2003 Volkswagen Passat Auto Trans on 2003 Passat

Tiny
MIKE4450
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 80,000 MILES
For a few months, the car has been slow to shift out of first when cold. This could be worked around by using the "4" position. We live far from a reliable dealer, but we had it scanned last week while on vacation. The only scan code was for a switch on the transmission, which we planned to fix ASAP. The dealer said he couldn't check the transmission fluid level, because it must be a certain temp to check it, and we couldn't leave the car there all day.

A few days later, it has gotten worse. Shifts can be abrupt, it sometimes won't shift from first, and sometimes ALL the gear indicators light up on the dashboard (PRND432). Yesterday the MIL went on, and it stays on despite our topping up the oil. So we are not driving it and wondering what to do.

- The closest dealer is an hour away. A better dealer is two hours away. Is it safe to drive that far w/ the MIL on, or should we have the car towed?

- Are the two problems (tranny and MIL) likely related?

- Any ideas as to what is going on and what it is likely to cost to fix?
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Sunday, July 5th, 2009 AT 3:34 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi Mike4450,

Thank you for the donation.

What was the exact trouble code retrieved? Most major parts stores provides scanning services, either free or for a nominal fee. You can get them read if you don't remember the trouble code.

This code could be causing the transmission and it could be related to the erratic shifting. The MIL cuold be related to the trans problem and when MIL comes on, they take precedence over other codes and should be rectified first.

The MIL should not be of major concern if it is not causing any problem to the engine performance but scanning it to find the cause would be the best option.

I am more concerned about the trans as a fault can cause extensive damage to it if not rectified soon. Get the scan done and let me know the codes so I can provide the correct advice.
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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 AT 1:09 PM
Tiny
MIKE4450
  • MEMBER
Ken,

Thanks for the answer. I had it to the dealer today, and they confirmed the code (detected by the other dealer) for the transmission range sensor switch. They have ordered the part, and it will be put in next week. They said they had replaced some of them before to cure similar symptoms. The part is about $250.

Thanks for the tip on the parts houses having scanners. I didn't realize that.

Interestingly, the MIL went off by itself on my way to the dealer. Perhaps the light was from my wife's forgetting to replace the gas cap for a few hours. In any case, the car runs fine, with no sign of engine or transmission distress except for the initial shifting early in the morning. That seems to be better if we let it warms up a little before driving.

This Passat is blissfully quiet, comfortable, smooth running, and handles beautifully. It has a lot of nice usability touches. The tradeoff seems to be less reliability than the typical Japanese car (or Ford, for that matter) and expensive parts. The A/C compressor died at 49500 mi (thank heavens not at 50001) and we have had several other quirks that surprised us.
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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 AT 8:48 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hope the part resolves the problem. Yes, the MIL could be due to the gas cap but when scanning the code should have appeared in the scanner.

Part houses provides scanning for engine faults but transmission, ABS and air bags scanning might not be available.
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Thursday, July 9th, 2009 AT 9:04 AM
Tiny
MIKE4450
  • MEMBER
Thought I'd let you know that the part was replaced yesterday, and it seems to have solved the problem.
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Thursday, July 16th, 2009 AT 9:26 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Thank you for the input.

It makes our day when our work receives positive response.

Thank you for using 2carpros.
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Thursday, July 16th, 2009 AT 1:47 PM

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