2019 Volkswagen Passat Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, fuel system, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

When it comes to midsize sedan models, there aren’t many top choices on the market anymore. However, the 2019 Volkswagen Passat continues to sell well because of its reliable reputation and long-standing history of being a dependable vehicle. For the newer models, the automaker claims that the Passat is “well-crafted exhilaration,” but nothing seems to be constructed properly. From the electrical system to the engine and the visibility to the powertrain, this vehicle could have been put together by a kid.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 Volkswagen Passat

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
4
Service Brakes
2
Engine
2
Power Train
2
Fuel System, Gasoline:fuel Injection System
1
Forward Collision Avoidance
1
Fuel/propulsion System
1
Unknown Or Other
1
Seats
1
Steering
1

Problems with the Electrical System

Volkswagen is quite proud of all the standard features the newer Passat cars come with, but many customers are struggling to make anything work correctly.

Here is an example from an Edmunds review. “Remote start doesn’t work, no current solutions to fix it, navigation system goes dark, very loud ride, you need the music 1/2 way to max in order to drown out the road noise, skip this car folks!”

Some people have complained that the remote start stopped working within days and VW hasn’t done anything to fix the situation. Among the 35 communications focused on the electrical system, the majority of the bulletins are related to the remote start system, including #PSS-2052984. Even with all of the investigation, Volkswagen can’t seem to figure out how to make this system work the way it should. If the Passat was so “well-crafted,” this simple system would be able to start the engine as it should.

Problems with the Engine

Volkswagen has been known for powerful engines in the past, but lately, the company has dealt with several defective motors across the entire lineup.

Here is an example from an NHTSA complaint. “The contact owns a 2019 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle idled with the EPC light and the Check Engine Warning Light illuminated. Additionally, the vehicle was belabored while shifting gears and at low speeds. There was an abnormal sound coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis and repairs. The contact was informed that the fuel pump module and fuel injectors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure but offered no assistance or resolution. The approximate failure mileage was 6,000.”

Sadly, there are no communications that discuss concerns with this engine. At this point, Volkswagen has spent too much time under the microscope for defective engines and the automaker is likely just trying to escape any more scrutiny. Considering exhilaration is defined as “a feeling of excitement, happiness or elation,” most people can agree that the Passat doesn’t offer these sensations at all. Instead, it just brings woe and agitation for many owners. Maybe the tagline should be “well-crafted disappointment” instead.

Problems with the Wndshield Cracking

Aside from the mechanical construction, the structure plays a part in satisfaction as well. There are numerous issues with the visibility and lighting on the Passat.

Here is another NHTSA complaint. “Windshield began cracking in the middle from passenger side toward driver side. No rock or other debris hit windshield. It is a continuous crack that is a fine link crack that continues to spread.”

Aside from the auto glass, there is a recall related to the lighting, which is also part of the visibility. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V389000 states that more than 662,000 vehicles might have a missing blocking cap on the headlights, which allows them to be adjusted out of specification. With the reduction of visibility, accidents are more likely. To be considered “well-crafted,” manufacturers can’t be missing vital components that are essential to safe operation, yet this Passat does.

Problems with the Transmission

To end the evaluation of the Passat, one has to look at the powertrain as well. This vital system handles the overall feel of the drive.

Another Edmunds review states, “The transmission is a bit jerky at slow stop and go speeds due to the gas-saving 6 speed transmission.”

There aren’t any communications worth noting from VW related to the powertrain. Likely, Volkswagen doesn’t want to own up to any more troubles, but customers don’t need the acknowledgment to know that this model is a lemon. With all of the major systems causing trouble, it might be best to have a vehicle built by LEGOs instead of from this German automaker.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryFuel System, Gasoline:fuel Injection System
DateOct 13, 2022
StateMA
Description
The contact owns a 2019 volkswagen passat. The contact stated that while driving at an undisclosed speed, the vehicle was shaking and then lost motive power. The contact pushed the vehicle to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the fuel injector needed to be replaced. The mechanic replaced the fuel injector. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that there was no recall associated with the vin. The failure mileage was approximately 40,000.
CategoryElectrical System, Forward Collision Avoidance, Service Brakes
DateSep 10, 2020
StatePA
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2019 volkswagen passat. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the collision avoidance system independently activated causing the vehicle to abruptly stop even though there were no vehicles or objects nearby. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer fairfield vw located at 5071 lycoming mall dr, montoursville, pa 17754 however, the cause of the failure was not determined. Additionally, on several occasions the vehicle would not start when pushing the start/stop button and the message "no key detected" was sometimes displayed. The cause of the failure was not determined. The failure mileage was 15,000.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System
DateFeb 05, 2020
StateMD
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2019 volkswagen passat. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle idled with the epc light and the check engine warning light illuminated. Additionally, the vehicle was belabored while shifting gears and at low speeds. There was an abnormal sound coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer (heritage volkswagen catonsville 6624 baltimore national pike, baltimore, md 21228) for diagnosis and repairs. The contact was informed that the fuel pump module and fuel injectors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure but offered no assistance or resolution. The approximate failure mileage was 6,000. *tp
CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 17, 2019
StateOK
Description
Vehicle was sold with remote start feature. Dealer and salesman knew the remote start did not work. This was a selling point on the car. They keep putting off fixing the issue with the car.
CategoryElectrical System
DateNov 26, 2019
StateNY
Description
When the vehicle is off, the factory remote start does not function. The car will turn over, but immediately die. Vw has known about this since late 2018, but has not done anything to fix the issue. I purchased my vehicle in june of 2019, and the vehicle was sold to me without the dealership letting me know the remote start would not work. I had to find out myself on a cold morning. I even called to let them know what was going on and they had me bring it in even though they already knew there was an issue. How can vw get away with selling a feature on a vehicle that does not work a year after they are aware of it?
CategoryPower Train
DateNov 26, 2019
StateNY
Description
When the vehicle is at slower speeds, it is constantly shifting to try and save on fuel. This results in the vehicle not providing a consistent ride. The noise when it shifts is very loud and can sometimes be felt through a jerking motion. Bringing the vehicle in to the dealership resulted in them saying they know it's an issue and hopefully vw comes out with a software fix. It's not comforting knowing that the dealership knows there's an issue and nothing is being done.
CategorySeats
DateNov 12, 2019
StateIL
Description
On 11/10/2019 while driving I constantly felt burning sensation on my right thigh while on the highway at speeds around 70 miles. The next day on 11/11/2019 with the family and kids my right thigh started feeling like its burning. Subsequently we started smelling something burn and switched off all heat and heated seats and drove back home with out any heat in 15 f . On arrival we noticed that the heated seat got so hot that it burnt a hole in the driver car seat and melted the leather . We all got extremely scared of a possible fire in the car and could had got injured or stranded on a very cold day. There are 100's of similar issues posted online but I am not sure why this is not being fixed. If the cloths fire catches on and we are on a freeway at a high speed then my family's life could be endangered if I loose control because of this burn. The car is 2019 january vw passat bought from vw and is almost brand new . I have taken a dealer appointment and will be visiting on 11/16/2019 to get this checked and probably fixed. But should I trust that this wont happen again ?
CategoryPower Train, Steering
DateNov 05, 2019
StateMN
Description
Car hesitates erratically and unpredictably when accelerating most noticeably from a dead stop, and at slow speeds while turning. Attempting to accelerate from a stop to cross a street in busy traffic the car will just sit unresponsive for seconds and barely accelerate and then unpredictably accelerate. Due to the vehicle being the r-line, it drifts all over the road. I have had 4 wheel alignments on the car with only 6400 miles on it.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateJul 12, 2019
StateFL
Description
Windshield began cracking in the middle from passenger side toward driver side. No rock or other debris hit windshield. It is a continuous crack that is a fine link crack that continues to spread.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJun 29, 2019
StateOH
Description
Speedometer reads 2 mph lower than actual speed at 70 mph as measured by radar instruments on road and my gps which reads the same as the radar. I also am drinking a loaner vehicle of the same make and model and reads 1 mph slower at 70 mph. Also have had many problems with the vehicle air conditioning. They also lied about the fuel economy posted on the windshield. It is consistently lower than the mileage listed both for city, highway, and average. This is also true on the loaner vehicle. Almost like the diesel emissions problem they had with my 2015 passat!
CategoryService Brakes
DateApr 16, 2019
StateFL
Description
Normal heel toe relationship between gas pedal and brake impossible. While driving, I went to step on brake. Position of pedal way ahead of gas pedal. Result I was pushing down on fire wall. When I tried to step on brake, my foot was trapped behind the brake pedal.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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