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.

4.0

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,400 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 #15

Apr 152014

Passat 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car was constantly getting the passenger side (front and back) flooded w water during a rain storm. Had to get new battery cleaned out sunroof drainage. It didn't matter. Whenever it rained the battery would be dead because the control module which is there is all messed up sending mixed messages. Finely just died in the middle of the road. Not worth putting money into the car. I purchased this car less then a year ago and had this problem after the first rain and went down from their. Im so disappointed hoping buying a used VW I was going to be satisfied but had nothing trouble from day one.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #14

Jan 122010

Passat

  • miles
I purchased an 03 VW Passat from a VW dealer as a certified pre-owned vehicle back in 2/07. Within the first week of purchase I had brake problems. The next couple years were followed by valve cover leaks, engine leaks, auto window problems, battery problems, recall issues, water intrusion issues, ignition coil recall and the list goes on. After a water intrusion just days after the replacement of faulty ignition coils I contacted the manufacture notifying them of the problems. The manufacture had held their foot to the ground that my car is out of warranty (that I was told at time of sale I did not have) and so they are able to do nothing about any of the problems with this vehicle. However as it stands I have nearly $3000 in repairs needed to this vehicle. Not to mention the water leak/damage from what I understand may actually mean my vehicle is considered a total loss at this point. I have expressed to the manufacture that I am concerned for the safety of myself but my small children as well ever time we are in this vehicle. Among the several things that are potential to occur while I am driving I also worry about the potential for mold exposure from the water damage. Due to cost I am unable to get any of this corrected and can not afford to go thru my insurance only to be told that it is a manufacture issue and so I am stuck. I feel that at this point I am driving around in a safety hazard and don't know what to do. Every time I receive a replay from anyone I just end up back at the same place....contact the BBB, etc. I am getting no where and don't know what to do therefore am looking into any and all resources so any information would be useful. Thank you for your time.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #13

Feb 102008

Passat

  • 80,000 miles
Water leaked in to the passenger compartment of the VW Passat. The transmission electronic controls are located under the floor mat of the passenger side of the auto. The water shorted out the electronics for the transmission disabling the vehicle. A VW dealer repaired the Passat by replacing the electronics at a cost of $2250 to us. They also modified the air intake to prevent future damage. This was the second time we had the auto in for cabin water. The service rep. Told me there is a problem with the cabin air intake and this was replaced under a recall on the 2000, 2001 and 2002 years of the Passat. He tried VW for warranty but they declined.

- Beaver Dam, WI, USA

problem #12

Jun 202008

Passat

  • 81,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2003 Volkswagen Passat is holding 6inches or more of water on the passenger side in the floor board and has shorted out the computer underneath, in servicing the car the technician advised he found 3 other Volkswagen Passats of the same year to have the same defect. I have also been advised that a serious crash could have resulted because the computer underneath regulates the transmission.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #11

Nov 272007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
I have a 2003 VW Passat. I've had two leaks into the front right floorboard in the past six months from either a sunroof drain line or a air conditioner. The leaks have produced so much water that it has gone to right back floorboard. The plastic on the interior is worn off. The ashtray fell apart. They can't seem to get the alignment right so I keep going through tires and the tires I do have sound uneven when I rotate them, making me think there's a problem. Hove replaced the headlights three times in 1 and 1/2 years. There's a defect investigation into fires in the engine and a recall on oil sludge. This car is an accident waiting to happen and it's very poorly engineered. One thing after another. VW has on a bunch of recalls already on this model, to many for me to feel safe with. I'm abandoning the car today, trading it in for something else. Will never buy a VW again. No car should have this many issues. And the issues continue to roll in. Now the airbag light just came on...another thing to have to worry about!!!

- Elkins, WV, USA

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problem #10

Nov 152007

Passat

  • miles
My 2003 VW Passat wagon flooded during a rainstorm because the pollen filter seal failed. Furthermore, because the comfort control module computer is mounted on the floor, that was damaged and the bill is significant. My dealer's service department rep (boston VW) told me that he recommends cleaning leaves off the car 2 to 3 times per day in order to prevent this problem. That seems like an unreasonable maintenance requirement to prevent an issue that I've never seen previously with other cars.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #9

Jun 282007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2003 VW Passat and am original owner. I've had three leaks into the front right floorboard in the past six months from either a sunroof drain line or a air conditioner, depending on the repair person you talk to. The leaks have occasionally produced so much water that it has gone to right back floorboard. My trunk hinges are broken. My hood lids are broken. The plastic on the interior is worn off. The ashtray in back fell apart. They can't seem to get the alignment right so I keep going through tires and the tires I do have sound uneven when I rotate them, making me think there's a problem. Now my brake lights are out. It's not a fuse but apparently a switch. But my car isn't covered by a recall that VW has on a bunch of other models. There's a defect investigation into fires in the engine and a recall on sludge. This car is an accident waiting to happen and it's very poorly engineered. One thing after another and VW national is no help. I'm abandoning the car today, trading it in for something else. Will never buy a VW again. No car should have this many issues at 4 years old. And the issues started at 3 years old.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #8

Apr 272005

Passat Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Front headlights malfunctioned - replaced them but they couldn't make the alignment of the beam. The car runs to the right but the wheels are calibrated and the direction alignment is done. The car infiltrated water inside the car and trunk. Sunroof malfunction - opens in all positions but don't close. The car as the front glass is from 2005 and all the others are from 2002, construction of the car 2003. Diesel escaped from the pump. Cd changer - 6 cds as malfunction the radio doesn't eject the cd's. the motor gag various times a constant rotation. The trunk was hard to open and close. There are other complaints.... the complaints begin 15 days from the purchase.

- Porto, 00, USA

problem #7

Nov 212006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1) our 2003 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T is leaking water into the passenger side of the cab. 2) this appears to be a common problem in the Passat as well as other Volkswagen and has the potential to cause electrical malfunctions. 3) repair will require modification of drain systems around the vehicle to prevent intrusion of water into sensitive spaces.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #6

Sep 062006

Passat

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My Passat had two previous instances of water leakage in the floor of the back seat, where the computer is housed. This resulted in a short-circuit in the cars computer in the fall of 2005, causing the car to slow in traffic and ultimately stop when I reached dealership. Maroone Volkswagen of delray beach addressed these two instances under warranty by focusing on the pollen filter and pollen filter caging. On the third occasion, I again took it to maroone Volkswagen on September 6, 2006 since this seemed to be another recurrence of the same problem. Dealer would not fix under warranty. Service advisor said cowl had a hairline fracture, which was allowing water under my hood and into the car. However, cowl was intact on previous visits for same problem. Contacted VW of America who accepted dealers diagnosis. This is especially troubling given there is a wealth of information online posted by Passat owners experiencing the same leakage problem that I describe above, and it is not due to cowl. Please refer to autobahn.com.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 202006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Water leak - Passat 2003.

- Rockville , MD, USA

problem #4

May 282006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,500 miles
I recently had my 40K mile service done and was preparing to go on vacation. The car made it there without incident however the second day into out vacation the asr light came on and then the prnd432 all stayed lit. It had been beautiful weather for several days however there was easily two inches of water on the passenger side. The vehicles check engine light came on and it stopped automatically shifting. The vehicle is at the shop waiting repair.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #3

Dec 052005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles
Due to a sunroof drain clog, our 2003 Passat wagon passenger floorboard quickly filled with water in what I would describe as major flooding. As an immediate and direct result with no opportunity to react and respond our car began to have trouble starting. After getting it started and being unaware of the situation we were dealing with, an attempt was made to drive it to the dealer to see what was wrong. During that ride the electrical system went haywire, the car began to lurch and ultimately shut down on the side of the highway. I was forced to call VW for a tow and was responded to promptly. The dealer's service dept examined the car and found that the transmission control module and the air bag control module were both submerged as they both rest underneath the carpet in the floorboard. Both items were deemed to be nonfunctioning and had to be replaced. Along with the labor to clean carpets and replace these parts the total bill was around 2300 dollars. Here is my complaint: This was not covered under warranty according to the dealer, however; there is no literature in the owners manual or buyers guide that suggests the importance of keeping these drains unclogged. I mean if major flooding in the floorboard of a vehicle, a place where the vital computer modules are kept, is going to create catastrophic damage then it should be notated and/or made clear to the buyer at the time of purchase. I consider this to be a design flaw and worthy of warranting a recall. If you need verification of many more instances of the same problem with the same types of vehicles (VW Passats, etc.) creating the same types of consequences all you need to do is visit the forum at theautobahn.com and I am sure you will be just as disturbed and frustrated as I was even if you don't own one of these vehicles. Thank you for your time. A very angry consumer.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #2

Feb 152006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
Failure of electrical system due to interior water leaks into the footwell area from blocked plenum drain. As stated in the June 18,2004 VW technical service bulletin vehicle has 28,000miles. It is a lease. First electrical problems began at approx 20,000 miles when air bag light and check engine light came on and remained on. Service department kept car for 3 weeks and repaired. Second problem key lock system failed. Unable to start the vehicle needed to re-do codes and replace keys, also changed steering wheel. Third problem, dampness on floor of drivers side, front and back., trunk opened while driving, interior lights remained on unless turned off manually, door locks opened and closed randomly while driving, alarm system went off randomly, sound system went on and stayed on after car was vacant. Car needed to be jump started in order to use. Car towed to dealership and was denied warranty coverage due to normal weather conditions causing problems. VW of America refused to cooperate stating that they do no cover defective parts if it rained on the vehicle. At this time, car has been at dealership for 3 weeks while parts are ordered to repair at my cost. So far bill is rising above $4,000. Request to terminate lease was denied. 90 days early termination was offered by VW leasing but payments must continue to be made after car is returned.

- Anahola, HI, USA

problem #1

Jan 022006

Passat

  • miles
Leak into the passenger compartment with heavy rain resolution pending passenger air bag can be affected.

- Menlo Park, CA, USA

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