really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,980 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.

2012 Volkswagen Passat electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #46

Oct 012016


  • 75,000 miles


Electronic locks are constantly trying to re-lock when vehicle reaches about 10 mph. For example, if bringing vehicle to a stop at a street light or stop sign, then proceeding forward, the locks will try to re-lock again once vehicle reaches about 10 mph. If you are in stop and go traffic, this can go on literally hundreds of times during a single commute.

- Wausau, WI, USA

problem #45

Oct 062016


  • 105,000 miles
Key gets stuck in ignition when turning off the engine.

- Crossville, TN, USA

problem #44

Sep 212016


  • 65,000 miles
First the glow plugs were bad. Within the same year I had an issue with diesel particulates and now the adblue heating element!!! all issues occurred while the car was in motion, literally felt my life was in jeopardy. However after having to come out the pocket with now thousands of dollars I feel like the company is raping me!!!

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #43

Nov 012015


  • miles


"takata recall" we are driving around in a death trap!! when are we going to get this repaired or given another vehicle to drive in the interim"????!!!! electrical - another death trap!! when are we going to get this repaired or given another vehicle to drive????"!!!!! sounds like another lawsuit!!!

- Pleasant Hill, OH, USA

problem #42

Sep 012014


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. While operating the vehicle, the air bag sensor light illuminated and all the other electronics on the steering wheel would not operate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the air bag clock spring was faulty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred after approximately 34,000 miles. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000. Updated 10/04/16

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #41

Jul 212016


  • miles
I was parking my car in a space at a local shopping center, as I was about 18-24 inches from the median separating the cars in the row across from me, my car started revving up, jumped the median sideswiped a car that was parked one space over, I was lucky there was not a car opposite me, in that row and was headed towards a the next row of cars. I swiftly the brakes did not stop the car, so I had to quickly jerk the wheel to the left, it stopped 90 degree angle and cut off. I have since been informed that just repaired a Chrysler car that did something similar. That car and mine have a drive - by - wire design. Chrysler has recalled their cars to reprogram them. I contacted my VW dealer and of course they have not heard about this problem before. I am just I only hit a car and not a person walking in the parking lot! why is that someone has to die before these car companies will recall a vehicle?

- Petersburg, VA, USA

problem #40

Jul 302016


  • 59,400 miles


If the vehicle is parked and I am trying to leave and lock it up by using either the drivers side door switch or the remote, it will not lock the driver side door, but they will both lock the other three doors. Upon starting the vehicle and moving only a few yards, the door locks engage as normal for the passenger side door and both rear side doors. But not the driver side door. When driving down the road and slowing down to 5 - 10 mph (stop & go traffic), all three other door locks opened on their own and relocked again as I speeded up. The driver side door still remained unlocked. I feel this can be an extreme safety hazard in case of an accident if all the doors don't remain lock while the vehicle is moving.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #39

Apr 302016


  • miles
Takata recall. The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V078000 (air bags) and 16V171000 (electrical system); however, the parts to do the repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was not notified. The contact had not experienced a failure. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #38

May 132016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. After the vehicle was serviced under a recall, it began to hesitate and the epc warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the wiring and harness needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage and recall details were unknown. Updated 09/22/16

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #37

Jun 032016


  • 43,000 miles
My 13 Passat SE 2.5 started having an issue with the rear passenger door lock about three weeks ago. The normal operation of the locks is that when the vehicle hits 10mph the door will automatically lock. After this has happened and I come to a stop light or slow down below 10mph and then speed up again, the rear passenger lock tries to lock itself again.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #36

Jun 022016


  • 41,000 miles


Takata recall a couple months ago I had recall 15V483000 completed on my 2012 Passat. I was experiencing electrical issues such as cruise control not working, wipers turning on for no reason. It seemed to be connected to the steering column since both of these features are connected to the steering column. After the recall was completed no further issues until today. I made a U-turn and my airbag light came on and hasn't went off sense. I'm concerned after reading about shrapnel and airbag deployment.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #35

May 062016


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. After the vehicle was started, the steering wheel failed to maneuver without warning. In addition, the ignition key was unable to be removed from the vehicle and caused the key to fracture inside the ignition switch. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #34

Mar 242016


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. While attempting to start the vehicle, it failed to start and several warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact stated that the battery was charged; however, the vehicle would not start. The contact also stated that the key was stuck in the ignition, but was able to be removed after several attempts. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the cause of the failure could not be determined. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #33

Nov 022015


  • miles
Safety risk: A loss of electrical connection to the driver's frontal airbag will prevent the airbag from deploying in the event of a vehicle crash my light has come on warning me my airbags are not working

- Mt Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #32

Nov 152015


  • 40,000 miles
October 2014 was turning into driveway from the street at slow speed and heard a crunch while turning the wheel. After completion of the turn the light for the airbag came on and none of the steering wheel controls worked.had dealer repair clock spring and associated items in column.November 2015 we were making a U-turn on a public road, at slow speed, at the completion of the turn there was a resistance in the column and a crunch, followed by the airbag light coming on and no steering wheel controls working. The airbag light is still on, there is constant crunching sounds from the column and the dealer says its been more than a year its not covered under warranty(the previous replacement at more than $500) and that they know of no recall or safety issue with the clockspring or airbag on these cars.

- Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #31

Oct 042015


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the air bags and engine lights remained illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was jumpstarted and taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the source of the failure, but clearly stated that the battery was good. The failure recurred several times. The contact also received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 15V483000 (air bags) but had not contacted a dealer or the manufacturer for the remedy. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #30

Jul 132015


  • 50,000 miles
Turning the cornor while driving the airbag light came on and the horn and buttons on steering wheel stop working. Was taking to the dealership said it was a clock spring. Problem was not fixed did not know it was so many complaints about this problem. Hope it will get resovled soon. I was told if I would get in a accident the air bag would not come out.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #29

Nov 082014


  • 112,000 miles
Despite performing the regularly scheduled (very expensive) maintenance for this vehicle, we had many issues with our 2012 Volkswagen Passat tdi. This car was a commuter vehicle and was driven 110 miles/5 days per week at 55-65 mph. We thought that with proper care and maintenance this car with its diesel engine would last more than 111,000 miles... we are so disappointed and frankly irate. What a waste of money. Our issues were: At numerous mileages, our head, tail and running lights had to be replaced at about $50/instance. At 104,738 miles, the passenger window would not go up or down. The window pin was replaced for $184.05. At 101,019 miles, the timing belt was replaced at a cost of $1,260.76. At 111,166 miles, our 2012 Volkswagen Passat tdi began to run very rough and loud on trip. We made it home and my husband brought the car to the Volkswagen shop where we were told that bearings broke off and destroyed the interior of our engine. We replaced the engine at a whopping $6,865.76. At 127,115 miles the car would not start. We towed it to the dealer where we were told the starter had gone out and needed to be replaced. We sold the Passat on the spot to the dealer before fixing this issue. We could not bear to sell this car to a private party.

- Sweet Home, OR, USA

problem #28

Sep 072015


  • 67,000 miles
This car has automatic transmission and from day one I wasn't un-happy with the fact that you could turn the engine off, without having switched the transmission to P. every automatic car I ever had and I have driven many including hundreds of rental cars over the years. I reported this in 2012 to the dealer right away when the car was new but was told that this was as designed. I, in between, moved and did the same at 2 other dealers and got the same answer. In 99% of the cases I will not forget to put the car in P, but over the years several times I did. When I left the vehicle and saw it started to move I always was so lucky to jump back in the car and but it in P, or pulled the hand break or pushed the brakes. Unfortunately 2 weeks ago I had it again, tried to jump back in the car (I was at the trunk) was half in the car bit it accelerated into a ditch (in front of the car) and my left leg was pulled over the road with very serious scrape wounds. The front of the car was pretty bad damaged. I have never reported this to VW usa service because the dealers told me it had no sense. This must be a simple software fix, because the car has dst transmission which means everything in computer controlled.

- Fairhope, AL, USA

problem #27

Sep 182015


  • miles
This car is built with reversed color coded battery cables without proper, easily identifiable polarity identification. The factory battery has conventional markings, red +, black -, however the black cable is designed to go on the "+" terminal and the red cable is designed to go on the "-" terminal on this model. There are no obvious polarity markings on the cables. If one looks very carefully you can find a tiny - stamp on the red cable terminal and the tiny + stamp is half covered by insulation and hidden on the black cable terminal.

- Buford, GA, USA

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