Which car is best to buy now?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by NicMM on December 8, 2010 - 2:58pm

My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new. In the first five years, it was under warranty and I only paid the maintenance. But in the past three years, I had spent over $800 per year on repairing. Is it worth to keep it?

If not. Do Piggs have any recommendations for a family sedan under $30,000? A one or two year old car is ok.

-NicMM

Submitted by Diego Mamani on December 9, 2010 - 9:25pm.

NicMM wrote:
My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new.

Do you drive hard? How about following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance?

I ask because I have a Ford that I bought new in the Fall of 2001 (9 years!) and it runs like new; nothing has broken down ever. Granted, I drive nicely, and I've followed all the maintenance. I also have low miles in it. But still, I'm used to think of an 8-year old car (such as yours) as a "newer" car.

Submitted by NicMM on December 10, 2010 - 3:43pm.

bearishgurl wrote:
poorgradstudent wrote:
You can still get great deals on Toyotas right now thanks to the beating they took from the recalls.

You mean, the beating they took on all the "recalls" they did on false pretenses, lol.

Amazingly, after the recall scandals, Toyota recovered so quickly. Their sales volume is up and I don't see any price reduce because of the scandals.

Submitted by NicMM on December 10, 2010 - 3:48pm.

Diego Mamani wrote:
NicMM wrote:
My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new.

Do you drive hard? How about following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance?

I ask because I have a Ford that I bought new in the Fall of 2001 (9 years!) and it runs like new; nothing has broken down ever. Granted, I drive nicely, and I've followed all the maintenance. I also have low miles in it. But still, I'm used to think of an 8-year old car (such as yours) as a "newer" car.

No, I don't think I am driving hard but I can't say I drive nicely either. The mileage is like under 80,000 miles. I went to dealer to maintain in the first 4 years when it was under warranty. After that, I went to dealer or some other repair shop depending on schedule, distance, availability, etc.

But I lost my manual during a moving four years ago. Not sure if I missed anything. Basically, my understanding is it should be maintained every 5000 miles.

Submitted by NicMM on December 10, 2010 - 3:54pm.

Does any one drive Lexus IS sedan? Any comments about it?

Submitted by dejams on December 10, 2010 - 4:53pm.

I drive 2001 IS300 and according to my friend, a Lexus mechanic, this is one of the most reliable car Lexus made that year. So far the car been very reliable (keeping my fingers crossed) and the only thing I have to do is the maintenance, which is more expensive then Toyota/Honda for same similar parts. If you going to get a used IS, then get a IS350, not IS250. The same mechanic says the IS350 is more reliable as he sees the IS250 more often at the shop. This might not be a fair assessment because there are IS250 out of the road than the IS350....

Submitted by bearishgurl on December 10, 2010 - 4:54pm.

NicMM wrote:
bearishgurl wrote:
poorgradstudent wrote:
You can still get great deals on Toyotas right now thanks to the beating they took from the recalls.

You mean, the beating they took on all the "recalls" they did on false pretenses, lol.

Amazingly, after the recall scandals, Toyota recovered so quickly. Their sales volume is up and I don't see any price reduce because of the scandals.

Because everyone knows it was just ambulance-chaser lawyers and copycat artists preying on Toyota. They've always built a great (and safe) product. I've been driving them for nearly 40 years.

Submitted by Coronita on December 10, 2010 - 5:10pm.

NicMM wrote:
Does any one drive Lexus IS sedan? Any comments about it?

I don't think "Family sedan" = Lexus IS or for that matter any Bimmer 3 series. Just check out the room in back.
If you're tall, and you put your seat back, there will be very little rear room in back imho.

Submitted by Coronita on December 10, 2010 - 5:35pm.

NicMM wrote:
Diego Mamani wrote:
NicMM wrote:
My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new.

Do you drive hard? How about following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance?

I ask because I have a Ford that I bought new in the Fall of 2001 (9 years!) and it runs like new; nothing has broken down ever. Granted, I drive nicely, and I've followed all the maintenance. I also have low miles in it. But still, I'm used to think of an 8-year old car (such as yours) as a "newer" car.

No, I don't think I am driving hard but I can't say I drive nicely either. The mileage is like under 80,000 miles. I went to dealer to maintain in the first 4 years when it was under warranty. After that, I went to dealer or some other repair shop depending on schedule, distance, availability, etc.

But I lost my manual during a moving four years ago. Not sure if I missed anything. Basically, my understanding is it should be maintained every 5000 miles.

What exactly is going on with it?

If I recall, MY2002 is the B5.5 model, which was mainly a exterior refresh from the B5 models. If I recall, this shared platforms with the B5 Audi A4.

What engine is it? V6 or 1.8T or W8? Is it 4motion?

Unfortunately, 2001.5-2002 was a bad year for VAG products.

1) 2.8 V6 engines were pretty much problematic. Ditto on the W8.
2) the 1.8T generally is a pretty reliable engine. BUT, in MY2002, they were plagued with crappy coil pack issues. Also, I believe this was the year they bumped up the HP from 150hp to about 170-180hp and variable timing, etc...But VAG didn't tell people (1) to switch to synthetic oil and (2) didn't put on a TSP bulletin telling folks to run larger oil filters. And since 1.8T's don't have an afterrun oil pump when the engine is off, I believe a lot of 1.8T owners ended up with coked engine oil... failed oil pumps, etc...About 8 months after, VAG revised the maintenance by (a) oversized oil filter and (b) requiring full synthetic available in a not-so-common weight (0w40 Mobil 1, 5w40 Castrol Syntec, or Motul 5w30/5w40 european formula)...If you took it to a independent shop, I wonder if they got that right or if they even bother to put full synthetic in your engine.

Aside from this issue, B5/B5.5 also suffer from
1) Control arm problems.
2) Engine mounts are too soft and go bad
3) And despite what VAG say about the transmission, it definitely is NOT a lifetime transmission fluid...You should change it at every 30-40k along with the transmission filter.
4) Same could be said about the differential fluids if you have a 4motion.
5) The gear oil is also not "lifetime"
6) The fuel filter should also be changed every 30k ish, even though it's in a major PITA location (right next to the fuel tank...Which normally requires extra labor).
7) There were problems with the MAF sensor, which should have been covered with 7 years emissions warranty.
8) The recommended interval for timing belt/water pump was not correct either (previously it was said 100k..Turns out it should have been inspected earlier). There was a lawsuit on this and VAG settled.
9) The engine cover seals probably go bad around 50k, which you can tell because you can smell an oil burning smell if you let the air in from the vent.
10) And you have a few hoses that will go bad that will need to be replaced around the same time.
11) The G12 coolant didn't turn out to be as good as they thought it was, which is why they went to a G12Plus purple coolant. Some folks ended up getting a corroded radiator as a result.

Unfortunately, a lot of this "maintanence" requires taking the front end of the car off. So that's usually 2-3-4 hours of labor just to do that, let alone to actually fix the problem(s).

Anyway, it could have been worse. You could have bought a Mercedes.... Lol...

Submitted by NicMM on December 10, 2010 - 5:58pm.

Flu,

It's amazing you can run such a long list. I am sure you maintain your car well.

My Passat has 1.8T engine. Since last year, my Check Engine light showed up several times. I usually sent it to dealer to exam it and sent to Indi shop to repair it. The last time (6 month ago) Check Engine showed up, the Indi shop could not repair it. I sent to dealer and they did not find any problem and the Check Engine light was gone by itself.

And this week, a sign of "STOP, check your coolant" showed. I turned off the engine and it's gone after I turned on the engine. It occurred three times in two days before I sent it to dealer. The dealer said someone put wrong coolant in it and it was leaking, so the coolant was almost gone. Besides that, he said there was crack in the transmission, and other problems. All the problems seemed to be emerging in 6 months, as when I sent the car to dealer 6 months ago, they never told me those problems.

NicMM

flu wrote:
NicMM wrote:
Diego Mamani wrote:
NicMM wrote:
My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new.

Do you drive hard? How about following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance?

I ask because I have a Ford that I bought new in the Fall of 2001 (9 years!) and it runs like new; nothing has broken down ever. Granted, I drive nicely, and I've followed all the maintenance. I also have low miles in it. But still, I'm used to think of an 8-year old car (such as yours) as a "newer" car.

No, I don't think I am driving hard but I can't say I drive nicely either. The mileage is like under 80,000 miles. I went to dealer to maintain in the first 4 years when it was under warranty. After that, I went to dealer or some other repair shop depending on schedule, distance, availability, etc.

But I lost my manual during a moving four years ago. Not sure if I missed anything. Basically, my understanding is it should be maintained every 5000 miles.

What exactly is going on with it?

If I recall, MY2002 is the B5.5 model, which was mainly a exterior refresh from the B5 models. If I recall, this shared platforms with the B5 Audi A4.

What engine is it? V6 or 1.8T or W8? Is it 4motion?

Unfortunately, 2001.5-2002 was a bad year for VAG products.

1) 2.8 V6 engines were pretty much problematic. Ditto on the W8.
2) the 1.8T generally is a pretty reliable engine. BUT, in MY2002, they were plagued with crappy coil pack issues. Also, I believe this was the year they bumped up the HP from 150hp to about 170-180hp and variable timing, etc...But VAG didn't tell people (1) to switch to synthetic oil and (2) didn't put on a TSP bulletin telling folks to run larger oil filters. And since 1.8T's don't have an afterrun oil pump when the engine is off, I believe a lot of 1.8T owners ended up with coked engine oil... failed oil pumps, etc...About 8 months after, VAG revised the maintenance by (a) oversized oil filter and (b) requiring full synthetic available in a not-so-common weight (0w40 Mobil 1, 5w40 Castrol Syntec, or Motul 5w30/5w40 european formula)...If you took it to a independent shop, I wonder if they got that right or if they even bother to put full synthetic in your engine.

Aside from this issue, B5/B5.5 also suffer from
1) Control arm problems.
2) Engine mounts are too soft and go bad
3) And despite what VAG say about the transmission, it definitely is NOT a lifetime transmission fluid...You should change it at every 30-40k along with the transmission filter.
4) Same could be said about the differential fluids if you have a 4motion.
5) The gear oil is also not "lifetime"
6) The fuel filter should also be changed every 30k ish, even though it's in a major PITA location (right next to the fuel tank...Which normally requires extra labor).
7) There were problems with the MAF sensor, which should have been covered with 7 years emissions warranty.
8) The recommended interval for timing belt/water pump was not correct either (previously it was said 100k..Turns out it should have been inspected earlier). There was a lawsuit on this and VAG settled.
9) The engine cover seals probably go bad around 50k, which you can tell because you can smell an oil burning smell if you let the air in from the vent.
10) And you have a few hoses that will go bad that will need to be replaced around the same time.
11) The G12 coolant didn't turn out to be as good as they thought it was, which is why they went to a G12Plus purple coolant. Some folks ended up getting a corroded radiator as a result.

Unfortunately, a lot of this "maintanence" requires taking the front end of the car off. So that's usually 2-3-4 hours of labor just to do that, let alone to actually fix the problem(s).

Anyway, it could have been worse. You could have bought a Mercedes.... Lol...

Submitted by Coronita on December 11, 2010 - 9:01am.

[quote=NicMM]Flu,

It's amazing you can run such a long list. I am sure you maintain your car well.

My Passat has 1.8T engine. Since last year, my Check Engine light showed up several times. I usually sent it to dealer to exam it and sent to Indi shop to repair it. The last time (6 month ago) Check Engine showed up, the Indi shop could not repair it. I sent to dealer and they did not find any problem and the Check Engine light was gone by itself.

And this week, a sign of "STOP, check your coolant" showed. I turned off the engine and it's gone after I turned on the engine. It occurred three times in two days before I sent it to dealer. The dealer said someone put wrong coolant in it and it was leaking, so the coolant was almost gone. Besides that, he said there was crack in the transmission, and other problems. All the problems seemed to be emerging in 6 months, as when I sent the car to dealer 6 months ago, they never told me those problems.

NicMM

If you plan on keeping this car.... Two suggestions

1) Find yourself a new mechanic.

2) Invest in a relatively inexpensive OBD scan tool... Because the check engine light is useless unless you know specifically what the fault code is... And the good news is once you have a fault code, you can go to either clubb5.com or vwvortex.com or (if you really have to) audiworld.com (I know, but platform sharing) and pretty much figure out what the problem is because most people have most likely run into the same problem. And at least once you know the code, the mechanic can't necessarily blow bullshit your way.

I have this one from ross-tech.com... In fact, if you want to borrow it, just send me a PM.
http://www.ross-tech.com/index.html

I also refer you to the audiworld.com forums because the a database of DIY contributions (which coincidently I made contributions to awhile ago too)...There's even a step by step teardown process on how to do the t-belts, etc (no, I didn't write that one). Some of the stuff is applicable to passats.

3) Consider getting a bentley repair manual.

If you get a check engine light, it could be for several reasons. Things that caused me to get it was
1) Bad MAF sensor (which should be covered under emissions warranty)

2) Bad hoses to lines, particular the ones that run right in front of the engine block along the radiator and the onces running to vac check valves.

3) bad oxygen sensors (you have two of them, and you should replace them in a pair).

I'm sorry to say, coolant in these 1.8T is really really important. You simply can't put the prestone green/yellow stuff in it. If you mix store coolant you typically can get at auto parts store with the G12/G12plus coolant that comes in the VAG/Audis, you're going to get a lot of cooling problems in the long run because it will end up being corrosive in an finicking aluminum engine block. There's an older coolant from VAG called G11 which is green, that some old mechanics still use too. It's the wrong coolant. In fact, if you mix G11 with G12, you get something that ends up like Jello.

So just remember. The color of your coolant should be purple (G12 plus), not green, yellow, orange or for that matter red (G12).

Submitted by NicMM on December 12, 2010 - 10:41pm.

Flu,

Do you really do all this by yourself? It's a lot of information there. It takes time to absorb.

How do you connect the diagnose software to the car?

NicMM

flu][quote=NicMM wrote:
Flu,

It's amazing you can run such a long list. I am sure you maintain your car well.

My Passat has 1.8T engine. Since last year, my Check Engine light showed up several times. I usually sent it to dealer to exam it and sent to Indi shop to repair it. The last time (6 month ago) Check Engine showed up, the Indi shop could not repair it. I sent to dealer and they did not find any problem and the Check Engine light was gone by itself.

And this week, a sign of "STOP, check your coolant" showed. I turned off the engine and it's gone after I turned on the engine. It occurred three times in two days before I sent it to dealer. The dealer said someone put wrong coolant in it and it was leaking, so the coolant was almost gone. Besides that, he said there was crack in the transmission, and other problems. All the problems seemed to be emerging in 6 months, as when I sent the car to dealer 6 months ago, they never told me those problems.

NicMM

If you plan on keeping this car.... Two suggestions

1) Find yourself a new mechanic.

2) Invest in a relatively inexpensive OBD scan tool... Because the check engine light is useless unless you know specifically what the fault code is... And the good news is once you have a fault code, you can go to either clubb5.com or vwvortex.com or (if you really have to) audiworld.com (I know, but platform sharing) and pretty much figure out what the problem is because most people have most likely run into the same problem. And at least once you know the code, the mechanic can't necessarily blow bullshit your way.

I have this one from ross-tech.com... In fact, if you want to borrow it, just send me a PM.
http://www.ross-tech.com/index.html

I also refer you to the audiworld.com forums because the a database of DIY contributions (which coincidently I made contributions to awhile ago too)...There's even a step by step teardown process on how to do the t-belts, etc (no, I didn't write that one). Some of the stuff is applicable to passats.

3) Consider getting a bentley repair manual.

If you get a check engine light, it could be for several reasons. Things that caused me to get it was
1) Bad MAF sensor (which should be covered under emissions warranty)

2) Bad hoses to lines, particular the ones that run right in front of the engine block along the radiator and the onces running to vac check valves.

3) bad oxygen sensors (you have two of them, and you should replace them in a pair).

I'm sorry to say, coolant in these 1.8T is really really important. You simply can't put the prestone green/yellow stuff in it. If you mix store coolant you typically can get at auto parts store with the G12/G12plus coolant that comes in the VAG/Audis, you're going to get a lot of cooling problems in the long run because it will end up being corrosive in an finicking aluminum engine block. There's an older coolant from VAG called G11 which is green, that some old mechanics still use too. It's the wrong coolant. In fact, if you mix G11 with G12, you get something that ends up like Jello.

So just remember. The color of your coolant should be purple (G12 plus), not green, yellow, orange or for that matter red (G12).

Submitted by Coronita on December 13, 2010 - 7:56am.

NicMM wrote:
Flu,

Do you really do all this by yourself? It's a lot of information there. It takes time to absorb.

How do you connect the diagnose software to the car?

NicMM

Short of swapping out a transmission, yes pretty much I've done just about everything.

The vag-com tool is actually pretty easy to use.
I have an older version that must run on a laptop with a serial port connection. I have not upgraded to the latest vag-com, which could run on any usb interface. I simply haven't upgraded because I currently don't own any newer VAG product, which uses a new bus interface.

It's pretty simple to use frankly. There is a connector inside the car (mines under the left driver footwell... You plug the vagcom in, and you run the software...Then there are about 8 screens you go into (engine, transmission, HVAC,etc)... If you have a check engine light, you go to the engine module. Then you press "read fault codes", and a bunch of numbers come up with some short text... Then I go to audiworld.com and search for the fault code under B5 usergroup, where more than likely a person(s) already has reported the issue and some discussion has occurred. If it's something relatively moderate to do, I end up just doing it myself. Otherwise I tell the mechanic I have faultcode X, which probably means the that Y needs to be replaced...Please replace Y.

Vagcom also allows you to reset the faultcodes. If don't want to buy one, you can also see if you can borrow one frome people. There is a registry somewhere...Just do a search on "vagcom locator".

In your case, for fault codes, you would be trolling around clubb5.com or pasatworld.com

For example:

http://www.passatworld.com/forums/showth...

I still think audiworld is more comprehensive, because of the tech "how to" sections imho...

http://www.audiworld.com/tech/content_en...

Here's an article on oxygen sensor diagnosis and replacement.

http://www.audiworld.com/tech/eng101.shtml

There's also directions here on how to service the supposedly "lifetime fill" transmission.

http://www.audipages.com/Tech_Articles/a...

Directions are for an audi A8, but it applies to just about every other tiptronics transmission. Get the filter/fluid out is not the hard part. Filling it back up and getting the right amount in is the problem. Major PITA...German engineering, of course. Germans also like to use a bunch of nonstandard screws and bolts. I've learned about the differences between bolts that are Torx versus Tripple Squares..I don't know why german car manufacturers insist on making these things so complicated. But in any case, if you need some of the sockets, changes I have have them, because it was cheaper to build my tool collection versus handing my car over to the mechanic... So I do have all the tripple square wrenches and the weird 17mm hex wrench you'll need to open the transmission fill plug.

For common tools (like to change brakes,etc), you can go to Kragen/Oreilly and they usually have loaner tools you can use for the weekend for free.

For parts, I try to go to two independent parts supplier.

1: SD Europarts (Rancho Bernardo)... Really nice guy..
http://europarts-sd.com/

2: pure motorsports

http://www.purems.com/index.php

These guys use to be in temecula, but I think they are now in miramar. They supposedly do servicing too, but I haven't tried their service...Supposedly it's good.

Older VAG products aren't bad to work on...Newer VAG products and the latest BMW products are bad to work on.... Mercedes are the worst. I hate the Mercedes C class... Ubber P.O.S.

Anyway, hope this helps. If you really don't want to deal with this yourself, you really should just get rid of it and not get anything german.

Submitted by aldante on December 13, 2010 - 3:53pm.

I just rented a Camero for four days! Pure muscle car heaven!!!

Submitted by Werewolf on December 13, 2010 - 4:44pm.

What can you get for your passat in the used car market?

What do you like about the Psst?
What do you hate?

Use that to form a short-list for a new car (new to you used car)

Cars I think are great bang for buck
1) Lexus GS400/430 with 100K+ miles for 7-9K USD
2) Toyota Avalon touring - not sure on price
3) Infiniti M35/45 sedans - a blast to drive, depreciation is high so buy used
4) BMW 328i / 528i if you can get a good price used
5) Subaru legacy - underappreciated midsized sedan (can get AWD)
6) Saab 9-3 or 9-5: terrible resale could mean a bargain for you

Submitted by NicMM on December 14, 2010 - 4:46pm.

I bought Lexus ES350, which is a family car share same chassis with Camry.

I don't think this car has much more than my Passat had. Both have leather, moon roof, good stereo, power window etc. The new car has some fancy stuff like keyless, an automatic swirl-able steer wheel, which I don't really care. I added feature for Navigation system and backup camera. I paid the premium hoping after 10 years it will be more reliable than my Passat.

Actually I have to admit Passat is a great car with great performance and comfortable. I am very happy about it until the last two years. I also went to Passat dealer. I was surprised to learn that both Passat and Beetle lines will be discontinued. Passat line will be replace by CC. Now they have good deals on Passat and Beetle, deep discount and 0% APR. Sorry I have set my mind in a Japanese car, otherwise I would buy a Passat. There is a cute Beetle convertible, leather package, and it is only $24000 (out of door price).

NicMM

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