hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
126,116 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #16

Dec 182016


  • 139,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. While the vehicle was parked, the contact noticed a fuel leak from the top of the tank. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the top of the fuel tank was old and a new tank was needed. The contact also noticed puddles of fuel were present approximately eight times since September. The leak worsened two weeks ago. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 139,000.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #15

Sep 182016


  • 90,000 miles
Fuel tank is leaking near driver side rear wheel. Advised by dealer VW of North scottsdale that there is a fuel leak on top of the tank at the fuel tank ventilation valve and that the tank must be removed to ascertain source of the leak. Dealer advises tank was replaced in 2010 under a recall campaign. It appears that this current leak is associated with recall #28417 and NHTSA PE8008 and 08V156000.

- Sedona, AZ, USA

problem #14

Mar 012016


  • miles
Less then >100K miles. Plastic fuel line that runs along firewall was damaged due to screw with thread facing engine bay, which sits right in between both fuel lines. I spoke to VW which said the recall had been fixed on my car in 2012 (I am second owner), but the screw that creates the problem was never replaced or removed. A local VW stealership is quoting me 500+ for the repair on a car who's kbb is 2000 in perfect condition (far from it ;)

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #13

Mar 012015


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the vehicle was leaking fuel from the fuel tank. The contact took the contact to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the fuel tank failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in a recall. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000. Updated 05/11/16

- Thomson, GA, USA

problem #12

Jan 312016


  • 191,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact smelled fuel when the vehicle was started. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the fuel line was fractured and leaked fuel onto a portion of the engine. The contact stated that the technician was unable to determine the cause of the fracture. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the recall "expired". the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 191,000.

- Ronoak, VA, USA

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problem #11

Dec 092015


  • 153,200 miles
My daughter drove this vehicle into my garage and reported to me that she smelled a strong odor of gas. I looked and noticed gas dripping onto the floor. I got down and inspected the area where it was coming from and noted that it was flowing from the top (out of sight) of the tank. Backed the car out onto the drive and placed a towel under the area. Called the dealership and scheduled an appointment. Betten imports (Volkswagen dealership) of grand rapids mi, inspected it and I was informed it had a crack in the plastic tank the length of a dime. The dealership recommended the tank be replaced at a estimated cost of $2,700. Due to the extensive cost I did not elect to have this done at this time. Only seems to be an issue when tank is filled to max capacity.

- Wyoming, MI, USA

problem #10

Aug 042015


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that there was a fume odor emitted inside and around the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 180,000. The VIN was not available.

- Mayaguez, PR, USA

problem #9

Sep 142015


  • 153,000 miles
Every time I crank my car it smells like gas. I was driving down the road and smoke came out from under the hood when I stopped and lifted the hood it had a strong gas smell.

- Saltillo, MS, USA

problem #8

Mar 162015

Passat 4-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
After a couple attempts to start the vehicle the engine turns over and runs for 2-3 seconds then dies. This happens multiple times before fully starting up and is able to be driven. While out of gear and car is running, pressing on the acceleration does nothing. Car is able to be driven short distances but stalled at one point going approx. 5 mph. I was told my specific VIN # is not covered under warranty for fuel pump/system malfunctions. If this is a known issue of 2003 Passat's already why would some not be covered?

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #7

Sep 172014

Passat 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Recently had the vehicle maintenance done, brought the car home and found that when it cooled and all fluids settled overnight, the fuel pump was having trouble- resulting in car not starting. After one hour of turning the key over-and-over, then giving it gas, it eventually started. Excited, I took the car out for a test drive, it stalled in the middle of a for way intersection. Thankfully I live in a very small town, if that had happened on a highway there would be potential for an accident. Considering I bought this car a couple years ago, I don't feel I'm at fault for not taking advantage of the dealerships recall and it's in my best interest to investigate further to see if I'm eligible for the free replacement by the dealer. I would appreciate someone getting back to me via E-mail or text message(cannot make or receive phone calls) top let me know as soon as possible. Thank you, very much [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Blanket, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 222014


  • 200,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact was driving 60 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was coasted off road into a nearby parking lot, and was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic for inspection or repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 07V375000 (fuel system, gasoline). The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Corinth, TX, USA

problem #5

Feb 012013

Passat 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
On or about Feb. 1, 2013, I started my manual-transmission 2003 Volkswagen Passat gls (V6) and shifted into reverse to back out of my driveway. As soon as I took my foot off the brake, the car lurched backward even though I was not depressing the accelerator pedal. I quickly shifted into neutral, engaged the parking brake and turned off the ignition. When I tried to restart the car, it would not start and did not start until about an hour later. My first thought was that the accelerator could have become lodged under the floormat, but that was not the case; nor was it the case in at least four other similar incidents. Two of these incidents took place as I was driving at a low speed in a residential area. Fortunately, there were no pedestrians or other cars around me and I had the presence of mind to recognize the issue, shift into neutral and park the car. However, I fear what could happen if this incident recurred when I was at an intersection, railroad crossing or crosswalk. Despite repeated attempts, my mechanic has been unable to replicate the incident or identify the cause.

- Germantown, TN, USA

problem #4

Aug 202012

Passat 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Fuel tank ventilation valve is cracked and leaking on 2003 VW Passat 4motion/AWD (under NHTSA campaign # 08V156000). Contacted multiple dealers and VW directly and dealership/VW will not replace fuel tank under recall. Both stated this recall was completed in 2009 however work completed was only one part of the recall that included adding additional heat shields. VW customer care stated vehicle was out of warranty and they could not assist. Customer objected stating this is a safety concern not a warranty issue.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 162012


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that upon starting the vehicle, the smell of fuel entered the vehicle. The contact noticed a fuel leak on the catalytic converter. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for repairs under NHTSA campaign I.D. number 02V026000 (fuel system, gasoline:storage:tank assembly:filler pipe and cap). The dealer inspected the fuel lines and did not find any abrasions however 20,000 miles later, the fuel lines were leaking. The contact called the manufacturer regarding the recall and the manufacturer stated that they would not honor the recall because the vehicle was previously repaired under the recall campaign. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #2

Jun 212012

Passat 4-cyl

  • 135,652 miles
Fuel supply line began leaking at mounting point on firewall above catalytic converter. Break/crack in line was significant and posed a high probability of fire, as any fuel leak, but substantially more so due to the location above the catalytic converter.

- Maumelle, AR, USA

problem #1

Apr 162012

Passat 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Strong odor of fuel in car (2003 VW Passat 4motion) after the tank is filled up. Took car to repairman who diagnosed a crack in the fuel tank. Took car to VW dealership for repair because we believe the repair should be covered under a recall on cracked fuel tanks (near the valves), but VW has stated that this car does not qualify for the recall.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

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