ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
118,750 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. serpentine belt (2 reports)
  3. replace coolant tank (1 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Passat cooling system problems

cooling system problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Volkswagen Passat:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 172013

Passat 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,333 miles


was driving to Virginia beach for presidents day weekend, computer told me to stop the engine and stop driving immediately, pulled over popped hood noticed coolant leaking, asked autozone, serpentine belt replaced, drives better then it did before the replacement.

- josephmd, frederick, md, USA

problem #4

Oct 102011

Passat 1.8L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 173,000 miles

My VW has been absolutely amazing. With all cars there are problems and i thank god i dont have a kia, hyundai, ford or what have you. Sometime in october i noticed my car would tell me all the time i needed to stop engine immediately. I drove my car home about 2 miles away from when the car told me to stop. I found out it was leaking some coolant and thats why it kept saying it was low and would tell me to stop. I believe it was fairly inexpensive and was done in one day. The problem was completely fixed after a new Serpentine Belt.

- cargrlny, Rochester, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 222011

Passat GLS 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,383 miles

Coolant tank cracked and leaked coolant.

This car is leaking money out of my wallet every month. Always some kind of

problem with this car. I highly recommend staying away from this make and model

- megg, West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #2

Mar 272010

Passat 2.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,875 miles

When i drive the car, a warning beep with "check coolant" display came. i stopped the car and filled the coolant and believed that the problem got solved. but after 10miles again the same beep and display came. i got surprised and checked the coolant container and noted it is empty and now looking to approach a VW service center

- sunder, Dubai, UAE, United Arab Emirates

problem #1

Jun 082008

Passat W8 4motion W8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

smell of heat/coolant from engine compartment. stop check, coolant light on every three weeks needs about 1/4 gallon of coolant dealer changed thermostat housing sensor.still had leak only worse. after gasket for thermo changed . leak slowed but still there . now they say heater core but not 100% this is problem . No wetness under pass dash or floor i don't see windows fog up. they said no external leaks in diag but they said light smell in vents.i don't want to spend 1200. and not be sure 10 hour labor job on just an educated guess .. I know VW has problem with heater core but that was older years. This is my first Vw I have a love /hate relationship. Driving experience is great difficult repair problems not so much. This is a W8 engine anyone else have same issue or is this a normal to add coolant It is running at 190 degrees after driving a while. the smell/heat seems more than any other car i have owned.. Any thoughts

- roseman, Kunkletown, PA, USA

Not what you are looking for?