really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,833 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 Passat brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #6

Apr 152014

Passat 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


Car was constantly getting the passenger side (front and back) flooded w water during a rain storm. Had to get new battery cleaned out sunroof drainage. It didn't matter. Whenever it rained the battery would be dead because the control module which is there is all messed up sending mixed messages. Finely just died in the middle of the road. Not worth putting money into the car. I purchased this car less then a year ago and had this problem after the first rain and went down from their. Im so disappointed hoping buying a used VW I was going to be satisfied but had nothing trouble from day one.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #5

May 202013

Passat 4-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
ABS module failure, ABS light on brake light blinking and then asr light on, happens randomly, no specific reason, dry weather, humid, day or night. Still comes on randomly, no speeding, problem goes away when car is turned off.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Jul 232012

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving 45miles on the road when my 2003 VW Passat 1.8T started to shake like crazy. Then the engine started to feel like it was going out..smoke came from my hood. My car stopped and the driver behind me swerved out the way but clipped me on the right side of my vehicle. No damage to the car or my own.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 152009

Passat 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


At around 85,000 miles ABS/traction control lights turned on and parking brake light started flashing. I took it to the dealership and was told that the ABS module faulted and needed to be replaced.

- Ballston Spa , NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 182009


  • 113,000 miles
I own a 2003 VW Passat. Recently. I took my car for repair as my brakes were not responding on turns. The VW dealer investigated the issue and I was told that the "ABS control module" is not communicating for some reason. They suggested I replace the ABS control module for around $2,216 I called VW and asked them to look into the issue and see if they can cover the expenses of the repair since this is not a normal tear and wear issue. They responded by saying that since the car is not within the warranty period, they cannot cover the expenses of this repair. I feel that is a safety issue that VW of America needs to cover the repair for. In fact I think they should have been more pro-active and investigate the ABS control module in my care after they replace it to see if there is a major issue that can result in a recall. I understand that my car is not within warranty; but given the fact that this is a safety issue, I think VW should cover it and pay the repair cost.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #1

May 172007


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat wagon. While attempting to accelerate from 5 mph, the vehicle would not move forward and began to vibrate. The contact pulled over and noticed a burning odor coming from the brakes. When he touched the wheels, they were extremely hot. The vehicle had stability control, traction control, and ABS. All four brakes were applied when he attempted to accelerate. The contact attempted to restart the vehicle. The ABS light illuminated along with another light (he did not remember which light). After he allowed the vehicle to cool down and attempted to start the engine, all of the lights illuminated on the instrument panel. He continued to drive, but the failure recurred. He took the vehicle to a Volkswagen dealer in Indiana and was instructed on where to find the fuse to deactivate the ABS, traction control, and stability control. The service manager stated that they had seen Audi experience the same failure with the same engine and features. The failure mileage was approximately 62,000.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

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