hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,893 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.

2004 Volkswagen Jetta electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Dec 182016


  • 228,000 miles


On 12/18/2016 I was driving this car back from the movies at 2:30 a.M. once the movie had ended it was storming and sleeting. I started to notice systems shutting down as indicated by various dash lights such as ABS, airbag, among others. Eventually the radio, interior lights shut off. The windshield wipers slowed and the headlights dimmed, and eventually the car died going 50 miles an hour in sleeting conditions leaving me with no ABS, no airbag system (at least per what the dash lights indicated) and, of course, no power steering. I inspected the vehicle this morning and found the alternator wire coming into the high amperage fuse box that sits on top of the battery had melted and disconnected the circuit, disabling the alternator from charging the battery, and letting the battery die. The incident did not cause a crash, but it could have if there was anyone else around me as I had to cut across a couple lanes with no engine power and no power steering to get to the shoulder.

- Dowagiac, MI, USA

problem #23

May 052016


  • 70,000 miles
Alternator cable melted the fuse block and wires above the battery. I will need to replace the alternator, alternator wiring harness, the fuses, and possibly the battery. My car has shut down while driving and this is dangerous not just for me but for others on the road around me. Too many VW owners are experiencing this exact same issue. VW please take ownership of this ongoing safety issue. This same issue is being addressed in a class action for beetles.

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #22

Jul 182008


  • 48,800 miles
Instrument cluster stopped working. Vehicle mileage, and speedometer do not work at all. Mileage when occurred 48,800. Every speed sensor was replaced with no change. I have no way of knowing how fast I am going, or how many miles are on my car without tracking them myself. This is a common problem with multiple VW's and Audi's with no apparent solution. I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to fix this problem and still am without a speedometer and odometer.

- Prospect, KY, USA

problem #21

Aug 112014


  • 50,000 miles


My (generator cable - S177) alternator cable melting the fuse box and wires above the battery. My car needed a new alternator. My car does not always start even with a new battery and alternator. My car has shut down while driving on the highway. VW admits this is a known problem but will not do anything about it. I am the second owner of this vehicle. Thousands of people are having this same problem.

- Prospect, KY, USA

problem #20

Aug 052015


  • 156,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled, back fired, and it was leaking coolant under the water pump. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. Prior to this failure that the vehicle had experienced leaking. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed the water pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 14E007000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 156,000.

- Saugus, MA, USA

problem #19

Feb 022016


  • 91,000 miles
Over the past few days it has been raining heavily & although it has happened to me once before this time is what worse. My car is leaking from somewhere & its coming on the inside. My carpets are constantly wet, my airbags alongside windshield leak, and the handle where you open the hood of the car is literally a stream of water entering the car during heavy rainfall. The airbag light has come on and the check engine. I was more concerned with the check engine light so I went and got it checked. The code came up as U0155 - which refers to (lost communication with instrument panel cluster (ipc) control module) meaning my entire dashboard needs to be replaced because of this leaking ! I have taken my car on multiple occasions to VW dealership for servicing (never for this problem) and they never once told me anything about cleaning the sunroof drains every two years as maintenance, it is visible to the naked eye that my sunroof is messed up because when I purchased it the lining on the car around the sunroof is drooping and I cannot open the sunroof because of this. I never thought of it as a big deal because I don't use a sunroof but how was I supposed to know there was a leak without anyone telling me that was even possible. I looked up this problem online, that's how I know what's wrong with my car. I refuse to get it "diagnosed" and spend over 200$ on just a diagnosis when I already know what the problem is and they'll end up charging way more to actually fix the problem. This is my first car and I don't know much of anything about cars except keeping up with oil and filter changes, fuel injectors, and changing my tires when the tread is getting low. I have done all of that at each checkpoint since I purchased at 63,000 miles. There is so much condensation inside I can barely see out my windows, I have sit for at least a half hour car on to be able to see & drive.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #18

May 182015


  • 122,000 miles


I was driving my VW Jetta 2004 tdi on a highway, I was using my high beam and low beam headlights to yield to incoming traffic when all of a sadden my headlights went off, I had to stop it was very dark and dangerous road, I moved and wiggle the lever to see if I could make it come on again, eventually it did, it did that about 4 times, every time it scared the... out of me could not see road. Took it to a mechanic, replaced the turn signal high beam low beam and cruse control lever, its all in one lever. I looked on line to see if someone else have the same problem and it seems that is a common problem with this vehicle.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #17

Dec 122015


  • 70,000 miles
The high voltage fuse box, that sits on top of the battery melted due to heat and poor design. This caused a short and complete loss of power to my vehicle. This was both dangerous and frightening! I was on the freeway going 60mph and could have easily lost control of the vehicle, causing an injury or fatal accident. I found 44 similar complaints regarding this same issue and am surprised that this public Agency has failed to take any action on this, and demanding a recall, and thus resolving a dangerously reoccurring electrical issue.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 232015


  • 97,000 miles
I have replaced my battery twice and my alternator once. My car completely shuts down when I part it. I have also turned on my car and then completely shuts down by itself, yet if I jump start it it will turn on. I'm not able to turn my car back on, as though something is draining my battery. This has been occurring for over one year now and I'm getting stranded at my last destination and have had to get towed to the mechanic show. It's getting very expensive and ridiculous. The mechanic has done his due diligence but problem is still occurring. I'm afraid to drive on the highway in fear my car will sh*t down!

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #15

Dec 152014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving approximately 50 mph, there was smoke coming from the heated seats on the front passenger side. The contact stated that there was a hole burned into the front passenger seat. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Alamogordo, NM, USA

problem #14

Jun 032014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


The battery fuse box melted due to corrosion on the terminal of the alternator wire, this is a very common problem with this car and cars of similar make (Audi A4, tt etc.) and can lead to fires.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #13

Jul 012013


  • 110,000 miles
Alternator wiring harness overheated my battery fuse box and melted it. The vehicle battery light came on so I pulled over, turned the vehicle off, and inspected the battery, noticing the damage (melted plastic, smoke).

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #12

Dec 242012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 122,642 miles
Headlights dimming- to point where you can not tell they are on. Engine light comes on despite all diagnostics stating all is ok with car. Periodically fails to start-despite diagnostics that state starter, battery, drain altenator all good and functioning properly. Car jumps easily with "boost".

- Merrionette Park, IL, USA

problem #11

Apr 302012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 118,000 miles
2004 VW Jetta gls tdi operating at 75mph on interstate on cruise control when the engine shutoff completely. The vehicle still had electrical power and engine would crank but would not start. I rolled the vehicle off to the side of the road and attempted to re-start the engine and it finally cranked and drove vehicle approximately 500 miles before experiencing similar issue. Since that time vehicle has had same issue over 10 times. Dealer has inspected vehicle three times and has not discovered issue.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #10

Feb 242012


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that after starting the vehicle, the entire electrical system including the lighting and instrument panel failed to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic. The private mechanic confirmed that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 90,000.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #9

Jan 302012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW Jetta. It has about 48,000 miles on it. A little over a year ago, it developed an electrical problem. It progresses from the dashboard lights flickering initially & the trip mileage going away, to beeping 3 times, and eventually to stalling when I stop. Itż's progressive, the longer it happens the more frequently it happens. This makes the car unreliable and dangerous. Iżżve taken the car to the dealership 4 times. The first 2 times, they said it was a short. I was charged for the service. The next time they said it was the ignition switch. I paid for the part but not the labor. The last time, they said it was the fuel pump relay switch. I wasnżżT charged. I got the car back Thursday. The problem reoccurred Saturday. I spoke to VW Corp. Prior to the third & fourth times I took it to the dealer. The fourth time, I asked for other options, but all they would do is tell me to take it in for repairs. I spoke to them again today. They said to take it in to the dealer once more. I pointed out that I had just done that last week. They still insisted I return it to the dealer. They said eventually, they might give me credit for the car towards a new car. They wouldnżżT specify how many more times Iżżll have to take it in to be considered for the credit. They didnżżT say how much credit they would offer. I donżżT want another VW. I asked that, as the car was unreliable & they couldnżżT fix it, that they buy it back from me at the blue book price. They said that would never happen. Do you have reports of similar problems with 2004 VW Jettas" do you have any suggestions as to what my rights are relative to this situation"

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #8

Feb 102011


  • 79,000 miles
After service by VW for window glass clip recall the traction control light will not turn off. No traction control for the vechicle.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #7

Mar 152009

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Bought new in 2004. Starting at 60K miles the check engine light would come-on saying miss fire on #1 cyl when its wet outside; raining or snow. Spark plug and wire replaced regularly and checked within specs. The acceleration started to deteriorate and flat spot in the acceleration can be dangerous in driving conditions. 86K the original VW coil was replaced; #1 terminal was corroded.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #6

Apr 192011


  • 66,000 miles
My 2004 VW Jetta 1.8 turbo which I purchased new is having transmission problems. My cat has only 66,000 miles in it and has been well maintained. In the past two years I have replaced the fuel pump, battery, catalytic converter, numerous vacuum leaks ect...but a transmission"??" Volkswagen needs to issue a recall as this is way to common!! please help!

- Chicago Heights , IL, USA

problem #5

Dec 082009


  • 108,000 miles
Electrical fire in ignition harness melted harness (including coils) which resulted in stall-out. Ignition fuse to computer was disabled preventing re-start of automobile.

- Mountain Home, AR, USA

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