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:
20,859 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #12

Feb 262007

Passat 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


I brought my 2003 Passat glx sedan into dealership because car was jerky when the brakes were applied. Car has 41,214 miles on it, 90% highway. Dealer informed me that the rear brake rotors were warped and had to be replaced along with pads. Dealer informed that Passat rotors could not be turned in lieu of replacement. From other complaints I view, it appears this is a defect in the rotors.

- Flagstaff, AZ, USA

problem #11

Sep 052006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
My 2003 Passat has approx. 34,000 miles. The brake rotors had to be replaced twice -- once at somewhat over 12K miles ago, and the other very recently. The most recent time, we were told not to drive the car any further (by the dealer) because it was unsafe to drive. The first time, VW paid for the repair, this time they would not. I believe there is a safety problem, one which I am afraid will happen again. Please note...I do not have the exact date in the field below.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #10

Jul 312006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,400 miles
At 44,400 miles and just 4,000 miles after fuel pump replaced the new fuel pump failed on my 2003 Passat wagon. Both incidents occurred while driving the car on high traffic Suburban Washington DC streets. There was no warning and car came to an abrupt stop without time for me to signal the cars behind me. This is in addition to having to replace both front and rear rotors at about 20,00 miles as well as control arms. This seems to be an inordinate amount of service in only 3 years and 44,000 miles!

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #9

Jan 212006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,600 miles


: the contact stated while traveling up hill at 25mph the vehicle sputtered and stalled. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was determined the fuel pump needed to be replaced. Previously the contact experienced braking problems while traveling at high speeds. There was vibration and grabbing in front end of the vehicle when braking. The vehicle was seen by the service dealer four times. The front rotors, the rear rotors and both control arms were replaced. The problem was corrected by the replacement of these parts for twenty thousand miles and has now returned.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #8

Mar 082005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Bought new a VW Passat, glx, V6 in May 2003. It has 18500 miles on it. I have had three sets of rear rotors replaced because they have warped. The last set were replaced in March 2005, and I am experiencing the same problem today, and have an appointment at the dealer to have them replaced again. The rotors warp badley, the car, especially at highway speeds shudders when the brakes are applied and does not stop adequately.

- East Rockaway, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 232005

Passat 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,110 miles
Vibration from steering wheel when braking and uneven stopping. Dealer found warped front rotors. I found this problem rather unusual as we drive the car to and from the station daily and we only have 29,000 miles. Dealer had to replace pads and both front brake rotors. VW refused to cover under warranty. I feel the car is not safe due to these constant brake problems. I have had other brake problems with this car, the dealer has replace the rear brake pads and then rear pads and rotors under warranty.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jan 152005


  • miles


2003 Volkswagen Passat sw developed problems rear brake pads and rotors.** answer required***. the consumer stated 8,493 miles later the brakes began to squeak. The consumer took the vehicle back to the dealership where it was discovered the rear brake pads and rotors were damaged again. The head light bulb was replaced.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 292004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,200 miles
Design defect in brake rotors.

- Oracle, AZ, USA

problem #4

Mar 162005

Passat 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Vehicle is experiencing problem with excessive wear of front brake rotors and pads. Both the rotors and the pads had to be replaced on two separate occasions. The first time at 9,000 miles, and now at 17,000 miles. The problems was causing the vehicle to vibrate and make a roaring noise when braking. Consumer anticipates the problem may recur again.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jan 012005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
VW Passat - brake rotors warp, causing dangerous braking situation. This is a common problem known by VW, and complained of by thousands of Passat owners (many, many sites and complaints on the internet, and mechanics). VW refuses to fix this problem.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 312004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Under normal driving conditions, and 90% highway driving, the vehicle's front and rear brake pads became severely worn out in approximately 10,000 miles of driving. After the first all 4 brake pads were replaced, in another 10,000 miles, the vehicle's right rear brake pad fell off the vehicle during street driving. All 4 rotors, 4 brake pads, and 2 rear calipers became severely damaged and had to be replaced. Vwoa made an exception, and paid for the rear brakes, rotors, and calipers.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

problem #1

Apr 152004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,000 miles
Under standard daily driving 50/50 local and freeway miles, rear brake rotors warped before the car had 14,000 miles driven. Rear break pads are at 6mm which I am told is just less than 50% of maximum. Also been told vwoa will not replace rotors under warranty until pads are at 2mm. Warped rotors cause pumping and potentially unstable driving under heavy breaking.

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

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