really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,394 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.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #13

Nov 222016


  • miles


My brakes failed to work as I was driving down a hill and entering oncoming traffic at a nearby stop light.

- Trussville, AL, USA

problem #12

Jul 262016


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta. When starting the vehicle, the epc warning light illuminated and the vehicle stalled when attempted to drive. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the failure code was cleared for the ABS fuse. In addition, while driving 60 mph, the brake light failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the brake switch and brake booster failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 73,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #11

Aug 032015


  • 44,000 miles
While driving (secondary roads, suburbs) noticed 'spongy' brake feel and strange sound from left rear. When I got home (after about 15 min of driving), left rear disc was glowing orange/yellow and smoke was coming from the wheel. Had rear pads replaced/reset. Problem returned 2 weeks later. After a short drive, noticed smell and saw smoke coming from left rear wheel. Lifted car and left rear wheel would not turn. All other wheels are fine.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #10

Sep 062015

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 49,195 miles


2012 Jetta wagon - while driving on a recently paved highway (eg. Seemingly pristine asphalt), my wife and I noted a strange vibration sensation in our car. There was no drag, veered steering, abnormal handling, or warning on the dash. We had accelerated to approximately 50 mph when at the upcoming intersection the light changed to red. It was a normal braking/stop maneuver. On stopping, no unusual braking sensation, again no abnormal pull. We noticed smoke coming along the drivers side while stopped. There was a faint smell of hot metal as well. My wife stated "I hope that's not us". several cars honked and flashed lights to get our attention and on rolling the drivers window down, a driver adjacent yelled "your car is on fire". I quickly exited the drivers side and noted a small flame at the drivers rear brake. By simply blowing, it went out. The rotor was glowing red/orange. Extreme heat was coming from this. No other brake was involved. I verified the parking brake was not engaged at the time. We had traveled perhaps 2 miles prior to this occurrence. Once cooled, I slowly drove to a nearby clinic parking lot and left the car. This car has had all scheduled maintenance in a timely manner. It has not been crashed. Recent work included dealer brake fluid change at 47,918 miles. ## VIN passed ## Volkswagen Jetta 2012 tdi sportwagen ##

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #9

Feb 032015

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Left rear caliper is seizing, wont let go of caliper. Mechanic says the caliper has rusted shut after only 45,000 miles and he sees them all the time on VW vehicles.

- Cumberland, MD, USA

problem #8

Jan 072015


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta. While the vehicle was parked on a hill in a parking garage, the contact depressed the brake pedal to release the emergency brake. The brake pedal extended to the floor. The vehicle rolled backwards and the contact had to quickly maneuver the vehicle to avoid crashing into other vehicles. However, the vehicle crashed into a wall. The contact did not sustain any injuries and medical attention was not received. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000.

- Garrett Park, MD, USA

problem #7

Feb 152013

Jetta 5-cyl

  • 6,500 miles


I was stopped at a red light headed up hill. The light turned green I released the brakes & clutch while pushing the gas pedal. Much to my surprise this killed the engine. (I have driven sticks shifts for 50 years.) the car stopped abruptly. The car behind me having seen my brake lights go off and my car begin to move had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me. His honking and rude gestures were not necessary, but understandable. We were probably both cursing, I know I was. Complaining to the dealer I was amazed to learn it was supposed to do this! in addition, since the then I have figured out that if one sets the handbrake to soon the electronics will eventually release the hydraulic pressure and the parking brake which had been pulled to the full extent of its travel now has several more clicks left to go and is not fully set. We learned this when the unoccupied car rolled down the driveway into a tree across the street. We were not pleased. (VW of America, however, was not concerned.) to really keep us guessing this "feature" does not consistently activate - there is a range of degrees of slope where it may or may not come into play. Having it not hold when one expects it to has caused minor damage and several more close calls. Vwoa will not allow dealers to deactivate. Trying to replace the car with something more drivable I have learned this has become a widespread curse on many newer vehicles, even those with automatic transmissions. This idea is not only wrong it is wrong-headed. How in god's name can a deliberate brake malfunction be palmed off as a "safety feature". and if there are people so incompetent as to need or want this, why must the rest of us be plagued with it. Like most answers to any question no one has asked it is wrong. It is wrong and dangerous. And in case you hadn't noticed, annoying.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #6

May 182014

Jetta 5-cyl

  • 7,600 miles
Midnight, driving back from a friends house. My 16 month old (or rather new) Jetta SE 2012, shakes up when I turn on ignition. I give it 2-3 seconds to calm down. It doesn't. instead, the epc light goes on. Then the check engine light. Hmm... weird. Those weren't on like 2 hours back, or ever infact. Being the smart techie that I am, I try the highly technical solution to any problem that I don't quite understand - I try to turn it off and on again. The same god awful shaking and stuttering. But no epc light. I think to myself, maybe this is just a transient thing. Try to pull out of the parking space, and there it is... the [xxx] epc and check engine light. But my home's only a mile away, maybe things get better on the way there. You know, its a new car (bought 16 months back, brand new, and has ~7600 miles on it). But no, as I try to "drive" the piece of [xxx], it starts shaking more violently when I get to 25 miles and hour. So, I pull over, and a quick google search tells me to stay below 20 mph and get it to a dealer asap. So I get the car towed, and the next day the dealer tells me its a faulty ignition coil that has been replaced and tested and things should just work. But I'm scared to get in that car again. What if this would've happened farther away from my house. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 152013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 20,676 miles
We were traveling at highway speed on I-95 South in Virginia on a family vacation with a three year old and a 6 year old in the vehicle. Traffic came to an abrupt stop and my wife, who was driving at the time, screamed that the pedal went to the floor. I immediately told her to start pumping the brakes and downshift and I grabbed the hand brake. Amazingly, we were able to control the vehicle enough to and limp off the next exit. We had the vehicle towed to the nearest VW dealer. At the local VW dealer the problem was diagnosed as a front left flexible brake line failure due to a missing hose routing bracket on the strut tower. The non routed hose assembly as making contact with the inside of the front rim and eventually wore through the reinforcement. The abrupt stop was enough to finally burst the assembly. The service manager blamed me for the omission of the bracket and I was forced to pay $495.71 for the repair. We have since taken this up with Volkswagen customer care and they reimbursed us for the repairs. Upon complaining further they gave us a $1000 customer loyalty certificate for the lease or purchase of a new vehicle which has expired and is worthless at this point in time. The question I have is how could this defect or omission of the bracket have gone through a quality inspection at the factory, a pre-delivery inspection, and two scheduled dealer services without catching an issue like this?

- Stow, OH, USA

problem #4

Nov 262013


  • 23,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the brakes failed to engage when applied. The contact lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the rear of another vehicle. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to a local body repair center but was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 23,000.

- Roy , UT, USA

problem #3

Jul 312012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 200 miles


I was driving on the interstate on moderate traffic at about 35 mph when all of a sudden the car stalled and the steering wheel and brakes got really hard. I had to use the emergency brake to stop the car because the brakes wouldn't work. My Jetta has the automatic transmission and it was set on "manual with no clutch" when it happened. The thing is I wasn't even touching that when the car stalled. That first incident happened less than 2 weeks after I'd gotten the car fresh off the dealership. I didn't want to admit that there was something wrong with the car because I was excited to have a new car. I've owned the car for almost a year now and it has happened at least 7 other times. Now I realize this is very dangerous because when the car stalls the steering wheels gets very hard and it makes it almost impossible to move the steering wheel or use the brakes. I'm not happy.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #2

Aug 172012

Jetta 5-cyl

  • 950 miles
Hello, purchased a VW Jetta SE on 7/20/12 and almost 1 month after the purchase I was driving on a local highway at apx. 50 mph around 5:30pm when car headlights blinked and car died (stalled). Attempted to re-start a car without any success. Since VW dealer was closed already - called a local auto shop and they towed a car to a shop to find an issue. Mechanic could not see anything obvious so he re-set a computer in my car and he was able to start it. Drove home. Later in the evening - drove to pick-up some food and on the way home (inside a development) - while making a left turn at apx. 15-18 mph - pressed brakes and realized I had none and at the same time car stalled and since it was raining and I was already slightly turning left - car slid in the direction on my turn and right rear tire hit the curb, tire fall off, car hit a street sign and an electric pool (both fell to the ground) and brought me to a complete stop on the grass. Police was contacted and a car was towed to a nearest body shop. Filing a complaint with VW - will see what they have to say.

- Morganville, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jul 082012

Jetta 5-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
Recently, I was going approximately 35mph on my way home. I depressed my brake pedals to stop the vehicle because a vehicle at approximately 3-4 car lengths from me had come to an abrupt stop. The brake pedal went all the way down to the floor and failed to stop the vehicle properly. This resulted in a minor accident and the Jetta SE rear-ended the vehicle that had stopped abruptly. The damage was to my front bumper and the other vehicles bumper. This is not the first time this happened, about a week ago, I was on the highway and a vehicle cut me off and the same thing happened. The brake went down to the road. Thankfully, I was next to the shoulder on the highway and this is how I avoided the accident. About a month ago I was leaving work and someone turned right in front of me and the brake pedal went all the way down and I had to maneuver the car to the left turn lane to avoid an accident. Two times I was lucky, unfortunately the 3rd time I was not and the issue resulted in a minor accident. I do not feel safe in the vehicle. I have a 3 year lease. I am taking the car to the shop tomorrow because I do not trust what the VW dealer would say to protect VW that nothing is wrong. I see that others have had similar complaints online about the tdi. This is a Jetta SE.

- Miami, FL, USA

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