Volkswagen Extends Engine Warranties

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Volkswagen Extends Engine Warranties

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Christopher Jensen
Plain Dealer Auto Editor

Volkswagen and Audi are extending the engine warranty on two of their most popular models because of a sludge problem with the four-cylinder, turbocharged engine.

The vehicles are the 1998-2004 Volkswagen Passats and the 1997-2004 Audi A4s, both of which share the 1.8-liter engine

Volkswagen of America and Audi of America are part of Volkswagen AG.

In a letter being sent to owners, the automaker said it is extending the warranty because some consumers have complained of engine problems resulting from oil sludge.

Sludge is a thickening of the oil because moisture and contaminants build up and break down the oil, causing it to gel. That may reduce the flow of oil through the engine, causing excess wear or a failure.

The extended warranty is for eight years starting when the vehicle was new. There is no limit on mileage. The warranty covers subsequent owners.

To have repairs covered, owners must be able to prove that they changed the oil according to the automaker’s recommendation, which is six months or 5,000 miles.

“An engine failure can cost consumers thousands of dollars. Volkswagen and Audi did the right thing by taking responsibility for oil sludge in their vehicles,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer group in Washington, D.C.

Volkswagen is not alone in having a sludge problem. In 2002 Toyota announced it would cover 3.4 million engines for eight years and unlimited mileage. Those were 3.0-liter V-6s from the 1997 to 2002 model years and 2.2-liter four-cylinder engines from the 1997 to 2001 model years.

Volkswagen began sending the notices to owners recently, spokesman Tony Fouladpour said Friday.