definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,932 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.

1998 Volkswagen Passat electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 012006


  • miles


Owner was driving vehicle for approximately 5 minutes, parked it, and then noticed smoke coming from the heater and also noticed the hood light going on and off. Fire burned throughout the passenger compartment and part of the undercarriage. Cause undetermined.

- Seekonk, MA, USA

problem #3

Jun 102005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,730 miles
ABS and brake light intermittently light up and sound an emergency. I've taken the car to two garages, and neither place can determine the problem. Sometimes I cani feel my ABS system lock up if I am turning (not in any wet conditions); and in those occasions, I was fortunate that no cars had been coming toward me B/C I was unable to gain control. Neither mechanic saw any fault in my brakes, brake pads, shoes, etc., so there is something electrical to blame; and this is a complaint heard often with 1998-1999 VW Passats. Either way, nothing has been done to correct the failure, only $300 in diagnostics.

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #2

Aug 072002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states instrument panel was going out or not coming on while driving at night. Bulb needs to be replaced.

- Bahrain, 00, USA

problem #1

Dec 101998


  • miles
I have had numerous problems with the various electrical components in my VW passta. I have had the radio pick the turn signal while listening to am stations. The lights in the airconditiong component stopped working. The passaenger dr behind the drivers side locking mechanism is still broken (even after 4-5 trips to the dealer). The passenger door behing the front passenger had to be completely replaced because it would no lock. The truck mechanism stopped locking and had to be replaced. The lights in the back fell out. The car simply cut off while driving for no apparent reason. The security system went haywire for no reason.

- Columbia, SC, USA

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