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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW Passat Family (NMS and B7) TDIs (2012+)

VW Passat Family (NMS and B7) TDIs (2012+) Discussion area for the 2012+ Passat TDI (North American and rest of world versions versions). The North American model was previously codenamed NMS (New Midsize Sedan) and the version the rest of the world gets is sometimes referred to as B7.

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Old April 15th, 2012, 06:13   #1
VWPassatTDI
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Default VW Passat/Jetta TDI Reliability

Hey Guys,
I am currently driving a Toyota Sequioa with 158000 miles which I bought new back in 2002 and I've NEVER had a problem with it. I'm looking for a commuter car that gets better gas mileage and keep the Toyota as a weekend car. The TDI seems like an appealing option. So if were to buy a Jetta or Passat will they be able to go 200000 miles with minimal problems? Thanks in advance!!!!!
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Old April 15th, 2012, 06:38   #2
tdiatlast
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Welcome to the club. Your question isn't new to this site, and would require pages and pages of discussion, most of it already available on previous threads.

The TDI is an enthusiast car. It does not take kindly to neglect, or even passive/indifferent driving. The owner/driver attitude is critical, as TDIs require a level of owner/driver awareness that would befuddle/confuse/terrify the average owner/driver.

Your question is one that has been debated endlessly here, with multiple threads. There is no one answer, only a jumble of opinions that, IMHO, all boil down to one basic difference between TDI drivers and most other drivers.

TDI owners/drivers enjoy the thrill of high mileage, torquey, fun-to-drive vehicles, vehicles that will never win any awards for reliability. Longevity, especially in the CR TDIs (09>>>) remains to be seen, but the initial impression is that they will be significantly more costly when asked to go 200,000 miles.

The challenge that the enthusiast readily takes on is to "beat the odds" of high-cost component failure (which of course can occur with any make) while enjoying the driving experience that is distinctly VWs.

Others will undoubtedly add/subtract to what I just said, which is based on my 3 years of TDI experience here, as well as many 100s of thousands of miles driving many different makes (although VW/Audi non-TDI ownership since 1983). YMMV.
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Last edited by tdiatlast; April 15th, 2012 at 07:10.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 07:06   #3
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Ditto.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:08   #4
Sauron@Mordor
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My experience with German cars in general (and VW/Audi in particular) is that you need to be on top of regular maintenance. If you do, I've found them to be pretty reliable. Neglect the oil changes, or timing belt changes, or any other key maintenance items, and prepare to get bent over the sofa (that's the technical term).

I've seen a number of 2.0L TDI engines that made it well into 200k mile territory. Mechanically, they're tough little motors. I'd be much more concerned about electrical gremlins in the rest of the car than with the drivetrain itself, but VAG seems to have gotten better in that regard in the last few years.

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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:25   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdiatlast View Post
Welcome to the club. Your question isn't new to this site, and would require pages and pages of discussion, most of it already available on previous threads.

The TDI is an enthusiast car. It does not take kindly to neglect, or even passive/indifferent driving. The owner/driver attitude is critical, as TDIs require a level of owner/driver awareness that would befuddle/confuse/terrify the average owner/driver.

Your question is one that has been debated endlessly here, with multiple threads. There is no one answer, only a jumble of opinions that, IMHO, all boil down to one basic difference between TDI drivers and most other drivers.

TDI owners/drivers enjoy the thrill of high mileage, torquey, fun-to-drive vehicles, vehicles that will never win any awards for reliability. Longevity, especially in the CR TDIs (09>>>) remains to be seen, but the initial impression is that they will be significantly more costly when asked to go 200,000 miles.

The challenge that the enthusiast readily takes on is to "beat the odds" of high-cost component failure (which of course can occur with any make) while enjoying the driving experience that is distinctly VWs.

Others will undoubtedly add/subtract to what I just said, which is based on my 3 years of TDI experience here, as well as many 100s of thousands of miles driving many different makes (although VW/Audi non-TDI ownership since 1983). YMMV.
I will add that what is said above is 100% true. And that it has been true since water cooled diesels made it into VW's catalogues. I base it on over 30 years of ownership of VW diesels.

People that own TDI's own them for the driving experience, not the economies of scale. They are expensive to maintain, but not much else out there can give you the bang for the buck in terms of the Teutonic driving experience. It is unique and something the Japanese and Korean cars just don't have, at all.

You need a big savings account / emergency fund on hand at all times when owning a TDI. Hopefully you don't have to deplete it, but it needs to be there, just in case, dedicated funding for surprise items that break, at all times.
i
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Old April 15th, 2012, 11:25   #6
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VWPassatTDI: I share your concerns about reliability and TCO, however, you buy VWs for emotional reasons, which you then attempt to justify rationally.

Since last December, when I bought my second VW and my first TDI, I have tried to quell my fears about reliability and obscene repair bills by reading every review, blog and forum I can find. Here's what I've learned: VWs are more reliable than they once were, but as another poster has rightly pointed out, you must be prepared for a few problems.

So why did I buy one? My rationale is terrific fuel economy, but the truth is once I drove one everything else felt like an appliance; there's something about them that makes you want to take the long way home every time.

Consumer Reports should soon be publishing reliability stats for the 2012 Passat. You might want to wait for that before you decide. In the meantime, take a few test drives, make comparisons, and see if you agree with me that perfection can be soulless.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 12:51   #7
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Quote:
So if were to buy a Jetta or Passat will they be able to go 200000 miles with minimal problems?
Short answer is YES. As stated, the main difference is requirement to stay on top of scheduled maint.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 17:58   #8
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... and the ability of CORRECTLY performing said maintenance.

When the label on the coolant bottle says "G12" and has an illustration of a book, it means READ the MANUAL and the big warning in there about using that coolant and nothing else. They are serious about this.

No cheaping out. No skimping. No substituting something else without, at a minimum, doing very careful research into the implications. No taking the car to the local quickie lube where there is a risk of the minimum-wage high school kid does you the favor of topping up the coolant with regular green stuff ... OOPS.

I have just over 371,000 km on my '06 right now. I've done most of the regular maintenance myself because then I know what goes into the oil filler cap and the coolant bottle. Big jobs go to a VW specialist shop who only service VW's and have done plenty of timing belt jobs on these engines.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 05:20   #9
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The TDI offers a more engaging driving experience than other vehicles that get similar fuel economy. It has lots of torque at low engine speeds. If you value that plus great fuel economy, then a VW is worth your time. But if you just want a reliable, easy to drive and maintain vehicle, any small gas engine vehicle may be better for you. If you like your Toyota, you will probably favor another one, like a Corolla or Camry.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 05:34   #10
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Gents, we're scaring a potential convert here ...


Here's some of my own math and overall justification for TDI.

I had an 06 Hemi Cherokee and 02 Infiniti Q45. Cherokee was main car I drove weekly to my weekend getaway property in PA, putting on average 260 miles per week.

Q45 was mostly drive-to-work car, may be 40 miles Mon-Fri. She was completely impractical to drive to PA: rear wheel, no towing ability.

Cherokee delivered about 16mpgs HWY , Q45 has about same mpgs commuting to work.

So what I wanted was an economic front-wheel that has some torque to tow smallish trailers.

Meet the TDI ... my calculations of 20K/Y commute show about $3K/Y savings in fuel cost (!) between TDI and either V8s.

So Q45 was traded in, I still have Cherokee as backup car ... don't expect to drive it much cept when I need to tow a few tons or there's 2 feet of snow on the ground ... bought a trickle solar charger for it so that I don't have to take her for a spin every week just to recharge the battery. $15 at Harbor Freight.

So to the OP: I did pretty much the same thing you're planning on ... kept the V8 truck as backup for when you need the 400 fp of torque and got me a fuel sippin' fun to drive german engineered american built diesel for commute. Your math might even be better in Texas .. diesel seems to reasonably priced there, she's flat and hot (diesels love that)

Last edited by r11; April 16th, 2012 at 05:42.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 05:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VWPassatTDI View Post
So if were to buy a Jetta or Passat will they be able to go 200000 miles with minimal problems? Thanks in advance!!!!!
Short answer is no. I've owned multiple Toyotas including the best minivan ever IMHO, the Previa. With the exception of an early 80s Tercel that was a lemon (clutch failed at 10K, transmission was junk), the Toyotas were dead reliable, cared not at all about indifferent service. VW/Audi products are another thing entirely. If you are hoping for a similar ownership experience to your Toyotas you will be disappointed, especially as the miles pile up.

I'm obviously a VW fan (look at what I do for a living) but their need for parts and maintenance keeps us in business.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 07:06   #12
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I thought I had a problem with the locking system, but it was user error. Too many years driving a manual - the doors will only lock if the car is in 'Park'.
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Last edited by Dismayed; April 17th, 2012 at 00:48.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 07:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VWPassatTDI View Post
Hey Guys,
I am currently driving a Toyota Sequioa with 158000 miles which I bought new back in 2002 and I've NEVER had a problem with it. I'm looking for a commuter car that gets better gas mileage and keep the Toyota as a weekend car. The TDI seems like an appealing option. So if were to buy a Jetta or Passat will they be able to go 200000 miles with minimal problems? Thanks in advance!!!!!
Depends on your definition of "minimal". Read all of the above posts again to understand that VW diesels are not your everyday common toaster that gets you from point A to point B just by dropping fuel in it and turning the key. If your willing to take the needs of the car to heart, then VW diesels are truely in a class of their own, fun to drive and frugal.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 21:00   #14
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I own a 03 Jetta ALH/TDI and it has been balls-on reliable.

Seriously. I've replaced two timing belts (second one just done this last week), three sets of tires (worn out), one battery (about 3 years ago), one glow harness and two glow plugs and of course regular oil, filter and fluid changes (including brake fluid.) I've needed one set of rear brakes -- the fronts are still ok. When I did the timing belts I did everything under the cover (water pump, large and small idlers, etc.)

150,000 miles.

The only FAILURE was a sheared serpentine belt idler bolt. That's it.

The car has never stranded me, it has never failed to start, and it has not had one bit of trouble of note since I bought it brand new. It's easily the lowest total cost of ownership vehicle I have ever owned. It still has the original clutch, I have had no electrical problems or other "fiddly things" that people often complain about. It just works. It could use a set of rear shocks.

The only performance-related mod I have in the car is a larger set of nozzles. And since I do my own timing belt I set the timing to advanced, but in-spec. The only reason it doesn't have MORE aggressive nozzles in it is that I expected to have to change the clutch out and was going to go to something with more torque capacity -- then add bigger nozzles. The expected need to do that never happened.

I'd get in it and drive it across the country without fear, and do so pretty much every summer. It's a great car, fun to drive, comfortable on long trips and dead-nuts reliable.

What's not to like?

I intend to give it to my kid who will be 16 soon and will probably buy another VW.....

BTW lifetime average fuel economy is 44.32mpg; I drive it like I stole it.... literally.

Last edited by Genesis; April 19th, 2012 at 06:50.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 06:20   #15
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Quote:
The TDI is an enthusiast car. It does not take kindly to neglect, or even passive/indifferent driving. The owner/driver attitude is critical, as TDIs require a level of owner/driver awareness that would befuddle/confuse/terrify the average owner/driver.
I see a lot of people driving TDI's on Rt. 95 in the North East and to say they all fit this category would be ridiculous. I was not even in this category until after I made the purchase. I was won over by the mileage plain and simple. Then I came to develop appreciation for the so called "Teutonic" driving experience and entrance into diesel geekdom. School teachers and grandmothers drive these with no problem. They just put in diesel fuel instead of gas and seem to survive just fine.

I trade my cars at 60,000 miles and cannot say anything about reliability after that point. Everything below that has been rock solid.
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