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:
54,746 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 windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #19

Aug 132011


  • 123,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. When decelerating to approximately 5 mph, the vehicle would jerk before switching gears. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic and after inspection the contact was advised that the transmission failed. The replacement of the transmission would be at the owners expense at a cost of $6,000. In addition, the contact stated that the rear passenger window would open and close independently. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 123,000.

- Nebo, NC, USA

problem #18

Aug 122011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 56,560 miles
Both rear windows have stopped working. One is all the way down ther other 3/4 the way down. Could be up to $2000 to repair both windows.

- Dayton, NV, USA

problem #17

Jan 152011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,100 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle. The contact stated the vehicle would jerk violently when she attempted to shift between gears. She also noticed debris entered the vehicle through the ventilation system which was a greasy substance that caused her eyes to burn and could have obstructed her view. The dealer nor manufacturer were notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was awaiting an appointment with a private mechanic. The current mileage was 67,700. The approximate failure mileage was 67,100. Updated 10/18/11 the dealer indicated the debris was a result of the A/C unit protection with a foam substance which was peeling off the A/C unit. The consumer also stated the main valve for the transmission was replaced

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #16

Jan 082011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 83,423 miles


Six months ago the left rear window in my VW convertible Beetle broke, it would not go up or down. I do not use the rear windows very often so I was quite surprised when the window broke. I took the vehicle to a local dealer to get repaired. It cost me nine hundred and seventy eight dollars out of pocket. Close to a thousand dollars to have just the window repaired. I thought this was ridiculous for just one small window. Needless to say I was very very upset but I had no alternative I had to have it repaired. Now six months later the left rear window has broken. Once again I do not use the rear windows very often especially since the thousand dollar charge there is no way I was going to chance that happening. Here it is winter time so there is no reason to be using those windows. Anyway last week I was on my way to work and I heard a terrible popping sound, one which I have heard before and I thought oh no not again. Well once I got to work and checked sure as heck the left window was broken. It is down about eight inches and one go up or down. What a disappointment it will cost me another thousand dollars just to fix a window. I do not have a thousand dollars laying around to get it repaired. My parents also own a VW Beetle and they have had several window problems. We have both decided we will never buy another VW because we just cannot afford the repair costs for all the things that have gone wrong with these cars. I cannot believe how much it costs for repairs. I keep checking on the recall list praying that I may get some help but as of yet there has not been any assistance. Can VW explain what is happening with these windows"?" thank you very much.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #15

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

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problem #14

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 #13

Jun 102008


  • 40,000 miles


I have a 2003 convertible VW and my back window has come unglued to the canvas. My VW has less than 45K miles.VW should be made responsible for this bad quality in manufacturing this make. I've inquired and it will cost $1300 to replace the entire top. This is ridicules - anyone know of a class action??

- Fort Smith, AR, USA

problem #12

May 012010


  • 35,000 miles
While the rear driver's side window was being lowered by the 20 year old female driver it made a horrendous grinding noise which caused the driver to nearly lose control as she tried to stop quickly. She feared something in the rear wheel was breaking. A short time later the pasenger side window ground to a state of disrepair. Now the driver's side front window needs to be lowered very carefully to avoid engaging the automatic feature as this causes the window to make a terrible noise. This is very distracting to the driver to have to stop the window just before it reaches the fully open position. The rear windows have to be manually positioned just right to allow the convertible top to be lowered properly. Also, when small children are in the back seat they may be able to cause the windows to fall down all the way subjecting them to ejection or the ability to fall out of the vehicle on their own. When it is raining or snowing the elements fly in throught the windows because they won't stay up. This is also very distracting and dangerous especially with small children in the back seat. Repair estimates for the rear windows start at $1500 which this particular owner/driver cannot begin to afford!. VW refuses to address this problem.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #11

Jun 012010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 42,300 miles
I own a 2003 VW Beetle convertible, purchased new. Only 42,000 miles on it. The front motor and module went our few days ago and had replaced. Now the rear regulator is bad O the drivers side. I have read of a whole lot of complaints about this, why no recall, other model years have been, also the coil pack is bad and has been recall on other years. Why don't include the 2003 model? thanks

- East Elijay, GA, USA

problem #10

Mar 072010


  • 26,577 miles
1) put the convertible top down 2) rear passenger window went 1/2 way up and all the way down three times and then a grinding noise and window would not come back up again 3) took to dealer for repairs, repair to cost about $1000 awaiting parts.

- Framingham, MA, USA

problem #9

Nov 012009


  • 65,000 miles


The rear windows on my 2003 Volkswagen Beetle convertible stopped working for no reason.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #8

Jul 152009


  • 40,000 miles
Rear window is detaching from convertible top creating open space into car, rain entry and poor visibility thru rear view mirror when water is coming in. Fabric shrinking back from glass. Cannot be re glued. We have been advised the entire top must be replaced. Researching this on the internet as well as with a company that replaces convertible tops evidently his is common on the 2003 model. The rear convertible top window started falling out late 2008. I bought this car new and the warranty has expired. Too many safety concerns driving in bad weather.

- Saint Simons Island , GA, USA

problem #7

Jun 162009


  • 59,841 miles
Rear window is deattaching from convertible top creating open space into car. Fabric shrinking back from glass. Headliner deattached from inside windows even though clips had already been replaced. $1850 for new top per dealer plus 6-8 hours for labor at $98 an cannot be re glued..whole top must be replaced. Vwoa customer care contacted many times and was told sorry you are over warranty. Many many people on line reporting same problem on the 2003 model. Vwoa not interested in checking into the problem only repeating that I am out of warranty. What happens if it falls out while driving..or falls in to the backseat and hits passenger or god forbid someone with a babyseat back there. Vwoa was not interested in the problem just in letting me know that there was no recall and it is not covered. There is nothing else wrong with the top it is a defect in the heat seal or adhesive holding the window in place. I have also had the same window problems as the other complaints on the site but was still under warranty at the time. However, from my internet search it seems that the rear convertible top window started falling out starting for most in 2008. I bought this car in 04 and can't believe I cant even drive it safely even though I'm still making payments on it without making a $3000 repair.

- Wall Township, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jun 132009


  • 62,000 miles
Something needs to be done asap to make Volkswagen responsible for the 2003 Beetle convertible doors and window problems. I purchased this vehicle in 2003 with less that 10 miles on it since then I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle with most of the problem being with the doors and windows. The driverside door hinges broke off and all of my windows regulators/motors have been repaired multiple times and have been replaced once. Today tops the cake when my passenger side rear window would not roll up!! now with the regulators just being replaced in 2006 this should not happen!!! after reading everyone else's complaints this is obviously an ongoing problem the government needs to step in and hold Volkswagen responsible!! I did not pay the amount I did for a new vehicle to have problems like this. I have owned other types of cars and never had problems like this. If there is an attorney reading this I would be happy to file a class action lawsuit and I'm sure there are other owners that feel the same!!!

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #5

May 272009


  • 40,000 miles
Rear window will not open or close.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #4

Mar 292009


  • 60,000 miles
My complaint is on the 2003 new Beetle convertible rear window regulator. The window is down and will not roll up. I took my car into fix the back drivers side window, and got a quote of $880 for each window. Why is vwoa making consumers pay for repairs on their cars when it is obviously a design flaw" I have read numerous websites and they were full of people just like me that get stuck with a bill from VW for something that they should be covering. Is there any type of class action happening about this? or possibly a recall" thank you!

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #3

Oct 052008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. When the contact opened the door, the window would not operate correctly and would roll down approximately half an inch. Once the window was rolled down, there was no way to roll the window back up. The dealer stated that the electronics that control the window failed and the entire window operating system needed to be replaced, including all four regulators, motor, and all the related components. The dealer stated that the repairs would cost $1,400. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were less than 60,000.

- East Bank, WV, USA

problem #2

Oct 132008


  • 36,000 miles
The passenger side rear window went down 1/2 way then stopped. I tried to role it back up and it dropped down and would not come up or down. Then the top would not go down and the right wing flap froze open. I was told that it would cost $300 to go in and the part would cost 3-5 hundred for the part. I was told that this happened quit often on the 2003 VW conv. If that is the case, if this is such a wide spread and inherent problem, why has VW not been forced to recall and fix this problem. Would this come under the lemon law as it is a recurring problem that cannot be permenantly repaired. I understand that later models were given extended warranties to compensate for the problems. I will never trust VW dealerships or products again.

- Webb City, MO, USA

problem #1

Aug 012008


  • 23,000 miles
2003 VW Beetle convertible rear window regulator failure with approx 23,000 miles on car. Both rear windows regulators have failed in the past year allowing the rear windows to fall down into the car with a very loud noise which could easily distract the driver. Once it has fallen down it cannot be raised and could cause problems in a very cold or hot environment. VW has extended the warranty on the front windows but has done nothing about the rear window failures.

- Ashland, KY, USA

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