really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,134 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Jan 102008


  • 66,413 miles


1/10/08 I had my 2003 VW Jetta in for service. I was told the ignition coil #3 needed to be replaced. 4/11/08 ignition coil #1 needed to be replaced. I found the recall on your web site after the April problem. I was told that my car is not part of the recall, even though it states 2003 Jetta. On 12/4/08 I had to replace ignition coil #4 and on 1/21/09 another which also included the last two. I contacted Volkswagen of America, Inc and was once again told that my 2003 Jetta was not included in the recall.

- Maywood, IL, USA

problem #18

Oct 302008


  • 84,000 miles
I have had 27 things break or fail on my 03vw Jetta 1.8T. I bought the car used in 01/06 with 32,000 miles. After buying the car the first five mins the window shattered. First two months 2 tires blew out, front rim cracked, back tires out of alignment. Dealer paid to fix rim broke 2 weeks later the dealer paid fo used set of similar rims. Every light inside and out went out by 05/06 driver seat wont raise up cargo net in trunk falls apart dealer wont cover. Gas and trunk release buttons fell down inside of door. Radio stopped working front door speakers are shorting out. Driver window switch goes up when you push down and down when you push down have to fiddle with it for it to go up. Exhaust hanger broke causing chatter. Swaybar bushing fell out causing grinding and shaking when ever moving. Not cover by warranty all these happened by 05/07. Now its 10/08 and I have 84,000 miles. Current problems are rear spoiler brake light hangs down(dealer just glued it in place lasted about 4 months) cam and crank seals leaking oil cause odor inside of cabin. If I drive for more then an hour I get sick and light-headed. Seat, cargo net in trunk, is still broken. Radio still isn't fixed so I just went and bought an after market. Speakers still shortening out only when its cold out. Keyless entry only works within 4ft of the car. In the winter the car only gets 18mpg on the highway and about 14 in the city and the car is parked in a heated underground garage.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #17

Oct 222008


  • 62,000 miles
2003 VW Jetta gls wagon with 62K miles, abruptly shut down while driving. After towing to local mechanic, it was determined the main fuse holder had shorted out and begun to melt, risking an engine fire. Part was replaced and problem repaired for $237.

- Gig Harbor, WA, USA

problem #16

Jul 102008


  • 115,000 miles


Lost power, radio stopped working, A/C starting blowing hot air, epc light came on, battery light came on, ABS light came on. Then the car would not crank. I thought the battery was dead so I jumped the car. I made it home then the car would not start the next morning. After examination I found that the fuse box on top of the battery had melted. The wire from the fuse box to the alternator overheated. Was told by two different Volkswagen dealerships in birmingham, al that this was a very common problem. If it is a common problem why is there no recall?

- Odenville, AL, USA

problem #15

Jul 012008


  • 90,000 miles
My 2003 VW Jetta has been in the shop more in the past 6 months than in the last 5 years. The latest two problems were; 1) the engine coil (was replaced once by recall) and 2) my fuse box on top of my battery melted. I have spent over $1,500 in the last two months on the car. Was told that only one engine coil was allowed under the recall, and was told the fuse box melting was a common occurrence even though they did not ever find the "real" reason for it to melt.

- Hinsdale, IL, USA

problem #14

Jul 102008


  • 63,000 miles
Within 6 months (4) of the (6) ignition coils have failed. I have it in now for the third and fourth ones.

- Byron, IL, USA

problem #13

Jul 092008


  • 62,000 miles


Driving home from work. Has made two stops. On the way to my home my ABS and airbag lights came on, radio froze, then car shut off. Was advised fuse panel on the top of the battery had melted. Mechanic found no reason for this to happen. No other issues.

- Keswick, VA, USA

problem #12

Jun 022008

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles
There are many problems which seem to be a cause of the electrical system. The car will simply die when you stop at a red light, stop sign, etc. It will try to die while driving down the road. The digital display constantly resets itself, especially when you turn the car off, but also while driving. The radio does this too. The back brake light also has some type of short in it. It goes out and comes back on. We have replaced it twice in as many months.

- Owenton, KY, USA

problem #11

Apr 082008

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I turned on the driver's seat heater to 5 (highest setting) on my 2003 VW Jetta tdi when leaving my house at 7 am. I used this regularly to warm the seat for a few minutes on cold mornings, then would turn it off (lower settings never produced noticeable heat). Within one minute I felt a burning/electrical sensation in my upper left thigh. I was driving on a mountain road and the pain made me jump in my seat and nearly lose control of the car. I pulled over and turned off the seat heater (having heard of problems with the heater). The leather seat had a blister about the size of a cigarette burn but had not burned completely through. While I stopped the heater before it burned through the seat (and my pants), the real danger was in a possible accident from the burn/shock that caused me to momentarily lose control of the car. The seat heater is no longer safe to operate. My understanding from reading similar posts here and elsewhere is that the wiring is now broken in the seat (and many have had it break in the same spot). If I had not guessed the source of the problem quickly, or if someone were to unknowingly use the heat setter in the future, it could lead to a serious accident, personal injury, and car fire. Similarly, this poses a serious risk for other drivers of these vehicles who may not be aware of the problem and react too late. I request that the NHTSA urge VW of America to issue a recall on this dangerous and pervasive problem (many reports here and elsewhere, such as tdiclub.com and vwvortex.com). VW has issued a recall on this problem in Canada but not in the U.S. they also have a voluntary repair for passats of similar years, but not Jettas or golfs. Thank you.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 232008

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
Alternator wiring harness melted.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #9

Jan 012003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


I have owned a Volkswagen Jetta (turbo - 2003) and have had one horrible problem after another. Without fail, I have taken my vehicle in for random mechanical repairs every few months since purchasing the vehicle. I found out the car was manufactured in Mexico and that VW was aware of how bad their car's manufactured in Mexico were. If that is the case, how can so many car owners with so many mechanical issues continue to sell in this country? I would like to report VW for lackluster performance and for continuing manufacture in an area well known for its below average standards and for continuing to bleed the consumer when it is fully aware of the issue.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #8

Jun 212007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,600 miles
No advance notice. The car shut off in heavy traffic, almost causing an accidents. The Volkswagen dealer, carl gregory in columbus, ga, could not find the cause of the problem at first. Later they found the problem and replaced: 1. harness P/N 1J0-971-349-hg, 2. holder P/N 1J0-937-617-D, .fuse P/N N-104-249-0. they did not return the parts to me. Since no one was sure what caused the problem or if this fixed the problem. I own a Volkswagen with only 56622 miles that I could not trust to drive out of town.

- Cataula, GA, USA

problem #7

Jul 312006

Jetta Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 67,500 miles
A week before this incident speedometer quit. Non VW repair shop replaced speed sensor, this did not fix speedometer problem so they sent me to NY VW dealer who replaced crank sensor. Could not even drive car out of their lot after the repair as car was stalling and hesitating. They then said I needed to replace needle lift sensor. I begged them at that point to look for a wiring problem or electrical system problem because I couldn't believe that 3 sensors could all go at once without a system cause. I was told to "trust them" and that they had checked with VW and VW said that was all they could do. "the diagnostic computer said that is all that is wrong". after week in repair shop VW dealer told me car was "all fixed". 3 days and 300 miles later on I-83 South of harrisburg car began jerking and lurching out of control, then stalled. I was near exit 32 and was able to get off safely, fortunately. Had to be towed to VW dealer. Now VW dealer in pa tells me car had "coolant migration" which was source of all problems, they think dealer in NY should have caught it. VW is backing NY dealer that they fixed car correctly despite other dealers comment and my near miss with being crashed into by other drivers on I-83. I fail to see how coolant migration happened in 3 days and 300 miles. Pa VW dealer says NY dealer should not have missed the coolant migration, and should not have replaced the expensive sensors before repairing the coolant migration problem. I certainly agree since I traveled less than 300 miles and I was just lucky that I was so close to an exit and was able to keep restarting the car and coast off I-83. Had I been further away from an exit or in heavier traffic I could easily have been run into by another driver as the car lurched and jerked and stalled. I also fail to understand why VW is not responsible. Obviously this problem started while the car was still in warranty -pa dealer said engine was "very corroded" and the wiring was "full of coolant".

- Attica, NY, USA

problem #6

Apr 052006

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,900 miles
As I was pulling out of a grocery store parking lot, my 2003 Jetta gli VR6 began to sputter and lose power. Engine light came on and would stay lit or start blinking as I tried to drive home. I contacted VW roadside assistance along with my VW dealership (strong VW, slc ut), and they informed me that I must bring it in. Seeing that I was barely going to make it home I contacted roadside assistance which was provided with my Jetta and they informed me that they could tow it to the nearest VW dealership (not where I originally purchased or had my car serviced) to have it looked at. Needless to say it was actually closer for me to drop off the Jetta at the nearest dealership rather than take it home, so I did that. I found out the following morning that the ignition coils were bad and needed to be replaced. That was done under warranty and apparently everything was fine. Three days later, each and every time I started my Jetta a noxious smell would fill the cabin. I reported this to my original dealership and had it in for service to fix the problem. After 5 days of trying to determine what the problem was they informed that since they couldn't duplicate the problem that there was nothing they could do. Ironically it hasn't happened since. My major complaint is that in the year and a half that I have owned my Jetta, I have had it in for non-traditional or non-scheduled service more than 3 times. My major fear is that when the warranty runs out what will happen next. I have been a loyal VW customer for 20+ years and haven't had this many problems with my previous 4 VW vehicles combined. Sadly enough, I possibly may never buy or lease a VW again!

- Draper, UT, USA

problem #5

Jan 192006

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
: the contact stated the engine light illuminated four times. Each time the vehicle was taken to the local dealership for inspection and repair. The dealership repair department replaced the glow plug, the relay to the glow plug and the thermostat, however this did not remedy the problem.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #4

May 022005

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,000 miles
2003 Volkswagen Jetta diesel tdi. The engine died at 70 mph. The consumer knew it was not the timing belt and believed it to be an electrical problem. The car has an electrical problem with the computer sensor that controls the signals. Lights to flash, flashers also with power windows. The consumer took the vehicle to a mechanic and he could find no reason for this to happen. The timing belt is in place and in good condition.

- Oak Island, NC, USA

problem #3

Mar 092003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
There have been numerous problems with the electrical system in my car. Most of which have been unfounded by the dealership. In most cases it is my windows that do not obey comands. If I push the window up button, the windows may roll themselves down or go all the way up instead of just a little bit up. Same on the down. Sometimes the pinch control will activate itself and the window (which I think is closing) will roll down. This is not a safety concern per say but I am concerned that I may be unaware of the window being down and my dog might jump out causing an accident, or it might draw my attention away from driving while I try to figure out what is going on, again, possibly causing an accident. The car has been in a few times for this problem but the dealership says they "can't duplicate the problem" and refuse to do anything about it. Another problem is that the radio stays on sometimes when I am exiting the car, again not a safety issue, but it really lets me believe there is an electrical problem with the car. I have also had a blown fuse-causing the epc-light to come on... it was for the rear brakes. The lights wouldn't turn off after I was out of the car.

- Pgh, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 242003

(reported on)

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,067 miles
Vehicle experienced hesitation, keyless key battery does not work, epc light illuminated due to lost of power, jack fell while car was on it, and problems shifting the car out of park. When the epc light illuminated for the second time, the dealer replaced the engine control module. The vehicle experienced two flat due to the tires being overinflated.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #1

Jan 202003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,000 miles
My wife's 2002 Volkswagen Jetta has a bad ignition coil. Both Volkswagen corporation and our local VW dealer, speedcraft in wakefield ri, admitted that they have a coil problem with all 2002 Jettas and passats. They further noted to my wife that they do not have enough parts on hand to perform an actual recall. We are demanding that they replace all 4 coils since they know that it is likely that all 4 will eventually fail. They are refusing to do this. We feel it is unacceptable for them to refuse fixing a problem they know will likely occur. Such a failure at the wrong time while driving could possibly cause an accident. We are fearing for our safety.

- Shannock, RI, USA

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