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If you have a 2012, 2013, or 2014 Passat 2.0L TDI and got the approved emissions modification, Volkswagen has identified a potential problem with the “fix” it installed on your car that needs your immediate attention. If you have one of those vehicles but haven’t gotten the modification, you must make an important decision very soon. You’ll be getting a detailed letter in the mail from VW about this, but in the meantime, here are some key facts.

In 2016 multiple government agencies and car owners sued Volkswagen, saying that the company installed “defeat devices” in 2.0L diesel cars that cheated on emissions testing. To settle the lawsuit, Volkswagen agreed to give car owners a choice: 1) VW would modify their cars to improve emissions, plus give them a cash payment; or 2) VW would buy back their cars.

If you got the engine modification for your 2012, 2013, or 2014 Passat 2.0L TDI, here’s what you need to know.

  • There’s a problem with Volkswagen’s “fix” on 2012-2014 Passats with the modification. When driving at higher speeds – typically over 80 miles per hour for 15 minutes or longer – Passats with the modification may not inject enough diesel exhaust fluid. The 15-minute period doesn’t have to be continuous and may add up over multiple trips. If you continue to drive at that speed, your dashboard warning light may come on, letting you know your emission system is malfunctioning. Later you may hear a warning chime. At some point, once you stop your car, it might not restart.
  • What should Passat owners do if the warning light comes on? If the warning light comes on, visit your Volkswagen dealer as soon as possible. VW will turn the light off for free. Until you visit the dealer, don’t drive over 80 miles per hour.
  • What should Passat owners do if the warning light hasn’t come on? For now, don’t drive over 80 miles per hour.
  • How does Volkswagen plan to address this problem? Volkswagen is working on a free software update and will notify owners when it’s ready. Once you get the notice from VW, you can call your dealer to make an appointment for the software update or you can get the update when you bring your Passat in for any kind of service. But until you get the software update, keep your speed to under 80 mph.

If you have a 2012, 2013, or 2014 Passat 2.0L TDI but haven’t gotten the engine modification, here’s what you need to know.

  • You can still choose a buyback or early lease termination, rather than a modification. Even if you thought you might get the modification, there’s still time to change your mind and get the buyback or early lease termination instead. Call 1‑844‑98‑CLAIM by the date in the letter you get from VW to select the buyback or early lease termination. If you decide you still want the modification, wait until you hear from Volkswagen that the software update is available to fix the problem Volkswagen has reported.

Here are answers to questions Passat owners may have.

  • How can I get more information about the problem VW has reported with the engine modification? Call Volkswagen at 1-800-893-5298 or visit
  • Will Volkswagen contact me directly? Yes. Watch your mail for a letter from Volkswagen. If you don’t get the letter within the next few days, call them at 1‑800‑893‑5298.
  • Does the same problem happen to other 2.0L or 3.0L Volkswagens that have received the engine modification? Volkswagen reports that the problem only happens with 2012, 2013, and 2014 2.0L Passat TDIs that have the modification installed.
  • How can I check if my VW is subject to this recall or any other recall? Visit and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the Recall/Service Campaign Lookup Tool.

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Susanne Jensen
November 05, 2018
Thanks for the info yet know I do not have this type of vehicle nor do I have any car currently.
Catherine Roe …
November 05, 2018
I have haven't ever owned one of these types of cars but the emissions converter was my original idea that was stolen from me by moral lack of support from family and friends that left me out of the science of my ideas which involves drag racing.
November 06, 2018
Very Good.
Brett Reynolds
November 08, 2018
Great write up and information. What this does not do is say if they plan to extend the vehicle modification option as this has to be complete by 31 DEC 2018. I had an appointment but then was informed there was nothing they could do to effect repairs until a fix was done. I understand that but if I want to keep my car, desire the settlement option and modification as laid I am unable to get my portion of the settlement because I am unable to comply with the agreement, because VW's "fix" has a bug? They need to fix the issue and if you were already scheduled and set for repairs then extend the deadline. If this is happening to me it is happening to millions. Given the lowest settlement payout this equates to billions of dollars that will not go to where it was intended, the loyal vw customers.
January 10, 2019
Vw has just denied my claim as of today. They have been avoiding me and putting off my claim I believe just to deny it now and after the deadline. I was on there side at first and didn't believe it was a big deal. I own a 2014 tdi jetta. After hearing reviews of fix and all the mixed views , I didn't want. I didn't buy a car to have a fix like this . The TDI was always worth more because of mileage and prestige, however not the case now. I don't want the car and had filled out everything and now feel like I'm been played past deadline just to be denied. I would like to find legal advice or lawyer who will fight for my claim. Thank you, Travis Smith
August 23, 2019

In reply to by Travis

Does the agency review and when appropriate respond to questions consumers have submitted here?
FTC Staff
September 04, 2019

In reply to by SZYCH

This is a moderated blog; we review all comments before they are posted.  Staff may respond to comments or questions.

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