hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,610 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.

2003 Volkswagen Jetta cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #5

Jul 212010


  • 58,500 miles


Water pump failure.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #4

Jul 292006


  • 32,584 miles
2003 Jetta gls; twice when running the ac the car suddenly overheats, fuse blows. The engine temp gauge goes far into the red zone. I turned on the heater to draw heat away from engine, air was so hot it literally melted the plastic water bottle in the cup holder. (didn't help my comfort that the outside temp was near 100 degrees and I'm driving along with sunroof open, windows open, and heater turned on high!) I was concerned that my leg was burned as well because the air blowing from vent was so hot. I had to idle the car every few thousand feet to allow car to cool enough to limp to service station. First time (July 06, car w/I warranty @ 32K miles), VW told me that the fuse was blown; they were unable to replicate and indicated that if it happened again they would need to figure out why. Second time (Nov. 2007, car out of warranty @ 51K)), non-VW mechanic able to replicate and said that fuse blew because "cooling fans are drawing too many amps (up to 100 amps) when starting. When running they are still drawing 37 amps and should be less than 20 amps." Although this has happened only twice, and I have yet to repair (too expensive at $800+ and I'm unemployed), I live in great fear as warm weather approaches that I will be "burned" by this issue again. It's only a matter of time.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #3

Mar 132003


  • 63,126 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that over the years her vehicle sporadically overheats. She took the vehicle to the dealer on numerous occasions and had the oxygen sensors replaced twice, the thermostat, the battery, the water pump, and the auxiliary water pump. Recently, while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle overheated and was towed to the dealer. The dealer stated that the radiator fan, secondary air pump, and the power steering pump needed to be replaced at the cost of over $2,000. The technician added that if the repair was unsuccessful in remedying the failures, they may have to replace the catalytic converter. The manufacturer would not assist. The failure mileage was 63,126 and current mileage was 76,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #2

Jul 152006

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 108,841 miles
I have a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta tdi gls. I should note that this vehicle has been faithfully serviced by the dealer following the maintenance schedule listed in the user manual. The vehicle currently has 109,000 miles. While driving the vehicle a few days before the incident date listed on this complaint, the A/C ceased to function properly. There was no cool air coming out of the vents. Also, when the vehicle was shutdown, the radiator fans would continue to run upwards of 15 minutes. Neither event has occurred before. I brought my vehicle in to a VW dealership on the incident date to have its normal 110,000 mile service and to have the issues (noted above) diagnosed. I received a call from the dealership later in the day on the incident date stating that a failure in the coolant level sensor caused coolant fluid to be wicked into the vehicle's wiring harness leading to contamination / corrosion of the engine and body harness. The quote to repair was approximately $6,000. This problem is a latent defect in the design. The service department told me that the vehicle was un-drivable until the repairs are made. The service advisor also confirmed that because the problem was with the harness itself, any electrical component could be affected such as the airbags, ABS, SRS, etc. Also, from my own research I found some people who experienced this problem have also had smoke or fires inside the vehicle. VW issued a technical service bulletin (id# C 97-01-01) for a similar issue on 1999.5 - 2001 model year Jettas, but never for the 2003 and never a recall campaign on the defective design. VW has refused to assist in the cost of repair to the vehicle as well.

- Brentwood, NH, USA

problem #1

Mar 302004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles
Problems with air conditioner on 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The air intake duct leaked which caused white smoke to emit from the vehicle when parked after a 75 mile trip. The part had to be ordered. The A/C condenser leaked which caused the A/C not to cool the vehicle properly. The dealer surmised that the damage to the condenser was from an outside source therefore refused to replace it under warranty.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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