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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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,212 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #9

Oct 062009


  • miles


My complaint concern our VW Beetle airbag crash sensor back in January 2008 I received a email from safety engineer steve chan regarding a investigation which several similar complaints had been filed with the national highway traffic safety admin regarding the same matter. There was a recall on these sensors. We did have our replace on our 2003 VW Beetle which we got reimburstment. However now, again the same (front) crash airbag sensor have went out (fail) again. Our vehicle is been service at murriteia VW service advisor steve (951) 894-6555 ext 1358 due to consist failure of this manufacturer part. I fear that my life is in danger every time I drive our VW Beetle vehicle. I feel this great big safety issue.

- Perris, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 032008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 27,680 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. While driving at an unknown speed, the air bag warning light illuminated, which instructed the contact to stop the vehicle. He called the dealer and was advised to bring the vehicle in for repair. At 27,680 miles, the dealer identified the failure with the air bag crash sensor. They replaced the front passenger side crash sensor and two windows. The failure recurred at 27,680 miles and the manufacturer stated that his VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 08V178000 (air bags:frontal:sensor/control module). The contact would be responsible for the repair costs. The failure mileage was 40,000 and current mileage was 41,297. Updated 07/08/08. Updated 07/03/08.

- Altamonte Springs, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 152007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,121 miles
I own a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. It had multiple failures while still under warranty that were never particularly corrected. Would go out and car would not start - completely dead. Batteries were replaced, alternator was replaced, something with the stereo system was replaced, etc. This happened many times over the course of two years, from approximately 2005 to 2007. I could provide specifics if necessary since I have all receipts. It sometimes happened within a week of getting the car back from the previous "repair." Needless to say it has been very frustrating, and we will never purchase another VW. The reason I am just now writing is because my local newspaper had a small paragraph mentioning that the NHTSA is investigating a possible crash sensor malfunction in the airbag system. I have had to replace both of the sensors at my own expense since the car is no longer under warranty. The airbag indicator light first came on in June 2007 and the driver's side front crash sensor was replaced. Just a short time later, September 2007, the airbag indicator light came on again. This time they told me it was the passenger side crash sensor that need to be replaced. These repairs cost me roughly $1000 out of pocket. I think the NHTSA would like to be aware of this as part of the investigation. Thank you very much. Ps: while listing "failures" below I will stick with just the two airbag failures and only provide info on other electrical problems if requested to do so. Crash sensor.pco

- Palm Harbor, FL, USA

problem #6

Oct 252007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,062 miles


The air bag warning light is illuminated. I had it checked out and the dealer said the sensor was broken and needed repair. They said the air bag would not activate with the switch inoperable. I paid big$$$ ($391)to have this repair performed. Crash sensor.pco

- Shelby Twp., MI, USA

problem #5

Dec 212007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. He took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the air bags:frontal:sensor/control module failed and needed to be replaced. One year prior to the failure, the contact replaced the frontal air bag sensor. The vehicle was repaired, but a formal complaint was not made with the manufacturer. The contact is in possession of the failed component. The failure mileage was 44,500 and current mileage was 45,439. Crash sensor.pco

- Laurel, MD, USA

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problem #4

Sep 032007

Beetle 2-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,270 miles
Air bag safety sensor for airbags to deploy went out. And was not cover $591. To replace sensor switch. Dup

- Perris, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 032007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,268 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle. While driving 55 mph, the air bag light illuminated. The dealer stated that the frontal driver side crash sensor caused the failure. The consumer replaced the crash sensor and there had been no further occurrences. The failure mileage was 39,268 and current mileage was 39,278. Updated 01-15-08. The dealer would not cover the cost. Updated SRS.pco

- Perris, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 112004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,651 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the front driver's side seat belt buckle was S defective, and the air bag light constantly illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times, and numerous diagnostics were performed. Currently, the cause of failure has not been found. The failure has been occurring since September 11, 2004. The current mileage is 59,500, and failure mileage was 22,651. SRS.pco

- Brokenarrow, OK, USA

problem #1

May 312006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 56,359 miles
I test drove several VW new bettles prior to purchasing one. In many of them the air bag light indicator remained on. Is this a problem that you are aware of" have there been recall on this"

- Garland, TX, USA

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