fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
61,700 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced ignition coil & mass airflow sensor (4 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. new ignition coils and/or spark plugs (1 reports)
  4. replace ignition coils (1 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 172015

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


2nd time ignition coils misfires within short time from the first incident and is not the norm.

Spark plugs burned - had to replace both ignition coils and spark plugs.

Getting to be problematic. Did research on website and found a possible recall on this issue:


- Brette B., Laurel, MD, US

problem #7

Apr 172015

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,066 miles

This is the 3rd time (in a couple of years time span) this has occurred and this time it burned nearly all of the spark plugs. Since it was the third time, the shop did not charge me.

This is not the norm and should not be happening so frequently. Did some research and found there's a possible recall on this very same issue on 2002-2003 VW Passats. See website: http://www.vwproblems.com/trends/ignition-coil/

- Brette B., Laurel, MD, US

problem #6

Apr 032014

Passat GLX 1.8t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

Ignition coils failed since I bought it every 3 months. Then the whole wiring harness has been replaced and after a month coils went bad again. Car started vibrating and now it doesn't start at all. The mechanic thought the Ecu was bad but then they don't know what the real problem is. Help!!!!! Had no car for 2 weeks now. I can't stand it, the car seems very hazardous to me!

- Rose G., Saint Cloud, FL, US

problem #5

Jan 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


If you have ever had to experience the result of your ignition coils going bad you know just exactly how scary it can be. Many 03' VW Passat owners by now are aware of the recall that was issued on this item recently. But for those of you who may not be let me tell you about my experience. It began last year with my car 'shaking', yes shaking, on occasion when it was idle. Then earlier this year it became worse. It became a general rule in my car that you would just expect it to shake two or three times every time you were sitting at a light or stop sign. Then this last January while on my way to pick up my child from school my car began to shake so much so that I thought it was going to break down right then and there. As the light turned green and I pulled into the intersection the car both felt as if it could stall and accelerate at the same time. Talk about a safety hazard! I drove the two blocks to the school and by the the time I got there I was petrified. The car had not stopped shaking the entire time.

The following day, with no money for a tow truck, I drove it to the dealer. Upon inspection I was informed that it was a result of faulty ignition coils. Which, oh by the way, just so happened to be the latest recall. Good news was due to it being a recall item it was covered by the manufacture. When I contacted the manufacture regarding this and several other issues resulting in a total loss of the vehicle that I am still driving I was offered none other then a $1500 new vehicle voucher to purchase yet another VW. I guess if nothing else my whole point is to just keep people informed! Good luck to all the Passat owners out there.

- my03lemon, Carmichael, CA, US

problem #4

Oct 012009

Passat V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,309 miles

Without a doubt this is the worst car I have ever owned. The car is well taken care of, not beat on.It only has 22300 miles I had to bring it back to the shop 7 times already in the past 2 years. I went out to drive my son to school and guess what, it will not start.I warn anyone who is thinking about buying one, one word - DON'T.Last time I took it to the dealership I was just so pissed off and I am not talking about the bill which was way too much, but what was said to me, they said to me why don't I trade it in because the newer models are so much better. How about standing behind the older models too? Again the worst car ever.

- Paula V., Lynn, MA, US

problem #3

Jan 052009

Passat 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Just another complaint about my 2003 Passat.... My engine began revving and knocking while idling at a light on Monday night. On the way to the dealership (thank God!), the revving and knocking continued while I was driving, not just idling and the check engine light came on. I barely got my car into the dealership's driveway and I was shaking worst than the car! I was so worried that I would stall out right on the highway during morning rush hour. As of right now, the dealership/stealership is replacing the ignition coils AGAIN as part of the previous recall. Apparently, they have recalled the ignition coils twice now. I told the dealership to fix the problem and change the spark plugs, but for any other work, I'm taking my car to the nearest Toyota dealership where my ex works. The service head at VW questioned my decision by saying "well, will they use VW parts at Toyota?" I told her that at this point, I trust Toyota parts and service much more than I trust VW!!!!

- jbond, High Point, NC, US

problem #2

Jan 042005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles

The ignition issue was a recall, so the choices given were not relevant to this problem. I have had multiple issues with electrical deficiencies and abnormal (read: extreme) wear-and-tear on a car touted by Consumer Reports to be a favorite. My car is in the shop right now - again. I only have 34K miles on a 2003 Passat that I bought brand new. I will NEVER again buy a VW. (Thanks for letting me rant.)

- orange123, Houston, TX, US

problem #1

Sep 042005

(reported on)


  • 16,000 miles

16,000 miles Ignition coil fails, replaced coil and Mass air flow sensor.

- Thomas M., Tuscaloosa, AL, US

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