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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,251 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.

2003 Volkswagen Passat body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #7

Apr 092015

Passat 4-cyl

  • 135,800 miles


I have had my 2003 VW Passat a year now I have just noticed in the past week that it had a leak I thought it was from the window or sun roof I went to vacuum the car out on a nice day and seen that it still had very wet carpet and then noticed the carpet was a green color like it was coolant I then had my bf check it and it is. I run a daycare and use this car daily with my children we have been breathing in this coolant for weeks now and that probably explains my daughter saying she gets headaches when we drive the car. I have done some research and see it is a very common and recalled thing with the heater core and I had no idea I hope us breathing this in hasn't done any damage I have a one year old who has been in it this whole time as very unpleased with this car.

- Eugene , OR, USA

problem #6

Sep 012006


  • 25,000 miles
Sunroof drains/or other source allows water to leak into car saturating the interior carpet under left drivers seat and floorboard area. Convenience module was replaced once under warranty in 2006, but water leak has returned. This is a garaged vehicle and this water leak occurs if car is parked outside at work (no trees of leaf debris) with roof closed. Dealer was aware of problem when the car was repaired originally in 2007 and said the drain hose was collapsing on itself.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #5

Jun 102009


  • 42,000 miles
Pollen filter and/ or sunroof drains become blocked and water leaks behind battery and into cabin of car. The water then pools under and behind the drivers seat where the convenience module is stored. I am concerned because it caused my car to be unable to start because it is affecting the electrical components of the car. In addition, the pooling under the drivers seat is troubling since it is a hub for interior electrical equipment. The convenience module in my car now has to be replaced.

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 282009


  • 39,000 miles


I have a 2003 VW Passat that has leaked water from the sunroof drain tubes and pollen filter. The water pooled into the floor pans under the carpet all over the car and threatens all of the electronic components stored on the floor of the vehicle. VW dealer wants over $1000 to fix this issue even though there is nothing stated anywhere in the owner manual regarding drain tube maintenance or pollen filter leaks. These drains are neither easily accessible or visible (especially the rear drain channels). These problems are clearly engineering flaws and there are tons of documented cases all over the internet of the same problem occurring. VW does not acknowledge this problem and the dealership is charging huge amounts of money for parts and labor to clean up all of the water damage and fried electronics. This really needs to be looked into and considered for action. In addition to water damage, mold and mildew pose significant health risks.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 272008


  • 31,000 miles
This car was never inspected for recalls, or safety issues. The moment the car was handed to us the battery died. The dealership quickly change the battery. The car was hesitating on acceleration ever since. It was on July 27 2008 that finally the check engine light came on. Took the car to a garage and it has coast us 270 dollars to fix it so far. We have not had this car for more than a month. There are two recalls on this car that were never look at or fixed by precision Toyota of tucson. One of these recalls can cause fire.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

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problem #2

Mar 082006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,960 miles
This is a 2003 VW Passat with 27,000 miles. It is kept outside in northern California. There have been rains here recently, expected this time of year. The rear footwell was found to have water in it recently. Neither the sunroof nor windows had been left open. Although the vehicle has been maintained by VW dealers according to schedule, the bottom of the sunroof drain tube was clogged, backing water up. The resulting damage included carpet, dampened transmission control unit, wiring harness and a safety relay amounting to over $3,000 to repair. The dealer is replacing the damaged parts and unclogging the drain tube. There is no guarantee that this will fix the problem permanently. The transmission control module had an internal short

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 072004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
After rainy days my 2003 Passat wagon (4 motion) has 1 -2 inches of water on floor of the front passenger side. This has now been to the dealer twice (I just took it back today) - the first time they told us that it was a drain problem from the sun roof that was clogged. The carpet smells and I am afraid that the electric seats will soon short out.

- Merchantville, NJ, USA

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