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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,983 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 Jetta brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #6

Jan 092011


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving approximately 65 mph, the contact noticed that the vehicle was hesitating. While attempting to pull over and applying pressure to the brakes, the vehicle would not stop. The vehicle hit a boulder and flipped over. The contact sustained several bruises. A passenger sustained a fractured wrist and ankle, seat belt rash, and bruising. The vehicle was destroyed. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 110,000. A police report was filed.

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #5

Sep 262006

Jetta 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. He applied pressure to the brake pedal at 30 mph, but the vehicle would not decelerate. As a consequence he rear-ended another vehicle. A police report was filed. He sustained minor injuries. The vehicle was towed to an auto body collision center; and completely destroyed. The failure and current mileages were 78,000. Updated 12/10/09.

- Orem, UT, USA

problem #4

Jan 012003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I have owned a Volkswagen Jetta (turbo - 2003) and have had one horrible problem after another. Without fail, I have taken my vehicle in for random mechanical repairs every few months since purchasing the vehicle. I found out the car was manufactured in Mexico and that VW was aware of how bad their car's manufactured in Mexico were. If that is the case, how can so many car owners with so many mechanical issues continue to sell in this country? I would like to report VW for lackluster performance and for continuing manufacture in an area well known for its below average standards and for continuing to bleed the consumer when it is fully aware of the issue.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 232004


  • miles


When the brake pedal was depressed to disengage the cruise control brakes failed. This resulted in a rear end collision. The insurance was not able to prove that the failure was due to a malfunction in the brake mechanism.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #2

Jul 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 10,900 miles
I bought my car at the end of November. Drove it off the lot with 9 miles on the vehicle. At the time of breakdown on July 25, 2003, the car had 10,900 miles on it. The current mileage on it now is 13,000 July 25th was a very hot day. I believe it was up to 110 degrees that day. I had noticed my car running at a substantial lower power than usual, but I assumed it was because of the heat and that I had my air conditioning on high. I had to do some errands in town then I headed home, which is about 30 minutes away from the tri-cities, at this time I did notice loss of power going up the on-ramp to the interstate, but still did not think too much of the fact. I was half way home when I noticed that my car was losing even more power, the cruise quit and my speedometer went from 75 to 50 mph and that is when I noticed that my heat gauge was extremely high. I also found it odd that the inside of my car had not cooled off, but was getting warmer. I headed towards the off-ramp and as I was down shifting and applying the breaks, my brake pedal made ;puffy-popping noise and then the brake pedal collapsed to the floor. I put the vehicle in neutral and pumped the brakes to get the vehicle to stop, when the vehicle stopped, I smelled heat, or like something burning. I thought it was a fire around town. Pulling away from the off-ramp, I could not get any pickup speed with my car. The car felt like it was pushing to go forward and also pulling itself back at the same time, as the vehicle tried to pick up speed, it would pull back and forth. The gas pedal was all the way to the floor and I couldn't get any speed. I could only shift into second gear and the vehicle could only maintain 15 mph. As all of this was happening, I was turning off everything I thought took power, air conditioner was the first thing off when I started noticing the car overheating and losing power, then the radio, these did not help.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #1

Nov 102003


  • miles
While driving in heavy MA traffic the front breaks of my 2003 Jetta tdi locked up. I had to pull over and it took me 30 minutes to get the brakes to release. I took the car to the dealership and they refused to fix the problem because they could not duplicate it. They have had my car for 11 days and they still refuse to repair the car. VW customer support is also being unhelpful.

- Gray, ME, USA

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