I have a 2001 VW Passat Turbo. Coolant and oil gaskets were replaced at 90k mi. Leaking again at 140k mi and shop says to replace all of them again. Read online that this is a typical problem with this car. Why? Is there any other cheaper solution than replacing the gaskets again?
I'm not sure what you mean by "coolant" and "oil" gaskets. There are a lot of different gaskets in these two systems, and the fixes vary as well.
If, however, you're talking about the valve cover gasket, this is a common issue on these cars. Leakage from under the valve cover is almost always due to a gunked-up PCV system. When working correctly, the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system keeps a small vacuum in the crankcase, which includes the space under the valve covers. When clogged, the PCV system allows this space to be become pressurized; the pressure forces oil out through the gasketed joint between the valve cover and the cylinder head.
Replacing the gasket is, at best, a temporary fix, as the still-clogged PCV system pressure will continue, and oil will again be forced out even through a correctly-installed valve cover gasket.
The fix for this problem is re-doing the PCV system. Parts can be obtained from VW dealers, or from aftermarket specialists such as ECS Tuning and Blauparts. Given the car's age, other gaskets and seals in the top end of the motor should also be examined, or just replaced.