really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,534 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 #11

Apr 102010


  • 82,000 miles


Problems with transmission/shifting problems. Everytime the car shifts into a gear, its very rough and infact will jerk very hard. This started every once in a while and began happening more regular as a month or so went on. Now it will stick in 3rd gear and just stay there. We can stop at a redlight, and it will remain in 3rd gear, then drive from the redlight with the car starting in 3rd gear! this is a safety issue, because the car will stick when shifting almost everytime and you could push the gas but only the rpms will go up..nothing else. This could cause me to be rear ended or hit from the side when turning left. I have had many close calls due to this issue! I have children, and the car is not safe to drive anymore. I have priced what would fix this, and its not only that I can not afford it, but the solution to the problem is only temporary! I have seen many, many people have the same issues with the same car, and they have spent countless dollars on a problem that still persists. This past Saturday my family was driving and the car stuck in gear going 45 mph, which caused the car to descend in speed, giving the people behind us hardly no time to realize what was happening. We were very very close to an accident. To add to this problem I have had an airbag sensor come on the dash about 2 months ago and will not go off. I had this looked at because it was a safety recall, but the VW dealer told me that my car was no one of the vins, but looked as if it had the same problem! this is serious! they said they could fix it, for a very high amount, but if it was defective that I could be bringing it back in for repair! this is not acceptable!!! we are talking about life or death in a crash!

- Key West, FL, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Jul 182009


  • 62,000 miles
Air bag light is on, does not turn off.

- Oxford, MI, USA

problem #8

Nov 112008


  • miles


After returning vehicle to the dealer several times for airbag light in which time the senor under the passenger seat was replaced, the airbag sensors reprogrammed, finally there was a recall of the airbag sensors and they were replaced. Approximately 1 month after replacement, the airbag light came back on. Now it is the airbag sensor in the drivers seat. It seems to me that there is an intrinsect problem with the entire airbag system. When I asked if we could just not have it repaired, I was told that not having it repaired could cause the seat belt to not work, and the airbag may not deploy.

- Stanley, NC, USA

problem #7

Oct 092008


  • miles
Dealer states that the safety belt latch sensor has malfunctioned and needs replaced. Rendering the airbag inoperative!

- Edmond, OK, USA

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problem #6

Aug 222008


  • 47,000 miles
Dealer performed recall on crash test sensors on 2004 new Beetle tdi, on the way home airbag warning light comes on, VW wants us to pay over $1000 to repair.

- Austin,, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 282008


  • 36,000 miles


Airbag light came on dash in late July. VW dealer contacted to see if safety hazard, told no. Received recall letter from VW one month later for airbag sensor. Called dealer to see if urgent safety matter. Told no, come in at our leisure. One week later, airbag deployed while driving on the highway in rush hour traffic when hit minor bump in the road.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

May 222008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 24,600 miles
Air bag sensor on my 2004 VW Beetle diagnosed as defective by VW dealer. Defect identified only 20 days past the expiration of new car warranty. Dealer and VW - America declined to repair vehicle under warranty. I advised VW America that the NHTSA website informs that a safety recall for this issue begins on 7/31/08. They still refused to offset or partially offset the cost of the repair.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 152008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Air bag warning light illuminated and dealer found that front crash sensor failed and that there was a related computer problem at approximately 30,000 miles and this was replaced under warranty. I was told that the airbag would not deploy in a crash because of this failure. At 40,000 the airbag light came on again and the dealer found that the other side front crash sensor had failed also and that the airbags would not deploy in a crash. The warranty has expired and I was charged $505 to replace this. I was told by the service advisor that they "see this all the time with the Beetle", and that "after one side fails the other side usually does too".

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #2

Apr 102006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,276 miles
I purchased a used 2004 VW new Beetle convertible from Toyota of orange, orange, ca this year, January, 2006. Within a week of the purchase, the airbag warning came on. I talked to the sales manager, bill about this in person...(concerned that the safety check was not thorough), and he was not the least bit concerned and told me that since the mileage was only about 25,000 that it was covered under warranty. I took it to mckenna VW in huntington beach, ca for the repair/replacement of sensor. The light was off when I picked it up but then came on again only one month later. This time I took it to fladeboe VW, irvine ca. A part had to be ordered for another sensor, so I returned after the part was in and had it placed mid-March, 2006. It is now April 2006 and the airbag warning light is on for the 3rd time since the car was purchased 3 months ago!! help!!

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 022005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Air bag light malfunctioned first on 2/2005, was brought in 4 times to be fixed and was not fixed until Sept. Let me drive around with air bag lite on.

- Valley Center, CA, USA

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