really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
109,531 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.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #16

Oct 062015


  • 230,000 miles


While driving our Jetta at approximately 30 mph the drivers side curtain airbag and side seat airbag spontaneously deployed. There was no impact. There was no pothole. It was the only car on the road. Going straight.

- Gilby, ND, USA

problem #15

Mar 122015


  • 217,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving 60 mph, smoke started to emit from the front passenger seat. The front passenger was not injured. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 217,000.

- Portland , OR, USA

problem #14

Jan 012013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Both front seat heaters on any setting arc and have burned multiple holes on the outer lower seat upholstery.

- Crawfordsville, IN, USA

problem #13

Nov 092013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


While driving with seat heater on seat burned thru foam and seat cover also burned pants leg and wife's finger trying to put out the embers.

- Farmington, MN, USA

problem #12

Jan 222013


  • miles
Turned the drivers side heated seat warmer on to 2. range being 0-5. I smelled smoke and turned it off after only 10-15min of being on. I noticed when I got out of the car, that I had a huge quarter size hole in my seat and my down coat was burned through in 2 large spots. This is unsafe. It could have been a huge fire if I had not turned off the warmer as soon as I smelled something burning.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #11

Dec 192012


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the driver's side heated seat overheated and burned through the seat, causing burns to the contact's legs. The contact stated that the failure had been experienced before, but was never so sever that it caused injuries. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The VIN was not available. The failure and the current mileages were 70,000.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #10

Mar 242009


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the heated seats began to spark and burned a whole in the seat. The seats were repaired under a previous manufacturer's recall, but the failure recurred. The dealer and the manufacturer were notified of the failure, but the contact was denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 110,000 and the current mileage was 145,000.

- Monroe, CT, USA

problem #9

Feb 202012


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the heated seat warmer burned through the seat and the pants of the contact. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 125,000.

- Hood River , OR, USA

problem #8

Dec 032011


  • 143,050 miles
While driving home at night, my son and I smelled smoke. We exited the vehicle, checked under the hood, but found nothing. We continued home and parked in the garage. Still smelling smoke, we re-inspected the vehicle, but were unable to determine an origin or any visible evidence. Both seat heaters were on during the drive home, but the seats showed no visual signs of damage after parking. Next morning we opened the vehicle to discover the cabin was filled with smoke with an approximate 1"hole burned up thru the passenger seat on the lower right bolster. Apparently the seat heater initiated a thermal event which erupted in a seat fire after we turned off the ignition and parked the car in the garage. Fortunately, the fire did not engulf the vehicle or it could have caught our home on fire, resulting in possible injury or death to my family. I believe we dodged a bullet because the seat fire did not sustain itself and engulf the vehicle. VW has agreed to repair the burned seat at their expense and make a mitigation repair. However, VW has declined my request to cover any similar mitigation repair to the other seat. In October 2004, the NHTSA ODI concluded that ?driver-side seat heater may fail or malfunction due to normal vehicle use? but ?such failures do not pose a significant risk of injury or fire." The ODI stated the investigation did not conclude that a safety-related defect does not exist and the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances. (EA04010) evidence and reports indicate that seat heater caused thermal events in both driver and passenger seats in the VW Jetta have been an issue for nearly 10 years now. Near misses continue to occur. I believe that a seat fire is a significant safety concern. I would encourage the NHTSA to re-examine the circumstances to determine if further action is warranted.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #7

Dec 102009


  • 115,900 miles
I turned on my seat warmer on the driver side and after a while a burnt smell was notice. I could not find the origin until I went to a store and tried to paid. I took my wallet out and it was stuck to my pants. The wallet had the mysterious smell. I went back to the car and the seat had a big burnt hole on the leather seat. If I had not had my coat and wallet on the left side I could have been electrocuted or caught fire.

- Aldie, VA, USA

problem #6

Dec 102009


  • 101,300 miles


Passenger leather seat caught fire while heated seat was on. Burned a hole in the seat and electrical smoke was pluming out of the hole. This has only occurred once because it has not been used since. The failure has not been corrected.

- Cicero, NY, USA

problem #5

Feb 232009


  • 96,000 miles
I was riding down the road coming from work when I noticed a burning smell. I didn't see any smoke, so I thought it might be coming from outside. After a while, the smell got stronger. That's when I looked over and noticed flames coming from the passenger seat. I pulled over immediately and smothered it. It turned out that the heated seat on the passenger side had been on from where my mother was riding the night before. This is not the first issue that I've had with my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, but it's the first that made me feel that it was unsafe to drive. I have a four year old son and I am now in fear that something could possibly happen again. I've done some research and apparently this is a common occurrence in this model. I've reported the incident to vwoa, but have not heard back from them. Fortunately no one was injured. But someone else might not be so lucky. I hope this issue can be resolved. Thank you.

- Tappahannock, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 232008


  • 184,000 miles
While driving with the seat heater on in 2002 VW Jetta the seat heater overheated and burned through the leather seat and burned the driver. Smoke was present in the vehicle.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 252007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 98,250 miles
While driving home from work, I heard a very large "crack" sound and felt my seat shudder. The sound and impact made me think that something had struck the car under my seat. However, when I returned home, I discovered that a spring attached to my seat had dislodge. Further inspection revealed that one of the places where the spring connected had broken off - apparently metal fatigue. This struck me odd because while cleaning my car earlier in the summer, I had noticed that a spring was loose under the passenger side front seat and also found the nub of where it attached. I have kept both pieces and the springs. I think there is a structural defect with the part. I am not a very heavy person - 180 lbs - so I doubt I put that much stress on the seat. I think this is a potentially dangerous issue and that is why I am reporting it. When the system failed I swerved while driving on the highway as the sound was incredibly unnerving. I also now wonder about the seats structural integrity if it were involved in a collision.

- Brattleboro, VT, USA

problem #2

Jun 062002

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Front left (driver's side) seat material split on the seam holding the front material to the side material. Directly under the split is a metal bracket that is not padded. This bracket likely caused the seam to separate. Volkswagen of America (voa) had me bring the vehicle in to one onto Volkswagen for inspection. Repair or replacement was denied by the service manager (carl schidzick) denied the claim because I was beyond the 12,000 mile warranty. The voa regional service manager whose name was refused to me backed up the dealer and refused repair/replacement. Voa would not provide a copy of their report, would not provide contact information for the regional service manager and would not allow any appeal. They said they have received no complaints regarding seat material failure on Jettas. If the separation had occurred before 12,000 miles they said they would have repaired or replaced the item. My new car seat cover blocks deployment of the side airbag.

- Endicott, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 152001


  • miles
Seat's material is deteriorating, and if using a seat cover it will be covering side air bags.

- Troy, NY, USA

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