really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,055 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.

2004 Volkswagen Passat electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #16

Aug 052016


  • miles


I start the car up and it started making funny noise my check engine ligh came on the engine shaking act like it's going to cut off

- East Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #15

Aug 172014


  • 80,000 miles
I was driving my car to have dinner with my daughter and the car started losing power. It was only a 4 minute trip and by the time I got to my daughter's driveway, the engine was smoking. After using a hose to cool off the hood, the hood was popped and there was a fire on the passenger side of the engine. After we got the fire out, lot of hoses and the wire assembly were burned badly.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #14

Dec 022013

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
The seat warmer on the driver's side started a fire that burnt through the seat and onto my leg. I had to pull over on the highway and turn off the car for it to stop burning.

- Oak Park, IL, USA

problem #13

Mar 082012

Passat 4-cyl

  • 85,400 miles


I had been driving my car for fewer than 15 minutes with the seat heating element on. I noticed an acute burning heat near my upper left leg, and shortly thereafter noticed a hot/burning/melting smell. I immediately turned off the driver's side seat and pulled into a parking spot. After being turned off for 10 minutes, the burning smell was still hanging in the car and my seat was still extremely hot to the touch. The gray leather near the outer left edge of the seating surface is emblazoned with a singed, brownish burn mark, and a hole was burned completely through the leather. I have not turned on the seat heating element since this incident, but am quite concerned about the failure and fire hazard.

- Collinsville, IL, USA

problem #12

Jul 202011


  • 100,864 miles
2004 VW Passat, VIN [xxx] July 2010 - sunroof drains failed to drain; water entered cockpit; water destroyed convenience module under driver's seat. Repaired $769 July 2011 - sunroof drains, although open, could not handle flow of water, and again convenience module was destroyed. Will be repaired soon. This current failure now has a 'airbag fault' warning on the dash. Will not allow my wife to drive car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pittsboro, NC, USA

problem #11

Apr 102011

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
Faulty ignition coils on 2004 VW Passat, 4 cylinder turbo engine. While driving the car, the engine loses power and dash board warning lights illuminate. Ignition coils have been replaced numerous times.

- Trilby, FL, USA

problem #10

Mar 302011


  • miles


Vehicle has 80K miles I've replaced 3 mass air flow sensors, approx 12 coils. The latest issue is the epc - car stalls while driving, epc comes on. Car will restart with some difficulty.

- Landenberg, PA, USA

problem #9

May 012009


  • 45,000 miles
2004 VW Passat tdi. VW has a problem with their turn signal switch. The switch continues to open and close the circuit after the turn signal is in the off position. This is a problem with many of their models( jetta, Passat both gas and diesel). The dealership service personnel are aware of the problem and are replacing the defective switch only if your have all your maintenance done at a authorized VW dealer. So if you don"T have all your oil changes and repairs done by a authorized V w dealer there is no assistance for replacement of this defective switch. This is a cost of $300 to the consumer. This sure is safety related and need to be recalled asap. This problem has caused fires under the instrument panel.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #8

Sep 102008


  • 78,050 miles
2004 VW Passat 4 sedan rear cigarette lighter and ash tray are not safely and functional installed well. Have the tendency to keep coming apart entirely exposing electrical wires leading to burn and electrical shock or popping or burning of wires. Have had the problem repaired on multiple occasions by dealer as well as by myself to further prevent the mishap since out of warranty. My children bump the cigarette lighter and it caused sparks and burning smell. I was able to repair the enclosure again for the 13th or so time and since it's not under warranty it's not covered. Children sit in the rear more than adults but there has been time where the adults have causd the same issue. It's that my 9 yr old son try to repair or put back in where the entire enclosure fell out again.

- Shrewbury , NJ, USA

problem #7

Aug 222009


  • 67,000 miles
On August 22 about 2:45 I was returning home from taking my daughter to work about3-miles away and I noticed smoke coming from my car I get out to look under the hood and I notice flames coming from the front right end under the hood. I panicked grabbed my belongings and called 911 the fire dept arrived and put the fire out.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #6

Jan 252009


  • 63,000 miles


Our 2004 Passat's brake lights went out recently. There was no warning light or other process that told us the lights were out. We were almost in a car accident because the driver behind us didn't see our brake lights. After doing research I found that VW issued a recall for the brake light switch in 2007...but we never received such notice. I think this is a serious safety issue that should be communicated to the public.

- Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #5

Nov 062008


  • 82,000 miles
I own a Volkswagen Passat 2004 model. On November the 11th 2008 after working the night shift at mbusi in vance, Alabama, I got in my car to go home. I turned on the heated seat just as I have done for the past 4 years only this time I got more heat than I wanted. My heated seat caught fire and burned my leg. In attempt to extinguish the fire, I wrenched my back by stomping out the fire with my foot. I did not have anything close to me to use with my hands so they would not get burned. I could not believe how fast my car filled with worst smelling smoke I have ever smelt. The seat was on fire before I even left the parking lot. If I would have waited two minutes to turn on my seat, I would have been on interstate 20/59 driving at 70 mph and I can only imagine what would have happened. This is one of the worst experiences of my life. Volkswagen has offered to replace the cover on the car, replace my pants and pay my medical bills, but what about the seat I will continue to sit on, and my confidence that this will not happen again. I am horrified to think about the potential for recurrence and I cannot overcome my ordeal I am devastated and have lost my confidence in the processes that are supposed to protect the consumer.

- Lakeview, AL, USA

problem #4

Sep 012008


  • 55,999 miles
Incident description = 2004 VW Passat had been previously report several fuel consumptions problems at hoy fox VW and gas ended up leaking out of fuel tank and cause a spill in my garage and drive. Hazard was inhalation gas in a closed in area caused head aches/ nausea/dizziness/ for my family and I I have had mutiple problems with vehicle since then has broke down on me twice in less than 1 day's time. On 01 Sep 08 my wife noticed and oil spot in driveway after I left to go out of town granted we have brand new home and the VW was only vehicle parked in that spot she could reach me because no service with my cell phone but I ended up broke down outside big spring, tx the care was sluggish and leaking oil this time and on 03 sep08 in /texarkana after being in shop allday 2sep08 it broke down for a previous condition with ignition coils. Hoy foxvw not admitting that may have put the new oil filter to tight to cause to breakdown after having the oil change on 28aug08/29aug08 for other neglected maintenance. Please look into this matter I'm sure it's not just my vehicle they trying to assume because it just had went out warranty. The engine oil cooler was damaged and bursted when put on at hoy-fox VW by a VW technician after putting the oil filter on entirely to tight. Leaked in yard and I was not aware of it and the spilled out all over the ground at a high temperature vehicle (overheated) which make it hard for me stop while drive because of the slickness of mixture between the coolant and oil. Almost ran off the road but ended up shifting to neutral and letting coast over to median.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 232008


  • 53,560 miles
I have a 2004 VW Passat 4motion 1.8 turbo. I have just recently (within the last month) replaced the #2 coil. Now today either another coil is gone or the same one. I haven't gotten it to my mechanic yet to determine which one is bad. But after talking to him he related to me that he has replaced several # 2 coils this year on this make of vehicle.. so I am just guessing that this is the problem this time around. My vehicle has 52,000 miles on it. It wasn't the #2 coil it was the #1 coil. I am getting really disgusted with this car as far as reliability is concerned. I am planning on a trip to Florida in the fall and am wondering if I should take a case of coils with me. I was at the dealers the first time this happened & asked about recalls on this item. They said they didn't have any.. I thought it a bit odd because my mechanic told me he has had several come through this year with bad coils.

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 122005

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
1. new 2004 Volkswagen Passat, V6 sedan. Returned car several times under warranty for many types of repairs. Volkswagen unable to repair car. Both the dealer and Volkswagen of America were made aware of the problems. 2. several failures including but not limited to: Excessive oil consumption, loss of power and acceleration, transmission problems, failure to start, malfunction indicator lamp constantly on, braking problems, climate control problems, and several electrical problems including failed brake lights. 3. several attempts by Volkswagen has failed to fix the problems. They are unwilling to resolve the problems adequately.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 072004

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
I have a brand new 2004 VW Passat tdi wagon that has no tail lights. Signals work, brake lights work but, license plate light and rear parking/driving lights don't work. Car has no burned out bulbs or fuses. My concern is if the car has wiring harness problems, is this something that others have happening. Also on a rainy day the anti lock brake and electronic stability program in the same car failed but, when the car was parked and restarted the computer reset and problem disappeared. Is this going to be a problem?

- Brookfield, CT, USA

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