really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,367 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.

2001 Volkswagen Passat seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2001 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #11

Nov 102014


  • 180,220 miles


So I got rear ended at the other party's fault at high speed while I was at a stop sign and they neglected to stop pushing me into an intersection full of traffic...no airbags deployed..and since my heater doesn't work but passenger seat heat burned my 12 year old daughters butt...anyone help? I just want heat for my babies..below zero here :( thank you!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Watertown , SD, USA

problem #10

Apr 192013


  • 134,400 miles
I was stopped at a stop light that was out of order. The driver of the SUV in front of me took her foot off the brake and I assumed she was going to subsequently depress the accelerator, so I instinctively put my foot on the accelerator to ease forward. Unfortunately, I miscalculated as the driver in front of me did not move forward. As a result of my actions, I rear-ended the driver in front of me. I was going between 5-10 mph. My car sustained about 90% of the damage. My complaint is regarding the deployment or lack thereof of the airbags. They never deployed. Maybe I was wrong to assume that they would deploy on such a low speed. Please advise as the impact from the accident was rather strong.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #9

Aug 302009


  • 87,300 miles
We hit a deer head-on and the air bags did not go off. We were travelling about 60 mph and did not brake. The car was declared a total loss by the insurance company because of the expense to repair. This seems unusual because air bags are designed to go off at very low speeds.

- Philomath, OR, USA

problem #8

Dec 122008


  • 64,445 miles


Dec 12th 2008 the interior of my passt was flooded with water, VW service removed 10 + gallons of water which entered from air plenum /pollen filter hosing(cabin area). Service informed me of the P9 recall for the Passats manufactured Nov '00 to Dec '05. But, VW of America will not help me they said my VIN # is not in the recall. The computers are on the floor of car. Air bag is in default damage from electrical damage from water damage.. my trans mod is wrecked from the water damage, just the part alone will cost $1,300. I have lost work and can not drive. The make of car & year is in recall so why is my VIN not included?! someone please, please help me.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #7

Oct 182006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving various speeds, the instrument cluster panel lights illuminated. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who determined there was a short in the airbag wiring harness, and needed to be replaced. The airbag and harness were replaced, but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Holbrook, NY, USA

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problem #6

Dec 032005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,300 miles
2001 Volkswagen Passat low mileage of 21,000 miles. Normally garaged and maintained according to schedule. After rain, found an inch of water in rear passenger floor. Transmission non-functional, air bag warning light and other warning lights on. Dealer said the pollen filter seal was no good and that water leaked in and destroyed the transmission control unit which is located in the floor behind the passenger seat. Cost of repair in excess of $3,100. VW refuses to compensate in any way because warranty was only for two years. Transmission and power train are covered for 5 years, but VW says the failure was due to "outside influence". I have read many accounts on the internet from many angry owners of similar problems where leaks from this seal have caused catastrophic repairs. The service manager at the VW dealer told me that checking the pollen filter seal is not part of any regular maintenance and that in order to check it, you'd need to disassemble quite a few things in the engine compartment. When I asked him how an owner could possibly know if the seal needed replacement and he replied "you found out how". I am clearly not alone in having experienced a failure from a part that is not in any way maintainable (the pollen filter seal) and that has caused major damage to the car. I feel this is a consumer issue and that this is a design defect in the Passat that VW should compensate owners for. There is no way for an owner to be able to avoid this situation -- it is not a matter of maintenance. It got to do with the Passat leaking water and the location of an extremely expensive component in the rear passenger floor, the area where any water that leaks migrates to. If this failure had occurred during driving, I might have had an accident.

- Sag Harbor, NY, USA

problem #5

Apr 132004


  • 27,119 miles


While driving at 25 mph air bag light came on and stayed on. Vehicle was taken to the dealer, who replaced the O-ring in the driver's side air bag.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 182003

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,256 miles
2/18/03 - reported air bag light on to dealer. Dealer could not find problem and reset light. Airbag light came back on again in may '03. Returned to dealer on 6/28/03 for service. Told that airbag spiral spring and harness be replaced. Could not change on that day (Saturday) due to time constraints. Returned to dealer on 8/26/03 to replace spiral spring and harness.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 182002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
Windshield wipers do not work on rainy days making it difficult to see out the windshield. A lady hit my car on the right side collapsing that side along the doors and some of the rear and the air bag did not deploy. I put my feet on accelerator for speed and the car refuses to respond. The more I accelerate the slower the car goes.

- Rosedale, NY, USA

problem #2

May 092001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Airbag light came on. Took vehicle to dealer on 9 may, replaced clock spring assembly. Light came on again on 16 may, dealer found no problem. Airbag light on again on 23 may, dealer replaced 1 airbag and clock spring assembly.airbag light on again on 3 June, and dealer will replace both airbags. Vehicle still at dealer at this time.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #1

Mar 222001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Airbag warning light turned on starting 02/12/2001. It was check by the dealer on 03/06/2001 but no problem was found and cleared code. Three days later airbag warning light turned on again with airbag fault sign was also on. Took to dealer on 03/22/2001 along with the new transmission problem. The car was towed in because of the transmission pan, gasket punctured and oil leaking. The dealer service replace the airbag and upper harness under warranty of the car, while transmission repair was charge to my insurance. My safety complaint is that the transmission pan is maybe too low to the ground that it can easily be punctured, which may cause serious transmission problem. And for the airbag warning sign turned on, the airbag will not deploy if accident occurs or may accidentally deploy while driving.

- Timonium, MD, USA

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