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 1 of 3)

problem #59

Mar 172013


  • 120,000 miles


Iam the original owner and have always kept my Jetta in the garage. I moved 3 and a half years ago and my car is no longer garaged. My headline is starting to detach from the inside of the car and the leather throughout my car is cracking. I noticed there was a classss action lawsuit regarding the sunroof drain getting clogged causing damage to the car. Who can I contact to see if I qualify for this action. At the time of the recall I did take my Jetta to a dealership and they said everything was fine, is this because my car was garaged and now its outside exposed to the elemets, which has caused this damage? thank you,

- Lodi, CA, USA

problem #58

Jul 062016


  • 260,000 miles
"takata recall" burned fuse box caused alternator to go bad.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #57

Apr 152016


  • 132,306 miles
Having worked in VW dealerships my transmission control module is failing at only 130,000 miles on it which has been an ongoing issue and complaint by many. When it acts up it won't upshift or will drop down into low gear and one has to worry about being rear ended when this condition occurs.

- Newton, NJ, USA

problem #56

Feb 042016


  • 188,000 miles


Engine battery fuse box melting. Replaced twice. Found out it alternator wiring is bad. I have a small child. Car has left me stranded on side of road several times due to faulty alternator wiring.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #55

Nov 162015


  • miles
I've had multiple issues with my VW Jetta 2003 and have put thousands of dollars into the vehicle. My limit was that alternator cable melting the fuse box and the battery. The vehicle is unsafe and could have caught on fire and potentially injured individuals or caused great harm. The sad part able the entire scenario is the fact that I contacted Volkswagen customer care that spoke with brea S. which may not be an actual name because she could not provide it and she said that she had spoken to her leadership ashley and that they did not see this as a safety concerns and just because lots of other people had the same issue and mentioned it on a blog they were not able to help me. Now for me something that can cause a potential electrical fire for most people is a safety concern and the fact that this is a known issue with the Volkswagen Jetta and beetle models, it amazes me that VW customer care does not see it as there issue, brea was out of the auburn hills location in Michigan. This really needs further attention.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #54

Sep 062015


  • 193,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that after the vehicle was parked for a few days, the battery failed to make connection when starting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic but the failure was unable to be determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 193,000.

- Alamogordo, NM, USA

problem #53

Sep 112015


  • 86,000 miles


The fuse box in these older Jettas melts because it is on top of the battery, which can cause the car to shut off while driving. Its very dangerous.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #52

Jul 262014


  • miles
Alternator harness wiring and fuse box are under-engineered for electrical conditions and output given by alternator. This is the second time in one year I have to replace the fuse box and alternator harness wiring due to risk of engine bay fire. Many other VW owners in this generation and different models also have this problem with their vehicles. I believe this should be recalled and it is extremely dangerous to go unnoticed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #51

Nov 072014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The alternator cable melted the fuse block and the car almost caught on fire.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #50

Aug 112014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
There is a fuse box on the top of my battery as there was for all MK4 Jettas, golf in all motor trims. The fuse box on top of the battery melted. When opened there was a black wire severed from the box. When turning the battery over the cable wire was arching. The wire was actually sparking. There are fuses in the original box but they never broke, tripped.

- Middletown, CT, USA

problem #49

Jul 312014


  • 112,432 miles


Battery fuse box melted. Engine overheated and cut off.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #48

Jun 092014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
Air conditioner stopped working. Found left fuse on fuse box on top of battery is black and melted.

- East Greenville, PA, USA

problem #47

Jun 182014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The rear door locks do not work with the key fob or the electrical switch ion the driver's door. This is a serious issue when you have children in the rear seat.

- Massapequa Park, NY, USA

problem #46

Jun 162014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 116,898 miles
The day before the car quit, it would not start after being parked in the mall parking lot. A battery pack got it started, and it was driven home, with the thought that it needed a new battery. The following day, it was being driven to the local sears, for a replacement battery, when the ABS and airbag lights came on. 30 seconds later lots of warning lights came on, and the car sputtered and stopped dead in the lane of travel. It would not turn over, and power accessories would not work. I was stopped on a very busy 2 lane back road, with no shoulders or side streets, uphill, on a blind hill. After 1 1/2 hours of white-knuckle directing traffic, and calls to: My auto club, and the local police; a local police officer, and a local tow truck showed up and gave me a lift to my repair shop. The mechanic's diagnosis of the problem was a partially melted fuse pack, that sits on top of the battery, and an overly resistive cable between the fuse pack and the alternator. The solution was: The cable end linked to the fuse pack was re-terminated, and the melted fuse pack was replaced. Between the tow and the repair, it set me back about $300. I also found a blog that listed many other VW owners with the same problem: forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4986219-fuse-box-above-battery-melting. I also discovered a class action law suit that was filed in 2012, that was based on this problem: gotaclassaction.com/Volkswagen-named-in-class-action-over-fuse-boxalternator-cable-assembly/. I hope that the current repair holds for the near future. Clearly, a fuse should blow before the overall fuse pack melts.

- Newtown Square, PA, USA

problem #45

Feb 062014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
I have a Jetta that continually burns out the fuse box, which just happened again. The fuse box to replace costs around $100. Everytime. Due to this problem I am encountering additional repairs. Ignition coil etc. I even went and purchase a new battery for $160. Car will not run? help.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #44

Feb 232014


  • 175,000 miles
Car had a burning smell coming from the engine. The engine light came on. While on the highway the car stopped moving forward and stalled in traffic, the battery light then came on. I turned the car off and restarted it. In a 30 mile round trip, this happened 3 times. Upon further inspection, the battery mounted fuse block had completely melted and was extremely hot.

- Westmont, IL, USA

problem #43

Feb 072014

Jetta 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
The alternator cable got so hot it started a small fire in the fuse box on top of my battery. Completely melted/burnt the fuse box. I see there is a good pattern of this happening with these Jetta and beetles.

- Elsmere, KY, USA

problem #42

Feb 052014


  • 125,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph a burning plastic odor was present inside the vehicle before the passenger suddenly experienced a burning sensation coming from the seated area of the passenger seat. The contact indicated that the passenger side seat heater element had over heated causing a burn hole in the seat and causing a minor burn to the passenger. The contact stated that a small flamed to the passengers right pant leg had to be extinguished during the incident and the passenger seat burn hole measured approximately 1 inch in diameter. The vehicle was diagnosed at the dealer. The contact was informed that the defect was caused by a faulty heat element inside the seat. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified but no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 125,000. Jft

- Wilmington , DE, USA

problem #41

Dec 262013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 89,235 miles
One of the two large cooling fans in the front of the engine failed. The part must be replaced to prevent engine overheating. The part number is 6X0-959-445-F.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #40

Dec 262013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 89,235 miles
The temp sender on my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta failed for the second time. The first failure occurred at approximately 38,000 miles in 2007.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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