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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,699 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.

2004 Volkswagen Passat transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #9

Feb 252008

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


1. my wife was driving the car (2004 Volkswagen Passat gls, 1.8 L turbo), and it felt like it was having trouble shifting from first gear to subsequent gears. It was sudden, not gradual by any means - the car just started to hesitate when shifting, and the mil lamp was lit...this happened in heavy traffic in the detroit suburbs - not an ideal time to not be able to accelerate. 2. the transmission was replaced under my powertrain warranty (it's my opinion that this was an unnecessary replacement). Upon further investigation, it was found that there was a water leak in the vehicle, and the passenger side floorboard was filled with water, inundating the transmission control module. It turns out that this damaged the module, and effectively rendered the car is not able to be driven. 3. the transmission control module is being replaced, as well as a "seal" that caused the water intrusion (I haven't been able to get out of them which seal was replaced - this can be addressed with a follow-up).

- Rochester, MI, USA

problem #8

Oct 142007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,976 miles
The tcm (transmission control module) failed due to a leak, that is a common problem, I now find out $1300 later on this 2004 glx Passat. After searching for 4 months for a tcm I learn that this is an on going problem 2001-2004, that VW hasn't addressed, but is aware of due to the configuration of a drainage system that causes water to enter the passenger floor board and fry this tcm.which could result in an injury or further damage to the vehicle, due to transmission shifting suddenly and unexpectedly into 3rd gear.

- Gosport, IN, USA

problem #7

Aug 152007

Passat 6-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
Transmission on car "shudders" when accelerating between 50 mph and 75 mph creating unsafe distraction and performance liability.

- Noank, CT, USA

problem #6

Dec 012004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30 miles


Water coming into front passenger seat resulting in damages to the tcm (transmission control module), wet carpeting, and rust under the passenger seat. The transmission module failure resulted in vehicle not able to shift into higher gear, and delay acceleration. The tcm and carpeting was replaced.

- Millwood, NY, USA

problem #5

May 272004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When slowing to a stop transmission/drive train occasionally will demonstrate a jarring and potentially dangerous "clunk" as if the trandmission is dropping out of the car. The car also lurches forward slightly. We have read that some dealers tell their customers the problem is due to a faulty transmission control module. Our dealer, russel VW in catonsville md said they could do nothing, denying ever hearing about the problem. We contacted VW-usa and they said they had no knowledge of such a problem. This is clearly untrue!!! there are complaints of this problem all over the internet. VW is setting itself up for tremendous liability issues should injuries occur because of this problem.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #4

Apr 052004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
There is a problem with the transmission. The car shifts sharply in lower gears causing severe jerking of the vehicle at times. Dealer "rebooted" the control module but no change. The mechanic at the dealership let it slip that they were aware of this problem and that there is no solution at this time. I can't believe they sold the car knowing of this problem. I contacted VW and complained to the dealership. I was offered 2 months of free loan payments by VW. I recently received a call from the dealership saying that the software problem has been fixed. I am taking car in this week.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 012004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles


Purchased 12/03. Within 2 weeks began to shift abnormally slamming in/out of 1-2nd gears. Drove technicians 3 times before they would admit something wrong. Unplugged transmission module - no fix, replaced module - no fix, then admitted they have software programming problem and engineers are working on it - no fix right now. Has been 6 mos of poor shifting, now likely transmission damaged, still no fix available.

- Huntersville, NC, USA

problem #2

Mar 032004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,956 miles
Vehicle transmission lurches forward when slowing to a stop. Vehicle purchased on 12/9/03. Problem occurred on 3/3/ replaced the transmission control module. Problem has reoccurred on 5/20/04. Dealer states they are aware of the problem and are awaiting "software update" from Volkswagen. They have no anticipated date from Volkswagen on the correction.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 022004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
Automatic transmission lurched on downshift when coming to a stop. Dealer replaced the transmission control module...problem has not yet been duplicated again, but it has only been a day.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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