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Suggested Maintenance Intervals

Why is this maintenance schedule here?

While Volkswagen & Audi publish maintenance intervals for their vehicles, neither is immune from the general trend in the industry - the move towards high service intervals to appeal to buyers. It's this trend towards the ideal of a maintenance-free car that has led to the development of "lifetime" fluids and sealed transmissions, among others. Unfortunately, gasoline cars still operate much as they have for the past decades, working against enemies such as heat, contamination, and aging - often leaving newer technologies aimed at increasing service intervals only a partial solution.

The maintenance schedule below has been compiled with real-world use in mind, including early replacements for items known to fail before their time (most importantly, the timing belt). The listings at each interval are loosely ranked by priority, but note that this is a list of carefully compiled essentials - with the exception of the cabin air filter, skipping items will directly lead to disrepair & failures. A few suggested replacement parts are also listed, with US sources listed when parts are not commonly available. Considering the significant expenditure a car represents, keeping to such a schedule can dramatically reduce the cost of ownership by preventing the common failures of aging and neglected cars. All hail TCO.

For more information on the various fluids used below, check out the Recommended Fluids page.

Suggested Maintenance Intervals (1.8t engine):

  • 3,000 miles / 3 months
  • 6,000 miles / 6 months
    • Change engine oil & filter
      Mobil1 0W-40 synthetic oil - $5/quart (5 qts. required)
      Mann W 940/25 oil filter - $7 (datasheet)

      As noted in the comments below, use a 5,000 mile replacement interval if you're still covered under the powertrain warranty. Up to 2001: 10 years/100k miles (5 years/50k miles for second owners). 2002 onward: 5 years/60k miles (for all owners).

      The original oil filter for the 1.8t engine has been superseded by a much larger capacity filter (the filter used for diesel engines), likely due to sludge issues on cars that ran conventional oil with long replacement intervals. The new part number is 068 115 561 B (originally 06A 115 561 B), and with the added capacity the 1.8t engine now takes 4.2 quarts of oil.

    • Rotate tires

    • Leather interiors: Apply leather conditioner.
      Lexol Leather Shampoo - $9, 1 liter (National Bridle)
      Lexol Leather Conditioner - $9, 1 liter (National Bridle)

  • 12 months
    • Replace windshield wiper blades
      Lexor B-series wiper refills - $4 (Walmart)
      ANCO N-21R wiper refills - $5 (AutoZone, Pep Boys, O'Reilly's)

    • Replace cabin air filter: Replacement (and improvement) procedure
      Mann CU 3955 cabin air filter - $11 (datasheet)
      Bosch P3740 cabin air filter - $18
      Bosch C3740 activated carbon cabin air filter - $27

  • 30,000 miles / 24 months
    • Flush brake fluid: Flushing procedure
      Valvoline DOT4 brake fluid - $5/quart (1 qt. required)

    • Tiptronic transmissions - change ATF: Replacement procedure
      Valvoline MERCON V ATF - $3/quart (4 qts. required)
      Quaker State/Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF - $3/quart
      OEM Esso LT 71141 - $12/liter

    • Replace engine air filter
      Mann C 26 168 air filter - $8 (datasheet)
      Purolator A47039 air filter - $16 (Pep Boys)
      Bosch 73456 air filter - $29

    • Replace spark plugs
      NGK BKUR6ET (AEB engine) - $2/each (4 required)
      Bosch F7LTCR (AEB engine) - $4/each (4 required)
      NGK BKR6E (copper, ATW engine) - $1.60/each (4 required, O'Reilly's)
      NGK PFR6Q (platinum, ATW engine) - $11/each (4 required)

  • 60,000 miles / 48 months
    • Replace timing belt, tensioner, accessory belts, water pump: Replacement procedure
      Timing belt kit - $190 (ECS Tuning)
      Idler roller - $28
      Accessory belts - $30
      Water pump impeller - $50

    • Tiptronic transmissions - change ATF & filter: Replacement procedure
      Valvoline MERCON V ATF - $3/quart - $3/quart (6 qts. required, as the pan needs to be dropped to replace the filter)
      Quaker State/Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF - $3/quart
      OEM Esso LT 71141 - $12/liter
      Transmission filter kit - $30

    • Replace fuel filter
      Mann WK 830/7 fuel filter - $10 (datasheet)
      Bosch 71056 fuel filter - $17

    • Flush power steering fluid
      Pentosin CHF-11s - $12/liter (2 liters required, TDIParts.com)

    • Flush cooling system: Flushing procedure
      VW/Audi G12 - $8/1.5 liter (4 liters required)
      Prestone Extended Life - $8/gallon (1 gallon required)

  • 100,000 miles / 72 months
    • Replace pre-catalytic converter oxygen sensor
      Bosch oxygen sensor - $23 (ECS Tuning)
      Bosch pre-cat universal oxygen sensor, #15733 ~$50

      The pre-cat(alytic converter) oxygen sensor is responsible for reporting rich/lean conditions to the ECU - usually an old sensor will not trigger a check engine light, but instead will have a slow response time, which can lead to problems with regulating the air/fuel ratio at optimum (killing gas mileage). The post-cat oxygen sensor also monitors the exhaust gas, but there's usually little reason to replace it as the ECU doesn't use the post-cat sensor to alter the mix. A universal oxygen sensor is the same as OEM, you'll just need to cut off the connector harness from the old sensor and splice it onto the new sensor (Bosch universal oxygen sensor installation guide)

    • Manual transmission - change manual transmission fluid
      OEM fluid - (3 qts. required)


  • Where is the ATF dip stick and how can I drain and change the ATF and the filter as well? Anyone out there who knows the right thing I should do?

    Luvai (Zimbabwe) - Aug 29, 2013 @ 3:56 am
  • as for me its APU engine turbo,what the vehicle is due for service and it showing service now,what are requirements since i do not have manual for the same vehicle?
    boldwin silwizya - Jan 9, 2013 @ 11:19 pm
  • How in the world do you check the transmission fluid?? Where is the dip stick located? Have a small leak and would like to top it off. Only had the car 3 months. 2004 VW Passat 4motion.
    Ralph USA - Sep 23, 2011 @ 6:05 pm
  • How in the world do you check the transmission fluid?? Where is the dip stick located? Have a small leak and would like to top it off. Only had the car 3 months. 2004 VW Passat 4motion.
    Ralph - Sep 23, 2011 @ 6:01 pm
  • I drive a 2005 VW Passat tdi - numerous people have said the engine is very loud. Is this just a particularly noisy vehicle or do you think something might be wrong?
    Sandra - South Africa - Jul 11, 2011 @ 5:08 am
    MAU FROM MANTECA CALIFORNIA - Feb 10, 2011 @ 1:03 pm
  • Siva from Australia..

    Did you check if they under filled the transmission? Also clean throttle body, oxygen and AIT sensor, replace spark plugs etc can make a difference. Check www.passatworld.com/forums for more details..
    Saneesh - Aug 31, 2010 @ 10:33 pm
  • Hi, I have a VW Passat. 1.8 Ltr Turbo, 20V. Year of manufacture 2001. The car has done ONLY 78,000Km. and regularly serviced on time by VW dealers.

    1) Once in a while the car is Jumping or skidding while driving????
    2) Once in a while the Engine stops while at Signal Light or when the car is not moving just during stops for waiting for signal???
    3) VW machanics does not seem to have a solution rather than just servicing transmission and trying to divert attention on here and there towards unwanted matters.
    I would really prreciates if you could help me further.
    Thank you
    Siva from Australia - Aug 30, 2010 @ 7:19 pm
  • What is the general opinion, observe the mileage or the length of time to next maintenance?
    I know all about planned obsolescence and am not in favor of replacing the timing belt after 4 yrs, but only 20k miles? Or am I being silly....
    fleetaj [uk] - May 10, 2010 @ 5:35 pm
  • Also, where the heck is the air filter? The eHow website has it in front of the driver\'s side but that is the Window Wiper motor. Where did VW put it and how do I replace it?
    Brad D - Dec 11, 2009 @ 7:58 pm
  • I just purchased a 2000 Passat. How do I tell what kind of coolant is currently in the system and if I need to flush? Also what is the difference between the ATW motor and the AUG motor and how do I make sure which one I have? Thanks.
    BRAD DECAMP - Dec 11, 2009 @ 7:55 pm
  • I bought my 03 Passat with 50,000 miles. Dont know if they ever changed tranny oil. Now its 86,000 and I wonder if its dangerous to change. The tranny is working great but I\'m planning to keep the car. Any advise?
    Ricky - Dec 6, 2009 @ 9:57 pm
  • I have a 2001 Passat with a 1.8 L engine and automatic transmission with 183K miles and am currently not experiencing any problems whatsoever. I get an average of 31 mpg on the freeway, use AMSOIL 5W-40 motor oil since brand new, and today\'s smog check (required by Calif. state law) showed that I have an exceptionally clean engine. I know I pay a high price by having all of my servicing done by the dealer, however, I feel it is worth it in the long run. I expect to keep the car until at least 250K miles.
    MarkC in Merced, CA USA - Sep 12, 2009 @ 3:00 pm
  • hey, definitely get the timing belt changed before 188 000 km. Mine slipped off at while going 155km/h had to get the engine re-built cost $3700 Canadian. 98\' passat 1.8t auto.
    william Canadian eh - Aug 15, 2009 @ 4:34 pm
  • Ignition switch, T-belt, Water Pump and Engine valves for 99 VW Passat are changed. But the car does not start. Would you have any suggestion?
    Mamo - May 29, 2009 @ 8:15 am
  • hi guys,have a passat 1.8TDi 2000 and after start the car goes very very slow-think a turbo doesnt work but after about 1km comes on and runs well.This is happening every time when engine is cold.Does anybody know how to fix it? Many thanks
    miki - Mar 24, 2009 @ 3:36 pm
  • hey i have a 99 passat and the transmission fails at 100k, because i didnt change the ATF, now i need to spend like uss1.500 fixin the problem, so you need too change it before the 90k miles
    mexico - Jul 31, 2008 @ 1:31 pm
  • Well, I had my 1998 Passat 1.8T for 134,000kms and now i have this intermittent problem where my car feels like stalling upon acceleration. If I stop the car and restart it the problem goes away until it happens a couple of days later. Have done TB clean and MAF clean which worked fine for 5 days..Diagnostics can not find any faults...Help is needed here as i have tried 2 mechanics without success.
    aussie bob Australia - May 21, 2008 @ 12:38 am
  • Well, I had my 1998 Passat 1.8T for 134,000kms and now i have this intermittent problem where my car feels like stalling upon acceleration. If I stop the car and restart it the problem goes away until it happens a couple of days later. Have done TB clean and MAF clean which worked fine for 5 days..Diagnostics can not find any faults...Help is needed here as i have tried 2 mechanics without success.
    aussie bob Australia - May 21, 2008 @ 12:38 am
  • The maintenance booklet for my 2003 AWM code motor lists 105,000 Miles as the TB change interval, and I\'ve read that the interval for CARB state cars has been extended. Can anyone comment on this longer interval.

    Alex Canada - May 3, 2008 @ 10:08 am
  • Hi...quick question regarding my 2000 VW Passat 4 Motion. I have 130K miles and my rear differential output seals are leaking. The dealership wants over $500 for the repair. I did invest a lot of money on the timing belt recently and I wanted your thoughts if you think I need to do this repair. Thanks
    Tucker (US) - Feb 21, 2008 @ 11:18 am
  • Hi there
    I have a problem with my front driver side door, ie. when I open the door, the door & overhead panel light does not illuminate. I can still operate all the windows when that door is open. My electronic trunk lock has also stopped working, so, I think the problem might be within this driverside doorlock mechanism.
    I have had a look at the \'door lock problem site\' & would like to know if the replacement of those micro switches might sort out my problem? Perhaps there is something else you, or, anyone can suggest!
    Stephan Lourens (Cape Town RSA) - Aug 25, 2007 @ 8:58 am
  • How do I change out the alternator on an \'04 passat 1.8T
    Don USA - Aug 17, 2007 @ 7:54 pm
  • I need to replace the valve stem seals on my VW Passat 1.8T/A 20V 1998 model. Can you please suggest procedure. Thanks for the timing belt replacement procedure, it was a great help.
    Charles harding - Jul 21, 2007 @ 4:25 pm
  • i have a 2003 V6 Triptronic, i was wonder if anyone can let me know procedure and technical data for a oil change for triptronic transmision. i can see on your very usefull web site a suggested maintenance program, im looking for one that i can apply on my car.
    nice site
    best regards.
    Germain from Mexico - Mar 2, 2007 @ 8:20 am
  • About the control arms in the front suspension: This is a known weak point of the Passat. I had 8 control arms replaced in 2004 and paid EUR 575 for the parts. (about USD 700). Only recently I learned that VW is recalling Passat owners to the workshop for a check on the control arms. It should be possible to press your dealer or importer for a cheap or free replacement of faulty control arms.
    About the air mass meter in the TDI engine: Also a weak part. I paid EUR 255 for the new part and now it appears you can trade in your broken part for a refurbished one for free. VW is offering this replacement in Germany after public outcry. An electronic part like this one should last a lifetime and not break down after 180 000 km.
    Johan Labberté, Netherlands - May 26, 2006 @ 4:32 am
  • Hi, for technical drawings check volkswagen technical site. http://volkswagen.msk.ru/
    Yes it is in russian but there is enough english mixed in to find your way around.
    I had a good look in H.R. Etzold, VW Passat, So wird\'s gemacht. ISBN 3-7688-1026-7 . I found an oxygen sensor on the exhaust manifold but none downstream of the catalytic converter. Could this be a part used only on the American market?

    Johan Labberté, Netherlands - May 26, 2006 @ 4:14 am (website)
  • Just wondering, where the location of the O2 sensors are on a 2000 VW Passat are?! Most people in my area (mechanics) cannot find it and will replace it very cheap. I don\'t have any options as to where I can take my car to be serviced. Can I have some help please?
    Jonathan USA - Apr 26, 2006 @ 12:31 pm
  • I have 2 problems with my Passat 1.8, 1998. The rubber glaslist mounted on each door on bottom of the windows are getting rusty in the inner iron list and the rubber makes bubles thru it. Have anybody got VW to pay for exchange the rust perforation warranty ? Local dealer claims, perforation waraanty on 11 years only cover painted plates.

    Second, I also have a clunking sound, which I believe comes from the righ hand front suspension. 2 different dealers says, they can\'t find any error. Suspension and engine suspension is working OK, they say. The clunk sound can come one or twice a day and disappear for 2 weeks. Any suggestions ?
    Erik Byskov, Denmark - Oct 23, 2005 @ 5:55 am
  • Replaced two upper control arms passenger side. Problem is back with a clunking sound when I hit bumps and speed bumps on the road. Took car in to national tire battery , but no problem found. 2000 Passat 1.8 turbo. Help.
    Eden u.s. - Sep 3, 2005 @ 12:18 am
  • 99 Passat with 80 k and upper control arms have gone bad (left and right). Changed a wheel bearing 4 months ago. How could I have prevented this? Is it really bad luck?
    Xavy - KY - Aug 18, 2005 @ 9:42 pm
  • Yes...the heat is getting to me. It\'s a 2000 Passat GLX V6/5spd
    Jade-FL - Aug 18, 2005 @ 12:00 pm
  • Windshield fogging on passenger side and slight hissing sound after cutting off engine?? Temp gage reads fine...coolant level o.k. and hoses seem fine. Could an aged/clogged cabin filter be the cause or the FL suicidal heat? Thanks for taking the time t reply! PS-Where the heck is the air filter located-not even a picture in the manual?? :(
    Jade-FL - Aug 18, 2005 @ 11:52 am
  • I recently had the engine light on my 2002 passat glx wagon come on. I went to autozone and got codes PO491 and PO492 - Secondar air system. Can anyone tell me what typically is wrong with this code. The car seems to run fine. PLease email me with possible solutions. I have no warranty and would like to do the work myself.

    sarbhpreet - Jul 30, 2005 @ 11:17 am
  • Does someone know how to replace/flush steering fluid?
    Also, same thing for brake fluid flush, what\'s the procedure?
    Dan - Jul 11, 2005 @ 11:42 pm
  • Hello! I have a 2000 Passat GLX (V6). I was wondering when I need to get a tune-up. Any advice? Thanks in advance!
    Santana - Jun 19, 2005 @ 1:20 am
  • Fuel filter is located in front of the rear wheel (right side) -
    need to take of the cover (2 bolts), and put the new one, fairly easy!
    Dan - May 6, 2005 @ 4:31 pm
  • Hi guys. I was wonderin if anyone out there has changed a fuel filter on a 99 passat 4 cyl turbo.
    dawg - May 5, 2005 @ 8:35 pm
  • hi fellas, having problems with giddiness/play
    in ,98 tdi passat steering rack.. can outer part of rack be replaced.. or can you guys post up a diagram of steering rack exploded view.. many thanks..
    danniecassidy@yahoo.co.uk - Apr 1, 2005 @ 7:26 am
  • Powertrain warranty requires an oil change every 5K miles, not 6K. For city driving, I don\'t think every 3K miles with Mobil 1 is excessive.
    John E - Mar 28, 2005 @ 8:57 am
  • I\'ve just changed the ATF and filter at almost 100K miles. This really makes a big difference, the transmission is so much smoother, it feels new. Lifetime ATF, yeah right.
    Guillaume - Jan 28, 2005 @ 2:14 am

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