really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 9
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,095 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Dec 052005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles


Car had trouble starting, electrical problems, lurching while driving and ultimately transmission and air bag failure.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #9

Feb 282006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Design defect results in failure of computer due to water flooding. Computer failure results in disabling of vehicle and expensive repairs. This condition caused by parking the car where leaves occasionally fall onto it. Reason: Windshield drains into compartment containing the battery, which has a drain hole located under the battery, requiring removal of battery to properly clean. Drain gets clogged due to leaves, resulting in battery compartment filling with water. When this happens, water enters passenger compartment foot well. I took my car to VW dealer with this condition and they told me the computer could get flooded/ruined and this would not be covered under warranty due to "external influence". they agreed to clean the drain free of charge, but were unable and unwilling to provide me with a service advisory that the drain must be cleared to prevent computer damage. I contacted VW of America and they acknowledge the problem over the phone but refused to provide any written statement of the existence of the problem and refused to provide a written, permanent remedy for this problem, or to modify the car so this would not happen.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #8

May 132004


  • miles
2003 Volkswagen Passat consumer request for early termination of the lease.** answer required***. the consumer made the request due to the numerous mechanical problems such as a defective purge valve, right front head light, the vehicle overheated and started T O smoke due to a faulty water pump. The brake light would not shut off and the right head light went out for the second time. The brake light switch was replaced. The cruise control would not disengage. The vehicle would not start at times.

- Kensington, CT, USA

problem #7

Jul 232005

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,000 miles


I purchase a new 2003 Volkswagen Passat from burlington Volkswagen 2 years ago and have taken it back to the dealership at least 7 times since then for a myriad of problems, from airbag lights coming on to check enginge light to the latest of the car shutting off in the middle of the road.

- Columbus, NJ, USA

problem #6

Nov 072004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
After rainy days my 2003 Passat wagon (4 motion) has 1 -2 inches of water on floor of the front passenger side. This has now been to the dealer twice (I just took it back today) - the first time they told us that it was a drain problem from the sun roof that was clogged. The carpet smells and I am afraid that the electric seats will soon short out.

- Merchantville, NJ, USA

problem #5

Apr 152004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On three separate occasions, 2/29/04, 3/5/04, and 4/15/04 my 2003 VW Passat (6 cyl.) had to be towed to the dealer because the check engine light (mil) and electronic power control (epc) light came on and I had significantly reduced power such that I was unable to drive my car home without endangering myself on the highway. The dealer's service group has been unable to resolve the problem thus far.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #4

May 272003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


My 2003 Passat, with 10K miles, has been in the shop for 22 days now and they don't know what's wrong with it. This is the fourth trip in for the same thing. The battery goes dead every night. According to Utah lemon law I should be entitled to arbitrate, but VW will not discuss this option.

- Park City, UT, USA

problem #3

Apr 072003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Volkswagen of America will not recall faulty coil packs in 2001/2002/2003 Passat 1.8ts, even though they know the installed part is defective. My first coil pack failed, and will be replaced under warranty but VW will not replace all coil packs, as they should. This is a dangerous situation, as coil pack failure while on the road may cause accidents.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #2

Dec 242003

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,500 miles
Defective coils on each cylinder

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #1

Sep 192002

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
I recently leased a VW passatt station wagon and things have gone wrong with it even before the car had 300 miles on it. The car has less than 5000 miles on it and it has spent some 10 days at the repair shop. Defects have included a transmission that would disengage, heated seats that would not turn off, A/C and side mirrors that would not work, a module had to be replaced, the car had to be aligned, the front spoiler fell off, a speaker had to be replaced, part of the trim on the back was falling off, the memory settings on the driver's seat were not working, and the sun roof was rattling. The sales department has responded to all my calls by saying that I need to talk to the service department or to VW corporate directly. I have done both, when I called VW corporate they responded that as long as the car was driveable they would cover it under warranty and would not replace the car. They offered me a lube job as a settlement!

- Glendale, AZ, USA

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