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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,436 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.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #39

Aug 072013


  • 92,000 miles


Engine abruptly lost all power and turned off while driving down the street. No warning lights came on, and the car restarted and ran normally for 6 months. The same thing happened about 6 months later. 10 minutes after the second episode, mechanic wasn't able to find a fault code and drove it without the stall recurring.

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #38

May 152013


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the vehicle stalled with the illumination of the battery warning light. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 128,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #37

Jan 112013


  • 116,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle however, the failure recurred intermittently. Additionally, the contact noticed that the front and rear passenger's side doors would not unlock when the master door lock switch on the front driver's side door was engaged. The contact also stated that the brake warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 116,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #36

Sep 012010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


My 2002 VW Jetta tdi has many electrical problems. The one that might be a safety factor is the micro switches in the door latches. The doors with faulty switches don't know if there open or closed. When open the safety light on the door does not come on to alert oncoming vehicles that a door is open. If the switch stays on when the door is closed, the dome lights stay on until the battery is dead. The car dies in the freeway when running, it might be affecting the computer now. This has to be recall its a safety issue.

- Rialto, CA, USA

problem #35

Apr 192012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 108,154 miles
When backing out of my driveway my drivers side airbag deployed for no reason. I didn't hit anything. Now the engine starts then stalls. All dash lights are now out.

- Center Conway, NH, USA

problem #34

Dec 262011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Driver side lock switch, unable to lock my 02 Jetta with remote key. Interior light on the driver door constantly stays on.

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

problem #33

Dec 032011


  • 143,050 miles


While driving home at night, my son and I smelled smoke. We exited the vehicle, checked under the hood, but found nothing. We continued home and parked in the garage. Still smelling smoke, we re-inspected the vehicle, but were unable to determine an origin or any visible evidence. Both seat heaters were on during the drive home, but the seats showed no visual signs of damage after parking. Next morning we opened the vehicle to discover the cabin was filled with smoke with an approximate 1"hole burned up thru the passenger seat on the lower right bolster. Apparently the seat heater initiated a thermal event which erupted in a seat fire after we turned off the ignition and parked the car in the garage. Fortunately, the fire did not engulf the vehicle or it could have caught our home on fire, resulting in possible injury or death to my family. I believe we dodged a bullet because the seat fire did not sustain itself and engulf the vehicle. VW has agreed to repair the burned seat at their expense and make a mitigation repair. However, VW has declined my request to cover any similar mitigation repair to the other seat. In October 2004, the NHTSA ODI concluded that ?driver-side seat heater may fail or malfunction due to normal vehicle use? but ?such failures do not pose a significant risk of injury or fire." The ODI stated the investigation did not conclude that a safety-related defect does not exist and the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances. (EA04010) evidence and reports indicate that seat heater caused thermal events in both driver and passenger seats in the VW Jetta have been an issue for nearly 10 years now. Near misses continue to occur. I believe that a seat fire is a significant safety concern. I would encourage the NHTSA to re-examine the circumstances to determine if further action is warranted.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #32

May 312011


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that when trying to use the turn signal they would not turn on; nor does the hazard warning lights function properly. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic who advised her that there was an electrical failure because no fuses had blown out. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current miles were approximately 150,000.

- Rodchester, NY, USA

problem #31

Nov 022009


  • 79,399 miles
Vehicle shut down while driving twice, could result in car being disabled while driving at any speed any where becoming a very dangerous situation for the driver and an obstacle on the road for other drivers to try to avoid. Volkswagen dealership isolated this to a faulty harness connecting the alternator tothe fuse located on top of the battery. The harness and the fuse box had to be replaced. The dealership said this problem is only common to VW beatles and VW Jetta, because they said the car was 2002 it was out of warranty not covered. I was more concerned of the safety of life and property this problem would cause. I filed a complaint with the attorney general john krogers office in Oregon, they sent me a letter stating they had forwarded this complaint to the national highway traffic safety admin in Washington DC. I tried to contact them by phone, they asked if I had a confirmation #. I haven't as of yet received a letter or phone call.

- Cheshire, OR, USA

problem #30

Jun 012008


  • miles
Battery continues to drain over night. Changing batteries did not solve the problem. Online forum points to radio draining the battery. Pulling fuse and resetting radio tends to stop the process, but then it returns after a couple of days.

- Farmersville, TX, USA

problem #29

Sep 092009


  • 82,928 miles


1. 2002 VW Jetta wagon electrical system failure on expressway caused vehicle to stop & unable to start 9/6/09. Vehicle towed to dealer. 2. VW dealer failure description, wire harness corrosion caused restriction in power flow in line which caused alternator to overwork and overheat wire harness and fuse panel. This extensive enough to cause melting of both wire harness and fuse panel over top of battery. 3. VW dealer repair and replace wire harness and fuse body. 4. VW customer care took information on my complaint about defect and potential safety issue but would do nothing referring me back to the dealer. My question was why did VW have such a defect where there was no fusible link that would fail first preventing the extensive damage that occurred.

- Bingham Farms, MI, USA

problem #28

Feb 012009


  • 70,000 miles
The bottom seat heater on my 2002 VW Jetta either doesn't work at all or if it turns on, it overheats the extreme right side of the seat. A small hole is burned in the upholstery, and the foam underneath is melted, deforming the appearance of fabric above. This could result in a burn to the skin on the right side of the leg if it goes undetected. I see this as a huge safety issue.

- Story City, IA, USA

problem #27

Nov 252008


  • 128,345 miles
While driving the vehicle, smoke and a burning smell started to emerge from the cabin instrument cluster. I pulled to the side of the road and now noticed that the fuel level display and the coolant temperature display are not working even though engine was a normal operating temp and the fuel tank was just filled up.

- Wasilla, AK, USA

problem #26

Oct 142007


  • 50,000 miles
Car will suddenly stop working. VW corporate will not address as the car has hand many issues and is no longer in warranty. Spent $2K with VW dealer to diagnose. Appears to be electrical in nature. While driving the car suddenly stop running and all electrical stops bring car to a halt. Issue began 9/07 and dealer has had car in shop about 2 months in total.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #25

Jun 282007


  • miles
I have 2002 Jetta having the same electrical problem. The door / latch switch has a malfunction and won't come on when the door is open. The dome light does not come on and the light on the door does not come on. Which can cause an accident if the vehicle coming from the rear of the vehicle and can't see the door is open at night. The dealership won't replace it even though it was still under warranty at the time. There are plenty of people having the same problems and pays the dealership a lot of money to have it fixed. Obviously it is a problem with all Jetta that year. The dealership should have a recall the defective switch be replace. Could potentially cause a fire.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #24

Jan 012006


  • 60,000 miles
My 2002 VW Jetta tdi has many electrical problems. The one that might be a safety factor is the micro switches in the door latches. The doors with faulty switches don't know if there open or closed. When open the safety light on the door does not come on to alert oncoming vehicles that a door is open. If the switch stays on when the door is closed, the dome lights stay on until the battery is dead. The VW dealer just "jerked" me around until the warranty had expired. (fredericton VW). Since the part(s) for this repair are expensive, I feel that VW should recall all vehicles to replace the switches and door latches. Mel moir

- Penniac, New Brunswick, Canada, 00, USA

problem #23

May 222008


  • 59,300 miles
Manufacturer refuses to reimburse me for work done for a manufacturer recall not performed at a dealership, even though car could not be driven there due to recall defect and mechanic came to my house to repair the defect with an authorized manufacturers part

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #22

Aug 292003


  • 24,000 miles
Check engine light continuously comes on, completed recall for brake switch, epc light continues to come on, car stalls while waiting for a light to change very dangerous. After a night of rain, leak in passenger side floor mold growing car will have a very hard start or no start at all in the morning, replaced battery 3 times. Changed O2 sensor 2X, car burns oil continuously, interior lights go out when they feel like it, brake lights die out fast, changed brake lights and signal lights at least 5X.

- Staten Island, , NY, USA

problem #21

Sep 132007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
No events lead to this problem. The original battery in the vehicle was changed out due its age. Over the past 4 months I have changed out the battery twice. On more than at least 20 different times, I would go to my vehicle in the morning to start it up and the battery would be completely dead. No lights, radio or any other devices were left on in the vehicle, to drain the entire battery to nothing within the span of 10-12 hours. I have taken it the auto shop on several occasions to have a voltage test done on the battery, alternator and starter with negative results every time for a parasitic drain of the battery. The alternator is in perfect working order and does not need replacing. So far the has been nothing that can be done other than jump start the vehicle. During the 10 or so hours I am work and leave for the day, I have had absolutely no issues. If the vehicle is not driven over the weekend, come Monday morning it is dead. I have just recently changed out the battery and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it but yet its dead if left for more than 12 hours.

- Bristow, VA, USA

problem #20

Mar 012006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles
Purchased used 2002 VW Jetta 1.8 turbo (5 speed) with 34,000 miles still under warranty. Taken to dealership for blown fuses (cigarette lighter), trunk latch, center console, and transmission repairs. Fuse problem was ongoing. Within a few months, a local mechanic installed a small boost gauge on the dash, which was wired into a 10 amp fuse. Within five days, the car was being backed out of the driveway when smoke began pouring from all the dash vents. The wire harness, fuse block, and controller components located behind the dash were destroyed by fire. VW of America prepared to send investigators to nm, but when they discovered gauge wiring may have contributed, they did not investigate. Have read of other electrical fires behind instrument panel, dash, since this time. Our son was driving the car at the time of the fire, but was able to get out.

- Alamogordo, NM, USA

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