Long known for its high quality and reliability, Volkswagen has struggled in recent model years with repeated oil sludge problems that damaged or destroyed Passat engines. Nonetheless the VW Passat retains a horde of devoted followers. These steps apply to the VW Passat gasoline engine, unless otherwise noted.
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Fill your gasoline Volkswagen Passat with Mobil 10W-40 synthetic engine oil. Unlike other automakers, VW recommends synthetic for use in all of their vehicles, even older, high-mileage vehicles. A diesel Passat must only run oil that is "505.01 VW certified."
Use Pentosin CHF-11s mineral power steering fluid. VW enthusiasts report than using anything else could ruin your steering rack.
Verify you're using the original equipment manufacturer's recommended automatic transmission fluid, Esso LT 71141, in your Passat. If cost is an issue, Quaker State/Pennzoil ATF and Valvoline MERCON V have been confirmed as suitable replacements and are typically available for less.
Replenish your battery cells with distilled water if they appear low. Always check and fill each cell individually, and avoid overfilling.
Add Pentosin G12--the original equipment manufacturer's recommendation--or Prestone Extended Life coolant. Volkswagen maintains that G12 is the only appropriate coolant because it prevent corrosion in the VW's aluminum engine and won't put unnatural wear on the water pump impeller.
Refill the brake fluid reservoir with Volkswagen Passat Pentosin Brake Fluid for model years 1990 to present.
Tips and warnings
- You may have to buy 505.01 oil from a VW dealers or specialty import stores. Look for "505.01" on the label in large numbers.
- If you own a 1998 to 2004 model year Passat, contact your local Volkswagen dealership and make sure that the engine oil sludge problem that plagued VW Passats in this range of model years has been fixed in your car. If you had your engine repaired or replaced as a result of oil sludge and want to be reimbursed, you must provide proof that you had the oil changed as required.
- If you have a leak, don't switch to synthetic oil until it's fixed. Synthetic oil may more readily seep out than conventional oil.