The problem with VW (happened shortly after the Toyota sludge problem)
is a change to use synthetic oil of certain specification something
about a VW 505.0 or 527.55 (?) standard. Not all synthetics met the VW
VW's Audi division also increased the size of the oil filter and
capacity I think 3.x quarts to something like 4.5 quarts. (can't
remember for sure but check for yourself)
For this problem VW recommends 5000 miles or 6 months and that's using
So oil is definitely getting cooked on these sludge makers. Synthetics
can withstand the temperatures better but the fundamental design
problems are still there. Going to synthetics is only a "patch" fix.
Toyota increased engine fluid pathways on later productions to help
lessen the problem. Don't know what VW did.
Camry has smaller filter and oil capacity, so I suppose you'd want to
change sooner than 5000/6mo.
Oil sludge woes plague VW; automaker to pay for engine repairs, extend
RALPH KISIEL | Automotive News
Posted Date: 8/30/04
DETROIT - In the latest example of Volkswagen of America Inc.'s quality
woes, the automaker is warning 426,000 VW Passat and Audi A4 owners of
an engine oil sludge problem.
Affected are 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines on 1998 to
2004 Passats and 1997 to 2004 A4s. VW won't say how many engines have
been replaced or repaired, or what it is spending to fix the problem.
Owners began receiving letters from VWoA this month. Remedies range
from extending warranties to covering repair costs. That includes
Sludge buildup causes engine performance to deteriorate. In extreme
cases, sludge can cause engines to seize.
The timing couldn't be worse. VW Division has old products, and sales
are down 11.5 percent for the first seven months compared with the
year-ago period. And it has only been a year since VW voluntarily
recalled more than 500,000 vehicles because of faulty engine ignition
VW is not alone in grappling with engine oil sludge complaints. Last
week the Center for Auto Safety in Washington demanded that the
Chrysler group fix sludge problems and extend warranties on 2.7-liter
V-6 engines in its 1998 to 2002 vehicles.
Confirming that VW has received "numerous reports of problems," VWoA
spokesman Tony Fouladpour said that VW is extending factory warranties
from five years to eight years. Warranties are transferable.
Changes for '05
VW is requiring its dealers to use synthetic oil and a larger oil
filter in the 2005 Passat and A4. Some 2005 A4s are in dealerships. The
2005 Passat will arrive in October.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration source said the agency
has had 12 to 15 sludge complaints for 2000 to 2004 Passats and A4s.
One complaint was about an engine seizure.
VWoA will pay the cost of replacing an engine. For example, an
independent repair shop in Tennessee that just replaced a
sludge-damaged engine in a 1999 Passat charged the customer $2,500. Of
that, $1,400 was for labor. The customer would be eligible for a
reimbursement if he can show that he was having the oil changed as
VW dealers are seeing the problem mostly with owners who don't follow
the recommended oil change intervals, said Gene Langan, of Gene Langan
Volkswagen Inc. in Glastonbury, Conn.
"I've seen a few cases," he said. "It seems to happen mostly when we
can't verify oil change history, when people don't do them for 20,000
miles. I think that this is a problem that is pretty broad in the
industry right now."
VW owners will pay more for an oil change with synthetic oil, Langan
said. An oil change with regular oil costs about $30, he said. It's
about $65 with synthetic oil.
In its letter to Passat and A4 owners, VW says that it will cover
necessary engine repairs if oil sludge causes a problem and the vehicle
owner could provide proof of oil changes. Oil changes would have to be
according to VW-recommended maintenance schedules. VW recommends that
oil be changed at 5,000 miles or six months.
How it occurs
The letter states that engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine
oil thickens and cannot continue to provide correct lubrication. It
says the condition occurs primarily when the engine is operated at oil
change intervals beyond those prescribed in the owner's manual.
Fouladpour said VW decided to contact owners after studying the oil
sludge problem that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. faced two years ago.
Toyota in April 2002 notified 3.3 million owners of 1997 to 2002 Toyota
and Lexus vehicles with certain V-6 and four-cylinder engines that it
would pay for sludge-related repairs for eight years from date of
purchase. At the time, Toyota said that it had received about 3,400
"We looked at that and learned from their experience," Fouladpour said.
VW builds most of its 1.8 T engines at its Gyor, Hungary, engine plant.