Five Warning Signs of Bad Suspension in Your Volkswagen

Volkswagen has a reputation for making stylish and attractive vehicles. However, they are still prone to occasional issues, like faulty suspensions. Learning to recognize warning signs of bad suspension can help you know when to get your car serviced in order to avoid major damage.

Since Volkswagen is a European brand, it can be time-consuming to find a qualified Volkswagen repair shop. Our technicians at Little Germany, Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, are available at 520-881-3273 to offer a quote for your repair. As the leading Volkswagen repair experts in Tucson, you can trust us with all your VW repair needs!

What Causes a Bad Suspension?

Suspension problems occur when the struts or the shocks on your car become considerably worn. 

This quick and simple test can help determine if you have a suspension issue: 

  • Stand in front of your car’s closed hood.
  • Using two hands, push down with full strength.
  • Quickly let go.
  • Observe how many times your vehicle bounces. If it bounces more than two or three times, that is one of the first signs of worn shocks or other suspension issues.

A bad suspension will have many signs, none of which you should ignore. 

1. Riding Rough

One of the most common signs of bad suspension is a rough ride. Volkswagen vehicles typically offer a silky-smooth ride. If you suddenly feel not only every pothole but each pebble, you probably need to replace the struts or shocks on your car.

2. Misalignment

One of the hardest things to identify the cause of is misalignment. It can be due to uneven tire wear or poor tire pressure and makes driving feel like you are in a daily battle with the steering wheel to stay on the road.

3. Wobby movement

Driving your car should never feel like an amusement park ride. When you increase your speed, and it feels like the hood of your car might fly off the ground, or if you brake and you think your car might do a somersault, there is definitely a problem with your suspension.

4. Steering Becomes Unstable

If you turn your steering wheel and the tires don’t move in the way they typically should,  or if they do move when you aren’t turning the wheel, that could indicate a suspension issue. 

5. One low corner

When one corner of your car sits lower than the rest, your Volkswagen mechanic can easily diagnose it as a busted spring. Typically, one low-riding corner is accompanied by unusual noises due to the unbalanced weight of the vehicle, such as squealing or clunking noises.

Let Qualified Experts Fix Your Bad Suspension

Though finding a qualified Volkswagen mechanic can seem daunting, you should never ignore the signs of bad suspension.  In 2022, Volkswagen drivers were among the top five brands of at-fault accidents. Volkswagen has even recalled some of its vehicles due to frequent suspension problems. Don’t let suspension problems turn you into a statistic. Call our experts at Little Germany in Tucson, Arizona, at 520-881-3273 to repair any and all Volkswagen problems. We offer expert repair for all makes and models of European cars.

Why Is My Volkswagen Overheating: 5 Possible Causes

Overheating rarely occurs in modern Volkswagen models due to improved engine builds and superior design. However, overheating can still happen. When it does, it can leave you stressed out and wondering, “Why is my Volkswagen overheating?”

As Tucson’s Volkswagen repair experts, our experienced team at Little Germany, Inc. listed some possible causes that we frequently handle. 

#1: Engine Coolant

Engine coolant is a fluid that keeps your engine from overheating. The coolant tank serves as its reservoir. As your engine cycles, the coolant runs through coolant hoses and through your engine system to prevent overheating.

When your Volkswagen overheats, check your coolant levels immediately. If you have low levels, top your coolant off before visiting the shop. You could have a leak in your hoses or tank. 

#2: Cooling System

Your cooling system consists of multiple parts including the radiator and water pump. As your vehicle ages, dirt and debris may collect in the cooling system, causing it to work less efficiently. Eventually, you’ll have a clogged cooling system on your hands.

Older vehicles are especially susceptible to clogged cooling systems. When the water pump becomes clogged, coolant can’t travel throughout the engine system. If your car has appropriate coolant levels, have a professional check it for blockages in your cooling system. 

#3: Radiator

Radiators play an integral role in a car’s cooling system by passing a mixture of coolant and antifreeze through their metal fins. A malfunctioning radiator or radiator part may cause your Volkswagen to run hot. This will have you wondering: “Why is my Volkswagen overheating?”

Radiator fans and vents ensure that the radiator, engine, and coolant remain at an ideal temperature. When they fail, the coolant won’t reach a low enough temperature to keep the engine cool. Plus, your radiator may also overheat and sustain damage.

#4: Bad Head Gasket

The head gasket helps the engine accrue necessary power and prevents oil and coolant from leaking in other areas.

If the head gasket goes, your car will overheat. It might also catch on fire without prompt service from experienced Volkswagen specialists. If you suspect a problem with the head gasket, avoid driving your vehicle until we can replace the gasket. 

#5: Malfunctioning Thermostat 

The thermostat prevents your Volkswagen from overheating by tracking the system’s temperature and checking for spikes of heat. When the engine gets too hot, the thermostat will signal for a coolant release to prevent overheating.

If your thermostat doesn’t work, it can’t communicate with the rest of the system. Therefore, your engine won’t receive the coolant it needs to perform without overheating. This can happen because of a connection issue or a defunct thermostat. 

Drop By Our Shop in Tucson, AZ

When you notice your temperature gauge slip into the red, you might panic and ask yourself “Why is my Volkswagen overheating?”

At Little Germany, Inc., our trusted Volkswagen specialists in Tucson, AZ have answers. We also have comprehensive solutions to all your Volkswagen problems. Call us at (520) 881-3273 to arrange service for your Volkswagen today.

How Often Do Volkswagens Need Oil Changes?

How often do Volkswagens need oil changes these days? The automobile industry has made a lot of changes in recent times. Some things that made sense in a vehicle a decade ago may be unnecessary or impractical today.

For example, oil change intervals are no longer what they used to be across most vehicle brands, including Volkswagen. Our Volkswagen repair experts in Tucson, AZ, know that most oil change requirements will depend on several variables, such as: 

  • Volkswagen model
  • Engine age
  • Type of oil
  • Driving habits and more 

Below, the experts from Little Germany, Inc. share recommended intervals that should keep your Volkswagen engine in excellent shape.

Factors To Keep in Mind Before Changing the Oil

Volkswagen vehicle owners often ask the team at Little Germany, Inc. for details about oil changes and other maintenance tasks. We are happy to give them the numbers, but it is also important to point out a few important details.

For example, changing the car’s oil every 5,000 or 10,000 miles works for conventional drivers with a normal commute. However, if you engage in off-road driving or speed drifting, you will have to change it earlier (at 7,500 miles for newer models and 3,000 miles for older models).

We also recommend paying attention to the type of oil you use. Conventional oils may need changing earlier than high-mileage oils and certain synthetic blends. For the best results, use the manufacturer-recommended oil type and follow their recommended oil change frequency.

Are you worried about the cost of an oil change? Don’t be; it’s negligible. Plus, the oil sustains engine damage.change price you pay once a year is a fraction of what you’ll spend if the vehicle 

The Advantages of Regular Oil Changes

The benefits of maintaining a regular oil change schedule include the following:

  • Delays wear and tear of engine components
  • Eliminates debris and dirt known to cause engine corrosion
  • Cools the engine, preventing overheating

Oil changes also ensure a vehicle is running efficiently, providing benefits across all other components.

Oil Change Intervals for Volkswagens Newer and Older Than 2009

Do you have a 2009 Volkswagen or a later model? Experts advise replacing the oil every 10,000 miles or every year, whichever comes sooner. Newer Volkswagens can complete 10,000 miles without an oil change, but an early oil change could significantly reduce the risk of engine trouble.

VWs manufactured in 2008 or earlier need regular maintenance, including an oil change every 5,000 miles or every six months.

Schedule an Oil Change With Local Volkswagen Experts Today

Following your car’s recommended maintenance schedule is optimal. However, it helps to have a local service center you can trust to complete the oil change and let you know if they find other issues. Little Germany, Inc. offers highly experienced staff who will change your oil, check your oil filter, and offer advice on common Volkswagen problems at our Tucson, AZ, service center. 

How often do Volkswagens need oil changes in Tucson, AZ, and the surrounding areas? Call Little Germany, Inc. at 520-881-3273 today to find out and schedule a service appointment.

6 Common Volkswagen Problems Every Owner Should Know

Due to similar manufacturing processes and designs, specific car models tend to suffer similar mechanical issues after prolonged use. Volkswagen owners often complain of oil leaks, exhaust smoke, and suspension problems. 

Are you looking for Volkswagen repair professionals in Tucson? Little Germany, Inc. is a family-owned business specializing in European car repairs. Here are the six most common Volkswagen problems car owners face. 

Problem #1: Oil Leaks

Volkswagen owners who fail to get oil changes regularly experience oil sludge accumulation in the engine, which can cause leaks. An illuminated check engine light is often the first sign of an oil leak or electrical problem. 

Oil leaks can also cause clogs in the crankcase breather system, stopping the engine from correctly ventilating excess pressure. It is best to service your car as soon as you suspect an oil leak. 

Problem #2: Coolant Leaks 

Coolant leaks are common in Volkswagen water pumps, radiators, and coolant hoses. Your vehicle’s seals and internal bearings are likely weak and need repairs if you experience a coolant leak. The radiator could also be the issue if you notice liquid under the car. 

Coolant leaks can cause your engine to overheat quickly. Schedule an appointment with Little Germany, Inc. to avoid further damage if you notice a leak. 

Problem #3: Exhaust Smoke

Do you notice excessive smoke coming from your car’s exhaust system? Many Volkswagen owners experience exhaust smoke issues. An engine block or damaged head gasket is likely the problem. A coolant leak is often the first visible sign of a cracked engine block or gasket issue. 

Problem #4: Clock Spring Problems

Unfortunately, clock spring issues are among the most common Volkswagen problems. Clock springs allow your car’s steering wheel to move, so these issues can quickly become dangerous. Many clock springs last for a decade or longer, but the wires in these parts tend to become brittle in Volkswagens over time. 

It is also common for clock springs to loosen if an inexperienced technician incorrectly installs the steering wheel after serving the vehicle. 

Problem #5: Suspension Issues 

Your Volkswagen likely has a suspension problem if you notice clicking noises emitting from the vehicle while turning or going over bumps. Faulty ball joints often cause suspension problems in Volkswagen automobiles. 

It is essential to call an experienced car repair technician if you notice unnatural vibrations or clicking noises to prevent further deterioration of your suspension system. 

Problem #6: Electrical Problems 

Electrical problems, such as battery shortages, are common in many Volkswagen cars. Starters or alternators often cause electrical issues in Volkswagens. Visually inspect your battery if you are experiencing electrical problems. 

Electrical components in newer Volkswagens may break down after four years or less, while starters in older models last much longer if the car does not overheat. Are you experiencing Volkswagen problems, or do you need to replace your car’s fuel injector or spark plugs? Little Germany of Tucson specializes in repairing the worst Volkswagen cars, including certain Jetta, Passat, and Phaeton models.

Volkswagen Passat Common Problems

Volkswagen Passat on Highway in Turkey

Volkswagen Passat first entered production in 1973 as a follower of their Volkswagen 1600. It is still one of the most successful models and the second best-selling next to Volkswagen Golf.

VW Passat has six generations so far, each with its own set of problems. Some models are more reliable than the rest, and few are better avoided. The latest generation also had a recall related to the Takata airbag inflators.

The most number of problems occurred between the years 2001-2006. The model year 2003 is considered to be the worst year. It was followed by 2002 due to the high repair cost and severity of the issues.

This article takes you through the common problems in a VW Passat and the model years with severe issues.

Is a Volkswagen Passat a Reliable Car?

According to RepairPal, Volkswagen Passat reliability is pretty moderate at 3.5/5, taking 12th place out of 32 car brands. Despite that, it is a good midsize vehicle delivering a comfortable ride, even on bumpy roads. Having said that, it has its downsides too. The infotainment screen is much smaller than its competitors. Its fuel economy and mediocre performance aren’t as great either.

How Many Miles Does a Passat Last?

Much like any other vehicle, your VW Passat will last as long as you take good care of your car. Depending on the maintenance, it can last well into the 100,000-mile mark and even more. An average Passat can reach 100,000 miles in about 7 1/2 years. If your car has been giving you reliable performance, you can drive it for ten years or more.

What Goes Wrong with a Volkswagen Passat?

According to VWProblems, Passat owners have recorded a whopping 926 complaints in all 31 model years. Most of the complaints are related to engine and electrical concerns. Furthermore, the 2003 model year was also plagued with engine failures. 

Common Problems of a Volkswagen Passat

VW Passat is one of the most reliable and dependable in the midsize sedan segment since the 1970s. However, that doesn’t mean that it is out of mistakes. VW Passat has been plagued with issues from the electrical system to the engine and also the power train. Few issues occur only after several years of running while others in the very first year. And then others have forced Volkswagen to issue a recall.

However, the most common issues include:

Loose Timing Chain

Do you hear a rattling sound coming from the engine? Are you having problems starting the car? A loose timing chain may be to blame.

According to Volkswagen, timing chain issues should not arise before 120,000 miles. However, customers have reported issues even at 20,000 miles. As per experts, the cause is the timing chain tensioner failure.

Timing chains connect the crankshaft to the camshaft via guides and tensioners. They also keep the valves of the cylinder in sync with the pistons present in the combustion chamber. Issues with the tensioner can cause the timing chain to become loose. And if this happens, you can expect some serious problems ahead and a possible engine failure.

Signs of loose timing chains include:

  • Engine rattling while starting or idling
  • Trouble starting the car
  • Check engine light
  • Metal trimmings in oil

Class Action Lawsuit

Tired of the repeated issues, the first timing chain lawsuit was filed back in 2016. It was soon followed by 24 more plaintiffs in 17 states and was consolidated in the New Jersey court. Finally, it was settled in 2018, with VW agreeing to a new vehicle limited warranty. The conditions of the claim are:

  • 100% reimbursement if done by an authorized VW dealer. Else, the owners get a refund between $1,100 and $1,500.
  • If you already repaired or replaced the timing chain, you can claim reimbursement. However, the service should have been done within ten years or at 100,000 miles.
  • If not done by an authorized dealer, VW is not responsible for the problems that arise.

Clock Spring Failure

An airbag warning light may be several things. But together with that, are you having problems with your steering wheel buttons? Does your horn trouble you of late? Your clock spring is failing.

Clock springs generally last for a long time, sometimes even the life of the vehicle. However, Volkswagen has been having clock spring issues for quite some time resulting in recalls back in 2015. The scope of the recall included 2010-2014 Passat and few other models. Some Passat owners reported steering issues as early as 80,500 miles.

The clock spring is positioned between the steering column and the steering wheel. It establishes a connection between the wheel and the car’s computers. A faulty clock spring disables the steering wheel airbag, the horn, and the buttons.

As per Volkswagen’s response to the failure, the issues were attributed to the debris contaminating the clock spring. Apart from that, your technician may also be to blame. It is also possible to damage the clock spring when reinstalling the steering wheel. Signs of a clock spring failure include:

  • Reduced steering control
  • Loud popping noises
  • Airbag warning light

Ignition Coil Failure

The ignition coil failure is a common problem among all Volkswagen cars. The truth is, they have had issues with ignition coil and connectors. And these have landed drivers in hot water with no power steering or brakes or even a stalled engine in some cases.

The ignition coil is a crucial part of the ignition system. It converts the voltage (the battery) to energy and feeds it to the spark plug. Unfortunately, Volkswagen has a coil-on-plug design where the coil is situated straight on top of the plug. This system increases the chances of failure creating engine trouble.

Also, the setup sits above the engine, baking in the heat generated. The prolonged exposure to the heat damages the wires and seals, making them brittle.

Signs of ignition coil failure include:

  • Noisy engine cranks
  • Engine backfire or hesitations
  • Startup issues

Continued issues also increase the risk of engine fires. And if it fails when driving, it cuts power to the power steering, engine, and brake assist all at once. With the rising complaints, Volkswagen offered to replace the ignition coils for free.

Oil Sludge

Is your engine starting to overheat? Your engine may be running on oil sludge. As long as you have kept up with your maintenance, you are not to blame.

Engine troubles are fairly standard in Volkswagen, especially in Passat. However, in the 2003 model year, the engine-related issues were caused by oil sludge. It is a thick mixture of oil and contaminants which increases friction and heat. In most cases, you can see the oil pressure light come on after the oil change.

Between the years 1997-2005, VW Passat used a 1.8-liter turbo engine with a 3.7-quart oil capacity. Unfortunately, the small oil supply was in no way enough for the engine. This allowed for oil sludge to form and, when left undetected, can lead to engine failure. This issue generally popped up at around 80-000 miles.

Class Action Lawsuit

Volkswagen admitted the issue in 2004 and offered an extended warranty for eight years. However, the issue was so frequent that it led to a class-action lawsuit in 2005, settled in 2010. If detected early, you can flush the oil sludge and replace the oil pump to prevent the reoccurrence. Else, you may have to have your engine replaced, which is an expensive affair.

Engine Misfire

Another common problem in Volkswagen Passat is the engine misfire. It is seen particularly among the model years 1998-2000, 2002-2010, and 2013. The reason was faulty ignition coils, spark plugs, or ignition wires. Most owners faced it at 88,873 miles, but it also happened at 11,000 miles in some cases.

Signs of an engine misfire include:

  • Engine jerking or shaking
  • Engine sputtering
  • Sudden loss of engine power
  • Check engine light

Replacing the defective components solved the issue. On a positive note, high-quality replacements are available at affordable prices.

Engine Oil Leaks

Engine oil leaks are another common Passat problem. The reason for the leak may be a worn-out camshaft chain tensioner gasket or valve cover gasket. The problem was common in 13 model years from 1998 through to 2010. Most car owners have faced the leak at an average of 102,809 miles in the odometer. However, few faced this as early as 11,555 miles.

Volkswagen Passat Engine Oil Leak

The affected engines include:

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbo
  • 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel turbo
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 2.8-liter V6
  • 3.6-liter V6

You may encounter one or both if you have an engine oil leak:

  • The smell of burning oil
  • Oil puddles on the floor

On a positive note, the leak can be fixed by replacing the valve cover gasket with a new one.

Digital Display Failure

Few owners experienced their digital display going dark on the instrument cluster. While some were facing an intermittent failure, others had it stop working without warning. The issue was frequent in 14 model years, including 1995 and 1998 to 2010.

The reason for the failure was attributed to high temperature and humidity. In most cases, the issue was apparent at 134,623 miles, while in others, it was only at 14,000 miles. Therefore, the only solution is to replace the entire instrument cluster.

ABS Control Module Failure

Another expensive issue that Passat owners faced is the ABS control module failure. This problem affected 15 model years, i.e., 1993, 1998 to 2010, and 2012. While the ABS light lit up at an average of 118,896 miles, there have been cases where it happened only at 11,000 miles.

ABS or anti-lock braking system is designed to bring your car to a stop without locking the wheels. As long as the wheels spin, you can retain control. Modern ABS uses a complicated system of electronics and code to make your driving safer.

On the downside, they can fail. And when they fail, all the indicators go on, and the ABS dies on you. Some owners also reported failing brakes, transmission problems, and a loss of power while accelerating.

Signs of the ABS control module failure include:

  • Flashing ABS light
  • Blinking brake light, power steering, oil level, traction control, or engine indicators

Generally, fashing ABS light indicated an ABS control module replacement. However, it is not always the same.

Interior Accessories Malfunction

A majority of the Passat problems in the model year 2013 were issues with the navigation unit. They include:

  • Stereo/ navigation shut down
  • Backup camera taking too long to respond
  • Driver’s door not locking

The only fix for this issue is to replace the faulty parts. For example, owners with door lock problems have to replace their door latch assembly.

Mass Airflow Sensors Failure

Mass airflow sensors(MAF) are an integral part of modern engines. You can see it inside the intake air duct, between the engine and the air filter. MAF helps the engine to achieve a perfect blend of air, fuel, and combustion to run in an efficient manner.

The sensor monitors the air entering the engine, the amount, and the density. It then sends the measurements to the engine control unit. The ECU then uses the measurements to calculate how much fuel the car needs and when.

As with every electronic device, the MAF tends to wear down in all cars. However, with Volkswagen Passat a little more early than acceptable. A dirty air filter will cause a buildup of debris and contaminants on the MAF leading to failure. Signs of a failing mass airflow sensor include:

  • The engine is hard to start
  • Engine stalling or misfiring
  • Reduced acceleration with engine hesitating or jerking
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Bad idle performance
  • Warning lights

While it is easy to clean a mass airflow sensor, sometimes your dealer might prefer to replace it.

Is It Expensive to Fix a Volkswagen Passat?

Volkswagen Passat Repair Cost

Overall, Passat is generally cheaper to maintain. The yearly maintenance is about $639 compared to the average maintenance cost of $651. The price depends on various factors, including your driving record, maintenance, and miles.


There are quite a few problems associated with Volkswagen Passat. Some come into light after years of operation, while others quite early. In some cases, the manufacturers have issued a recall or reimbursements.

However, it goes without saying that it doesn’t affect reliability if you repair a problem in time. And as for recalls, Volkswagen gives you ample time to file your claims.

Even though Passat is plagued with problems, it is still a great car. It has a smooth and comfortable ride, spacious trunk, and roomy seats. As long as you avoid the problem years (like 2002 and 2003), you should be good to go. Moreover, you can avoid high repair costs and keep your car running for a long time.

For over 45 years, Little Germany is a certified Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars such as the VW Passat. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs. If you need service after our normal business hours, please fill out our After-Hours form.

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