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I had been driving my 03 Passat W8 automatic for about 2 months with the CWL (check wallet light) intermittently going off and on, without me really noticing any difference in how the engine was running. So I decided to wait until the 60K service and brought it in to the dealer. I was informed that what had turned up was a problem with the torque converter, which had to be replaced - to the tune of $3500. I had the cam sensors replaced a few years ago under warranty. They said they could try re-setting the warning light and I did drive it for about 10 miles before it came on again.

My question is, what is the urgency with having the torque converter replaced, if I am not really noticing any real problem? If I hold off until I notice a problem, do I run the risk of doing further damage to the transmission and incurring an even higher repair bill? What are the symptoms of a torque converter problem and do they gradually get worse or do things fail catestrophically? Is there anything I need to insist on having the shop do otherwise while the engine is pulled? Sorry, I guess tis is more than one question.

I love the car and would like to keep it until at least 100K, especially now that it is already paid off. However, I would like to not put more in annually for maintenance than I was previously spending annually in car payments - which means I'd like to hold off for another 6 months on the torque converter, if possible. Thanks.
 

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Most likely just loss of economy - which you probably already see.
 
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