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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Volkswagen Golf

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Volkswagen Golf, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04081

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: December 16, 2004
    • Date Closed: April 01, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: The subject vehicles are equipped with side-thorax and side-head curtain airbags to protect the front and rear outboard occupants in a side-impact crash.this investigation identified a total of 499 reports (482 owners reports and 17 warranty claims).the crash sensing system's algorithm may recognize certain non-crash impacts (wheel, tire and undercarriage impacts) as deployable events.the 97 alleged injuries were minor in nature and consist of abrasions, bruises, ear ringing and headaches.there was no alleged loss of control crash as a result of side-airbag deployment.ODI also obtained counts of alleged inadvertent side-airbag deployments from peer manufacturers.the data shows that the subject vehicles are not unique in being subject to such allegations.the complaint rate for non-subject individual model vehicles varies widely.the rate for the subject vehicles is comparable to three peer models, each with compact chassis/wheelbases.ODI has not identified any component failure or manufacturing trend that may relate to a component or manufacturing issue.a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time.further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05004

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 11, 2005
    • Date Closed: December 08, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition:Module

    Summary: By letter received on June 24, 2005, Mr. Ronald M. strickland of raleigh, nc, submitted a petition requesting that the Agency investigate the performance of the ignition coil plugs on model year (MY) 2000-2003 Volkswagen jetta, Golf and passat sedans.the petitioner alleges that he had experienced multiple stalling events as a result of one or more ignition coil plugs malfunctioning on his 2002 VW jetta a result of the engine stalling, the petitioner experienced a loss of power steering and increased braking efforts when he pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road to control the vehicle.after a few minutes parked on the shoulder he was able to restart the vehicle although the engine operated at reduced power.VW issued a customer satisfaction campaign (csc) on January 31, 2003 to instruct their dealerships to inspect the vehicles for any malfunctioning ignition coil packs and to replace them at no cost to the consumer.consumers were notified to bring their vehicles to their dealerships via owner letters mailed out on June 6, 2003.while VW initially instructed the dealerships to only replace the malfunctioning ignition coil packs, a revised csc was issued to dealerships in December 2003 and January 2004, instructing dealerships to replace all ignition coil packs regardless of their performance.a reminder to the dealerships was sent by VW on April of 2004.although the concerns of the petitioner could theoretically create a safety problem, the risk is very small, due to the engine still running on either 3, 5, or 7 cylinders.there are no reported crashes or injuries due to the alleged defect.once drivers are aware of the problem (loss of power due to one of the ignition coil packs malfunctioning), drivers are able to take precautionary and compensatory measures and still maintain control of their addition, four fires were reported to ODI.these were ignition coil burnouts with no additional damage to the vehicle and were localized on top of the engine. During the last 24 months the number of stall and drivability complaints reported to ODI has greatly diminished from a peak of 195 in January of 2003 to only 3 in August of 2005.this coincides with the csc released by VW.a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.

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