definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,638 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #3

Nov 122005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,915 miles


Driving a 2003 VW Passat glx wagon on a road under construction and the passenger side curtain airbags deployed for no apparent reason. Luckily, this shocking incident didn't cause us to get in an accident, but it did fill the car with smoke and we had to pull over immediately and get our 2 year old daughter out of her car seat. I brought the car to a VW dealership (king Volkswagen, gaithersburg, md) and they charged me $100 to look at it and then told me that the car sustained damage to the undercarriage. They told me that the car probably hit a curb at 35 mph and came to a sudden stop. I was a passenger in the car at the time and I know that the car was not slowed down at all, and we didn't even notice hitting anything. Because this road was under construction we may have brushed a man hole cover that was sticking up into the road, but not hard enough to slow the car down or to cause any serious damage. I looked at the impact point in the undercarriage and it is just a small dent to a metal cup. I took the car to my mechanic and he was shocked that this small dent would have caused the airbags to blow. The car does not require any repairs except for the replacement of the airbags. I complained to VW corporate and they had me bring the car back to the dealer to take pictures and readings from the airbag sensor. They sent that information to VW corporate and corporate called me back and said that this was considered to be an accident that was my fault.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 092004

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
2003 Volkswagen Passat station wagon, VIN no. [xxx]; hile driving in greensboro nc near the intersection of elm, mcgee and gorrell streets I misjudged a curve and scraped the right side wheels against a curb. Both tires sustained sidewall damage. There was no contact with the body or undercarraige of the car. The two right side wheels sustained minor cosmetic damage only and the impact was insufficient to affect the alignment of the automobile. The automobile continued forward through the curve and there was no loss of control from the impact. However, upon contact with the curb the right side curtain and side impact airbags fired unnecessarily. But for the firing of the airbags this would have been a minor event with only tire damage to be repaired. Fortunately, the passenger seat was unoccupied or the occupant could have been injured. I have photographs of the tires and wheels. I believe the autmobile contains a significant defect causing the side airbag system to deploy when not needed for occupant protection (ie - in the absence of any contact with the structure of the car), and in circumstances part of ordinary driving - the impact with the curb was less than that experienced with some potholes. Thus far, VW has refused to take any responsibility for correction of this defect. The automobile has not yet been repaied, and presumably, event data is still stored in the control module. Updated 07/24/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Climax, NC, USA

problem #1

Jan 242004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,000 miles
I have a 2003 Passat sedan. The driver side airbag and driver side curtain airbag deployed when the car slid to a stop while turning in an icy parking lot. There was a slight impact at about 5 mph when the the car hit a snow covered concrete parking block at about the jack point near the rear driver-side wheel. Nobody was injured when the airbags deployed. There was no damage done to the car - except to the interior as a result of the airbags being deployed. It will cost $3600 to re-install the two airbags and a lot of other parts. That is ridiculous for a 5 mph impact that caused no damage! I am hoping this will be seen as a defective airbag depolyment and covered under the warranty. If not, VW needs to improve their airbag engineering before I'd consider buying another Volkswagen.

- Sussex, WI, USA

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