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Stupid car design - VW Passat - Rant. Others welcomed!


Active Member
Nov 9, 2019
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Hey all,

I have a 2014 VW Passat and I want to rant a little about how dumb the fuel cap is designed on this thing.

First off, this is the first real issue I have had with this car. It has 83,000 miles on it and paid off, I plan to drive it until it dies. Other than this, it has been a great car.

Today I was low on gas (about 30 miles left on the range) and I figured I would just fill up after work on my way home. I commute about 40 miles each way to/from work. So I have to fill up.

I get to the gas station with about 20 miles left on the range. It is in the middle of rush hour in Houston, so with the stop and go, to drive 3 miles burns 10 miles worth of gas.

I go to open the gas cover to get access to the fuel cap and it doesn’t open. For those of you who don’t know, this gas cover is a push to open design. It has a spring loaded lock in which it should release the cover when you press on it. Once you press on it, it should pop out enough to grab it and open. Well, as stated before, it didn’t do it. I pressed it and the cover didn’t budge.

This push to open system has an actuator which locks the spring when the car is locked or not in park. Apparently the actuator has failed. No matter how many times I put the car in park and locked/unlocked the car, it wouldn’t release the door.

I open up my car manual to see if there is a manual release and after reading “how to fuel your vehicle” section twice, I come across this nugget of info:

“There is no emergency release for the fuel filler cap. Please contact an authorized Volkswagen Dealer or Service Center for assistance”

What the f.....

so you mean to tell me, I cannot access my gas tank to put fuel in my car because of an actuator failed. NO MANUAL way to open up a critical component of my car.

I call two dealerships and spoke with the service center, they both state that I have to pry open the cover with a key or screw driver to get access. Which will most likely break the cover. I asked if they could open it and they said that they will most likely have to break it open too. I then asked who is going to pay for a new cover, they stated I would.

I call VW North America customer service center. Explained my problem and they said the same thing the dealers said. I asked, how can I be responsible for damage on my car when the only option is to damage it to do make it work? It’s a design flaw!

Not covered under warranty.

So in short, if this actuator fails you can’t open the gas cover to fill up the car. The only way to open it is to pry it open, break the cover, then buy a new cover with an actuator.

Some design...

Anyone else have similar stories with their cars or even other items?