The Volkswagen Passat is a rather small car, but has a reputation for handling well and being comfortable and even somewhat luxurious. To maintain that handling and smooth ride, you need to replace the struts in the Passat every 60,000 miles.
Lift the front end of the Passat with a floor jack and support it by the frame with a jack stand. Loosen and remove the nuts holding the tires onto the wheel hub and set the wheels aside. Locate the struts under the body of the car. They look like springs with hardware that passes through them and attaches them to the frame at one end and the steering knuckle on the other end.
Open the hood and disconnect the upper mounting nuts from the strut tower located directly over the wheel well. Under the Passat, follow the brake hose from the wheel hub to the strut and disconnect the bracket holding it and the antilock brake sensor. Disconnect the pinch bolt holding the strut to the upper control arm and pick up the links there and put them out of the way. Disconnect the lower strut mounting bolt and pull the strut out in a downward motion. Repeat this step on the other side of the front of the car.
Position the new strut in the undercarriage, and set the dial on the torque wrench to 76 nm (56 foot lb). Tighten the lower mounting bolt until the wrench gives. Reattach the upper control links and torque the bolt to 40.7 nm (30 foot lb). Torque the ball-joint nut to 100 nm (74 foot lb).
Attach the anti-lock brake sensor to the caliper and install the upper mounting nuts inside the engine compartment. Torque them to 20 nm (15 foot lb). Mount the front wheel and repeat Steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the car. Lower the front end and have a professional align it.
Lift the rear end of the Passat and remove the rear wheel on one side. Disconnect the upper mounting bolts of the strut through the wheel well and unbolt the strut from the axle. Pull the strut out from under the car.
Install the upper end of the strut to the body of the Passat and torque the bolts to 75 nm (55 foot lb). Insert the lower mounting bolt and nut, but don't tighten them yet. Mount the removed wheel and lower the rear end of the car. Torque the lower mounting bolt and nut to 60 nm (44 foot lb).
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 on the other side of the Passat.
Don't remove both rear struts at the same time or the axle hangs from the brake hoses. Replace one and then the other.