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Volkswagen Passat- should I give up?

My 2002 Volkswagen Passat Wagon, started making a rattling noise when I turn corners. The check engine light also came on. I took it to the dealer (due to the whole computer issue). When I picked up the car, I was advised the following (in my words so please forgive the errors): the front cv joints need replacing $666, the catalytic converter is rusted $1400, a valve is leaking oil onto spark plugs $160 for new valve, $75 for new spark plugs, there are also two hoses of some sort that need replacing as well as a few other things totally $3400. Then he went on to tell me that I will need both front and rear brakes replaced $1000, and a new timing belt $1100. I’m planning to get a second opinion this week. But my question is, how much do you realistically put into a 10 year old car? Other than the zillion things I listed above…it’s perfect and I would drive it another 10 years if I could as I like it so much. Oh, and one more thing…I’m having electrical issues as well that are minor, I did not have diagnosed as I thought I’d focus on the rattling noise first. THanks for any advise!

The CV joints are likely the rattling noise. Many of the other items might or might not be important. The timing belt should be changed if this has not been done since the car was new. Rust on the catalytic converter, is it rusted through, or just some surface rust? Not unusual to need brakes, but the price quoted is very high.

Go to an independant shop that works on VW’s frequently, you will need some work certainly but likely not everything the dealer noted and not at the high prices either.

Your dealer is trying to take you to the cleaners. I doubt you need most of what he quoted.

The rattle could be CV joints, but could also be as simple as a loose catalytic converter heat shield.

Check your owners manual for recommended interval for timing belt change. That is something you should change as recommended, because it can break unexpectedly, leave you stranded, and possibly ruin your engine.

So, I’d get the rattle fixed ( but make sure it really IS bad CV joints first) and change the timing belt if it’s time for it. The other stuff probably not necessary. But by all means, find a trusted independet mechanic and don’t go back to the dealer.

I don’t see anything wrong with the laundry list you were given. It’s an 11 year old car and considering the dealer and use of OEM parts the prices can be about right.
Almost everything you list there is considered normal maintenance and wear/tear items and to be expected on an aged car.

The only question is whether to put that much money into an aged car and I’m inclined to say no.
What you should do is price this around at an independent shop which will use aftermarket parts and odds are those prices can be beaten by a sizeable amount. Get a few more quotes and go from there.

If you shop for more quotes, don’t take the estimate from the dealer with you. Just tell the new shop about the rattle, and then tell them what you told the board–that you like this car and want to drive it for a few more years, and have the shop look it over. See what they find, and see how well their list of repairs lines up with what the dealer quoted you.

As far as whether it’s worth it to make the repairs, it’s a question only you can answer, but consider that you like this car and it serves your needs, it sounds like you may have bought it new (the “another 10 years” comment) which is to say it’s likely paid off, and you know its history. At this point, you either buy a new car or buy a used car with unknown history (and which probably needs all the same repair/maintenance items).

I’m going to try this list one by one.
CV joints may be in need of replacement (the entire half-axle is replaced), but I’d definitely want a second opinion…and a second quote from an independantly owned and operated shop.

Unless the cat converter is rusted THROUGH, than it does not need replacing. Most of them now are stainless steel canisters, so I have real doubts about this one being needed.

For the valve, he could be alluding to a valve guide allowing oil to be drawn in and burned or to the seal around the spark plug tube allowing oil to leak onto the tube. The former is minor, the latter is also minor but might cause arcing. Again, a second oplion is in order.

Wish you had more info on the “hoses and other items”.

The brakes, he should have shown you. Again, get a second opinion.

The timing belt…if you haven’t been getting it changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, than you are definitely living on borrowed time. If you have been, that’d be a solid sign that he has an overdue boat payment.

The Check Engine Light…did they read the codes?
IF the cat converter has a hole in it that could ba a cause.
IF the oil is fouling a plug that could be a cause.

And mostly, if you’re still driving around with the original sparkplugs that’s VERY LIKELY the cause.

But, go to a second shop. Providing a definitive answer here would require a bit more detail.

The “valve” could be the PCV valve.

The dealer could be right on each of his diagnosis and recommendations, but his prices are very high. Look into an independent mechanic, but get a second opinion from him on each of the dealers diagnosis and recommendations.


Also drop in your local AutoZone or anyplace that offers to read your codes for free. Make sure to get the actual code, it will be a letter followed by 4 numbers, i.e P0301. They will give you their diagnosis, but post that code here and we will be happy to tell you if we think they are right and if not, what we think the real problem is.

Did he mean “Valve cover gasket” leaking onto the spark plug?

$5600 ! Nice.
You need to go to an honest indep. mechanic, and see what he says.

Tanya, I do hope you come back and post details. On my 2000 VW Passat 6 cyl, I need to have both cats (catalytic converters) replaced ( been dealing w/ CEL’s for years), but now both flex pipes cracked when a too high speed bump met up with them and now have severed completely!! Also, some misfires requiring spark plug replacement and a CV joint needs replacing (replaced the other 3 years ago already). So, I would very much like to see what costs, engine codes and problems are associated with your repairs as you go through this process.

I think you need to see an independent car service that specializes in foreign cars (don’t go to Meineke type places for VW catalytic issues! VW’s require a knowledgeable person with LOTS OF “VW” EXPERIENCE!!), have them run the codes and explain them to you, then repost here for addt’l opinions. Codes do not equal replacement of cats, they simply mean that certain conditions exist which need to be further identified by a competent and experienced mechanic who cares to find out what it is and isn’t just part-replacement happy. Sad to say, I have run into these types too often and they often take advantage of a woman and her not knowing autos. Best to find a garage that treats you right, but until then, you may find a few more like that on your way.

From what I’ve read over the past couple of years, many have cats replaced and still the oxygen sensors need replacing, and then it is something else, and something else, and the same code comes up as you had before the initial cats were replaced. So be cautious of anyone suggesting that without voluntarily showing you proof of their analysis (codes plus tests and explanations), whether they think you understand or not is of no relevance. A good garage will attempt to explain to you what they’ve found and why they’ve determined a necessary repair…

When you feel like someone is taking advantage of you, you’re probably right. The answer is to research your car’s issues and get a little more tech savvy, write down questions AND bring a knowledgeable man along. People here will help you determine what to ask, if you repost here. Set up an addt’nl appt at another garage as well and take him to that one as well for comparison.

As far as whether a 10 year old car is “worth” all the repairs, well, that depends on whether you are the kind of person who will keep a car its full potential life or who has the money to dump it and buy new. You’ll lose a lot of $value$ trying to sell a car with check engine lights representing catalytic converters w/ those other issues if they really are in need of replacement. If you have only money for a used car, then you may buy another car w/ a bunch of unknown problems. If you invest the money into the car you have, knowing it passes a good inspection with a trusted mechanic, then you’ll know what has been replaced and what hasn’t and knowledge is peace of mind.

With a car that far out of warranty, visit an independent mechanic. Get another quote

Ask friends, family etc for one. There may even be the VW specialist(s) around, they pop up when dealers are that expensive typically.

That check engine light could be something as simple as a gas cap not properly tightened . Turn it till it clicks three times and drive the car - after a few start stop cycles the light may clear .
That deal needs to make a boat payment in my opinion .