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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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,485 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 Passat brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #4

Aug 142013

Passat 4-cyl

  • 128,800 miles


In August of 2013, while backing out of a driveway, I experienced a total loss of braking. After examining the car, I discovered that the plenum that holds the battery and brake booster was nearly filled with rain water. It was necessary for me to remove one of the duck-billed drain plugs in the plenum as all were clogged with debris, preventing water from draining out. The flooded plenum appears to have resulted in water being drawn through the vacuum lines when attempting to brake. This, in turn, caused a significant amount of water to be drawn into the crankcase. Water was also drawn into the cylinders resulting in misfiring. After removing at least one drain plug in the plenum for proper drainage, and double flushing the contaminated oil in the crankcase, I experienced no further braking problems until freezing weather in November 2013. In November, while braking near the bottom of a hill, I again experienced a hard pedal with no depression and almost no braking ability, resulting in the car going into the intersection before fully stopping. The car was towed to the Volkswagen dealership for repair. Two weeks later, there was again the symptom of a hard pedal? with no depression and near loss of all braking. The car was again returned to the Volkswagen dealership for repair. This time, the vacuum booster, the vacuum pipes, and their related items were replaced. As noted in the dealership invoice, evidence of water was found in the replaced vacuum booster. The dealership acknowledged that the plenum had a significant high-water pollen line, indicating flooding of the plenum. It was believed by their service department staff that the brake failures in November and December 2013 were likely the result of residual water freezing in the vacuum booster, causing the booster to be inoperative. Also, the ignition coils were replaced. Updated 01/30/14 the consumer stated the insufficient fix during the 2008 campaign did not resolve the problem. It allowed for continued flooding of the plenum compartment and subsequent brake failures. Updated 02/19/14 updated 03/13/14 updated 05/12/14 updated 06/25/14

- West Milford, NJ, USA

problem #3

Feb 042008

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,640 miles
When I started my 2002 Passat station wagon yesterday, there was no power assist function on the brakes. This was experienced two days in a row, and braking was extremely difficult. Braking distance was greatly increased over what it had previously been. This phenomenon happened when I first started driving the vehicle after it was parked a while. Pumping the brakes seemed to improve the effectiveness of the braking, but never enough to give me confidence that I could stop when I needed to. I have taken the car to the dealer, and they have said the master cylinder needs replacing. I participated in the air plenum recall and had the air plenum replaced on 9/7/07. I am sending in the present complaint after reading the NHTSA action # PE07018. The problems with the brakes in complaint #PE07018 sound very much like my problem, and I thought you should be aware of my situation. I also live in Wisconsin where we are currently having a cold wet winter.

- Eagle, WI, USA

problem #2

Jan 222007

Passat 6-cyl

  • miles
2002 VW Passat with total brake failure customer is requesting compensation for repair work to car and house** it was discovered the brake booster assembly, which was supposed to be vacuum-sealed had 1 quart of water in it. The mechanic stated that due to the cold night, the assembly froze up, and when the consumers wife started to pull the vehicle into the garage to warm it up, the brake system failed.

- Natick, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 122006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles
: the contact stated while in the driveway, the brake pedal would not depress and the vehicle would not stop. The vehicle was put in neutral and the parking brake was applied. The contact waited for the thermostat on the vehicle to go above freezing then took the vehicle to the dealership. The dealership determined the drain holes in the battery compartment had filled with road debris. This caused water to get trapped in the compartment and freeze. The master vacuum for the brakes is located in this compartment, and this freezing caused the failure. The debris was cleared out and the master vacuum and other components were replaced.

- Newtown, CT, USA

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