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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 2
Average Mileage:
10,706 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #15

Jul 052006


  • miles


My 2001.5 VW Passat abruptly stopped recognizing its keys. These keys have some kind of magic number that is used to validate their authenticity. However, the car stopped recognizing its three keys yesterday. The VW dealership does not have a sense for what might be wrong. I disconnected the battery for 5 minutes yesterday and the car started recognizing the key after that. However, I had the same problem again today, and looks like its going to keep happening unless I figure out what the root cause is. As of now, the engine does not start, central locking does not let me lock the car. The trunk doesn't pop. The only thing that works is the unlocking of the car, and the locking of the driver side door (only).

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #14

Nov 282001

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased my 2002 volks Passat gls. I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle. My radio quit, I had the speakers replaced twice, I had the heater blower motor replaced, I had the ignition coils replaced 3 times (recall), wv campaign (recall), sludge in the engine (recall), the right wheel tire hull reinforced (recall). I have talked with Volkswagen corporate office and have an active complaint number. Their customer service is terrible both at the corporate and dealer level. The Volkswagen dealer in auburn, wa is inept and has put the wrong oil in the my car 2 times. I would like volkwagen to buy-back my car or give me a life-time warranty on the car. Any ideas? there have been too many incidents to list just one. It has been an ongoing problem.

- Des Moines, WA, USA

problem #13

Feb 142004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Ignition coils failed two times, resulting in loss of power and causing vehicle to shudder. Coils were supposedly replaced. On a separate occasion (following the coil repair) vehicle completely shut down on the interstate- going from 80 to 0 mph in the matter of seconds. I had already been driving the vehicle for over an hour. I lost all power and was barely able to get the car to the shoulder. Problem was diagnosed as bad gas (not possibly the coil). In addition, my rear door quit closing, headlights have burnt out, filters have gone bad causing front of car to become flooded, vacuum hose defective, rear brakes went bad, and radio quit working. Parts were replaced either under the warranty or out of my pocket. VW refuses to admit there is a problem with this car. I have approximately 40000 miles on it.

- Wheeling, WV, USA

problem #12

Feb 072003

Passat 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


Inability and/or unwillingness of dealer and/or manufacturer to respond timely to problem of faulty ignition coils on VW Passats.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #11

Feb 032003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Engine coil problem! engine lite went on, lose power. Had to have car towed to dealer. They are only going to repair bad coil, not replace the other 3 coils!

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jan 012003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 12,000 miles
2002 Volkswagen Passat. Ignition coil failure. Returned from christmas to midway airport, Chicago. Car started but one of four ignition coils did not fire. If same problem occurred while driving, may have caused serious degradation of speed on the highway.

- Summit, NJ, USA

problem #9

Dec 312002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


I have a 2002 Volkswagen passet that had to be towed three times for failed ignition packs. The vehicle was in the shop a total of four times. Volkswagen was aware of the problem and never contacted the consumers or the owners of this problem. They advised that they would only replace the coil that went bad and not all at once. If the company is aware of the problem then they should have taken some action by notifying the comsumers. Volkswagen's are suposed to be reliable, but it seems they are not at least for the 2001/2002 passet. Please take time to look into this matter. My incidents occurred last Feb, may, Dec, and Jan 03. I also asked Volkswagen who would be responsible for the repairs after the warranty runs out. I was told that I could always send in the repair amount to see if they would reimburse me. Thank you

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jan 102003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
1 year old VW Passat, twice same problem with coil, broken turbo, it is on warranty but how many times can one go to dealer with a car which has 15000 miles,

- Wood Dale , IL, USA

problem #7

Jan 112003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 18,700 miles
I own a 2002 VW Passat with the V4 1.8L engine. It is just one year old and has 18,700 miles of mostly highway driving on it. It has individual ignition colis for each cylinder. They are failing at an alarming rate. So far in the last 3 months two have failed and I expect the remaining ones to fail at any time. This is not uncommon for this car. Failure means a tow and possibly being being stranded in the middle of nowhere. VW is aware of the problem however refuses to replace any coil until failure. I believe this is an irresponsible policy. The cars should be subject to recall and replacement. The only reasons they are not doing this that I can imagine are that either the strain on their logistics is too great or they have not solved the root cause of the problem and are replacing the coils with components that will also fail in a short time.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #6

Jan 072003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,326 miles
One ignition coil pack failed on my 2002 Passat wagon (1.8T) causing the car to lose power while in traffic. I researched and learned that there are known defects with the factory installed coil packs leading to cracks and water penetration after 10K miles. I had 10300 miles on the vehicle. I asked VW of America to replace all 4 ignition coil packs with new, defect free parts and VW refused. Meanwhile the vehicle is still at the dealer (1 week and counting) awaiting a replacement for the failed part. I am worried about driving the car with the defective coils and putting myself, my wife, and two young daughters at risk. If VW does not rectify the problem with 4 replacements I will have no choice but to engage the Massachusetts lemon law.

- Acton, MA, USA

problem #5

Dec 262002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,000 miles


Volkswagen of America has a known component failure with the ignition coils on all VW and Audi 1.8T engines in all 2002 models. These components fail without warning causing the car to stall and/or lose power dramatically and can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. VW has stated that they know the components are bad (4 per engine) but will only fix these items as they fail. I personally have had this failure twice and they will not correct all of the components. Please investigate this and force VW to recall all of these vehicles and replace all of these know bad components.

- Warren, NJ, USA

problem #4

Dec 062002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,567 miles
Coil pack failure. Dealer has replaced two broken coils on previous incidents - currently awaiting replacement for third incident. Vehicle undriveable - must be towed. Symptoms indicated by flashing engine light on dash and very rough idling. No indication of when replacements will be available - car is in dealer service lot two weeks. Dealer has reported that 17 other Passats are also awaiting replacement. VW must issue a recall or service advisory to replace all coils not just bad ones.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 172002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,700 miles
One of four coil packs (a.K.a. ignition coils) failed in my 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8L turbo. Upon phoning the dealership, I found that they currently have 20 other cars on their lot with the identical problem waiting for replacement parts that are on national backorder. In order to appease their customers, the dealer had been pulling the part out of 2003 models, but they ran out of cars to cannibalize. I have further learned that this is a widespread problem in late model VW's as well as Audi's with the 1.8L engine, and although VW is aware of the defect, they have not authorized their dealers to replace the other three coil packs. Also, while my car could potentially break down three more times because of this defective part, there is currently no recall scheduled by Volkswagen.

- Montville, NJ, USA

problem #2

Dec 152002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,500 miles
My cars check engine light came on, and the car lost power and ran very roughly. I managed to make it to an off ramp before stopping the car. I called the VW road side assistance and they sent a tow truck to take the car to the dealer. I had my wife, my son, my sister in law, and my dog, so finding a way home was not easy. I was lucky that when this happened I was still within my "home" area, and was able to find a friend with a large enough car. After the dealer opened the next day, they told me it was a coil pack that had gone bad and the part will take a week or two to get. I have a rental that is paid for by the dealer, but it is not the same type of car I bought, a station wagon. I did some research to see what a coil pack is, and found many owners with the same problem, and the problem happens more than once. I am verry concerned that this will happen again and I won't be near a friend who can rescue me and my family.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 262002

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,800 miles
Coil packs defective in 2002 Volkswagen Passat - dealer said this is a known problem by Volkswagen. But VW refused to replace all coil packs except the one that failed, exposing drivers to further failures (quite possibly in a dangerous situation)

- Cupertino, CA, USA

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