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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,778 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.

2001 Volkswagen Passat lights problems

lights problem

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2001 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #13

Apr 062008

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


I have suffered the same issues as others concerning the headlights for my 2001.5 Volkswagen Passat gls. I have replaced the drivers side light on 3 occasions. I have replaced it myself on all occasions. The driver side headlight assembly has completely melted and needs to be replaced. When the bulb is replaced, it usually lasts a week before going out again. My passenger side headlight went out last night. When I went to replace the bulb, I again found a melted headlight assembly. This one is not as severe as the driver side but also poses a safety issue. This will result in the neighborhood of $1,000 in repairs. Volkswagen needs to step up and correct this problem.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #12

Jun 232006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Headlights burn out and constantly need replacing, only problem is it must be completed at the dealership. Have replaced at least 7 lights since purchase of car.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #11

Sep 192005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 92,750 miles
2001 Volkswagen Passat. The plug in the bulb failed. The only way to fix it was to buy a headlight assembly for the driver's side and the passenger's side. All connectors don't resist heat. Called dealer, consumer did not want to pay for the repairs.

- Somerset, PA, USA

problem #10

Feb 042005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


The consumer experienced a problem with the headlights. The owner stated that while trying to take the vehicle through state inspection the vehicle failed because the headlights would not adjust. The adjustments were done from the reflector. The adjustment screw vibrated, and eventually fell off, making this very difficult to maintain. The consumer stated that the plastic gear vibrated. The light fell out of the adjustment. The plastic gear fell off and the lights went out of alignment. On Feb 4 the vehicle failed a state inspection because the lights were out of alignment and could not be corrected. Both head lamps were defective due to a small adjustment screw on the lamp assembly.

- Clifton, VA, USA

problem #9

Oct 012004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The headlights of my 2001.5 Passat have burned out at a rate that is much higher than normal. I have had to replace one headlight twice and the other four times since I have owned my car. Because the manufacturer recommends that only a dealer replace the headlight there are many times when I have to drive with one or the other lamp out. Fortunately they have not failed at the same time. During a visit to my local dealer when the car was under warranty they stated that there was no electrical problem at that it is normal for headlights to be replaced this frequently. Since that visit, and several more light replacements, they have determined that the wiring to the passenger side headlight assembly was faulty and have since replaced it, although they charged me for the repair. Given the number of Passats that I see with one headlight out, I suspect that there is a manufacturing problem and this problem is causing a safety issue.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

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problem #8

Sep 232004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Driver's side low beam headlamp ("projector type") failed within 2 weeks of replacement. Asked dealer to find source of problem. Dealer found lamp socket melted and wiring burned. Replaced wire harness and socket and bulb. VW technical service bulletin 9404-01, "headlamp electrical connection repair", issued 3/11/04, suggests this is a recognized defect in affected cars. This also suggests that replacement harnesses may be a redesigned part (e.g. heavier wire, improved materials, etc.). it is not clear whether the harness used resolves the problem for both sides of car or not. Charged $54.45 for harness, $188.30 for entire job. This was partially covered by extended warranty. Requested reimbursement from both dealer and vwoa for out-of-pocket expenses for repairs to apparent defective component, but was denied based on age / mileage (86,485) of vehicle. Consequences of defect: Potential underhood fire hazard. Loss of visibility for driver/oncoming vehicles.

- La Grange, KY, USA

problem #7

Dec 112003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles


Vehicle was purchused in July 2001. Since then, a headlight has burned out 4 times on the vehicle, with the last headlight going Dec 2003, for an average headlight lifetime of 15 months. The problem is not on one side; the headlight on each side has been lost at least once. The previous headlight loss (the 3rd), I was told by a mechanic at the dealer (casey VW, in newport news, va) that they knew there was a problem, but they were not authorized to fix it. The argument (which I did not understand and cannot replicate here) was something like because the car was under warrenty, they couldn't use their non-standard fix. I was not charged for the first three headlight replacements, which goes at least part of the way to making up for the fact that none was accomplished in less than one hour. On my most recent trip to the dealer to have my headlight repaired, I was informed that the rate of headlight failure was "normal". there was no offer to cover the cost of replacement. The car is now off the comprehensive standard warrenty, but covered through the VW optional extended warrenty program. This warrenty doesn't do a lot of good if VW claims that there is no problem for them to fix (beyond a burned-out bulb).

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #6

Aug 212003


  • miles
Headlight failure on several occasions

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #5

Sep 122003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 56,359 miles
The right headlamp assembly has defective wiring according to the dealers service department. This is the fifth time the same headlight has gone out since the car was purchased un July 2001. The dealer indicates that the last time it went out in June 2003 they repaired some exposed wiring in the headlamp assembly. Now the wiring cannot be repaired any further. It will cost over $300 to replace the unit. The manufacturer was notified twice about the problem. My main concern is the safety issue. When a headlamp goes out you loose the illumination on the roadway that it serves. Not having the proper illumination at night can cause an accident. Also it helps motorists coming in the other direction see your car. The other obvious safety hazard is the fire that be caused by exposed wiring (see ODI id # 10016924).

- Mukwonago, WI, USA

problem #4

Jan 222003

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
I have VW Passat, 2001. It has around 30 000 miles on it. The clutch has gone down on this car and it needs to be replaced. Parts and labor for this repair are more than $2200. This car has electrical problems also. The warranty is gone after 24000K or 2 years. I have extended warranty on this car, but they don't cover anything from the long list of repair. I called to VW customer care and ask to reimburse me for clutch repair, since it must be after 10 years/100 000 miles power train warranty. They refused to participate. I complain about VW quality ( I have friends having trouble with VW as well). I believe that manufacture has to take care of bad product and cover the repair cost. I purchased this car brand new and I expect to have a quality item, not the junk for more than $25K. I also completely dissatisfied with VW service!!!!

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #3

Jan 202003

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles


Multiple problems with the 2001 VW Passat. Problems began at 16000 miles and have continued up to the current date and mileage of 33000 miles. Car has been seen in VW service department 11 times since November 2001. Lawsuit has been filed against VW America.

- Millersville, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 222002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states of that the head lights keep on burning out. Dealer was contacted.

- Ramsey, MN, USA

problem #1

Jan 052001


  • miles
Consumer stated the rear brake light was out, dealer replaced a bad bulb, also the headlights were shining low, dealer stated the headlights were out of range.

- Queensbury, NY, USA

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