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The fifth-generation (1996-2005) Volkswagen Passat was always a bit of a problem child for the German automakers and its vehicle owners. While it was both handsome and a pleasure to drive, it was afflicted by numerous mechanical maladies, including engine sludge and an issue with a heat shield that could contact the exhaust system and potentially trigger a fire in the engine compartment. In 2007 and 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted several investigations into th

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Back in May, it was reported that 2000-2003 Volkswagen Passats were currently under investigation by NHTSA due to 19 reports of engine fires supposedly caused by a failure in the coil pack. That number has since swelled to 78 over the last few months, and now includes two reported injuries as a result of the Passat's penchant for self-immolation.

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Boy, that's one hot car, that Passat. But is it so hot, in fact, that it self-immolates? The NHTSA seems to think that the ignition coil packs are prone to faults that can lead to fires underhood, in the instrument panel, or underneath the vehicle. Passats from 2000 to 2003 are currently under investigation by the NHTSA after 19 reports of spontaneous Teutonic combustion (hey!). Lucky owners who opted for the frugal TDI or spendy W8 can motor along blissfully, while gas-fueled four and six-pot d

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