NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2002 Volkswagen Jetta

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 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, 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 sedan.as 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 vehicles.in 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.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ06004

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting:Brake Lights
    Exterior Lighting:Brake Lights:Switch

    Summary: By letters dated May 24, 2006 and August 4, 2006, Volkswagen (VW) notified the Agency that it is conducting a safety recall (NHTSA recall no 06V-183) involving model year (MY) 1998-2002 Volkswagen new beetle and 1999-2002 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles equipped with cruise control.Volkswagen's recall covers 646,246 vehicles.previously, VW recalled these vehicles to replace a defective brake light switch (recalls 03V-265 and 04V-096) that was unique to vehicles with cruise control.Volkswagen reports that the brake light switch may malfunction if it was installed incorrectly during recalls 03V-265 and 04V-096.Volkswagen will install a new design brake light switch.based on Volkswagen's safety recall action, this investigation is closed.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04073

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting:Hazard Flashing Warning Lights
    Exterior Lighting:Hazard Flashing Warning Lights:Switch
    Exterior Lighting:Turn Signal
    Exterior Lighting:Turn Signal:Flasher Unit

    Summary: This investigation was opened on October 19, 2004, based on nine reports on 2000 through 2001 Jetta and gti vehicles alleging that the turn signals and or hazard flashers fail to blink, or flash.some of the complainants reported that the lights would blink only a few times and then stop.several of the complainants reported that having the hazard flasher switch replaced repaired their vehicles.by letter of December 13, 2004, Volkswagen notified the Agency that it will conduct a safety recall of 350,000 model year 2000 through 2002 Jetta, golf and gti vehicles to repair the turn signal and hazard flasher system.VW reports 216 owner reports, 4 field reports and 4960 warranty claims on this population of vehicles. Volkswagen dealers will install a new hazard flasher switch/relay kit to remedy the defective vehicles.please see safety recall 04V584 for details.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04010

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: March 30, 2004
    • Date Closed: October 21, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seats:Front Assembly:Seat Heater/Cooler

    Summary: This investigation concerns the electric seat heater installed in some MY 2002-2003 Volkswagen (VW) Jetta vehicles.consumers allege that the seat heater may overheat, resulting in burn damage to the seat cover and to the driver's clothing and/or skin.this ea addresses whether such failures may pose a risk to motor vehicle safety.ODI concludes that the driver-side seat heater may fail or malfunction due to normal vehicle use, (I.e., driver ingress and egress from the vehicle).the investigation disclosed that such failures do not pose a significant risk of injury or fire.ODI believes that further investigation would not likely identify a safety-related defect trend.therefore, this ea has been closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.the attached summary report provides further detail concerning this ea.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE03052

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: November 19, 2003
    • Date Closed: March 30, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seats:Front Assembly:Seat Heater/Cooler

    Summary: The subject vehicles are equipped with optional electrically heated driver and front passenger seats.information received during PE03-052 disclosed a significant number of incidents of malfunctioning/overheating of the driver seat heater in the subject vehicles.additional incidents may occur during the final months of the winter season.this matter is also currently being investigated by Transport Canada.this PE has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA04-010)in order to fully investigate these occurrences and their safety implications.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ03010

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting:Brake Lights:Switch
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Switches:Brake Light

    Summary: The number of duplicates between ODI and manufacturer failure reports cannot be determined due to missing and or inaccurate information.the injury noted above was minor.on February 26, 2004, Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VW) submitted a defect notification (per 49cfr573) to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advising that certain model year (MY) 1999 - 2002 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles manufacutured with the same brake light switch as recalled under 03V-265 (MY 1998-2002 new beetle) are affected by a safety defect.specifically, if the brake light switch malfunctions, the brake lights could fail to illuminate when the brakes are applied, or could stay illuminated continually even when the brakes are not applied.either condition results in the inability of the brake lights to notify other motorists of vehicle braking, thus increasing the risk of a rear end collision and occupant injury.accordingly, Volkswagen is recalling Jetta vehicles manufactured from May 1998 to November 2001 to inspect and replace free of charge any affected brake light switches.the recall program, VW code "wx, " will commence in April 2004.

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