The Volkswagen Passat estate car is a capable workhorse. Loved by millions of people, it offers the perfect blend of saloon features with estate functionality. The B5 shape is arguably the most bought generation in the used car world.
While it offers the things we need out of an estate car, there’s just one thing that is missing. I am, of course, talking about its lacklustre styling! Car modders always try to be “different” when it comes to vehicle customisation.
What better way is there to stand out from the crowd than to modify a B5 Passat estate? If you’re the proud owner of this capable but perhaps tired-looking wagon, this modding guide is for you. Keep reading to learn how to turn your German workhorse into a pimped-out ride!
The first thing you need to do is turn your attention to your trusty Passat’s paintwork. As with all cars, the paint finish on your B5 Passat will have seen better days after a few years of getting exposed to the elements.
Before you customise your Passat, it’s worth checking what you have to do to revive your car’s paint finish. It’s likely your pride and joy will have a few scratches on it here and there.
You might not realise it, but detailing your Passat could help to mask those scratches without the need to pay for a respray! There are plenty of guides on the Web that can show you how to detail your car like a pro.
Of course, you also have the option of paying a detailer to do the work for you. I prefer doing it myself, not just to save money but so I can get a sense of achievement from a job well done!
The other benefit of doing the work yourself is that you can learn more about detailing in general. And you can also find out which products work best for particular situations.
Dealing with rust
Some of you might be wondering what to do if you come across some rust on your Passat wagon? The answer depends on how severe the problem is. If you’ve spotted some “bubbling”, it means there is some rust behind the paint. To get rid of the problem, you have to sand it back to bare metal, apply some rust treatment and then spray the affected area.
In extreme cases, you might need to cut the area out and weld some new metal in its place. If the rust is on a door or front wheel arch, for example, it might be easier to buy the same part from a scrapped Passat. Just make sure the colour is the same as your car. Otherwise, you’ll have to respray it!
If you’re on a budget and don’t relish the prospect of paying for a respray, there are a couple of other options available. The first is getting the entire car “wrapped” in vinyl while the other involves having PlastiKote sprayed over it.
The beauty of both options is that they can get easily removed when you come to sell the car, or if you fancy another colour change. They are much cheaper than resprays, and won’t go bad with heat or water.
Lowering the suspension
Once you’ve sorted out the car’s paintwork, the next step is to think about lowering the centre of gravity. All the photos shown on this page are of modified B5 Passats that have lowered springs and shock absorbers.
When you take a look at new Volkswagen cars, you’ll notice that they all have lower suspension than older ones like your B5 Passat. Of course, if you want to achieve a “meaner” stance, an aftermarket lowering kit is the way to go.
The kits sold vary according to what drop you want, measured in millimetres. All the lowered Passats featured on this page have a drop of around 40mm to 60mm. I recommend fitting an adjustable coilover kit. That way, you can change how high or low your suspension sits at any given time.
You might think that getting a lowering kit for a B5 Passat wagon might be rather hard to do. But the good news is that there are plenty of sources for Passat suspension kits! Before you buy one, I recommend checking some online reviews of each kit first. After all; the last thing you want to do is buy a kit that doesn’t give you the desired results you need!
If your car is rocking a set of OE rims, it’s time to replace them with some attractive aftermarket items! Some VW Passat owners decide to fit bigger wheels fitted to other Volkswagen, Audi or Porsche models as standard.
Of course, if you want a truly unique look, there are thousands of wheel choices available for you to choose. Just make sure that the wheels you get don’t have the wrong offset or distance between each bolt hole.
You can usually find the specs of your existing wheels online or by asking your friendly Volkswagen dealer. Once you’re armed with that information, buy some wheels that match those specs. Oh, and make sure you fit some premium tyres to your new rims. They are the things that keep you safe on the road, remember!
Now here’s a controversial subject in the automotive world! You might not know it, but all modern car windows have a slight tint in them. That’s because they reflect harmful UV rays away from your car’s interior.
Some people prefer to get their windows tinted for three reasons. First, to have better UV ray protection from the sun. Second, because they give rear passengers a better degree of privacy. And, third, they look brilliant when done right!
Avoid “home” DIY window tinting kits like the plague. Instead, pay a pro to do the work for you. Not only will you end up with a perfect finish, but they will use high-quality tints for your Passat’s windows.
Now that you’ve read this handy guide, it’s time to go and pimp your ride!