definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,383 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 #3

Jul 292007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,150 miles


While driving 2003 VW Passat the engine stalled out (no fuel) causing near accident by passing vehicles. Drifted to side of road. After 100 mile tow to vincent Volkswagen dealer in rochester, they found no problem. Car did run two days. The same stall-out occurred three days later. Another tow to a dealer (schmitts garage) to attempt to repair. Not sure what the problem is but strongly suspect fuel pump or control system for fuel or fuel line system. There have been previous recalls on some 2003 Passat fuel system items including fuel pumps (potential to cause crash when fail). Was told my Passat was not part of the other 2003 Passat fuel pump/system recall. However, are more fuel pump units bad that VW doesn't realize which could cause major accidents, head on collisions during passing. Filed this with VW customer care. Two weeks prior brake lights did not work and was nearly rear ended. VW dealer replaced defective brake switch which initially wasn't on the recall list but was recently added. Two near major accidents in two weeks due to equipment failures.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 062007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
My 2003 VW Passat 4-door sedan has experienced multiple occurrences where the brake lights continue to remain on while driving and even after the engine is shut off. This happened again today and I noticed this time that the emergency engine light came on while driving earlier in the day - this is also another issue that also comes on/off for no reason. I've reported the warning light a couple of times as well to the VW service and they don't know why that happens either. The warning light will at least shut off when the car is turned off, unlike my brake lights. Since today is Saturday, leaving my brake lights on until the service department reopens on a Monday is probably going to run my battery dead. With that concern in mind, I immediately called the VW roadside assistance hotline, 800-822-8987, to see if they had any repair instructions I can look into and the operator said she was unable to find any documentation. She advised that VW roadside can come tow my vehicle to a dealership (that won't reopen until Monday) or they can come to jump-start my car (which can take up to 45-60 min. After dispatch). This seems a terribly long time to wait & a huge inconvenience esp. Since it also took 30 min. Just to reach the live operator in the first place. I love driving my Passat; I bought it brand new direct from the dealership in 2003. Car safety is very important to me which is why I'm adamant about following service guidelines and bring my car in for regular maintenance & oil changes. I only bring it into a VW dealership service, never a local garage mechanic. Can NHTSA please look into both issues: 1. sporadic check engine light warning while driving 2. brake lights remaining on while driving and after the car is shut off. I am very concerned as both are major causes for safety concern, in addition to further expensive repairs which may be defects that the manufacturer should cover instead. Thanks.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 212005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 39,000 miles
1) motorists alert that rear brakle lights do not work. If the rear brake lights do not work, thhis can cause fatal accidents. The repair is to replace the brake light switch.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

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