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Volkswagon passat

Please help! My ABS and brake lights are on simultaneously. The brakes are fine according to my Express Oil people- What do I do? Im afraid to go to a dealership (single woman ) but I have heard that is simply means my abs system does not work and I can still drive it.

You believe the Express Oil people but you’re afraid of the VW dealer? I think you have things backward.

You don’t have to go to the dealer, but you should take the car to a mechanic, preferably one who is familiar with VWs.

There are no such mechanics at Express Oil. You really should stay away from those places. We read horror stories all the time about cars damaged or destroyed by the kids at quick-change oil places.

Thank you. I appreciate your reply. Actually, the manager at Express Oil looked at the brakes and then adviced me to take to the dealership. My fear is that being a single woman I will be over charged or in some way taken advantage of. . .I have had plenty of these experiences in the past that have made me a little hesitant to visit dealerships. Can I drive it in this condition? Will having another reputable shop put it on diagnastic machine be OK?

Once again McP has given you excellent advice.

Ask yuor friends, family, and the people you work with who they use for a shop and whether they trust them. Im sure the name of some independently owned and operated shop will pop up. And after they fix the brake problem you’ll have a better place to get those oil changes done.

Unless your owner’s manual clearly says that these lights mean that the brakes are functional and only the ABS is not, you’d better have this checked out right away. Don’t take the word of a quick-lube place.

Thank you all for responding. I just finished asking a co-worker, another single woman, she told me of a shop she trusts, I called and will be driving car (slowly and cautiously) to shop first thing Monday morning.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everyone of you for caring enough to respond… . .this is the first time I have gone online and requested advice/help and I feel so much better now than I have since this problem started three days ago.

Also, I dont want to paint all dealerships in the same light, Im sure there are some that are reputable and trustworthy.

Again, much thanks.

Passats do have a problem with ABS units . There are companies that rebuild the electronic control module which is the part that usually fails .
I suggest you look into ClubB5 and do a search for ABS failure .
Lots of good info there .

I forgot they changed the site name . Now known as :

Should I be driving it the 5 or so miles to the shop monday (which is conveniently located down the street from my job) or should I look into having it towed?

Thanks for the info on the web site too.

The only time ABS comes into action is during hard stops on slippery surfaces .
I drove my Passat for a year before I had the control module repaired - mostly because I got tired of hearing the alarm every time I started the car !

Drive it to the shop. You’ll have normal power braking, exactly like we all did in the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s before ABS became common on cars. You probably don’t activate your ABS unless you drive on snow or ice normally anyhow, so it won’t hurt a thing.


Are you absolutely sure that the OP “will have normal power braking”?
The OP did tell us that “My ABS and brake lights are on simultaneously”.

If “brake light” refers to the brake warning light on the dashboard, this tells me that her master cylinder may be dangerously low on fluid. While the presence of an ABS warning light is certainly not an issue–at least in the short term–a brake system warning light should never be ignored.

Unless the OP is able to verify that the master cylinder is full of fluid, I would strongly suggest that this car should be towed to a reputable mechanic.

Actually, I spoke to another co-worker who had the same problem (both ABS and break lights on) and she was actually on the interstate driving. Nothing happened but she drives something else, not a Passatt (I will have to ask her what has happened since). And just for the record, there is fluid in the master cylinder (as you call it), I think this was the first thing the Express oil people checked.

I must say I’m learning a lot here and I appreciate all the information.

Hopefully, you have also learned not to allow the people at Express Lube to service your Volkswagen.

In addition to not being brake experts, they are also not as competent to change oil as a regular mechanic’s shop would be.