really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,753 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 #12

Dec 272015


  • 118,000 miles


My transmission went out all at once my airbag/seatbeilt light on all the time

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #11

Jan 072009


  • 45,000 miles
I was driving 25 mph and my front bumper hit a parked car, airbag deployed and rendered me unconscience it caused $12,000 to my teeth and possible head injury and 18 months at a specialist dental, had to have a bone graph and stint in my mouth, liver and abdominal contusion had to pay an attorney $9,000 to an attorney to represent me in court, I lost my job and am now on ssd

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #10

Oct 012013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Driver's side seat belt wiring has failed thus illuminating the air bag light. The seat belt wiring is of minute diameter with little shielding and poor conduit. Because the seat belt must flex when moving the seat forward, the strain on the wiring in the seat belt rips the wiring from it's soldered joint. This causes the air bag light to illuminate and causes the air bag system to revert to a backup algorithm that puts the driver in a dangerous environment. This "backup" algorithm will not monitor vehicle speed and will automatically deploy the airbag at a default amount of force regardless of impact force. This means that a minor fender bender that reaches the airbag force threshold could deploy the airbag at a force too great and conversely a high speed impact may deploy the airbag with insufficient force. This is an extremely common problem on this model year vehicle. A quick internet search will alert you as to how common this problem is. After calling my local dealership, they told me "we replace a ton of those seatbelts." Volkswagen should acknowledge this egregious manufacturing defect and recall this defective part before fatal consequences further prove this is a deadly and extremely common problem.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #9

May 202014


  • miles


Airbag service light on dash came on. This means the airbags were disabled. Dealership identified the seat belt clasp on the driver seat as the problem. The electronics in the clasp were not communicating correctly causing the airbag to be disabled. The seatbelt as a safety mechanism itself was not compromised. The dealership representative indicated that this was a known and common issue with this vehicle make and model and that the fix was to replace the seatbelt clasp at a cost of about $300. The cause of the seatbelt clasp to fail was the motion of moving the seat backwards and forwards. To access the rear seats of the car the seat must be moved backwards and forwards as it is a two door car. Overtime, this activity wore out some electronics in the clasp causing the airbag to be disabled. This is not a normal wear and tear item that is customarily replaced such as tires, brake pads or wiper blades. The manufacture should recognize this critical safety issue and offer to voluntarily recall the vehicles and/or offer to pay for a fix in our case.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #8

Jan 152011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2004 VW new Beetle - problem is airbag lights are on due to a broken wire in the wiring that leads into the driver's side seat belt latch. I had the code diagnosed by a mechanic and I visually inspected the 4 wires under the seat belt buckle and the yellow wire is broken. An obvious manufacturing flaw as this part gets a tremendous amount of movement due to the seatback moving forward and backward when putting the seat up to get into the back seat. My car only has 14,000 miles on it so it has not been driven very much in the 7 years we have had it. I contacted the dealer where I purchased the vehicle and their response was - we sell alot of those driver's side seat belt latch assemblies due to the same problem. They would not repair for free as there is no recall and no bulletin on the issue. Read numerous sites and entries all over the web and it appears many owners of these cars (many different model years) are all having the same problem. Called VW America to see if they would at least provide me with a free part as I would do the replacement myself. They checked and denied my request. As the airbags will not work when the airbag light is on, this is a dangerous situation. A recall should be placed on the seatbelt latches as the wiring used and the design are not at all industrial enough to hold up over time.

- Madison, NJ, USA

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problem #7

Jan 102011


  • 34,000 miles
This vehicle was subject to a recall for the air bag sensors. We had previously had the sensors replaced (the vehicle was just out of warranty based on time). VW refused ultimately reimbursed us for the repairs and replacement of the sensors. In January of 2011 the air bag light came on. The dealer charged a fee to do a diagnostic test. They determined that the light was due to the failure of the driver side seat belt buckle, and the fact that the battery was discharged and needed to be repaired. They wanted approximately $480 to replace the seat belt buckle, and $245 to replace the battery. I called VW customer service and they agreed to replace the buckle for no charge, but would do nothing about the battery. VW opened a case # 110006836 and regional manager lisa was the contact. We had aaa come to do a test on the battery. The battery and charging system both passed the test. They recommended that a trickle charge would bring the battery to a full charge. In addition, VW agreed to do a one time courtesy replacement of the convertible roof since the fabric had separated from the rear window. A clip recall had already been performed, but the headliner was hanging down and had separated from the rear window. We feared that the window could separate from the roof at highway speeds. Statement indicates that VW performed 61.07-02 tech bulletin to perform modifications to the rear window.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #6

Jan 102011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles


The air bag warning light came on. This was the subject of an earlier recall due to sensors. We were told that this was due to a faulty seat belt buckle and not due to sensors. We were also originally told it was due to a faulty battery. However, the battery was checked by aaa and was not faulty. Eventually VW agreed to replace the seat belt buckle on the drivers side.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 212009


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that the front window motors failed and were replaced at her expense. The seat belts latches had also failed. In addition, the transmission would intermittently jerk violently when attempting to up shift from second to third gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the contact was informed that the transmission would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 48,000 and the current mileage was 51,000.

- Tulsa , OK, USA

problem #4

Aug 042009


  • 89,177 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle [xxx] air bag light has came on twice and Volkswagen service department advises anytime the air bag light comes on it is a safety hazard. I have had to replace the drive & passenger seat belt latch to make the air bag light go off at a cost of $600.32. If this is a safety issue, why is there not a recall?

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #3

May 282009


  • 70,000 miles
VW Beetle convertible '04 (approx. 80K miles) - slipping and banging transmission. Slams and bangs hard with each downshift (automatic) after about 15 miles or driving. Slips or will not move when accelerating after slamming and banging begins. Cannot drive car in traffic for fear or being rear ended or broadsided, therefore, cannot safely or dependably drive the car. Expected thousands to repair if a mechanic who understands the problem can be found. Many of the know issues with car have also occurred; broken plastic water pump, rear window seal broken, passenger side window will not go all the way down, passenger side seat belt light malfunction, headlights uneven brightness, short in dash, heated seat too hot to use (fear of fire) and incredible door rattles.

- Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #2

Feb 052009


  • 27,858 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle. When the contact started the vehicle, he noticed that the air bag indicator was illuminating on the instrument panel. The indicator did not dim once the vehicle was in motion. The vehicle was driven to the dealer and they stated that the driver's side seat latch for the seat belt needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed a failed wire by the latch of the seat belt on the driver's side. The manufacturer was notified and stated that they were not liable for the repairs. The current mileage was 27,888 and failure mileage was 27,858.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #1

May 052005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
The airbag light, among other things, in our 2004 new Beetle has come on approximately 10 times in three years. Each time, the vehicle was taken back to the dealer and supposedly fixed, but without fail, the light came back on each time. The seatbelt buckle was changed, connections were secured, they said it was shorted (guided fault findings, bumper cover removed, seat removed), and others. I have all copies of service records. After all these service visits, the airbag light is still on and we are very concerned that the airbag system is not working correctly and could cause serious damage and may not deploy correctly during an accident. I heard there was an investigation being conduct on the 2004 new Beetles and wanted to let you know of our experience. Crash sensor.pco

- Dresher, PA, USA

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