definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,820 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #18

Aug 212007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for routine maintenance when the dealer noticed a failed exterior brake light switch. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in recall number 07V063000 (exterior lighting:brake lights:switch). The contact felt that the recall should be expanded to include his vehicle. The current and failure mileages were 72,000. Updated 02-01-08 the consumer stated this is the 3rd recall the vehicle was not included in due to the VIN number. The consumer stated the fuel pump problem the company fixed because they could not dispute it. Updated 02/01/08

- Bloomingdale, IL, USA

problem #17

Apr 012007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that his vehicle is experiencing the same failure as noted in recall number 07V063000 (exterior lighting:brake lights:switch). The manufacturer stated that his vehicle was excluded from the recall. The contact paid to have the brake light switch replaced and feels that his vehicle should be included in the recall. The current mileage was 90,000 and failure mileage was 81,000. Updated 02/08/08.

- Lavergene, TN, USA

problem #16

Jul 302007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,085 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the brake lights would constantly shine on and off at random. The light would illuminate while driving and would dim when the brakes were applied. The contact discovered recall number 07V063000 (exterior lighting:brake lights:switch). He took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that his vehicle was not included in the recall. The contact stated that his vehicle is experiencing the same failure as noted in the recall. The failure speed was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 67,085. Updated 02/01/08. Updated 02/01/08

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #15

May 242006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,540 miles


Twice, the rear brake lights remained on uncontrollably - intermittently at first, then permanently. This failure was trouble-shot and repaired by the dealer both times. In each case, the brake light switch had failed. From studying the switch part numbers, it appears the suffix has also twice changed to a later version - although I don't believe they were installed in that order in my car (see pn's below). I believe I have the latest version currently installed. This is an unacceptable failure mode, as it not only is a safety issue (driving around with brake lights continuously on, but if left on for prolonged period, the rear brake light bulb sockets get extremely hot and in my opinion have a good chance to melt the plastic socket/reflectors and possibly catch fire. More importantly, the ABS and cruise control become inop, the throttle body alignment is disturbed causing the car to behave terribly on acceleration and many cel-type light illuminate on the instrument panel. Failures occurred: 1st time: @ 34540mi, 4/7/2005. 2nd time: @ 49,746mi, 5/24/2006. Orig S/w pn 3B094551A (from factory). 2nd S/w/1st replacement pn 3B0945511_ (assume basic pn), 3rd S/w/2nd replacement pn 3B0945511B). I have never had to change the brake light switch on my 1984 VW scirocco - I'm the original owner and had driven it over 174K miles! a failed brake light switch on this Passat has much greater impact (lights, ABS, throttle, cruise control) when it fails than it would on the scirocco (just lights), and it was the Passat brake light S/w that failed twice - due to poor design/reliability. Amazing and unacceptable.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #14

Jul 162007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles
Was told by Volkswagen America that the Passat 2003 did not fall under this recall. This vehicle has the exact same failure. Any help would be appricated in getting this covered. Esults : | all records displayed ake : Volkswagen model : Passat year : 2003 manufacturer : Volkswagen of America, Inc NHTSA campaign id number : 07V063000 mfr's report date : Feb 15, 2007 component: Exterior lighting:brake lights:switch potential number of units affected : 1002000.

- Ft. Wright, KY, USA

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problem #13

Jul 112007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Break light switch stopped working unknowingly.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 012006


  • miles


The brake light stays on even after I shut off the car, get out, and lock the door. There has been a jetta recall for this problem, but when I called the manufacturer to ask about the issue in regard to Passats, I was asked for my VIN, then told that there was "no campaign" (I.e. no recall) for my car at this time. Further, I was told that they did not know of this being an issue for Passats. Yet I just ran a google search on the problem and saw bulletin board postings from other Passat owners who have had this problem. If it's dangerous for jettas, it's also dangerous for Passats. VW did this before with another safety recall--same kind of corporate irresponsibility, waiting until the NHTSA got involved. This is unconscionable! again, if the situation is dangerous for jetta owners, then it's dangerous for Passat owners who are clearly having the same problem!!

- Water Mill, NY, USA

problem #11

May 052007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
Brake lights will not go out even after car is off.

- Augusta , GA, USA

problem #10

Apr 242007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,700 miles
The brake light switch on my 2003 volswagen Passat had failed sometime before I purchased the car. It was purchased on April 23, 2007. This failure caused the brake lights not to light when the brake was pressed and the cruise control not to function. The car was repaired at a cost of $129 using a replacement brake switch.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #9

Jun 132005


  • miles
Car brake light switch failure.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #8

Apr 222007


  • miles


2003 VW Passat glx 4 motion brake lights stuck on, drains battery when parked, unsafe to drive as no indication of braking to others. Recall for this component on other models, not this one. Clearly defective--many other owners affected. See multiple online sources including: forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3196572

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #7

Apr 142007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
- the contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Passat with a current mileage of 52,000 miles. The brake lights were not functioning, after checking the fuse the contact found no failure. The vehicle was then taken to the dealer, livingston Volkswagen, and the brake light switch was replaced. The contact had to pay for the repair, but was told by the manufacturer before going to the dealer, that it would be free. When the contact called the manufacturer back he was told that the vehicle was not under recall.

- West Hills , CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 012003

Passat 6-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
- the contact stated that while driving the 2003 Volkswagen Passat with 7000 failure mileage the brake lights intermittently turned off. Also, the driver's side front headlight turns off, the rear passenger side window, and the horn did not operate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer several times, but they still could not determine the cause of the problems. The current mileage was 105,944.

- Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 032007

Passat 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
My vehicle, a 2003 VW Passat is not currently included in your campaign 07V063000. It should have been. I have had the brake light switch replaced (and charged to have it replaced) twice over the last year and a half. I experienced all of the consequences identified in your summary description. Most frequently the brake lights would stay on while driving, as well as would remain on once parked in my garage. How do I get the Passat's included?

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 262007

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
Brake lights will not go out.

- Lisle, IL, USA

problem #3

Nov 252006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,285 miles
: the contact stated while stopped at a stop light, none of the brake lights on the vehicle illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a service dealer, who was able to determine the cause of the problem. The manufacturer was also notified. There was a NHTSA recall # 04V096000, which pertains to the brake lights switch. The vehicle was not included in the recall due to the model of the vehicle. Updated 12/18/2006 - the new brake light switch was installed on 11/28/2006.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #2

Sep 262006

Passat 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,150 miles
My brake light switch went out and I didn't know I didn't have brakes until someone at a light told me. Who knows how long I've drove around like that. And it seems very odd that so many other people have had this problem too. I own two VW's (2003 Passat & 2004 golf), both have had this switch failure. The 2004 was replaced/fixed under warranty; the 2003 was not under warranty & costs were exorbitant. The service dept and service managers both admitted that this is a very common problem and oftentimes their mechanics will break the new switch while installing it. I broke two switches myself attempting a simple install. What was done to correct the failure was that the switch was replaced & yes I have both the original broken part, plus another newer revision of the switch that I personally broke, plus the now working switch installed in both VW's.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #1

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

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