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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 2
Average Mileage:
20,885 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2002 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #17

Mar 052008


  • 1,000 miles


All headlight bulbs on vehicle do not last long and or do not work correctly directly following installation of new bulbs. Headlight bulbs require replacement weeks and sometimes days following new installation. There is a defect in wiring. Certain times a headlight bulb will work while the car is cold, but go off when the car becomes warm or hot. Dangerous situation for driver of car while driving at night. Roads are difficult to see, road signs are very difficult to read. Other drivers do not see vehicle well in the dark. This defect is with all headlights - daytime running and night driving headlights. This is an ongoing incident concerning each of the headlights and therefore dates do not apply to this defect in wiring.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #16

May 272007

Passat 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. The contact noticed a haze and/or a frosted glaze over his headlights. Over the course of a year, the headlight issue progressively worsened and affected the contact's visibility at night. The dealer and the manufacturer stated that his vehicle was out of warranty, however, the vehicle could be repaired for approximately $700. The current mileage was 55,000 and failure mileage was 48,000. Updated 07/29/08. Updated 08/05/08

- Silver Spring , MD, USA

problem #15

Oct 102007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. The contact noticed that the headlights were not working. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they informed her that the bulbs were burned out and the passenger side headlight harness melted. She searched online and found that this was a common manufacturer defect on older models of her vehicle make, but not for her year. She called the manufacturer and they refused to take responsibility for the defect. The powertrain was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 35,000.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 062007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles


2002 Volkswagen Passat, wagon, 4 cyl 2.0 L motor. I had 2 occasions where the wiring harness shorted out on the front headlights, once on the driver's side at 75,000 miles, and once on the passenger's side at 40,000 miles. There was no fire, but in both incidents the wires had completely melted to the wiring harness where the headlights were attached. The wires were completely exposed in both incidents.

- North Liberty, IA, USA

problem #13

Apr 152003

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,150 miles
: the contact stated while driving 35 mph on normal road conditions the head lights failed. No warning light alerted the contact of an electrical problem. The vehicle was taken to the dealership who replaced the bulbs and connectors but did not repair any wiring due to heating. The failure had occurred on two previous occasions but the dealership did not identified the source of the problem to be wiring over heating. The head light failure also occurred between the repairs intermittently creating a safety risk during night driving. The manufacturer was notified who opened a case but there has been no resolution yet.

- South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

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problem #12

Jun 142006


  • 85,000 miles
Bought the car new and have had to deal with defective tires, defective ignition coils causing two major breakdowns at highway speeds with children in the car. The last two ignition coils were recalled. The car will not run if it is wet from heavy rain and has to be completely dried before the breaks work properly. Oil pump was replaced 14 months ago, another major breakdown on highway with children. It has broken down yet again...the dealership says it needs another oil pump because of sludge, about $2000, not under warranty because it is past the 12 month, 12,000mile mark. Two other private mechanics told me, replacing the oil pump would only disguise, temporarily the real issue....the engine is junk. It now sits in my driveway because it is not under warranty because I am missing some oil change receipts. Also the blinkers don't work, the rear door won't open, auto locks work intermittently and headlights have been replaced twice and are out again. This was the first new car I ever bought. I bought the car after a divorce because I wanted a dependable car to commute to work and Transport my children safely. The car has 85,00 mi.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #11

Jul 212005

(reported on)


  • miles


The defective front right daytime running lamp on consumer's 2002 VW Passat.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #10

Jan 012005

Passat 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Contact stated the headlights have been replaced four times, but continue to blow out. The service dealer stated the headlights installed were not a quality line headlights.

- Fort Jefferson, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 102002

Passat 6-cyl

  • miles
2002 Volkswagen Passat experiencing problems with passenger seat, door panels, glove compartment, radio equipment, buttons for the mirror equipment and the vehicle kept cutting off. The consumer stated when the passenger seat went forward it would not stop, the heated seats burned the consumers children, however he did not state how many children. The vehicle could not be aligned. The door panels and arm rest were peeling. The headlights were always going out. The brakes squeaked. The battery, generator and ground wire were replaced due to vehicle stalling.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #8

Jan 082005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 28,000 miles
Varioud head, tail and brake lights on my 2002 VW Passat have burned out 6 times in the last 9 months: /3/04 - both headlights replaced by VW, /17/04 - headlight and brake light replaced by VW, 10/9/04 - tail light replaced by VW, 0/23/04 - both headlights laced by VW, 2/11/04 - headlight and parking light replaced by VW, 1/5/05 - head light replaced, /5/05 VW service of bernardsville, New Jersey refused to perform an electrical diagnostic check because the "light bulbs they get from another vendor are faulty". therefore, VW of bernanrdsville is knowingly installing faulty safety equipment. I was told this in front of another woman who was bringing her car in for light bulb replacement also. I told the service department this was an unacceptable safety risk. I hit a deer one night when my headlight was out and it is dark when I drop-off and pick-up my children from school. Although I told the VW service department that it is unsafe to drive the car because I'm afraid I would hit a child crossing the road or school parking lot, they refused to perform an elctrical diagnostic check on the car. I reported this information to the bernardsville New Jersey police department, in case someone who gets lights replaced by VW of bernardsville gets into an accident or hurt. Although it is not a criminal offense to knowningly install "faulty" equipment, it is a civil offense and should be reported before someone gets hurt.

- Millington, NJ, USA

problem #7

Nov 152004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 54,900 miles


Passenger original low beam light failed. Brought into dealer and problem was determined to be a melted wiring harness. I observed the harness behind the bulb and it was melted. Dealer replaced the harness. This was the original bulb and had never been serviced. Taking with the dealer he said they had replaced several in the past week in Passats and I had to wait a week until they got a new shipment in. My concern here is that a melted wire harness should not happen and could lead to a fire.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #6

Jan 272004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Headlight failures. Passenger and driver side lights have failed 5 times in 18 months. (service dates: 11/23/02, 1/28/03, 8/1/03, 10/7/03, 1/27/04) dealership insists this is normal operation because headlights are constanly on. Wiring harness checked on 8/1/03. No problem found. Wiring harness and headlight assembly checked and failed on 1/27/04 checked by "master technician". headlight assembly replaced. The service technicians continually refer to the 'dual element' of the headlights causing the failures. I suspect either a design flaw with the headlights or an electrical problem.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #5

Apr 292003


  • miles
One of the vehicles headlights went out soon after the consumer purchased the vehicle. The dealer replaced it with a different kind but now the vehicle is equipped with two different headlights. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer because the consumer received a citation from the police because it appeared that one of the headlights were out, but it was not. The headlights did not shine the same, one was dull and one was bright.

- Far Rockaway, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 012002


  • miles
Can't get any parts of car warranted since I had filed a complaint with BBB. Including no horn, both headlights went out with in 4 days of each other, the engine has erratic shift points especially when cold. The problem is VW says not to let the engine warm up but my engine oil heater is broken. Takes about 10 minutes at freeway speed to warm up. And the supposed ABS are not really ABS brakes when emergency braking from 75 mph. And many little interior mechanical issues.

- San Bruno, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 012003

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Both right and left headlight bulbs keeps burning out

- No. Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Sep 062002

(reported on)


  • miles
Too marked a difference between lit and unlit areas when lights are on on dark road with no other traffic or lighting. It is like there is a black curtain above the lit area. When I hit a bump or dip in the road or the car is at certain sharper angles to the road, the black curtain comes down to within 2 car lengths. It is impossible to see anything in the black area, even white road markings. Of course, you can switch on your brights quickly, but that takes another second and by that time you could be off the road or hit something. Traveling on dark uneven curving roads is unnerving. If I had it do over I would not buy any car with this type of headlights. I feel now that I have spent a lot of money and can't drive safely on dark roads at night.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

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