Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Buying a used VW


Anyone have any suggestions/guidance to consider before I purchase a 2002 VW Passat wagon? It has 98,000 miles on it, and the dealer is asking around $9,500. It was a single-owner trade-in, and CarFax reports no problems with the car. ConsumerReports, on the other hand, notes several problems with the 02 Passat FWD, and fewer problems with the 02 Passat AWD. It’s not clear to me if the reviews were for a wagon or sedan, and I cannot recall if the car I was looking at was a FWD or AWD. It drove very well during the test drive.


Before you buy read the post “Ridiculous 40,000 mile check up”. VW’s are expensive to repair and prone to problems.

Check the owner’s maunal and see if all the required maintenance is up to date, especially the timing belt replacement if the motor has a timing belt. Perhaps a major service is due and the previous owner didn’t want to pony up the money for it.

I’d recommend a good independant mechanic inspect the car before you buy it.

First off make sure the timing belt was changed out. If no record it costs around $700+ to change out.

Otherwise if you understand risks are involved with this car make sure to find an independent VW mechanic for a checkover. They can tell you common problems of it and describe costs.

The happy VW owners I know use an independent mechanic who specializes in VW/Audi. Dealers as a generalization tend to be horrible with VW for whatever reason.

There should be a big “4motion” logo on your Passat if it has AWD.

Just remember that repairs can get really expensive.

Before you buy read the post “Ridiculous 40,000 mile check up”. VW’s are expensive to repair and prone to problems.

You have a point, but it is not limited to VW. Every make has dealers like that.

Any used car should be checked out by your own trusted mechanic.

I believe all US Passats are FWD.

Good Luck.

Actually they have a select few that are AWD called 4motion as my friends own one.

I had a 2002 Passat and hated it. Is it a 4 cylinder? They had problems with engine sludge. VW sent me a letter extending the warranty because of it. They had recalled the ignition coils. My car also had to have the software updated for the transmission and another recall to replace the rear wheel liner. Also the A/C was week. Another weak spot is the front axels.

Good luck

If you buy the car, make that the last time it sees a dealership. I have a Jetta and will Never go back to a dealership.