Volkswagen Passat B7

The 7 Most Common Volkswagen Passat B7 Problems

Chandler Stark

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Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.

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Volkswagen’s B7 Passat was essentially a facelifted B6 Passat. It was introduced in September 2010 at the Paris Motor Show. It featured a slighter longer new body with prominent changes to the grille and headlights. Also, the spacious interior was revamped from its predecessor. It was available in dealership’s at the beginning of 2011.

Passat B7 Engines

The engines in the B7 do not differ from the B6, aside from minor improvements. The gas engines that were featured in the B7 Passat were an EA211 1.4 TSI engine that featured a single turbo that put down 148hp and 184lb-ft of torque. Other gas engines were the 1.8 TSI (160hp/184lb-ft of torque), an EA888 2.0 TSI (207hp/207lb-ft), an EA855 2.5L (170hp/177lb-ft), and an EA390 3.6 FSI VR6 (276hp/266lb-ft). The diesel engines that the Passat B7 featured were an EA189 1.6 TDI (103hp/184lb-ft), 1.9 TDI (103hp/184lb-ft), and two different EA189 2.0 TDI engines: 138hp/236lb-ft & 174hp/280lb-ft.

Before getting into any common problems, we will try to drill down what engine is common with the problem. With that said, for any of the replacement parts listed below, please make sure the parts fit on your vehicle. Okay, let’s get into what you came here for, the common problems seen in a Passat B7.

Common Passat B7 Volkswagen Problems

  1. Ignition coil pack failure
  2. Fuel injector failure
  3. PCV valve failure
  4. Excessive oil consumption
  5. Stretched timing chain
  6. Carbon buildup
  7. EGR valve failure

1. Ignition Coil Pack Failure

Ignition coil pack failure can be seen in any of the engines featured in the Passat B7. They transform the battery’s lower voltage into the higher voltage needed for the spark plugs to create a spark in the combustion chamber. Without functioning coil packs, a vehicle wouldn’t function properly.

The main reasons ignition coil packs fail are normal wear and tear or modified cars. What do we mean when we say modified cars? Factory coil packs are not built for heavily modified vehicles. Therefore if your Passat is modified, we highly advise getting aftermarket coil packs that were made to sustain more power. When a coil pack does fail, it is likely to see engine misfires, however, when multiple coil packs fail, it is common to have trouble starting the engine. In Volkswagen’s and Audi’s, these failing is common and should be replaced or looked at every 50,000 miles.

Symptoms of Coil Packs Failure:

  • CEL/MIL illuminating
  • Engine misfires with P0300 – P0306 fault codes
  • Poor engine performance
  • Engine stalls or surges
  • Issues with the engine starting

Coil Pack Replacement Options:

Replacing ignition coil packs is one of the easier DIYs on this list if you have the proper tools. If a coil pack does end up going out, we highly advise changing them all out at the same time to avoid future headaches. It may be less cost-efficient, but it’ll be worth it in the near and long term. A mechanic or dealer would likely charge around $200.

Buy Here: B7 Passat OEM Ignition Coil Pack Replacement
Buy Here: B7 Passat OEM Spark Plug Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

2. Fuel Injector Failure

Fuel injector issues can be seen in diesel engines, specifically the 1.6TDI or 2.0TDI. As it sounds, fuel injectors inject fuel directly into an engine’s cylinder initiating engine combustion. These are important because functioning fuel injectors pump the optimal amount of fuel into the cylinders.

These fail in a few ways: they are defective out of the factory, are clogged, or start to leak. When they do fail, engine performance is significantly affected because the optimal fuel flow is put off. If maintenance is followed religiously and high-quality fuel is used the likelihood of failing injectors is low unless they are defective from the factory. A vehicle may go through one set of injectors throughout its lifecycle.

Symptoms of Fuel Injector Failure:

  • Engine misfires
  • Sporadic idling
  • Oil leaks
  • Rough idle
  • Poor engine performance
  • Rough engine starting

Fuel Injector Replacement Options:

There are two options when it comes to fuel injectors: replace them or repair the gaskets. Most of the time, replacing them will be easier, although it’ll cost more. Unlike ignition coils, however, you don’t HAVE to replace all of them when one goes out. With that said, fuel injectors can be tricky to get to, so you would have to know your way around an engine to get these done. A mechanic or dealer will likely charge $1,000, depending on how many need to be replaced.

Buy Here: B7 Passat TDI Fuel Injector Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

3. PCV Valve Failure

PCV valve, often referred to as an engine oil separator, is very common to fail in a majority of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. A PCV valve controls the emissions that an engine gives off into the environment. It transports the gases produced by the engine and sends them back into the combustion chamber to get burned before leaving the engine. This prevents the engine from building up gunk in the crankcase.

The main reason the PCV valve fails is due to normal wear and tear because of what the component is made out of. A plastic component transporting extremely hot gases will eventually fail and when it does, it has many effects on an engine that won’t go unnoticed. A Volkswagen or Audi will likely have one or two failing PCV valves in its life cycle but should be looked at every 50,000 miles.

Symptoms of PCV Valve Failure:

  • Lean AFRs w/ P0507 or P0171 fault codes
  • Whistling coming from the engine
  • Engine misfires
  • Excessive oil consumption

PCV Valve Replacement Options:

Most of the time when a PCV valve fails, the whole unit will have to be replaced. Replacing a PCV valve is a pretty straightforward DIY and will save money on labor costs. A mechanic or dealer will likely charge around $200-$300.

Buy Here: B7 Passat TDI PCV Valve Replacement (CVCA Engine Code)
Buy Here: B7 Passat 2.0T PCV Valve Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

4. Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is predominantly found in the EA888 Gen2 engines, or the 1.8TSI & 2.0 TSI engines, used in the Passat B7. When this happens, more oil is being consumed than what is set by Volkswagen. If you notice the low oil indicator illuminating more often than it should be, it may be worth taking into a shop to get it checked out. Something that they can perform is a compression test, which will indicate how much pressure the engine makes and if there is a leak causing the oil light to come on more frequently.

Essentially what happened with the EA888 engines is Volkswagen made the piston rings too thin out of the factory which was causing the engines to take in more oil than the optimal amount. If excessive oil consumption is ignored for too long, it could cause major engine damage to the tune of $6,000. Many owners have encountered major engine damages around the 60,000 mile mark.

Symptoms of Excessive Oil Consumption:

  • Losing oil at a quicker pace than usual
  • Oil deposits in the engine
  • Low oil light illuminating
  • Blue smoke emitting from the exhaust
  • Metal in the bottom of the oil pan

5. Stretched Timing Chain or Timing Belt Failure

Volkswagen has always had issues with its timing belts and timing chains. These apply to all of the engines found in the B7. However, also combined in this is going to be the tensioners needed for the belts or chains because these have always been prone to premature failure. A timing chain opens and closes the valves in an engine. Without a functioning timing chain, major engine damage could occur.

The majority of the time when the timing chain fails, it is because of the tensioner that is in charge of keeping the chain at the optimal tension needed. When a timing chain becomes stretched or a tensioner fails, the chain can jump leading to the internal valves bending and creating a costly engine repair. Timing chains typically have a full lifecycle on them, but with the weak tensioners associated, they tend to stretch more often.

Symptoms of Timing Chain or Belt Failure:

  • CEL/MIL illuminating
  • Fault codes P0506, P0016, P0011, P0341, P052A, or P000A present
  • Shaved metal found in the oil pan
  • Engine misfires or backfires
  • Engine skipping gears
  • Rough idle

Timing Chain/Timing Belt Replacement Options:

Timing chains and timing belts typically will have to be replaced if they are stretched or broken (obviously). Unfortunately, replacing either is not an easy DIY because you have to be cautious to not mess up the timing of the engine. When it comes to replacing either, we advise replacing the associated tensioners as well. A mechanic or dealer would likely charge around $700 to replace the timing belt and up to $2,000 for a timing chain replacement.

Buy Here: B7 Passat OEM Timing Chain Kit Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

6. Carbon Buildup

Passat B7 Carbon Build-up

Carbon buildup can be found in any modern vehicle’s engine nowadays, so this problem applies to any of the engines in the B7 Passat. When the engine burns fuel, carbon can deposit on the intake valves until so much is built up that it “clogs the windpipe” so to say, example pictured above. Think about it as a stuffy nose, when the intake valves are clogged due to soot, then engine can’t breathe or bring in as much air cause major drops in engine performance. There are some preventative measures you can take to avoid this, but the intake valves will likely need to be cleaned at least once in a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Symptoms of Carbon Buildup:

  • Decrease fuel efficiency
  • Engine knocking
  • Cold start misfires
  • Poor engine performance

How to Prevent Carbon Buildup:

  • Running your engine hard regularly (3000RPMs+)
  • Use the highest quality fuel (93+ octane)
  • Clean the valves on your own
  • Oil catch can (We don’t recommend this, but it is an option)
  • Get the intake valves walnut blasted at least once every 60,000 miles

We highly suggest looking at the intake valves of your vehicle around 45,000 miles, if they haven’t been looked at yet. There are many intake valve “cleaners” on the market, however, we don’t like the thought of using them. The best way to go is to get the valves walnut blasted, so they look like the bottom picture. You will be amazed at how much power was lost due to carbon buildup. Again, this is something that is normal in many vehicles on the road today and can’t really be prevented 100%.

7. EGR Valve Failure

EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve failure will be most commonly found in diesel engines, specifically the 1.6 and 2.0. What is an EGR valve? Similar to a PCV valve, an EGR valve recirculates a portion of the engine’s exhaust back into the engine’s cylinders to be burnt off. It connects the exhaust manifold to the intake manifold and filters out the soot emitted from an engine.

Similar to carbon buildup in the intake valves, the most common reason an EGR valve “fails” is carbon buildup or clogging, which can be cleaned manually. An EGR valve is prone to clogging at least once in a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Symptoms of EGR Valve Failure:

  • CEL/MIL illuminating w/ fault code P0401
  • Excessive fuel consumption
  • Rough engine performance
  • Engine stalls
  • More than normal fuel stench coming from the engine

EGR Valve Replacement Options:

Depending on the damage to the EGR valve, there are a few options to fix the issue: if the diaphragm is busted, it will need to be replaced, if it is clogged with soot, you can get it cleaned, or you can delete the EGR entirely. We don’t advise deleting the EGR valve, but it is an option. Whichever option you have to go with, they are all pretty straightforward DIYs. A mechanic or dealer would charge around $400 to replace the valve.

Passat B7 Reliability

Since the B7 is pretty much just a facelifted B6, the reliability is pretty much the same. There were minor improvements made to the interior and engines, so the already reliable B6 Passat, became more reliable for the B7. These can easily last over 100,000 miles with the proper maintenance. If we were to say what engine is the most reliable, the limited 2.5’s, the TDI’s, or the 3.6 VR6, however, they are hard to find. The 2.5’s are widely known to be Volkswagen’s most bulletproof engine. This is a personal preference, so make sure to do your own research.

As you can see from the problems listed above, there are a lot of components that are prone to clogging or buildup of carbon. It is imperative to use high-quality fuel, the correct high-quality oil, and follow maintenance schedules religiously.

If you want to check out more Volkswagen content, here is a write-up we did on the Passat B6 common problems.

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