Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,873 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Volkswagen Beetle accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 112010


  • 45,020 miles


2003 VW Beetle convertible :drivers side windows regulator and motor and broken hinge. Also the check engine light says it need coil pack and temperature sensor. Seat belt light says it need seat belt sensor. Also door latch replaced.

- East Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #4

Jul 012009


  • 75,347 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked when she changed gears. The failure progressed over time. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced which was done at that time. The contact also stated that both the front window regulator motors failed; the vehicle was repaired at a local repair shop. The door lock actuators failed and were repaired at a repair shop. The air bag light illuminated and the contact was informed that the air bag sensor had failed. The vehicle was being repaired. The rear windshield was beginning to detach from the structure of the vehicle. The failure mileage was 75,347 and the current mileage was 93,800.

- Fort Mohave, AZ, USA

problem #3

Aug 302010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles
2003 Volkswagen Beetle 2.8 turbo automatic engine, door locking mechanism or door latch. The problem starts with the door sticking when you open R close. Then occasionally will not shut the first time and will bounce back. After the first time this happens, if you are driving the door can swing open on its own. The door will not stay closed, or will not close properly. Very quickly the problem escalates. It will not shut at all. It bounces back over and over. If you leave it alone for a few hours and try again it will eventually shut. The driver side door broke first, got fixed, cost about $500. A month later the passenger door did the same thing. Less then a year later the driver side door broke again. 3 of the same part broke in a span of approximately 10 months. Called the company (Volkswagen) they insist that this is not recalled or a reported problem. Very dangerous.

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 062009


  • 99,000 miles
The door hinges on my drivers' side 2003 Volkswagen convertible Beetle has broken for the second time. Volks of America and VW oconnor in augusta Maine are very unhelpful. This has been an on going problem since I have had the vehicle four years and turns out before I owned the vehicle. I went to get into my car on sat 6/6/09 and my door hinge snapped and the door is about to fall off. Now my alarm system will not go on. Someone need to fix my car.

- Melrose, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 132004


  • Manual transmission
  • 1,000 miles
We have a 2002 and a 2003 VW beetle. The 2002 has door locks that only lock part of the time. The first seven times the dealer attempted to repair it they said it was an internal malfunction or they could not reproduce the problem. On the eighth repair attempt they finally decided that our power locks are not supposed to lock all the time becaues we have crank windows!!! the first fourteen months (until they replaced the instrument cluster for another problem) the locks worked perfectly all the time. They said that the locks meet VW specs but refused to give me a copy of the specs they are referring to. VW said our owner's manual is our VW specs and it says to push the button and the doors will lock. That only happens part of the time. This is a real safety issue. Our teenaged daughter drives this car and needs to be able to lock her doors when she gets in and know that they will lock. The locks have done multiple other strange things also but the inconsistant locking is the most common problem. Our 2003 beetle has a safety issue with the rear defogger. It takes anywhere from 9 - 20 minutes to begin to clear the rear window. The dealer says that it clears in 7 minutes and that meets "VW specs" but the 2002 VW we have and the loaner beetles we have driven all clear the window in 1-3 minutes. The fact that the window doesn't begin to clear, at times, for 20 minutes is a real safety hazard. The 2003 also has lock problems. It locked itself while in our garage and would not unlock for two days. If that had been a dark parking lot it could have been a disaster.

- Maryville, TN, USA

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