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Volkswagen Passat (1988 - 1997)

Last updated 29 April 2015


Buying Guide


  • VWs generally had below average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 76.83 v/s lowest 31.93).


  • Good, well-specified estates hard to find and still sell for strong money. 
  • All diesel models may have been cabbed. 
  • Saloons have dowdy image.


  • As Golf/Jetta/Vento. Make sure aircon blows cold. 
  • Make sure not cabbed. 
  • A lot of this model Passat began their lives on rental fleets. 
  • Problems emerging of stretched timing chains on VR6s and chains actually breaking at around 90,000 miles.


  • 1995 (VIN3ARE 0000001 to 3ASE 142536): headlamp failures.
  • 1996 (4-cylinder Passats 1988F-1989G): bypass valve to be inserted into heater pipe; heater matrix to be replaced if degraded.
  • 1996 (1993-95 build): Cooling fan motor may seize. VW Passat (Dec '95-Mar '98): may be airbag activator fault.
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