really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,773 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 Beetle seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #18

Jul 012009


  • 71,000 miles


2004 VW new Beetle airbag sensor light remains on. Sensor was replaced in Nov. 2004, Sept. 2006 and March 2007. VW says the vehicle is not under the recall # 08V178000. Dealership says they won't do anything until VW approves it and dealership wants us to pay for *another* evaluation. Light has been on for 1 year, had it evaluated July 2009. Current mileage is 80,000. Mileage when light came on was 71,000.

- Hampstead, NC, USA

problem #17

Jan 292010


  • miles
My 2004 VW Beetle showed an air bag warning light. I took it to VW under a recall and they fixed the problem for free. 3 months later the light came on again. VW said the car had a bad drivers seat belt buckle. Cost would be $ $331.07 plus tax. I still have the air bag warning light on. It stays on constantly. I was under the impression that a bad seat belt was a safety issue and the responsibility of the car company.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #16

Jul 282009


  • 62,000 miles
Air bag light is on at all times. Please refer to complain ODI 10279199. Called VW recall center 800.822.8987, there is a recall #08V178000 for exact same issue. VW said my car has never been recalled for that issue. Asked if they would take my car for inspection, request denied unless I paid for the inspection. My concern is that airbag may deploy unexpectedly and cause an accident to my family, besides the actual issue of not deploying properly. Even if my vehicle has no dual stage airbag, the issue of an airbag light on may be caused by the same quality/poor design root cause. Below is the actual recall description and remedy: "Volkswagen is recalling 76,900 my 2004-2005 new Beetle and my 2003-2005 new Beetle convertibles equipped with an advanced (dual-stage) air bag system. This system may have air bag frontal crash sensors that contain a solder joint on the circuit board that may crack under certain high temperature conditions. If this occurs, the air bag indicator light will illuminate and the fallback algorithm will ensure that the front air bags always deploy in a frontal crash in which the vehicle's deceleration is high enough to activate the frontal air bags. Consequence: In low-severity frontal impacts, the front air bags may deploy more forcefully than designed, increasing the possibility of injury to out-of-position front seat occupants. Remedy: Dealers will inspect each vehicle to determine that the specific defect crash sensor is present on one or both sides of the vehicle. All of the defect crash sensors will be replaced free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on or before July 31, 2008. Owners may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-822-8987".

- Oxford, MI, USA

problem #15

Jan 012008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. Ever since the vehicle was purchased, it has been taken to the dealer several times for the air bag indicator illuminating. The dealer replaced the frontal air bag crash sensor and reprogrammed the air bag system; however, the failure was not corrected. The dealer stated that if the indicator illuminated again, the air bag module will need to be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id numbers 08V178000 (air bags: Frontal: Sensor/control module or recall) and 03V3560000 (air bags). The failure mileage was 33,000 and current mileage was 36,000. Updated 06/23/09. A diagnostic indicated failure of the drier seat buckle which had to be replaced. Updated 06/24/09.

- Little Egg Harbor , NJ, USA

problem #14

Jan 062009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. The VIN was excluded from NHTSA campaign id number 08V178000 (air bags:frontal:sensor/control module); updated 03-04-09 the consumer stated around 50,000 miles the air bag light illuminated. The dealer stated the problem was a faulty air bag sensor on the passenger side which rendered the air bag inoperative. 6 months later, the air bag light illuminated again. VW stated the air bag sensor/module was faulty again. Updated 03/05/09.

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

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problem #13

Nov 072007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,115 miles
Purchased the car new on Jan 2, 2004. The air bag light 1st came on in Sept 2004 and was repaired. Since that point, the air bag light has illuminated nearly every 6 months, and repaired. Every, time, the car has been in the shop, it has been a crash sensor or seat module replacement. The car has been at VW seven times for this problem. In November 2007, our car was at 54,000 miles, the warranty had expired at 50,000 miles, the light once again illuminated. After a protracted battle with the dealer and VW regional, they agreed to replace the control module. And again, we were told by the dealer, "this should do it". just this past week, the air bag light has illuminated. Only this time, the dealer closed their dealership at the start of the year and we're staring at a $1200 repair bill. Certainly, to drive around without an air bag isn't exactly a smart thing to do, but I don't have a lot of confidence this won't come back on 6 months after the repair, based on the history above. In my eyes, there is a systemic defect in the systems that control the air bag. Crash sensor.

- Jefferston, VA, USA

problem #12

Mar 152008

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles


Air bag warning light comes on. Repaired twice under warranty, right front crash side sensor replaced on 11 Sep 2007, don't know about the first incident. Now out of warranty and air bag light is on again. Crash sensor.pco

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #11

Feb 102008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
2004 VW new Beetle air bag sensor light on. Crash sensor.pco

- Bath, ME, USA

problem #10

Jan 132008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,925 miles
Our air bag light came on. Upon taking the vehicle to the dealership it was discovered that the front crash sensors were not operational. There was no damage to either sensor. They both had just failed. There is a concern that the bags would not have deployed in an accident. The vehicle has only 22,925 original miles. It seems odd that both sensors would fail at the same time. SRS.pco

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 042007

Beetle 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Airbag light came on +/- 52,000 miles and is a constant light (original car warranty expired 50,000 miles) I was informed by new country Volkswagen of greenwich ct (VW service) and fidelity warranty services that my extended warranty won't cover repair or diagnostic costs (estimated at $750 plus tax). Tech found "passenger front air bag crash sensor no signal." This car is barely 3 years old and has not been in any accidents at all. VW customer care did not provide assistance despite the fact that on the NHTSA website it appears that air bag lights are a noted issue on the 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle and there have been recalls, just not my VIN number yet. VW should contact me and pay for this repair. SRS.pco

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

problem #8

Aug 162007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 41,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the air bag warning light has remained illuminated since the vehicle was purchased. The contact has taken the vehicle to the dealer several times. Repairs were made, but the failure still persists. The contact called the manufacturer and they advised her to schedule an appointment with the dealer to have the vehicle diagnosed. The manufacturer also informed her to call them back after the diagnosis was performed. The contact has all of the repair orders for each time the vehicle was serviced. The current and failure mileages were 41,000.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

problem #7

Jul 102006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Both frontal crash sensors failed in a six month period. Several months later, one of the replaced sensors failed. There was no accident involved. The diagnosis was alerted by air bag light indicating problem. SRS.pco

- Jackson, SC, USA

problem #6

Apr 032006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
I have two crash sensors that have failed within 6 months on my 2004 VW Beetle. This a major safety device that VW us has failed to acknowledge that is a manufactue defect. SRS.pco

- Jackson, SC, USA

problem #5

Mar 242007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,851 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the passenger's side air bag indicator constantly illuminated. Also, the seat belt indicator illuminated intermittently even when the vehicle was unoccupied. In addition, the daytime running lamps would shut off, but the dealer replaced the bulbs. The contact had an appointment to have the air bag indicator diagnosed. The current and failure mileage were 35851.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 122005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,785 miles
2nd major electrical problem since car purchase. Safety issue regarding seat occupied light module and airbag light on/malfunctioned. Left brake light burnt out.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 062004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,240 miles
The air bag light stayed on. The car has been taken back for this problem on 5 separate occasions. On one occasion we never even left the dealership. The last time we picked it up the vehicle they told us it was a software issue, and the solution should be in two weeks, and it was safe to drive. It has been almost five months and still no solution as of yet. They were still saying two weeks.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #2

Aug 042004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Whenever the passenger/driver seats are moved within 10 seconds of starting the car airbag light comes on in the console and does not turn off until done so manually by a mechanic. The "pod" device is then disabled. If light is on, then airbag might not deploy in an accident, injuries or death may occur. On 2 separate occasions, one in August and one in October the light was reset by a mechanic and took 3 days each time. I have been advised to have the computer in the car reprogrammed, but the dealership's mechanics have not done so, assuming that is why the light keeps appearing.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 052004

Beetle 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving SRS light appeared on the dashboard and remained on. The consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle, and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic determined that the air bag sensor needed to be reset, and reset it six times. However, the problem recurred. The seat latch was broken and the rear console was falling apart.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

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