How to fix ABS warning light on the 1999 VW Passat.
I have been a mechanic for many years and retired in 2007 right before the big recession hit. I decided to spend more time with my family (when I was working at the dealership I worked long hours and came home too tired to play with my boys). So, I just up and retired. But one thing I will never forget is working on all those VW’s and other imports.
The biggest complaint we got was that damned ABS warning light. It seemed like every day there were several VW passats with this problem and the owners were usually pretty upset when we had to tell them that they needed to replace the ABS sensor module. That little electronic piece cost around $1500 to fix back then and I can only imagine it has gone up in price since then.
The problem with this ABS sensor module is that it is very poorly constructed and so it doesn’t last more then a few years on average. So, what really gets these owners of 1998 to 1999 VW passats hot is that they have to do this same repair every few years. I would get hot and a little bent out of shape too if I had to fork out $1500 or so every few years for a poorly manufactured part that will not last long.
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When I was working at the VW dealership I couldn’t tell customers the truth – that there was a better solution then forking over $1500 or more every few years for a faulty electronics part. The real solution with these VW passats is to forgo the OEM ABS control module and go with a better made aftermarket one from Bosch for about $200 to $300. You can then hire any local mechanic to install it for you for $50 to $100.
That’s it. Then the annoying ABS warning light will not come on again unless there really is a genuine problem with the ABS system. So, for around $300 you can get the problem permanently fixed or cured. Or you can continue to go back to the car dealership every 3 to 5 years to get another faulty ABS control module installed to the tune of $1500 to as high as $2000 I hear now.
That’s just sick on the part of both the VW car dealerships and VW itself. They all know these ABS control modules they have suck and are defective. Yet they won’t tell customers the truth or even warn them. They want you all coming back as repeat customers for an easy and expensive (highly profitable to them) fix.
Another alternative, if you don’t have the $300 or so to get a better made aftermarket ABS control sensor module is to go to your local you pull it or similar junkyard. You can get a lot of quality auto parts there for cheap. Just remember it will only be a temporary repair as it is most likely going to be a OEM ABS sensor and it will only last a few years.
You can also unplug the bulb, but that is hard to do and requires complete dis-assembly of the dash and that can result in all sorts of electronic nightmares unless you are an experienced mechanic. You also have to be careful with the dash and steering wheel as there is the potential for the air bag to go off or to get shocked from the wiring under the dash.
The best fix is to pay the $200 to $300 and get the better made ABS control sensor module from Bosch or another similar highly rated manufacturer of after market automotive products.
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