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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,623 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Sep 082008


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that water has accumulated in the sun roof and over time the water has leaked down to the transmission module causing the transmission to malfunction. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer and the dealer stated the transmission module needs to be replaced. The contact stated this is a known issue for this year make and model. The contact stated the manufacturer should issue a recall for the sun roof. The failure mileage was 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #21

Jan 112010

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that he discovered water inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility where the sunroof was disengaged. The manufacturer advised the contact that there was an open recall on the vehicle under an unknown recall campaign and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer for repairs. In addition, the contact stated the vehicle was exhibiting an abnormal jerking sensation when driving at various speeds. The dealer replaced the soiled carpeting and noticed extensive water damage to the transmission module, which was also replaced. The contact stated that the jerking persisted when attempting to switch gears. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer however, the dealer was unable to locate a failure within the vehicle. The failure persisted until the transmission failed. The dealer refused to replace the transmission. The manufacturer offered no assistance. The vehicle was repaired at the contact's expense. The failure mileage was approximately 95,000 and the current mileage was approximately 102,000. Updated 1/19/2010 updated 01/27/11

- Belmont, CA, USA

problem #20

May 012010


  • 90,000 miles
Transmission on 2004 VW Passat hard downshifts from 5th to 4th at 30 mph when transmission is warm. First occurred at 90K miles. Took to two VW dealerships both indicated catastrophic transmission failure that they would be happy to repair for $4000. Didn't fix, researched web and found this a common problem with VW transmissions. Called VW, they knew about it but didn't care since it is out of warranty.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #19

May 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Automatic transmission hard downshifts from 5th to 4th. Took to dealership to investigate. They claimed transmission needed replacing. Called manufacturer to request they take ownership of issue. They declined any responsibility but did not deny issue. Transmissions in modern cars rarely break pointing towards a manufacturing defect or design flaw. Safety hazard is that the transmission could break, lock up or seize and cause an accident.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #18

Nov 162009


  • 38,000 miles
2005 Passat wagon - 38000 miles blocked drains around the sunroof caused rain water to leak into the floor boards of the car. The build-up of water caused the tcm (transmission control module) to malfunction. The (automatic) car was able to be driven only with hard shifts between gears and now will not move out of park. (undrivable). Replacement of the tcm will cost $3210. The car was a garaged car up until a few months ago. It was at the dealership for all scheduled maintenance. I was told by the dealership that the drain tubes can get clogged with "one leaf" and the next rain can cause this problem. I was advised to park in a covered area and never drive in the rain. This seems like a significant design flaw that one leaf followed by any rain can cause the tcm to fail and need replacing.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #17

Aug 142009


  • 84,000 miles
2004 Volkswagen Passat: Failure of transmission control module located under passenger seat in floor board due to manufacturer defect. Caused by water into vehicle after heavy rain. Volkswagen has known of this problem since 2000 and has failed to make changes. Failure of the control unit has the potential to cause a fatal accident should the transmission shift gears during highway driving or a high rate of speed.

- Hampstead, NC, USA

problem #16

Oct 122005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


1. new 2004 Volkswagen Passat, V6 sedan. Returned car several times under warranty for many types of repairs. Volkswagen unable to repair car. Both the dealer and Volkswagen of America were made aware of the problems. 2. several failures including but not limited to: Excessive oil consumption, loss of power and acceleration, transmission problems, failure to start, malfunction indicator lamp constantly on, braking problems, climate control problems, and several electrical problems including failed brake lights. 3. several attempts by Volkswagen has failed to fix the problems. They are unwilling to resolve the problems adequately.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 072007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,100 miles
- the contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the heating seat malfunctioned. The heating coil burned a hole in the seat, and burned the contact's leg. The driver's front seat had a silver dollar size hole in it, with a wire sticking out of the seat. The vehicle's seat began smoking and she turned off the car immediately. The contact planned to take the vehicle to the dealer on 02-09-07. Also, the contact had a recurring problem with the transmission. The contact stated that usually when driving at 55 mph on the highway, and as she began braking the car jerked or threw the contact as if someone haad rear ended her. The contact stated that this happened at least once a week. She had taken the car to the dealer because they were not driving on the highway they were not able to duplicate the failure. In both instances neither weather nor speed were factors.

- Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #14

Feb 032007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,787 miles
My car, a 2004 VW Passat glx automatic, has had a transmission problem since the day I bought it, when the salesperson told me it just needed to adjust to my driving style. Months later, it was clear that it wasn't adjusting to my driving style. I took it in and it was "fixed." About may or June of 2006, it began to experience problems again, e.g., slamming, surging, delayed engagement, etc. I gave it some time, hoping it would "readjust, " then took it in November of 2006, when the problems had become more acute. In a 4-5 minute test drive within a mile of the dealer, the most worrisome malfunctions could not be repeated. The service manager at the time said the minor issues were normal, and that I would have to "write a letter" to get the problem addressed. On Saturday, 2/3/07, a transmission surge propelled my car over a speed bump and into the concrete, causing what I presumed was an oil leak. This transmission issue presents obvious hazards to people, in addition to property. As of today (2/6/07), the dealer is requesting that I pay approximately $900 to fix the oil pan so they can drive the car and address the transmission malfunction.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #13

Dec 052006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving various speeds, the automatic transmission had a sluggish response while shifting gears. Additionally, while driving uphill, the vehicle operated at a reduced speed. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who was unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #12

Oct 092004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120 miles


Just about evrery time I drive my car there seems to be a lurching in the transmission when I start driving and when I start to slow down(5-15mph). The dealer(cooley Mazda, VW in East greenbush, NY) said there was no problem, but after checking with your site I found out I wasn't alone. Any help would be great.

- Watervliet, NY, USA

problem #11

Jun 012004

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,290 miles
While driving on the highway between 60-70 mph vehicle will down shift. When sitting in traffic vehicle will surge forward. Consumer was very concerned. Contacted the manufacturer. When driving 65 the vehicle will upshift or downshift on its own.

- Charlestown, RI, USA

problem #10

Sep 282004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,220 miles
When slowing down at traffic light car hesitated and then jerked foward, as if I had been hit from behind. It was enough to make my back and neck sore. I touched the accelerator pedal to give the car some gas and the engine freely revved, even thought the transmission indicated it was in 'drive'. the car has developed a hesitation to accelrate before the incident, and after. The car has also been showing signs of excessive fuel consumption.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #9

Aug 042004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Automatic transmission lurched on down shift when coming to a stop. While driving at any speed momentary hesitation particularly in an intersection. The dealership has inspected on several times and could not duplicate or correct the problem. Dealership corrected the problem with vehicle and consumer wished to rescind report from complaint database.

- Rutherford, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jul 032004


  • miles
I own a 2004 VW Passat wagon V-6 and there is a problem with the transmission. The car bucks/jumps when decelerating into lower or accelerating into higher gear. It causes jerking of the vehicle at times. Dealer checked the car on two different occasions but claimed that it found nothing wrong when a systems checked was run. Dealer was unable to replicate the problem on a test ride. Contacted VW to no avail.

- Cliffside Park, NJ, USA

problem #7

Feb 222004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,200 miles
My transmission on a 2004 Passat wagon all wheel drive (V6) engine slips and startles me very frequently. When the vehicle is slowed down it bucks violently as if I was rear ended by another vehicle. So far, volkswagon gave me a replacement car (since it was a brand new car). However, the replacement car is doing the very same thing. This problem is potentially dangerous because it feels as if you're being rear ended. Also, it creates a potential danger on the roads. Volkswagon originally said it was the all wheel drive (but this is simply not the case). Now, they're saying the transmission needs to be "flashed"? I will be filing a lemon law complaint against the company. I fear that many other vehicles have the same problem and they're being ignored or swept under the carpet. I would really hope that someone in your organization would investigate this complaint and will bring this potentially serious problem to the attention of volkswagon. At at minimum perhaps, they should recall these vehicles and send out a notice to owners of this vehicle type. Please plead my cause with vigor and determination. Sincerely, david deboskey

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #6

Mar 012004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,600 miles
I bought the car new in October 2003, I noticed intermittent jerking of the transmisssion especially when slowing, accelerating slightly and then coming to a stop. The jerking is surprising and uncomfortable, but has not yet caused an accident. I had the car into the dealer for 9 days in March. They were able to reproduce the problem, but had no way to fix it. I have been told it was a software problem and that a fix would be available: First in may, then in June, and now still no fix.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #5

Mar 312004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60 miles
When the vehicle was being slowed down the gears would slam into place. Also when trying to accelerate, the vehicle didnt respond immediately. This problem has occurred at least thirty times since buying the vehicle in March. The dealer is aware of the problem and VW America is working on a solution.

- Stony Brook, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 102004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 Passat with 4WD, car jumps forward when coming to a halt, clearly a safety hazard but NHTSA seems unwilling to accept the complaint. I have entered it three times without it showing up on the list. I guess campaign money talks louder than consumers.

- Myersville, MD, USA

problem #3

Apr 072004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2004 VW Passat with a safety issue in the transmission. When I accelerate at slow speeds it hesitates before taking off and then bam, it's like some one hit you in the back of the car and the car jumps in gear. It does not happen all the time. But the transmission seems real slow going into first gear and it does with a clunk.

- Spring Lake, MI, USA

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