really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
17 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,850 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #45

Mar 052011


  • 99,000 miles


I was driving up olney St. In providence, ri when all of a sudden without notice the side airbag curtain and waist side seat air bag deployed without and impact.

- Ri, RI, USA

problem #44

Mar 012011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 202,220 miles
2003 VW Jetta tdi spontaneous/unintended passenger side airbag (seat) and side curtain air bag (window) deployment. While driving on freeway S880 hayward, ca at 65mph on Mar 01 2011. Passenger side, side curtain airbags deployed. There was no collision, impact with road debris or rough pavement involved. It will be reported to dealership. Seeking repair ears ringing, smoke, engine shut off coast to side of road air out smoke and engine was able to start. Stopped one mile down road and report to chp on side of road at a street. This happened at 9:25pm on my way to work.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #43

Dec 182010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
Driver started from a stopped position, ran over curb between 5-10 mph, side airbags deployed.

- Trinidad, CA, USA

problem #42

Aug 122010


  • 155,000 miles


My husband was driving on route 87 in New York when without warning the driverside airbags in our 2003 Jetta deployed without warning. No lights where on or any impact or crash.

- New Milford, CT, USA

problem #41

May 052010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 97,500 miles
2003 VW Jetta: Spontaneous/unintended passenger side, side curtain air bag deployment. While driving subject car on May 5, 2010, passenger side, side curtain airbags deployed. There was no collision, impact with road debris or rough pavement involved. Reported to dealership. Seeking repair of same.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

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problem #40

Jan 212010


  • 79,749 miles
2003 VW Jetta - side and window airbags deployed on passenger side while car was parked overnight. No visible signs of impact to cause airbags to deploy. Will have to have new airbags put back in at approximate cost of $2,500. If deployed while vehichle moving could be a dangerous situation. VW told us going over a pothole can also cause them to deploy.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #39

Mar 122009


  • 88,000 miles


Vehicle passenger side curtain and seat airbags deployed unexpectedly when driver encountered minor pot hole in road. There was no exterior damage to the car or wheels due to the pot hole. Driver paid out of pocket (and via insurance) to replace airbag system. Volkswagen acknowledges no responsibility for faulty system or repairs. Driver suffered potentially permanent hearing damage due to blast of airbag deployment.

- Westland, MI, USA

problem #38

Apr 022009


  • 92,788 miles
Driving home from work when the passenger seat air bag and the passenger window air bag just went off for now reason while I was driving. I did not hit anything and nothing hit my car.

- Gresham, OR, USA

problem #37

Jun 182008


  • 76,962 miles
The consumer was driving a 2003 Jetta gls traveling at a speed of about 35mph when the driver side airbags "curtains and seat airbags" spontaneously deployed. There was no impact to the vehicle that would have caused the airbags to deploy. After conducting extensive research on 2002-2004 Jettas, this seems to be a major issue that is not being recognized by VW of America.

- Cave Creek, AZ, USA

problem #36

Jan 252007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
While driving on interstate, driver side airbag deployed for no reason. This was not preceded by a pothole, flat tire, swerve, or any other event. Driver was hit in head by airbag, but managed to control car and bring to halt in breakdown lane. Only damage to car is the airbag. No other vehicles involved.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #35

Nov 022007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,112 miles


Was driving to a movie theater and a was doing about 25 mph and I hit a small pot hole in the road and my passenger side seat and curtain airbags deployed there no dents no crash nothing at all.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #34

May 162007

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles
The 2003 Volkswagen Jetta station wagon was parked in a parking lot which was landscaped with 3.5-inch high belgian block curbs. From a parked position and at a dead stop the car was driven at almost no speed so that the right front tire climbed one of the belgian block curbs. The driver was alone in the car. As the right front tire climed the belgian block curb the passenger's seatback side-thorax airbag and the passenger's side airbag deployed. There was significant airbag which caused damage to the interior of the car, but there was absolutely no evidence of any damage to any part of the car arising from the contact between the front right tire and the belgian block curb.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #33

Dec 092006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph through an intersection, the vehicle was T-boned on the passenger side. The side and curtain air bags did not deploy. Five people sustained minor injuries and a police report was taken. The dealer was not contacted.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #32

May 082006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,922 miles
: the contact stated while driving 60 mph the passenger side and curtain airbags both deployed. After the deployment, the steering column locked and the vehicle was maneuvered to the emergency lane. The airbag light was not illuminated prior to deployment. The driver was the only occupant in the vehicle and was wearing a seat belt. The vehicle was towed to the dealership for inspection. It was determined the airbag sensor had activated as if in a crash however no crash occurred. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #31

Mar 152006

Jetta Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,900 miles
I have 126,000 miles on my 2003 Jetta. I was driving down the highway on my way home from work and the driver side impact airbags deployed for no reason.

- Vernon, UT, USA

problem #30

Nov 012005

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contacts stated while driving the passenger's side/curtain air bag deployed. The vehicle was not in an accident prior to the deployment. There was no warning prior to the incident. The vehicle was towed to the dealership. The manufacture stated the vehicle must have been in a previous accident because the black box contains crash data and there was damage to the undercarriage. The manufacturer will not repair this vehicle. There was an investigation NHTSA action number PE04081.

- Gadsden, AL, USA

problem #29

May 082005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I was on my way to Florida, driving South on I-95 (going through the town of St. Marys) when I ran over a grey metal grate (the same color as the road) that was in the middle of the left lane (I was driving 70 mph). The grate was approximately 1ft X 1ft and about 1 inch thick. As soon as I ran over it, the side curtain and the side seat airbags (on the driver's side) deployed causing damage to the seat, seat belt, and my left arm was burnt.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #28

Sep 052005

Jetta Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,800 miles
I was driving my car on a straight section of road that was newly graded gravel at about 35 mph when the passenger side air bags deployed. Both the side air curtain and the seat air bags went off. The seat bag hit my wife on the back of the upper arm leaving some bruising and what looked to be large welts and burns. The swelling and burns went away after we found some ice and pack her arm in it. VW says that we were in a collision but we were around no one and did not hit anything. There is no damage to my car for any collision. My insurance company fixed the car under a comp. Claim as they were unable to find any collision damage.

- Springville, UT, USA

problem #27

Jul 032004

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
On July 3, 2004 the passenger's side/curtain airbag deployed without cause. The passenger sustained minor injuries. There was damage to the vehicle. When the vehicle was inspected by the Volkswagen field technician he said that there were some small dents that caused the deployment. When someone from Transport Canada inspected the vehicle he said that there was no reason for the side curtain airbags to have deployed. He said that the dents were there before the clear coat was even put on the vehicle. There was no collusion.

- Alberta, 00, USA

problem #26

Aug 312005

Jetta 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The driver's side air bag deployed for no reason. The speed at this time was about 60 mph. The contact was unaware of any debris that may have been on the road. The contact did not lose control of the vehicle. The air bag warning light was not on prior to the incident. There were no injuries. The dealership was contacted and the contact was to take the vehicle to the dealership tomorrow, and the vehicle was covered under a warranty. This occurred on August 31, 2005.

- Bedford, TX, USA

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