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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,972 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #10

Sep 012007

Passat 6-cyl

  • miles


2002 Volkswagen Passat with fuel odor. Consumer states that she noticed a strong fuel smell filling her garage. Mechanic stated that there was a crack in the fuel tank. Mechanic stated that the consumer hit the bottom of the fuel tank on something. The consumer stated a few months after the fuel tank was replaced, the timing belt failed.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #9

Oct 022007

Passat 6-cyl

  • 115,243 miles
This complaint is about a 2002 Passat 4-motion V6 car. Gas odor entered my house for 2 weeks and I did not know what was causing the problem. I called the gas company to see if I had a gas leak with my furnace. The gas company came and tested but found nothing wrong with my furnace or equipment using natural gas. I decided to find the root cause and began ruling out possibilities. I observes the gas smell was in my garage. I observed whenever my gas tank was filled, more odor came into the house. I filled the gas tank on 10/1/07 and parked the car out on the street. On 10/2/07, when I entered the car in the early am hours, the gas scent made me throw up and I became dizzy. I had no idea what was wrong and I drove - while praying - the car to the dealer. They immediately told me they would not let me drive the car out of there without finding out the problem because of the very strong gas odor. I was later told if anyone had thrown a cigarette by my car, it would have caught on fire! the car was dripping gas as I drove to the dealer! the dealership found the problem was cause by a leak on my fuel tank. A new fuel tank was needed - that is the only way it could be fixed. I requested my old tank and said it has to be brought and shown to the government Agency over transportation and the environment because I could have died and no one would have known it was a faulty manufacturer's part. The old tank shows 3 plastic tubes used on the gas tank that drains the gas! plastic ! one of the plastic tubes broke off causing the gas leak! I visited a website and found so many other Passat owners have had this problem and VW is doing nothing to change the design! I spoke to VW and I was told there is nothing they can do and I have to pay the cost of the repair! I am asking your office to investigate this safety issue. This is a dangerous safety issue to all Passat owners! I have my old gas tank and will be happy to bring it to your office.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #8

Sep 142007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles
If fuel tank is filled more than approx. 3/4 full, the odor of gas is apparent very soon after. It permeated my garage overnight and overwhelmed me when I opened the door. My mechanic told me a vent tube on the top of the fuel tank is defective and has seen a number of these, as has the dealers mechanic. They have told me the only remedy is to replace the tank. I personally have not been in any accidents, and have owned the car for over a year. My local VW dealer will be replacing this for free based on the approval of a regional VW manager, but I called VW of America and was told that this issue was news to them, and no such recalls or extended warranties applied. I feel that this is a significant safety issue, and I was only saved the ~$3,000 in repair expense because one specific dealers adviser happened to be aware of a "soft recall, " as he put it. He told me a number of these tanks are failing on my particular vehicle, and have ordered extra fuel tanks to accommodate customers. VW should be notifying customers or at the very least have information on it through their national customer care center.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #7

Sep 162007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. The contact smelled gasoline and noticed a leak coming from the rear driver side of the vehicle. The float assembly was replaced, but it did not correct the failure. The dealer stated that a new fuel tank was needed and would cost $1,700. They also stated that the metal flange seal and tank were connected and would not be replaced. The manufacturer investigated the failure and stated that there were no recalls and the vehicle was out of warranty. The current and failure mileages were 91,000.

- Plum, PA, USA

problem #6

Jun 092007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,082 miles
The 2002 Volkswagen Passat glx 4 motion with just over 66,000 miles had just been refueled with a full tank of gas and driven into our garage when my wife smelled strong gasoline fumes and noticed puddles underneath the vehicle. I brought it to Volkswagen dealership, and was charged $70 for the diagnosis, and then a total of $302.77 to replace the gasket for the fuel pump. They did not fill the tank to confirm that the problem no longer existed, but said that the problem was fixed. A week later the same situation, gasoline fumes and puddles under vehicle. Returned to dealership, and they kept car for 4 days to diagnose. Bottom line, they informed me that "the vehicle may need a new fuel tank, $1,622. And /or new fuel lines, $922.25. They will need to lower the fuel tank to completely diagnose" at a cost of $700 because of 5 hours. Labor. We had already spent over $300 for repairs that apparently wasn't necessary because it did not fix the problem. They did not refund our $300. Also, my wife called Volkswagen of America, and we were told that the car was out of warranty, so they would offer no help. I purchased this car brand new. It was top of the line I expect better performance and service as I have had a number of Volkswagen and none had given me grief until this one. A gasoline tank and fuel lines were safety issues and if they fail in such a short time they would have to be either defective or poorly designed, and the responsibility to correct them should lie with the manufacturer. Any reasonable person would think that the $300 repair bill would be acceptable but not anywhere between $2000 and $3000. Why should the customer pay for a poor design that involved $700 just to diagnose? from the look of some of the other complaints found on this site they would already know and gladly extend some good will to the owners of these vehicles.

- Park Ridge, IL, USA

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problem #5

Sep 162006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,900 miles
A chemical smell permeating my entire house for 2 months. I had home gas company come out and check for a gas leak, gas company did not find a gas leak. The smell would be worse some days. A friend found my tank leaking. I took my car in the next day, Monday P.M. to have it looked at baron VW. They said it was a nipple on a hose inside the tank, and the whole tank had to be replaced. This is a very expensive repair, that they are estimating to be two thousand dollars. I do not believe that this just happened, with the hose being inside the tank, I think this is a bad part. I have found other incidents of this online, for this particular 2002 Passat, with four motion. I think it is a defect of the part and it is expensive because the whole drive train must be removed to replace it. I am hoping you will look into this because that is a very dangerous problem. I don't think some people would even notice their tanks leaking. If my car was not stored in my garage everyday I would have never noticed it. It could have blown my house up when I turned my heater on for the winter with the fumes that were in this house, not to mention driving with a leaking tank, and the chance of static or a cigarette butt getting tossed my way. The car has been out of my garage for 3 days now and the attic fan has been on until last night and my house still stinks. I am afraid now to turn my home furnace on. People who own these cars should be warned to check them for gas leaks, especially if they keep them in their garage. I also think about the times I had my grandson strapped into a child seat right there over that leaking tank. The reason the smell was in my house stronger some days was because I would leave the car outside sometimes and I had the windows open and attic fan on would draw the smell out. The day I discovered it was particularly strong was because I had put the car back in and shut the windows and turned my A/C back on in the house.

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #4

Aug 022006

Passat 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


2002 VW Passat, V6 4motion just turned over 50,000 miles (warranty expired) and noticed that when I filled the gas tank, for several days until the gas level went down, there was a very strong gas odor in the car and around the car. Took it to the dealer, who first pointed out that it was time for me to pay the Passat driver privilege tax, a.K.a., $650 for standard maintenance work. Regarding the gas smell, after the mechanics allegedly checked the car, the service advisor speculated that it was a leak in one of the fuel pump seals, which are located under the back seat (where the strongest smell was coming from). He said that he had seen other Passats at around my same mileage with the same problem. The tank was only full though, and the smell was not present, so he asked me to bring the car back on another day, with a full gas tank, so that the mechanics could smell it. When I suggested that it might be more difficult (and dangerous) to examine a full gas tank, he agreed and when I brought the car back a week later for the mechanics check it out, that's when the service advisor told me that the gas tank was 'cracked' (near the top) and that it would cost $2,000+ to fix it. This is obviously not caused by 'wear and tear'- nor is it a problem that I could have caused absent some sort of impact. I called VW America to ask them to pay for the repair, and after they investigated my claim, they told me that the dealership offered to pay 1/2 the cost of the repair, ($1,000). When I next spoke with the service advisor at the dealership, he told me that VW had offered to pay 1/2 the cost of the repair, or would give me a $1,000 credit toward a new car. My investigations have led me to the conclusion that this is either a defect of the VW fuel tanks or the crack is due to corrosion, which should be 100% covered under the 12 year corrosion warranty. Either way, VW should be held accountable.

- Annandale, VA, USA

problem #3

Mar 222006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
My 2002 VW Passat 4 motion developed a severe fuel leak from a defective fuel tank which ruptured along the top and was leaking in 3 places. Vehicle has not been involved with any collision. VW refused to cover the repair due to my vehicle having 65000 miles. Dealer mechanic said he has seen several other Passats with 4 motion have the same problem. Repair cost estimate is $3000.

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 252003

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer noticed after filling vehicle with fuel vehicle intication light would flash, stating low on fuel. Dealer had been notified could not duplicate the problem.

- Makawao, HI, USA

problem #1

Jun 142003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 25,000 miles
While driving on the highway right rear Michelin mxv4 tire disintegrated. Parts of the tire ruptured the gas tank. On 6/18/2003 the consumer contacted the manufacturer, who stated that vehicle was not involved in the recall# 02V026000. On 6/20/2003 the dealer called and informed the consumer all damages to the vehicle would be fixed per the recall. A recall notice was received after the call from the dealer was made.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

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