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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,794 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.

2004 Volkswagen Beetle seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #45

Jul 012016


  • 60,000 miles


Air bag light came on last year, resolved. Back on, I see old recall" what to do"

- Verona, NJ, USA

problem #44

Dec 272015


  • 118,000 miles
My transmission went out all at once my airbag/seatbeilt light on all the time

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #43

Jun 042016


  • 122,000 miles
1. air bag: The air bag indicator light is illuminating. 2. sunroof drain system clogged: There is leakage through the sunroof of the passenger side. All rain water is coming in from the passenger door. After about 2 weeks of thunder storms the car has water all over the inside and the ceiling and smells bad. (as soon as I found out the sunroof leakage problem of this car, I found that he U.S. court of appeals for the third circuit has approved a $69 million settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit that started in 2007 over leaking sunroofs.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #42

Aug 282008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 2,500 miles


In 2008 I took my VW Beetle to the VW dealership service department in murrieta, ca on date street and they have record that they fixed the air bag light/ and replace the switch which was lit up on my dash instrument panel. Well I took the same car 2004 VW Beetle back on 08/17/2015 at 8:15 am so they could take care of my airbag light which came on again at 107,000 miles. I understand that there are several switches from the seatbelts to the frontend and also behind the cars dash that can cause the airbag light to come on but, being this is a life saving part on my car I do not feel I should have to pay for a recall service and part on my return visit. As I see it this is a defect and a safety hazard and I should not be charged a $126 to diagnose the issue and pay more for the part and service to fix a defective item. If I'm incorrect please advise me so I can understand how this is my fault. I thought if you fixed the problem then it should be on the company or persons who repaired the recall issue. Thank you very much and I would appreciate a response to my frustration with this issue.

- Sun City, CA, USA

problem #41

Jan 072009


  • 45,000 miles
I was driving 25 mph and my front bumper hit a parked car, airbag deployed and rendered me unconscience it caused $12,000 to my teeth and possible head injury and 18 months at a specialist dental, had to have a bone graph and stint in my mouth, liver and abdominal contusion had to pay an attorney $9,000 to an attorney to represent me in court, I lost my job and am now on ssd

- Beaverton, OR, USA

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problem #40

Apr 292015


  • 117,600 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. While driving at 40 mph, the air bag and check engine warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 03V356000 (air bags), but the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was 117,600.

- Smithville, TN, USA

problem #39

Oct 012013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Driver's side seat belt wiring has failed thus illuminating the air bag light. The seat belt wiring is of minute diameter with little shielding and poor conduit. Because the seat belt must flex when moving the seat forward, the strain on the wiring in the seat belt rips the wiring from it's soldered joint. This causes the air bag light to illuminate and causes the air bag system to revert to a backup algorithm that puts the driver in a dangerous environment. This "backup" algorithm will not monitor vehicle speed and will automatically deploy the airbag at a default amount of force regardless of impact force. This means that a minor fender bender that reaches the airbag force threshold could deploy the airbag at a force too great and conversely a high speed impact may deploy the airbag with insufficient force. This is an extremely common problem on this model year vehicle. A quick internet search will alert you as to how common this problem is. After calling my local dealership, they told me "we replace a ton of those seatbelts." Volkswagen should acknowledge this egregious manufacturing defect and recall this defective part before fatal consequences further prove this is a deadly and extremely common problem.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #38

May 202014


  • miles
Airbag service light on dash came on. This means the airbags were disabled. Dealership identified the seat belt clasp on the driver seat as the problem. The electronics in the clasp were not communicating correctly causing the airbag to be disabled. The seatbelt as a safety mechanism itself was not compromised. The dealership representative indicated that this was a known and common issue with this vehicle make and model and that the fix was to replace the seatbelt clasp at a cost of about $300. The cause of the seatbelt clasp to fail was the motion of moving the seat backwards and forwards. To access the rear seats of the car the seat must be moved backwards and forwards as it is a two door car. Overtime, this activity wore out some electronics in the clasp causing the airbag to be disabled. This is not a normal wear and tear item that is customarily replaced such as tires, brake pads or wiper blades. The manufacture should recognize this critical safety issue and offer to voluntarily recall the vehicles and/or offer to pay for a fix in our case.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #37

Apr 012014

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My air bag warning light came on yet again. This has happened in the past and was fixed by a VW dealer by changing the infrequently used passenger side seat belt buckle. The cost of this repair was $360. The warning light came on again less than one year later. It was brought back to the dealer and scanned and found to be a defective air bag control module. The estimate for the fix was about $800 with the advisory that it might not be fixed with that part replacement. The service report reads, "airbag crash sensors may need to be replaced as well if software is different from new module." It sounds like the VW technicians themselves are guessing about the repair. There is reportedly a VW recall on the 2003-2005 Beetle airbag control module but the VW dealer as well as VW customer service (800-374-8389) both tell me that it does not apply to my vehicle. The internet VW Beetle forums are replete with reports of airbag system problems. I am submitting this complaint to add to the current list of such complaints with the hopes that VW will take responsibility for what appears to be a serious safety related defect in their design and/or manufacturing process of the 2004 VW Beetle.

- South Hadley, MA, USA

problem #36

Jun 262013


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the air bag warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that the air bag warning lamp illuminated. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 59,000. The current mileage was 79,000. Updated 05/28/14

- Paulding, OH, USA

problem #35

Dec 042012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the air bag sensor light was illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified advised that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 08V178000 (air bags). The failure mileage was 75,000.

- Taylors Falls, MN, USA

problem #34

Jun 262013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles
Air bag module lite stays on. Took to dealer and was told it would cost 800 to replace module. This vehicle at this has only 71802 miles as of June 26,2013. I feel this is a major safety and should be replaced by a VW dealership free of charge.

- Paulding, OH, USA

problem #33

Dec 272012


  • 80,000 miles
Car wouldn't excel while driving suddenly 1 mile from town suddenly traffic slowed from snow storm in town, the vehicle smell was funny black smoked slowly leaked inside the car windows up heard a misfire engine light went on blinked then I heard loud blast like I thought it was a plow trucks muffler loudness realized ir was my vehicle stopped immediately less 1/3 mile at bank. Shut off motor M now seeing smoke slowly entered in the middle of the 2 front seatsand console. Feeling hot under belly of floors. Orange glow through electrical outlet in back of console appeared to be hotwith plastic casing in and under floors hot sizzling crackling under center casing/I try to call 911 misused the cell wouldn't operate effectively flagged down a man N woman at the corner light of bank they declined to help so I went to car put snow on compartment and wet it down and aired out smoke with passenger door open.I went in bank for assistance.this vehicle was recalled for safety issues by manufacturer in the past.were said to be corrected by repairman also said seatbelt harness was a issue heated seats were a issue and airbags tranny also recalled for electrical issues and or transmission and air bags on some 2004 VW vehicle Beetles recalls so far occurred to this VW were airbag sensors/ also the seatbelt harness cases were breaking repeatedly once purchased due to putting the seats up and back to get in the vehicle. Now this mysterious fire and headlamp issue..

- Plainfield, MA, USA

problem #32

May 102011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles
I recently purchased a VW Beetle in may of 2010, for my birthday from hollywood auto brokers in los angeles, ca. The car ran smooth for about a course of five to six months, I had to return to the dealership early on because my head lights were out when I first bought the car. As I continued to drive the car, a jerking and extremely weird deceleration of the car would begin, but it would "pop back to normal" after a while, maybe three to ten seconds. This had gone on and has been going on since five months after I brought it. I finally made it back into the dealership and he rode with me on a test drive around the corner and of course it didn't repeat the previous show of defects. He assured me the car is just being broken in. A year goes by and I decided I want to trade in my car for another car, so I head to Nissan. I test drive a car and love it and then go in for the paper work. The guy runs my VIN to see my car value and come backs and tell me my car title is salvaged. To my disbelief and disgust, I immediately called my financial company, al financial of glendale, ca that I am leasing the car from. They give me the run around and assure me that the title is clean and not a salvage. I continue on my investigation and come to a carfax website to get the real facts on my defected vehicle. The information reveals that not only is the title salvage but it had bodily damage and had been totaled out from the insurance company from it's previous owner. The car had been brought back from Mexico and registered in the states again as a new car I believe. I would really love to get to the bottom of this situation asap and get some closure on a recurring problem that is messing with my income as I am a travel nurse for hospice patients. Recently the water pump has gone out and I'm not sure yet if I need to replace the head gaskets. I hope I can hear an response in a good enough amount of time so I can work out an reimbursement of some kind with payment on either behalf.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #31

Feb 012011


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. The contact stated that the airbag light remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who performed a diagnostic test and stated that the failure was located at the airbag control module. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 27,000 and the current mileage was 32,631.

- Webster Groves, MO, USA

problem #30

Mar 292011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Airbag light came on and stay on(concerned about not working properly in event of accident) taken into dealership for code read: Airbag module shorted. Front passenger seat and carpet need to be removed for replacement of airbag because wire under the seat is too short that it torn when the seat was moved forward to allow access to rear seat. This should be a manufactured fault.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #29

Jan 102011


  • 34,000 miles
This vehicle was subject to a recall for the air bag sensors. We had previously had the sensors replaced (the vehicle was just out of warranty based on time). VW refused ultimately reimbursed us for the repairs and replacement of the sensors. In January of 2011 the air bag light came on. The dealer charged a fee to do a diagnostic test. They determined that the light was due to the failure of the driver side seat belt buckle, and the fact that the battery was discharged and needed to be repaired. They wanted approximately $480 to replace the seat belt buckle, and $245 to replace the battery. I called VW customer service and they agreed to replace the buckle for no charge, but would do nothing about the battery. VW opened a case # 110006836 and regional manager lisa was the contact. We had aaa come to do a test on the battery. The battery and charging system both passed the test. They recommended that a trickle charge would bring the battery to a full charge. In addition, VW agreed to do a one time courtesy replacement of the convertible roof since the fabric had separated from the rear window. A clip recall had already been performed, but the headliner was hanging down and had separated from the rear window. We feared that the window could separate from the roof at highway speeds. Statement indicates that VW performed 61.07-02 tech bulletin to perform modifications to the rear window.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 102011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
The air bag warning light came on. This was the subject of an earlier recall due to sensors. We were told that this was due to a faulty seat belt buckle and not due to sensors. We were also originally told it was due to a faulty battery. However, the battery was checked by aaa and was not faulty. Eventually VW agreed to replace the seat belt buckle on the drivers side.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #27

Apr 082007


  • 96,000 miles
2004 new Beetle conv turbo. Always in shop. Always had problems. In the shop more than at home. Elec issues, windows not working, air bag lights flashing, top staying down wont go up one repair after another. Now the transmission is gone. What a piece of [xxx]. just hope some one reads this and talks their daughter or wife out of making a 20,000 dollar mistake. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dickson, TN, USA

problem #26

Jun 202010


  • 61,900 miles
2004 VW convertible Beetle needs the valve body replaced. Car only has 61,900 miles on it. Rear windows both have broken air bag switch needs to be replaced.

- Valencia, CA, USA

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