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VW 2000 Passat Mechanic Wants 500$$ to Diagnos Trans Problem?

My car seems to start in second gear. The whole car literally jumps from reverse when going to second. When idling, the car cannot seem to keep a steady RPM. The mechanic claims that the first step is to pull up the carpet on the passenger side, dry and maybe replace the Trans computer. My son, (25) who thinks he is such a hot shot, even though he lives at home with me, says the mechanic is full of it. He claims, a computer can be plugged into the main computer and instantaneously diagnose whether the Trans comp is malfunctioning… Why hasn’t our mechanic suggested the idea? I should also mention that the passenger side has experienced some water probs due to no one ever cleaning out the gutter under the windshield.
Best and thank you

is your mechcanic speak VW ? not every scan tool can diagnose tranny problems in German cars. it may or may not be a tranny problem. i would find a shop who works VWs Audis and other high end imports. thats where i would start.

meant to say does and not is

Big Mark is right… That is the problem with VW, they are different enough from anything else on the road that most mechanics don’t know what to do with them. You need someone who KNOWS VW, and in most cases that is not even the dealer… Pulling the carpet to let the computer dry??? That has my BS meter PEGGED and full BS though… How did it supposedly get wet?? are we missing something??

TRY this, disconnect the negative battery cable on your battery… Leave it off for 30 min… Reconnect it, does the car act normal again??

Also how many miles on this VW and what kind of service has it gotten from you? IE has the trans fluid ever been serviced?

IF the computer has gotten wet, it could do some really weird things - no doubt about that.
If wet, I would try to not apply power to it at all and see if you take it out and dry it.

Here’s an old sparky trick, whenever electronics get soaked: put it in a bag along with some rice. Leave it there for a couple of days. The rice will dry it out very nicely, it being a desiccant. If components were not damaged when they were wet and power was applied, you stand a good chance of it working again.

Without going into great detail, I’ve saved one or two of my daughter’s phones that way. They were nearly flushed down the toilet.

Wow, thanks. I’ll certainly heed these recommendations.
It has 110,000 miles on it. The front axle just got replaced. Then a week later the car would not start for some reason. 100$ later, discovered 1 circuit needed to be replaced. . Which made it start… Had some additional work done on it, think it was the rotary belt. I’ll look into seeing if Trans. Fluid has been changed. Oh ya, the turbo got rebuilt a couple years ago.


I think we’re just going to bite the bullet and just bring it to this mechanic. Stripping the carpet and trying to dry out the TCM with rice sounds but a big hassle nonetheless. Thanks again

you still did not say how the computer got wet?? Also try the battery thing first !!


An update on this nightmare.
First, on how the car got wet in the first place. The drain ducts in the front of the windshield had gotten so clogged up with leaves for so long that they had decomposed to dirt! Or maybe when the front passenger side turn single (the oval near the door hinge) had been bumped it likely allowed water to get in through where the door should seal.

Today, The mechanic has apparently solved the problem by drying out the computer and cables which where ( full of water ). Get this tho, he wants 800$!!! DOLLARS. I doubt he fixed the bump I was just talking about. He initially claimed 450$ + to clear the water up. (more if he had to replace the computer. Definitely want a good explanation for this and will likely be looking for a new mechanic.


It’s a v4 turbo. Auto matin

Turbo had been rebuilt before. Likely should have tried to do this all myself , incl. unplugging neg. charge

Ya let me also redescribe then than prob from OP . The car jumps into reverse when going from P to D . It seems to skip 1st gear and is generally underperforming as im remember it in its hayday. 100k miles

Btw this is op’s son

Get rid of this car if you can. The early 2000’s are know for tons of electrical issues. This is only the beginning of a major headache. A friend of mine has the same car. Expensive to fix and the problems are never ending!

This also happened to our 2004 Passat. It’s a well known problem with drain holes that are too small on these cars. Our cost to replace the comfort module was about the same as what you’ve been quoted. Strike another blow for German engineering.