really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,967 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 152008


  • 77,000 miles


This is in regard to tiptronic transmission failure at 77,000 miles. After the vehicle was fully paid off and 17K miles after warranty had expired. While I was driving vehicle would stay in 1st and 2nd gear and give a big jolt when going into 3rd and 4th while still cold, only after engine would heat up without any stops would it perform sub par. Previous to this I had have no complaints. Dealer quoted $5600 to rebuild transmission and independent shop $2500. I was informed I had a worn clutch and in 2008 I rebuild the transmission and continued having the same issue. After thousands of dollars spent on this vehicle on April 12 of 2012 I sent it the junkyard. I will follow up and send more hard copies documents to NHTSA as I have my entire service records from 2003 - 2012 to submitt. There are 100's of other american car owners with tiptronic transmission experiencing same issues and its apparent that it is faulty manufacturing.I'm attaching several pdf documents with articles and other similar costumer complaints. I have all my service records and will submit hard copies separately however wanted to get the complaint started here. The year of my vehicle was never included but its obvious this issue has been happening longer then previous recalls.

- Biscayne Park, FL, USA

problem #6

Jun 152015

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that a was smell entered the interior of the vehicle for an extended period of time. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the cabin filter was replaced but the failure continued. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000. Updated 10/19/16

- North Bellmore, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 222015


  • 277,000 miles
Seat caught on fire from shorted seat heater and burned a hole through passanger seat cover.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #4

Nov 192003


  • 300 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that there was an abnormal odor in the vehicle which made the contact nauseous. She was unable to determine where the odor was emitting from. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer but the contact was advised that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 300 and the current mileage was 74,718.

- Safety Harbor, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 282008


  • 72,500 miles
Brake light switch failed and my car is stuck in park because it's impossible to shift when the brake light switch is faulty. This part has been recalled (N4), but I am forced to pay for a tow truck to get me to a dealer 20 miles away because the car is inoperable right now. Warranty is over but if it's a recall and the part in question is causing me to be stuck, why should I be the one paying for the tow?

- Norwalk, CT, USA

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problem #2

Jul 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 10,900 miles
I bought my car at the end of November. Drove it off the lot with 9 miles on the vehicle. At the time of breakdown on July 25, 2003, the car had 10,900 miles on it. The current mileage on it now is 13,000 July 25th was a very hot day. I believe it was up to 110 degrees that day. I had noticed my car running at a substantial lower power than usual, but I assumed it was because of the heat and that I had my air conditioning on high. I had to do some errands in town then I headed home, which is about 30 minutes away from the tri-cities, at this time I did notice loss of power going up the on-ramp to the interstate, but still did not think too much of the fact. I was half way home when I noticed that my car was losing even more power, the cruise quit and my speedometer went from 75 to 50 mph and that is when I noticed that my heat gauge was extremely high. I also found it odd that the inside of my car had not cooled off, but was getting warmer. I headed towards the off-ramp and as I was down shifting and applying the breaks, my brake pedal made ;puffy-popping noise and then the brake pedal collapsed to the floor. I put the vehicle in neutral and pumped the brakes to get the vehicle to stop, when the vehicle stopped, I smelled heat, or like something burning. I thought it was a fire around town. Pulling away from the off-ramp, I could not get any pickup speed with my car. The car felt like it was pushing to go forward and also pulling itself back at the same time, as the vehicle tried to pick up speed, it would pull back and forth. The gas pedal was all the way to the floor and I couldn't get any speed. I could only shift into second gear and the vehicle could only maintain 15 mph. As all of this was happening, I was turning off everything I thought took power, air conditioner was the first thing off when I started noticing the car overheating and losing power, then the radio, these did not help.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #1

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

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