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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,963 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.

2013 Volkswagen Passat electrical problems

electrical problem

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Sep 062016


  • 2 miles


Adblue heater element failure was covered until July now not part of emissions or switch failure NHTSA #16V171000 90degrees should not have been

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #20

Sep 062016


  • 55,720 miles
Adblue heater element should be part of diesel recall part #561198970A with war.for emissions to 80000 miles

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #19

Mar 242016


  • 88,000 miles
NHTSA recall number: 16V171 recall date: March 24, 2016. Manufacturer has failed or is unable to remedy this safety recall for your vehicle in a timely manner. Potential is for a fire in the vehicle and it has been 5 months since I received notice of the defect.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #18

Apr 152016


  • miles


Takata recall. The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V171000 (electrical system) and 16V078000 (air bags) and stated that the parts needed for the repairs were not available. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #17

Apr 292016


  • 41,000 miles
Check engine light came on 2013 tdi Passat. Car just out of warranty @ 41000miles. Took to dealer. Adblue heater element "burned up." Caused damage to adblue control module. Common problem with this car (all over web). $1200 to repair. Called VW advocate. They covered entire cost of repair

- Ofallon, IL, USA

problem #16

Aug 102015


  • 32,000 miles
I┐ve found that the doors on my 2013 Volkswagen Passat [tdi] have electrical/mechanical issues when they are exposed to rain water or extreme humidity. During these exposures they will not stay locked [they will lock and unlock]. two specific periods of time really stand out where the doors have been particularly troublesome. The first was after a rain storm while visiting family in mt. I went to my car and found that I could not close my passenger door after I opened it. It was stationary at the time. I literally had to wrap my seatbelt around the door handle to keep the door from flying open as I took it in for evaluation. I took it to the dealership and they could not recreate the problem. Within one week it happened again during another rain shower, this time I was driving and my daughter was in the passenger seat! thankfully we were driving slow, in town, and no harm came to anyone. I took it back to the dealership and had them replace the mechanical part of the locking mechanism this seemed to solve the 'staying closed┐ issue. The second period of time I was in fl in late August. I was there for three weeks and the entire time the humidity was such that everything was soaking wet. Once again I had issues with my doors. This time it was more electrical than mechanical. My key fob stopped allowing me to lock/unlock my doors and the locks seemed to be possessed. I had to pull the cover off my ┐touch┐ lock to use the key to lock and unlock the doors. I also experienced mile after mile of my doors locking and unlocking while driving. This lasted the entire time I was there. When I came back to a dryer climate the problem stopped. Of the two series of issues I experienced the one that put my child's life in danger is the most concerning. The repairs cost me nearly $1K and the peace-of-mind I lost is immeasurable.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #15

Nov 212015


  • 15,618 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the key fob failed to lock and unlock the driver side door in cold temperatures without warning. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred when attempting to enter or exit the vehicle throughout out the winter months. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure was unable to be determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 15,618.

- Morrisville, NC, USA

problem #14

Jan 052016


  • 43,500 miles
After parking overnight, driver side door would not open using exterior door handle. Opening door from inside released latch, opening door, but frayed a cable. Frayed cable resulted in door latch stuck open, unable to latch door closed. Vehicle was unsafe to drive, door would not close and latch properly. The problem is water and moisture entering the latch and freezing. I disassembled the inner door panel to close latch and drive to dealer for repair. VW has an updated part to solve the problem. A failed latch could cause the door to open while operating a vehicle.

- Takoma Park, MD, USA

problem #13

Nov 012015


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated. The contact also noticed that the steering wheel and the horn failed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering column coil needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 032015


  • miles
Exterior lightening: No low beam to front passenger side headlight. Bulb is loose and has lost electrical contact. I had this issue checked at an VW dealership in milwaukee, wi months ago and was informed that this was the problem. (this issue is under recall). Unfortunately, I was told that it does not apply for my series vehicle. What is the process to get my vehicle covered for replacement?

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #11

Nov 012015


  • 35,000 miles


Battery cables are reversed so the red positive and black negative cables are not accurate. Battery hooked up wrong and sparked, smoked, horn blasts. Now no ac doesnt work and battery light stays light. Happened when battery was changed

- Marana, AZ, USA

problem #10

Oct 032015


  • miles
My airbag light on my car came on and none of the controls on my steering wheel work including the horn. I looked on the VW website and saw that there was a recall. I called the dealership and they said there was no repair. This is concerning because I drive a lot of interstate miles each week. Saturday I received a letter from Volkswagen about the airbag recall and it says to contact the dealership immediately for repair due to safety issue but when I called the dealership, they had no part to repair it. I am driving without a working airbag and am very concerned!

- Henderson, TX, USA

problem #9

Aug 052015


  • 70,481 miles
Vehicle had a check engine light. Took to dealer and they quoted replacing the adblue diesel exhaust fluid resevoir. This is part of the emission controls system.

- Mansfield, TX, USA

problem #8

Aug 192015


  • 49,400 miles
I was making a turn into my drive way, when I heard a cracking noise. At that point my heads up display showed 'airbag error' and my airbag led lit up on the instrument panel. The horn and other controls on my steering wheel are no longer functioning. We took my car to the dealer and they were able to verify that it is in fact the clock spring, but are not sure if it will be covered as part of a recall yet.

- Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #7

Apr 292015


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. While reversing the vehicle, the contact turned the steering wheel and heard a loud popping noise. The air bag error warning indicator illuminated. The contact stated that the horn also did not work. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the air bag module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 49,000.

- Griffin, GA, USA

problem #6

Aug 282014

Passat 5-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Company is claiming that an outside influence of a spill on passenger seat has caused the air bag fault that disables the airbag.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #5

Jul 062014

Passat 5-cyl

  • 20,500 miles
Our 2013 VW Passat's electrical system suddently went dead while driving at 35 mph on a busy road. We pulled the car to the side of the road and five minutes later, the car started up again. After driving for about two miles, the vehicle's electrical system shut off and again we pulled it to the side of the road where we called for roadside assistance. The car currently is at a local dealership's service center being repaired. Apparently, other VW owners have experienced similar problems with their vehicles. NHTSA, please investigate. Thank you.

- Darnestown, MD, USA

problem #4

Apr 252014

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 35,457 miles
Started hearing a whistling type of sound and noticing that the vehicle was not accelerating when I pushed on the pedal. As I tried to pull off the road the vehicle stalled and I could not get it started to get out of the road. Very scary. It finally started long enough to get to the side of the road and it stalled out again. There was smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. The vehicle would not start again. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where I purchased it and have it serviced. The service department called to tell me it was the turbo and that the vehicle needed a new engine. I will be going to the dealership on Monday to pick up the vehicle but will have a list of questions on what exactly has been replaced and what type of warranty this new engine has.

- Wallace, NC, USA

problem #3

Jul 312012

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 200 miles
Backup camera is slow to start. May take from 5 to 20 seconds to become operational after start up. This is hazard with respect to reliance on backup cameras by drivers to see obstructions behind the car. Failure of camera to start up quickly results in reduced safety because drivers will back up without camera operational. I can start my car and back out of driveway and reach the corner of my block before the camera starts up and shows me the road disappearing behind me. A camera does not replace driver obligations to make sure that obstructions are not behind their car, but the camera is also there to be a safety feature and it is not reliable as a safety feature do to its extremely slow start up. Individuals do not like to wait 30 seconds at a stop light much less 20 just to back out of their driveway. This is a design or manufacturing issue that should be corrected to ensure that the backup camera is a reliable safety feature as it was intended.

- Laramie, WY, USA

problem #2

Sep 072012

Passat 5-cyl

  • 150 miles
Steering: Vehicle pulls to an excessive amount potentially leading to injury or death. It does not track straight at all, no matter if it's on the left lane of the road, center crown of the road or in the right lane (no curves. I took the vehicle in to the dealership over 4 times thinking it may be an alignment problem. I was told the second time that it pulls hard to the right as a "safety measure", to lead the car to the right shoulder to get off the road on to the shoulder. Asked the service advisor to show me where VW had disclosed this as a "safety" measure. There was no such documentation. I took it in to another VW dealership in my same city. They did what they said was the 'best they could do without exceeding VW's specifications. This is a dangerous defect and the second dealership admitted to me that VW was having some problems with this issue. Lights/electrical: The low beam light went out on the drivers side of the vehicle. I took it to one of the dealerships in my city. I thought it went out too soon but suspect it was an issue. It turned out to be more then a simple burnt out bulb. The whole light assembly had to be replaced because of what the service advisor told me was indeed a problem VW was having with the electrical connection making continuous contact (like a plug & receptacle). He stated that they had changed the design in the 2014 models because of this defect in the 2013 models. I requested that since it was a known issue, I would like them to retrofit or change out the passenger side light. He stated to me he was not authorized to change the defective unit until it actually fails. This is potentially dangerous as it can happen at night when lights are really needed, and during the day if lights need to be on for safety where it is required on some of the more dangerous roads. Get it in writing what is wrong-no glossing over.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

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