Volkswagen Golf, GTI, Passat, Jetta and Eos Air Conditioner Compressor Failure

vw_compressor_zelex_valeo_1K0820803Early Air Conditioner compressors manufacturered by Zelex/Valeo and installed in the Golf, Passat, Jetta and Eos until June 2007 have a reasonably good chance of early failure due to a lubrication problem inside the compressor. This causes metal fatigue and eventually the breakage of the compresser shaft which distributes metal particles around the system.

Volkswagen are covering replacements out of warranty, in Germany the parts are covered for five years and 150,000 km with Volkswagen covering 50% of the labour costs in the fourth year and none in the fifth year. In Australia cars have been covered 6 months out of warranty.

The fix requires a new compressor manufactured by Sanden part number 1K0 820 803 (1K0820803) and index S or greater 1K0 820 803 S (1K0820803S), the replacement of the expansion valve along with a new condenser. To clean out the metal particles the system has to be flushed for 4+ hours.

vw_compressor_limiter_1K0820803The Zelex/Valeo compressor can be identified by the photo on the right, the part number will be 1K0 820 803 L (1K0820803L) or 1K0 820 803 N (1K0820803N). The failure can be identified in two ways;

  1. The limiter (indicated by 1 on the photo) is broken or is missing
  2. The compressor control valve is restricted by metal particles and the compressor does not build up pressure.

The compressor replacement, expansion valve, condensor and labour cost around AUD$3000. A new compressor is around AUD$1200.

Details of the Sanden Compressor are here – Sanden PXE16 Air Conditioner Compressor Specifications (1K0820803)

Some information (in German) is available at

Models affected

Eos – 2007
Jetta – 2005 – 2007
Golf, Rabbit, GTI, Passat – 2006 – 2007

Volkswagen Technical Bulletin # 2013314

118 thoughts on “Volkswagen Golf, GTI, Passat, Jetta and Eos Air Conditioner Compressor Failure”

  1. I am done with VW they have been nothing but a rip off. I have a 2007 Jetta GLI. In december thru january they had my car for 21 days had to replace the entire gear shift that was 1700. not including I had to pay for a car rental the whole 21 days too. Now the AC is gone the same compressor issue the entire system needs to be replaced for 1450.+tax plus the fact that I need to rent another car for the 4 to 5 days they say they need the car for to install the new system. They will only cover the new parts replaced for 1 year so If I have the same issue next year I am in the same boat having to pay for the entire system again. I see they dont even stand to firmly behind their product. I called VW care and they say they have no reported issues with my year and make of vehicle. Time to get a real car with real coverage. BYE VW

    1. I have a 2006 Jetta GLI with 52K mikes. THe AC compressor seized two weeks ago and metal shavings contaminated the entire system. I talked to them about all of the problems I have been hearing about faulty compressors failing on these vehicles with mileage in the 50 – 80K range. VW covered the entire repair, parts and labor that would have cost ~$1500.

      1. I too have a 2006 GLI, with just a little over 56,000 miles. Last week the A/C started blowing just hot air and and my local garage has determined that the compressor has failed. Was your car officially still under any warranty, as mine had run out after 5 years ownership?

  2. We have a 2007 Passat 2.0T that was just at the dealers due to the A/C not blowing cold air. We were told that the compressor seized and it needs to be replaced. The estimate given for the repair is $1,823. We paid $185 just to have them diagnose the problem – and of course, the car is also out of warranty. I cannot believe that VW is doing nothing to assist their customers with the A/C compressor issues that appear to be so widespread on their vehicles. We are tired of the continual repairs on this vehicle and refuse to pay almost $2,000 to fix the A/C on a 4 year-old car. We are looking at other repair alternatives (non-dealership) and if needed will forgo the repair and get a different vehicle – which will not be a VW.

  3. Does anyone know if the cooling fan by the radiator should still run if the compressor has failed?
    The aircon on my 2006 GTI became slow to kick in a few weeks ago and has now stopped cooling altogether. A regas has shown no loss of gas. I’ve swapped out the pressure sensor and am now getting a proper diagnosis done but would like to know whether the fault might be something other than the compressor so I don’t get ripped off.


  4. Well, I just googled “passat ac compressor” and low and behold…I have a 2006 VW Passat. Just found out I need a new ac compressor too. It only has 50K miles on it, and I bought it used (no more warranty, of course) last year. I found a repair shop able to do it for $1400. This is craziness! If it’s such a common problem, why isn’t VW stepping up?

  5. 2006 passat 2.0 turbo… compressor failed at 75K …..1800 to 2100 for compressor replacement. Not fixing it and not getting another VW. Really like VW but this is the end of VW for me. My car is worthless, without AC this car gets over 100 degrees inside sitting in traffic. If I go to work in the car… I look like I need a shower when i get there.
    My co-worker fixed his VW AC for $1800… it only worked for 8K miles after that… thats a $1 for 4 miles of AC… not taking that chance….
    Conclusion: The car is worthless. So I paid $27,000 to go 75000miles, this is 36cents a mile. Selling the car is almost impossible when you tell the person the Ac is broken and it will cost 2000 to fix it. So the car can be sold for 5K not 7k as a trade… That reduces this down by 6 cents a mile. So after the car is sold it is 30 cents a mile.
    The car should have gone 100K plus and kept the cost down around 25cents per mile.

    FYI: I never service my cars, the items that break never seem to be related service. In this case, the AC would have broke no matter what. I really dont care if the oil smell like crap… if the mileage does not drop, I don’t change the oil… in this case my passat always has had good gas mileage with or without clean oil. If the car makes it to 120,000 miles and starts burning a ton of oil…. I don’t care.. The smoke is just a reminder the end is near and it does nothing for the dependability.
    Service is for suckers…. if you add up the money for service… you will find that all the time and money spent letting someone look at a car that is not broken is just adding to the cost of ownership. In fact, typically the act of touching a perfectly working car only increases the chances of breaking something….ask my wife… everytime she insisted on having her car checked…. it ended up with new problems….

  6. The compressor for the air con on my 2007 Golf GTi was diagnosed as broken on 20 June 2011. Through the Agent, VW agreed to meet me half way on the cost of £1500 as my car is not very old. The trouble is they don’t have any compressors and they are on back order. So far I have waited two months. Apparently drivers find out their air con is not working when they use it in the summer and VW obviously don’t have any spares over the number they predict will be needed. I have almost melted in my car on recent essential journeys. I know I can open the windows but that makes a deafening and tiring noise to listen to at speed. I am so disappointed in VW as I love my car and take care of it and have it serviced by the Agent and have only done about 38k miles.

  7. Yep same thing happened to me … MY08 VW Golf GTI 62,000 km Air con just stopped. 8 month out of waranty .. I have writen to VW Australia… Lets see if they offer a little “good will”.
    Don’t really want to get lawyers involved…
    Awaiting reply from VWA

  8. Spoke to VW Australia today. Theay are fixing the compressor for as “good will” Very Happy with the outcome 🙂 … tks VW.

  9. My 08 plated Vw golf has had the A/C compressor fail! It went to the main dealer two months ago who agreed on some sort of good will gesture! Since then they keep giving me dates two weeks away with a “35%” chance the part will come! On the dates I call the main dealer and get given a new date two weeks away with a 35% chance the part will come then. I have today spoken to VW UK and been told that they are ordering the parts but they are not getting sent and there is nothing they can do about it!! After me expressing my dismay I way told that the factory which makes the compressors was destroyed by the tsunami in Japan! I have asked for a courtesy car and been told there is no chance! I can’t believe this compressor fault is one VW are fully aware of And they can’t even source the parts! I would never buy another VW and will advise all of my friends and colleuges the same!!

  10. For Elizabeth – 10th Sept. 2011
    I also have a Golf GTI MK5 registered in 2006 (mileage 21K). The local VW dealer has diagnosed that the compressor shaft has broken and the compressor and other parts all need to be replaced and he is aware that a four-hour flush is required. Fortunately, I am covered by an extended warranty and that company has agreed to pay all costs. However, like you,I am finding that no-one in VW, including people in Wolfsburg, is willing to tell me when the compressor will be available. I have now been waiting nearly two months. Have you, Elizabeth, yet received your parts? Thanks.

  11. My wife got her 2007 jetta last year with 36.000 m on it 5 month ago car takes 10 to 15 minute to blow cold air so i bring it to vw dealer shop paid $180.00 for diagnostic later that day i was told that the expansion valve was clog thats why it take that long to cooldown the car and to fix it it will cost me $1800.00 i told them ill think about it 2 week later the car wont start so i went to buy new battery at pepboys the cost of battery is $104.99 bosch after installing the battery i cant beleive it ac works 80% my wife told me were almost give the dealer shop $1800.00 for nothing.Hope this will help other vw jetta owner

  12. 16 weeks since the original diagnosis the compressor has arrived and today my car is in for the work. Since I waited all summer I asked for a reduction in the agreed cost and initially they offered me £27 off. I renegotiated it down by about £350. Everyone happy. Then another call from VW to say the particles needed flushing out costing over a £1k but they would only charge me another £300+! Since particle flushing is part of the job I realise they just wanted to find an excuse to recover some more of the cost. I will have to have another call with Head Office tomorrow.

  13. Another call with Head Office VW brought no satisfaction. Service person told me it is not always necessary to flush – I disagreed and said it would be negligent to replace the compressor without doing the flushing. She didn’t agee. Ended up paying nearly £700 and spent the whole summer of 16 weeks without aircon and two days in the garage instead of one. Very inconvenient. Rubbish service and rubbish explanation. It was as I thought, they just wanted to recover more money. Unimpressed!

  14. Im a fully trained technican with over 25 years of service to the industry. I replaced a compressor on a volkswagen golf gti due to the housing seal had collapsed. Flushed the system and installed a new reciever dryer as i was told by volkswagen spare parts. The new compressor failed 11 months after installation. VOLKSWAGEN will not warrent compressors if they are fitted by anyone else than there technicans. They will not warrent compressors fitted to vehicles which have not been flushed and all components except the evaporator replaced.
    The reason why this compressor failed was due to an electrical problem and the tech who examined it said i will have to pay to get the problem diagnosed.

    Buy vw after market compressors, they are cheaper and you can remove and replace the compressors without fitting all the other bullshit.

    I have fitted hundreds of compressors over the years and this is the only one that has failed. Thanks VW you have just cost me $1600 and you have lost a customer who owned the gti. He also owns a vw 4wd guess what he is going to get rid of this as well.

  15. My 2007 GTI’s air just went out and if it isn’t fixed by the dealer, I’d like to hear from everyone who has had a similar problem. There is power in numbers.

    1. Just had the same problem with my 2007 GTI today – did you have any luck with VW local dealer or VW Australia? Scott, Queensland.

  16. Catastrophic failure… The compressor not only fails, but it takes the entire AC system with it. This is unacceptable vehicles with relatively low milage. I have ~43k. I was quoted $2025 by the VW dealer. Anyone who buys a 2006-2007 model year VW should preemptively replace their compressor to avoid this mess. Or just get a stinkin Kia =(

  17. 06 Jetta GLI 2.0T (BPY). AC system Failed at ~170,xx km (~105,xxxmiles)

    No satisfaction from VW. it is an American market car now in canada.

  18. 2006 Passat 2.0. Air Condition has gone to hell. It only does not blow cold air!!! I live in Miami and I am burning up. I spoke with a technician today at Gunther Volkswagen and he informed me that at one point they were replacing the entire A/C system, compressor, condenser, hosing , etc.. I proceeded to call customer service and I was told that there had been no reported incidents on the A/C. I told her that is bullcrap and I would be making a report to the Better Business Bureau.

  19. I have a 2010 Sportwagen and I just had the same thing happen to it! Does anyone know if the same problem is continuing into the 2010 vehicles? Estimated repair from dealer, $2400.00.

  20. My 2009 passat,has just blown its air con,VW service centre said”this is very rare?” whilst the master tech guy said “its a common fault,but as its not a safety issue it seems that VW are not promoting the issue.

  21. My Golf GTi air con went early last year, didn’t bother to get it investigated as I wasn’t using the car much and couldn’t justify any expense. Took it into local VW dealer and got a quotation for £1700!!!! Waiting for feedback from customer services about support for the cost. Am due to buy a new car soon so the decision whether to buy a VW again will be simple to make depending on how I’m treated. Has anyone set up a Twitter or Facebook campaign in relation to this?

  22. My wife drives a 2006 Passat, which we bought new in 2006. It now has only 11,984 mile on it. She drives 2 1/2 miles to and from work and other routine shopping trips. This week the AC compressor seized and the belt burned through from the friction. I contacted VW with no success because of it being so far out of warranty and there is no extended warranty in America for this item, even though Volkswagen Technical Bulletin # 2013314 acknowledges that these compressors are likely to fail due to lubrication failure. But I noticed something interesting above. Volkswagen is covering replacements for out of warranty compressors in Germany for five years and 150,000 km. In addition to this being the last VW my family will ever purchase, I intend to report this to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because VW is treating American consumers differently from German consumers. I think this is violative of one (or more) international trade agreements. I urge all similarly situated to do the same. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets greased.

  23. Hello all I have an 2006 passat with 114k miles on it and my compressor went out. I guess I will try calling VW but I doubt I will be able to get it fixed. Again I have owned my 1994 Ford Pickup truck with 159k miles and have not had all of these stupid things breaking like this. Again i will never buy nor recommend or promote VW cars. They are piles of crap.

  24. Have a 2007 passat with 61000 miles. Car stopped dead in its tracks. Could have caused a major accident , as breaking was very poor without eng running. Towed to dealer told problem was caused by a/c compressor seizing up. Cost to repair $1700. This stinks, should I buy another VW??

  25. I have a 1999 VW Jetta UNFORTUNATELY that we bought for my daughter about 5 years ago. It was her first car and she was so excited. It ran very good when w took it for test drives. It ran quiet no knocks no pings, nothing. Less than 2 months later the engine blew up. We paid $8000.00 for this car thinking that VW’s are always good for at least 120,000 miles. WRONG this one had just over 60,000 miles on it. That should of been our first sign that this car was going to be an endless string of problems that never seem to end. In an attempt to try and recover at least some of our $8000.00 we put another engine it and countless other things since then. We said the hell with it and bought my daughter a new Mustang so I can at least sleep at night knowing she is in a dependable car. Anyway this car sat for a little over a yr and now I am getting it ready to sell it but when I took it to have the air conditioning serviced they had to fix a little pin hole in the line where the coolant had leaked out then it was charged. NOW for some stupid reason the compressor will not switch on itself. It will come on when you manually switch it on but it will not come on by itself and the mechanic cant seem to figure out why. We did find out that there were actually like 2 or 3 relay switches but the one under the steering column has not been checked because he doesn’t know what the number for that particular relay switch is so that it can be tested. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE NUMBER IS FOR THE RELAY SWITCH THAT IS LOCATED UNDER THE STEERING COLUMN? OR DOES ANY ONE KNOW WHY THE COMPRESSOR WOULD NOT COME ON BY ITSELF ANYMORE. WHAT WOULD PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING?


  26. I have great respect for the name Volkswagen, but I think they should fire the bunch of engineers who agreed to us these full time rotating AC compressors with the VW/Audi/Skoda engines.

    It is sheer madness to take these quality VW engines and connect them to a US$300.00 AC compressors that will rotate with every single rotation of the engine from January to December when most people use their air conditioner for only a few months each year, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link and I see the demise on VW/Audi sales unless they get their act together.

    The Japanese and American completely disconnect the compression mechanism when the AC is OFF. Added to which 1K0-820-803-N have too many internal parts.

  27. I am in the same boat with my 2006 VW. In my case, already shelled out $1800.00 for compressor, the ‘big flush’, all that. Now it is down again.

    What I have decided to do is simply sue them in my local small claims court for the entire cost of the repair. Get a judgement, go to VW with that in hand and see what song they sing.

  28. I have a 2005 Caddy 1.9 TDi from new, the A/c has failed 3 times, VW don’t give a toss, I tried to take them to a consumer tribunal but that didn’t work, they really have it sown-up here in Spain, they must pay such big “bribes” to officials, have you ever tried to sort it out in your local dealer? they “couldn’t care less” once you buy you are forgotten. NOW I’M SHOUTING: NEVER BUY VOLKSWAGEN, THERE SERVICE AND BACK-UP STINKS!

  29. I have a 2007 Passat 2 litre estate. Last December I took it into Beadles for annual service and asked them to look at air conditioning which was blowing out warm air. I had done 16,500 miles from new. They checked it and said it seemed OK to them. That was in the winter and due to being in hospital for some months this year the Passat has not been used (only 1,500 miles since last December) Now I am back using it again I have again taken it into Beadles (Bromley) again for the air conditioning. I have been told that it needs a new Compressor for £950. My car is now 5 years old and has 18,000 miles on clock from new. Beadles contacted head office to see if it could be done under warranty and were told no offer would be made. I have had a Passat for 10 years previously and the air conditioning was perfect.I have always loved my VW’s and feel bitterly disappointed over this. What can I do? Thanks – Bea

  30. I don’t know George, check the make of the compressor, if it’s the same Zetec or looks like the one at the top of this page then probably yes. My ‘beef’ is, that VW knew about this problem and completely ignore the problem, their agents act as if they have never seen this problem and treat us, the consumer like idiots. I know Toyota and Honda have had some ‘stick’ in recent years because of recalls but, their problems which they knew about were fixed. VW just wave their middle finger at us and are in a state denial. I’ve sold my VW now and believe me when I say I loved to drive it but, I will never buy another VW.

  31. For all of you complaining about the cost of an A/C repair. Two things: 1st. Why are you taking it to dealership? don’t be stupid, take it to a certified mechanic it’ll cost you 1000 bucks with warranty and all. and if you are still complaining about that, 2nd. Grow some balls, learn about it, and fix it yourself! I own a Rabbit, and I live and Arizona, impossible driving without A/C, it broke and I got fixed. That’s how you do it with pretty much everything. what do you want? a car that never breaks? or Is this a page where we all bitch around about how hard is life? and how bad our cars are? just wondering

  32. I had the same issue with my 2006 GTI with 50000 miles, which is out of warranty. I sent an email to the CEO complaining about the problem and cost of repair and one of the customer service got in touch with me. They offered to cover half of the parts which is about $500 that leaves me with more than $1600 to pay for repairs. Honestly I will not buy any VW/ Audi anymore because of lack of reliability.

  33. If you would like to see what causes the early failure of the Zexel DCS-17E Compressor I have some Videos on Youtube, “Rick Ling Compressors” To go directly to the VW Golf 5 Video, click the Link,
    I’m sure you will learn something from C-A-R Compressors.

  34. Bloody hell, I must be one of the extremely lucky ones. I have 263,000km on my MkV Golf TDI since buying it new April 2007, and the compressor is still going strong (touch wood!!)

    1. My air conditioner on a 2007 Passatt with only 15,000 miles after 4 years packed up. VW did eventually give me a 20% discount on replacing it but it still cost me £750. which I could ill afford.

  35. Very disapointet with my 08 passat, Air condition is gone as well.
    I went to my mechanic and he told me that he can change it, but the new compressor wont last long as metal particle are in the whole system and they will kill the new compressor any way. If the vw compressors are shit and give you so much trouble why should we buy this crap cars?

    I had many other cars before even older than existing one and never had a problem with air condition. I will never ever choose VW again

  36. does this effect the 1.6 touran 2008 57 plate also?? 99,000 miles and it’s just seized up lots of smoke and aux belt snapped take it they wont replace??

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.