rated this car not so reliable (I think based on the coilpack debacle), but I have to say, I've driven this car 10 years, and I think I can get another 5 out of it.
I had to order this particular car and wait 3 months for it. Apparently Silverstone Passats with black cloth interior and 5 speed manual 1.8T were extremely rare because I was looking at the dealer's for 7 months and had never saw one.
I remember when the dealer called when it arrived (on a Tuesday). I told him I would pick it up the following Saturday, then he calls me up on Thursday and said "Look, there are 3 different buyers looking at your car right now, you really need to come down and pick it up."
My previous car was a 1984 Jetta GLI I drove for 16 years. After getting the Passat, I told myself that I would never own a car that long again, because the cars had gotten so much better. I might eat my own words.
Additionally, KBB says my car is worth $3500. Ya know, when I was 18 (many years ago) I bought a 1975 Opel Kadett used , that in todays money would equal $3500. I tell you, if I was 18 today, and I picked up a used Passat like mine..... it's so much better car, I would be STOKED.
Also, I paid around $23,000 for my Passat in 2002. That equals about $27,000 today. I have to say, if VW sold this car new, right now, I probably would by another one for $27K. The B5 and B5.5 Passat have a timeless design. They will look good another 10 years from now.
Great car VW!
(edit for mileage added)
Last edited by randy; 05-08-2012 at 12:34 AM.
Nice! I bought a 2003 Passat 1.8T, new, back in 2003. I had done a ton of mods to it, lowered it, put in a phatbox, jack pads, euro light switch, blue tint aspherical mirrors, etc. Beautiful car but after owning it about 3 years some lady creamed it as I was sitting at a stop light with, my son was in the back seat but that Passat did a fantastic job of sacrificing itself keeping us both safe.
How many miles? It looks fantastic!
Just start saving the pennies for the front suspension. Around 180-220k kms (110-130k miles) is around when un-moddified daily-drivers start seeing ball joint play resulting in clunking. My first ball joint/control arm had to be done at 194k kms, when I was going to sell the car. It hadn't even reached the clunking point yet - but it was loose enough to detect during an inspection.
Weird, I never had a heater core issue with my A4, VW might use a different system? (I had the 2.8L tho too - so probably did)
They were good cars... and yes, VW uses excellent paint! Far better then what an average car has in terms of luster, finish, chip resistance and fade resistance.
My Jetta is also an '02, 1.8t. I'm at 289,000 miles and I can honestly say there is not a single thing it needs mechanically. I put in a new starter last week, it never missed a beat but had the very annoying starter grind noise.
I've been really pleased with this car as a daily driver, I put 30k miles on it in the last calendar year, all while being a "stage 2" car.
My B5.5 GLX 4-Mo with 97k miles will be 11 in July. Oil changes have always been done at 5000 mile intervals and the timing belt was changed a couple years ago. The biggest issues I've had to deal with were a couple electrical engine components that were causing CELs and differential leaks that were covered under the 10yr b to b warrenty. At this point I'll just keep driving it. Like the OP said the paint is fantastic while my interior looks spotless. Sure it would be nice to get better gas mileage but 24 - 28 highway mpg really isn't that bad considering the drivetrain and engine.
I'm in a high salt use area and VT Trans is now using brine on the roads. Paint is doing great. I've always wondered about the exhaust system rusting out. So far no problems. I can't believe it would be stainless and I never have paid any attention to the under carriage as far as trying to hose off accumulted road salt.
The whole coilpack issue was totally overblown. They basically got a bad batch which made A LOT of cars break down really quickly. Once they were updated, problems were basically gone. And you know what it takes to change a coil pack? $25 for the pack, 5 minutes, and an allen wrench.
People forget that the B5 REALLY up'ed the ante in terms of what is expected for interior and exterior quality and fit and finish. Panel gaps were not allowed on these cars! Soft touch plastic is now the norm. When you sat in a Camry or Accord from the late 90's, getting into a B5 felt like sitting in a luxury car in comparison.
The B5's definitely had great paint. I took care of mine with regular washes and waxes, but I have a feeling it would have looked almost as good after 110,000 miles.
-Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog
I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called, "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."
I'll chime in and say the same about my Jetta. It's a 2002 1.8t with almost 150k on it now, I'm the original owner. Besides a few minor problems it has run and looked great the whole time, people are always commenting and asking me about it. I'm running this one into the Mayan apocalypse with a smile.
Sent on a Post-It by way of carrier pigeon
I could say a lot about how much I love my 2001 V6 manual. It left me stranded once last year when the fuel pump died. The only other real issue I had was the crank position / engine speed sensor dying. Caused it to shut down randomly for a while until we pinpointed the problem.
It still pulls pretty hard with its 190 hp. It also gets close to 30 mpg on the highway and low to mid 20s around town.
It has had a lot of maintenance in the last year. We just hit 169k miles. One thing that blows me away is that I ma still on the original brake pads in front. The original clutch is holding up too, and it has not had an easy life.
Sounds like you lucked out.
Gf's boss has one and it's been giving her a ton of headaches.
BTW you can easily fix your headlights with some rubbing compound and a microfiber cloth.
However if it's really bad I suggest a headlight cleaning kit from any local auto parts store.
I have a 2003 Passat V6, 2nd owner (bought from my sister). Car has been for the most part up to date on maintenance stuff between both of us. I had to replace timing belts at 90k. The car is at 136k miles right now and I have to change the CV Boots on both sides, engine mounts are leaking, catalytic converters are on its way out ($1500!) and the upper control arm bushings are slightly cracked.
Other than that, interior is holding up extremely well. Only slight wear on the driver side bolster (leather), but no cracking. Carpeting, lining, panels, etc all in great shape. Only the driver side seat warmers take a while to heat up now.
Last edited by Jerry_HEAVEN; 05-07-2012 at 03:02 PM.
I agree, these are really nice cars. I like the Audi wheels.
My mom has an '02 Passat and it doesn't put out much heat and I've heard about heater core clogging - is there any fix short of replacing the heater core? Overall she's really liked the car and may just keep it until it dies.
I also agree on the paint - my current and prior cars were built and the VW plant in Pueblo, Mexico and while the paint quality is decent, I've always been impressed with how much better the paint and finish is on my mom's B5.5. It's something that actually stands out to me so it's funny to see others note it as a high point of the car.
Last edited by mhjett; 05-07-2012 at 05:54 PM.
1995 VW Jetta GLX VR6 [07.2003 - 03.2012]
I recommend cleaning the rain gutters in the battery tray area if you haven't done this already. My parents old '00 B5 had like four years worth of leaves stuck in the rain gutters and one extra rainy day it had flooding floors. OK, now that I'm typing this I remembered that the water came in from the hole that was in the firewall for the interior heater socket. But I'm pretty sure it's not the only hole in the firewall.
Previously known as Son of a B...5er!
Nice looking Passat!
My 2000 (GLX V6 5 speed) is treating me well. I've had it a few years now, 178k on the clock. I picked it up from a buddy for $1000. Paint is still nice, a few scratches, the interior is a little rough (ripped leather, dirty door panels and carpets [years of kids and smokers
]), a little oil leak burning off on the exhaust, and a creaky front suspension. The V6 pulls hard, original suspension still rides very nice, original clutch is still strong. I DID have to do the heater core (there's 3 days I'll never get back). All the fancy electrical bits still work, sunroof, power/heated seats, autowipers, dipping mirror on reverse, etc. My auto-dim rear view mirror took a crap, and the defrost on the wing mirrors doesn't work.
It's been a (surprisingly) good car. I've considered trading it in on something else, but I really can't convince myself that it's a good idea.
Oh, and here's a DIY I did for doing a refurb on the headlights:
these cars are definitely underrated. The main problem with em was it was a VW badged Audi A4. So people were more likely to keep up with maintenance and repair on their Audi than on their VW. Parts prices on them a lot of times made them not worth fixing, i cant tell you how many of these in great shape cosmetically in and out come up for cheap because the owners got lazy with timing belt replacement.
Love the B5 and B5.5 Passats. They were definitely the top of the line VW back then.
Mine might have lasted as long as yours if I didn't mod the crap out of it. Control arms don't last on lowered suspension. Coil packs didn't like extra boost. etc, etc...
If you can't measure it, you can't understand it; if you can't understand it, you can't control it.
My mom has the 2001.5 1.8T. Auto though.... full leather package, and the interior is flawless. Leather still smells good. She could have taken better care of the paint, but with some buffing and minor scratch removail it will be fine. The headlights are still crystal clear as well. I'd say around 120k miles. Can't remember. Besides some typical 1.8T maintenance, nothing TCL hasn't heard, it's run pretty well.
But... her brakes SUCK. Not sure if it's how she's driven it. But her rotors warp every couple years and give that sickening on/off stopping motion when braking. I honestly think it's the car, I don't know anyone who warps rotors like that, and when I ride in the car with her, she doesn't do anything strange when braking.
But other than that, if the car gets replaced soon, I might take it off my mom's hands.
Jack Daniels kicked my ass again last night.