really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,476 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 2)

problem #22

Oct 262014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles


Driver side air bag deployment, no apparent reason. Driver side curtain air bags deployed at 35 mph no apparent reason. Injured driver with burns and ringing in ear.

- Seneca, SC, USA

problem #21

May 032014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 VW Jetta. The contact stated that while driving over a pothole, the vehicle emitted smoke and stalled. The air bags also inadvertently deployed and there was smoke inside and outside of the vehicle. The failure could not be determined. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was declared destroyed. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000. Updated 11/12/14 updated 7/27/2015

- Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #20

Jan 272014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Passenger side curtain airbag deployed after going into the shoulder. There was no damage to tires, wheels, or body of car. Insurance company declared a total loss.

- Roslindale, MA, USA

problem #19

Mar 242013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 83,766 miles


While driving on interstate the passenger side overhead and seat airbag deployed for no reason.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #18

Jan 012010


  • miles
Air bag sensors failure. In event of a crash air bags will not deploy. There are 1000's of similar complaints on the internet

- Perryville, MD, USA

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problem #17

May 012010


  • 126,000 miles
Headed West on I70 in Eagle county and hit an ice bridge and went head on to a concrete barrier. 03 tdi Jetta was totaled. Air bags did not deploy at all.

- Northglenn, CO, USA

problem #16

Apr 202010


  • 100,500 miles


My husband was driving my car over railroad tracks when the passenger side airbags deployed and the car shut off. Fortunately my husband was driving slow and no one was injured. My VW dealership instructed me to contact my insurance agent. They conducted an investigation and found no evidence of collision and refused to cover damages. Then I brought the car to VW and they discovered some undercarriage damage and informed my insurance Agency. Upon re-investigation of the car the insurance decided that they would now cover the damages that are estimated at around $5,000 but I have a $500 deductible and my premiums will now go up. As far as I am concerned railroad tracks should not deploy airbags and I should absolutely not be responsible for any costs related.

- Coventry, CT, USA

problem #15

Jul 272009


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. The front driver's side of the contact's vehicle was struck by another vehicle traveling 45 mph. None of the air bags deployed and the driver sustained back injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 118,000.

- Kenntsaw, GA, USA

problem #14

May 032009

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
I was in a rear end incident in which my 2003vw Jetta was struck almost dead-on in the rear by a 2009 BMW sedan. Both my wife, seated in the front passenger seat, and I, driving, were wearing three point seat belts. The airbags in our vehicle did not deploy. Both the drivers seat and the front passenger's seat were reclined almost completely as a result of the impact, to the point that any rear seat passengers we might have had in the car would have been pinned by the reclined front seats. Updated 05/20/09 updated IVOQ 05/27/09.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Mar 232007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


- the contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving at 35 mph the driver's side air bag deployed without warning. There were no air bag warning indicators prior to deployment. However, the light illuminated after it deployed. There were minor injuries to the driver's ears. There were no passengers in the vehicle at the time of the failure. The current and failure mileage were 60,000.

- Freemont , OH, USA

problem #11

Nov 222006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,948 miles
I purchased a 2003 VW Jetta this past April. On November 22, 2006 at 6:00 am on interstate 395 ct, my side driver airbags, back seat airbag and driver seat airbag deployed. I did not hit anything on the highway nor was my car struck by any object. I brought the car to the service department that day to have it looked at assuming that they would find a defect and fix the problem. Instead of being helped by the service manager I was accused of hitting something. They said there was damage underneath the car. I brought the car to my insurance branch and they found no damage. VW again refused my claim. I then had the insurance company come to the dealership to look at the car. Later that week the insurance company hired an investigator to examine the car and he found no damage to deploy the airbags. My insurance will not pay the $3,000 to fix the car and VW will not pay. I have 3 deployed airbags and one broken driver side seat belt.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #10

Feb 122007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
- the contact owns a 2003 Jetta jls. While driving at 60 mph the contact's vehicle was cut off by a truck and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle proceeded down an embankment, flipped over sideways, and end over end, landing upside down in a canal. The driver was pulled from the wreckage and it became submerged. There was damage to the doors, the rear and the front. The air bag side/curtain, frontal airbags failed to deploy, and the seat belt failed to work properly during the crash. The failure and current mileage were both 35000. The driver sustained a broke nose, as well as, other injuries.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #9

Jan 282005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,000 miles
Ford pickup truck was stopped to make left turn. My attention was diverted and I failed to stop. Hit truck in rear. Passenger air bag deployed. Driver air bag or side air bags did not. Seat belt prevented personal injury.

- Carnesville, GA, USA

problem #8

Jul 072005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
No accident has occurred. However, who or what company do I email to get information on why Volkswagen will not put forth a recall on the sunroof of the Jetta model 2001 and 2002" I am waiting to hear back from this company. However, from the consumer reports I see that they have not recalled this part on these cars. Can you please direct me to the email address that I might get an answer" it is a serious issue with the airbags that are located in the colulms of this vehicle. If they get wet they will not work. Therefore it is a hazard that Volkswagen should address.thank you

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #7

Jun 042005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,150 miles
I was driving my 2003 VW Jetta under normal road conditions. I stopped at a red light in an intersection, continued when it turned green. I hit a small sized pothole at the other end of the intersection at speeds below 15mph, which caused the wrongful deployment of the side curtain and seat airbags as well as locking the seatbelt tensioner making it inoperable. I inspected the vehicle after the incident and found no damage whatsoever to all body panels and wheels/tires. The following morning I had a mechanic inspect the car for any suspension or steering problems and none were found. I took the vehicle to the dealer where I purchased it to have it fixed under warranty and the dealer and VW of America have denied warranty repairs and have not yet done anything to fix the problem. I did research on the internet for similar incidents with this make and model and have found that there have been 500 similar incidents of spontaneous airbag deployment in 2002-2004 VW Jettas, golfs, gti and new beetles around the country.

- Roselle Park, NJ, USA

problem #6

Apr 082005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
Motor vehicle accident in residential area with moving 2003 VW Jetta and parked Honda/Toyota? driver of Jetta came around the corner, looked down & away from the road momentarilly while driving apx. 30 mph when she hit the other vehicle without any breaking. This full frontal impact and the entire front end of this Jetta was taken out and the other vehicle was totaled. None of the 4 airbags deployed. We are currently being told "no changes or alterations will be made with regard to the airbags".

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #5

Apr 252005

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Passanger's side airbags deployed for no reason while vehicle was in motion. Driver was able to maintain control of the vehicle, avoiding the very real possibility of personal injury and property damage. Driver suffered extreme emotional distress and temporary hearing loss, in additon to damage to interior of vehicle. The vehicle will be sent to the dealer in the am.

- Arlington, TN, USA

problem #4

Oct 012004


  • miles
Re Ford Windstar (my) 2001-2003, 2nd & 3rd row seat recall. Recall number 03V459000.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #3

Apr 202004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 5 mph, the passenger air bag deployed. The vehicle was taken to two repair shops for an inspection. The consumer had just accelerated from a red light when the passenger side air bag deployed for no apparent reason. The service dealer refused to repair the vehicle stating it was a manufacturer's defect..

- Bronx, NY, USA

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