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Help me choose the maintenance work on my passat


I have a 2012 Passat which recently began vibrating once I reached around 50 mph. I took it to the Volkswagen dealership to get it look at (thinking it was a tire issue). They now emailed me a list of things the car needs. I can’t afford all of this and would like some help choosing which maintenance to get done.

When I spoke to the employee on the phone I told him to send me this list in order of importance (1 is most important according to him).

Here is the list he sent:
(prices doesn’t include tax or shop fee)

  1. rear main seal -1,076.34
  2. tire- 763.81
  3. alignment 100.00
  4. brake flush 139.95,coolant flush 169.95 coolant bottle 236.80
  5. abs sensor 333.32 l/o cv boot 293.82
  6. tag light bulb-35.96

I"m mostly concerned about the rear main seal. I have not noticed my car leaking anything at all. Is it possible to have a rear main seal problem if my car isn’t leaking? Could I pass on the rear main seal until i notice leaking?

I was thinking only getting the alignment, brake flush, coolant flush and l/c cv boot done. Should this fix my vibration issue?

I was going to take a hard pass on new tires (they are only 2 years old and the treads on them are not worned down), coolant bottle, abs sensor, tag light bulb and rear main seal.

I really feel like they are padding the work that needs to be done on my car and would like some opinions.


Why are you taking your six-year-old vehicle, which is out of warranty, to the dealer?

Find an honest independent shop for your repairs/maintenance services.

Ask co-workers, friends, even strangers if they know of such a shop.


Find a good independent garage and get a second quote. Do not mention what the dealer said.

Dealers are highly priced, and their goal is to repair the car so that it is as good as new. I don’t think you need that. For example, a gasket that is leaking a drop a day, they would recommend replacing.

The tire issue is probably the vibration issue, although one tire should not cost that price. Or do they mean all 4 tires need replacement? that is easy to check, look at you tires, check the thread depth and look for signs of uneven wear. If you see uneven wear or cupping (check the internet for examples) you may well need alignment also.

You are out of warranty so no reason to take it to a VW dealer. Do they say why your tires need replacing? You need to find a good local independent mechanic and develop a relationship with them. I agree the list seems padded. I cannot imagine a rear mail seal that needs to be replaced isn’t causing oil on the ground or lack of oil. If it is wet around the rear main seal have your mechanic check out your pvc system.

Yes, they want to replace all 4 tires.

Good to know that I don’t need to go to the dealer. I will definitely take it to a independent shop and see what they say.

They might have said why they need replacing when i spoke to them over the phone but i can’t remember now. I will pick up my car on Monday and get clarification. I will also take it to an independent shop to get it looked at.

Don’t get the alignment until you get the new tires, unless you are desperate.

The dealer probably saw very uneven wear, and/or cupping, which indicates an alignment problem. but the unevenly worn tires will still vibrate badly even with an alignment.

Rear main seal, how much does it leak, will it be a failure issue? break even 100 qts of oil?
I can get 4 Michelins for little more than the price of one tire
Alignment, in the ballpark
Brake flush I have done with brake service
ABS sensor cv boot maybe
tag light bulb, at most a 10.00 part you could do

If those are actual problems, they should be addressed with due speed. As posted above, this sort of work is usually less expensive at an inde mechanics shop rather than a dealer. Also suggest to use a tire specialty shop if you plan to buy new tires. An inde mechanics shop can assess the tires, but buy new tires at a tire specialist. I expect the vibration was caused by a wheel weight falling off, very common thing. I have two coffee cans full of wheel weights I’ve found laying in the road during my daily walk-abouts. Given the rougth treatment they get, t’s surprising any of them hold on for long.

The rear main seal may be leaking enough that it is making a mess of the underside of the car as the wind blows the oil around. It makes diagnosis and repair of problems more difficult, but could probably be deferred, as long as you monitor the low oil pressure dash light & check the oil level on the dipstick on every fill-up. The non-working license plate bulb could cost you a hefty fine if you get caught by a trooper needing to write a few more ticket to meet their quota at the end of the month, so I’d put some priority on that one. I got stopped for that problem last winter in fact. The only reason I didn’t get a ticket I think is b/c the trooper got a radio call saying they were needed elsewhere, so they let me go with a warning. Sort of unusual thing here in Calif that the license plate bulb must be working, but you can drive all you want with no license plates … lol …

See my notes above

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What does the dealer propose to address the vibration? The replacement of all four tires? You say they are not old and have good tread. Find a tire shop which has road force balancing. If possible one that sells the brand of tire now on the car. Let them investigate the vibration.
If they find a bad tire, they may get you some warranty help on new tires.

Where did he say the tires are in good shape, have plenty of tread and aren’t old?

I looked and couldn’t find it

If they’re the original tires, that would make them at least 6 years old . . .

To db4690

Dah-dih-dahduhh. Am I on 20 characters now?

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Yes. A license plate light required without a license plate is beyond “stoopid”! I’m sure I have already posted this but it is relevant to idiotic DMV vehicle equipment requirements. A High School buddy purchased a Triumph TR-4 with a fiberglass kit car body. It was pretty cool with somewhat Lotus looks. It had the TR-4’s headlights, tail-lights, brake lights, and turn signals installed. He attempted to register it with Oregon DMV in 1969, It had no bumpers (not required) but although it had no windshield (not required) it was lacking required windshield wipers! He drilled and screwed the TR-4 wiper arms and blades to the cowling. Non functional wipers for a non existent windshield were perfectly OK!


Okay, I didn’t see it

Nobody’s perfect

Are you going to forgive me . . . or slam me?


I’ll forgive You. This time :rofl:
I still remember back in the fall of -83 when I overlooked a (I’ve forgotten what) and it was quite embarrasing.
And if You believe that it was in 1883,I have some shares in the Eiffel tower that I can sell You cheap even though it might look like that if You got a pic of me :innocent: .

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I asked because I recall . . . and enjoyed observing . . . the recent discussion about parking brakes and how to adjust them properly

You stuck to your guns, and I’m not sure if I’d want to be your adversary


Don’t take it so seriously. I’ve been wrong many times in my life. That’s why i’m not on the “the ten richest people " list, but if you enter my territory and I know I’m right, I’m not backing off and if need be, I’m gonna F”#¤%&/ prove it to you, no matter what the effort. I’m sure my “opponent” is a really nice and knowledgable person. But it just so happens that he was wrong this time. As for me, I learn something everyday - just recently I learned to cook a kettle of water - without it getting burnt.

I’m not

Seriously, though . . . I enjoy watching conversations on this website, where both parties are sure enough of themselves, that they don’t budge

As you said, if you know you’re right, there’s no reason to back down

I believe that, that deserves repeating as the subject could involve safety on the roads.

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