really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,455 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.

2013 Volkswagen Passat steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #14

Mar 062016


  • miles


I am having airbag light on of my dashboard. I am always having the suspect about airbag will work or not if required. I contact VW services center that they can't help. VW recall website says it is not available from last February 2016. Do I still use the car or not? I have only 1 car for the basic commute to work. I followed up multiple times with VW. But there is no movement to address this problem.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #13

Sep 172016


  • 50,000 miles
I purchased this car used in April 2016. In January 2016, as part of the steering wheel clock spring recall, a cover was placed over the clock spring to prevent the cable from tearing (see media.VW.com/release/1042/). less than a year after the recall repair, the clock spring tore and needed to be replaced in my vehicle. The "fix" failed to prevent the known damage from occurring. When I contacted Volkswagen customer care, I was told that they would not cover the replacement of the clock spring, as the one-year parts warranty only applied to the cover that was added to protect the clock spring, and not the clock spring itself, as the clock spring was deemed to be in working order at the time the cover was added. Volkswagen refused to cover this $765 repair, even though they were well aware of the recall problem. I suspect there are other people experiencing similar product failure, and Volkswagen should be held responsible for replacing the clock spring in instances where it fails within a year of the so-called "fix". I was in the grocery store parking lot at the time of the incident, backing out of the parking space. The car was in motion (albeit slowly) at the time. The car horn no longer functions, which is my primary issue.

- Edgewater, MD, USA

problem #12

Jun 052016


  • miles
Steering wheel too tight especially when turning right or left. Unsafe feeling. Air bag light on.

- Pasco, WA, USA

problem #11

May 022016


  • miles


The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 15V613000 (steering) however, the part to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. VIN tool confirms parts not available. The VIN was not available.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #10

May 052016


  • miles
"takata recall" VW needs to fix my takata airbags, they said there is not a fix right now and it can lead to serious injury. What am I supposed to do, walk 150 miles a day"??"

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #9

Nov 012015


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated. The contact also noticed that the steering wheel and the horn failed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering column coil needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #8

Jun 012015


  • 65,000 miles


The bolts which attached the front suspension struts to the vehicle rattle due to failure of the bolt. This failure effects the handeling of the vehicle at high speeds and during cornering.

- Houghton Lake, MI, USA

problem #7

May 172014


  • miles
On 5/17/2014 we bought the car under there verbal, that they would fix the car from pulling right. They scheduled us to bring the car back 5/29/2014 to fix the pull to the right and have cosmetics done to the car. 5/30/2014 we picked up the car, on 6/5/2014 we brought the car back to the dealership the car still pulls right, dealership had the car three weeks trying to fix the right pull. They changed the tires from hankook to continentals, this helped a little and we took the car. 2/16/2015 we brought the car back to the dealership the car is pulling us out of the lane within 4 seconds, if you don't pull down on the steering left, the car takes you right. We understand that the car meets VW specs for aligment, we have had two other companies verify this, and they state its pulls right. I would like to find out if we can have this car inspected for safety issues, taking you out of your lane (always right), in 4 seconds we feel this is a huge safety issue.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #6

Apr 252015


  • 57,250 miles
Was turning in a parking lot and heard a loud cracking sound. The air bag light came on immediately and noticed the steering wheel controls and the horn were not working. Checked online and apparently issues were found on same model. It is a broken clock spring. Contacted dealer, they said to bring it in for diagnostics which would cost $120. I informed them of the broken part but they said they still would have to do the diagnostic. The clock spring itself would cost $485 if that was broken plus labor charges. Car has approximately 57250 miles.

- Ocoee, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 232015


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Volkswagen Passat. When the vehicle was shifted into the drive position and the brake pedal was released, there was an abnormal cracking noise coming from the steering wheel and the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering column air bag clock spring was fractured and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 51,000.

- Pleasant Shade, TN, USA

problem #4

Jul 062014

Passat 5-cyl

  • 20,500 miles


Our 2013 VW Passat's electrical system suddently went dead while driving at 35 mph on a busy road. We pulled the car to the side of the road and five minutes later, the car started up again. After driving for about two miles, the vehicle's electrical system shut off and again we pulled it to the side of the road where we called for roadside assistance. The car currently is at a local dealership's service center being repaired. Apparently, other VW owners have experienced similar problems with their vehicles. NHTSA, please investigate. Thank you.

- Darnestown, MD, USA

problem #3

Sep 022013

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 470 miles
This car has an issue with stability above 65 mph. (yes they are inflated to proper pressure) I took a 550 mile trip right after I bought it and the car was extremely unstable at 65mph+ on all surfaces including: Smooth concrete, grooved concrete, old pavement, brand new pavement, pavement with no tire wear or tire grooves, in wind or no wind. The problem is when you try to keep the car in a straight line. It will not track straight. It will go left or right, but not straight. Had alignment checked and it was correct. The car also tends to drift to the right a little no matter if your on the down or upslope of the crest on the road. It is borderline dangerous because in traffic I found the car wanting to dart towards the left and right lane. If you don't constantly fight the steering every second, you will hit a car next to you. I highly suspect it is the 17" hankook tires that come on the car as many have reported the same problems with these tires and have had issues from being dangerous in snow and water to the wandering left and right when trying to drive straight. Some have even reported the sidewalls rupturing. This is an issue that puts me in fear for the safety of my family and I will be replacing the tires as soon as I can afford it. Hopefully more people will complain here instead of just on forums. I urge you to research these tires and the VW Passat forums and you will find tons of complaints about these tires. Another note: I have driven trucks, family sedans, sports cars, SUV's, Audi, VW, Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and I have never felt the steering refusing to stay on the center line until this car.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #2

Sep 072012

Passat 5-cyl

  • 150 miles
Steering: Vehicle pulls to an excessive amount potentially leading to injury or death. It does not track straight at all, no matter if it's on the left lane of the road, center crown of the road or in the right lane (no curves. I took the vehicle in to the dealership over 4 times thinking it may be an alignment problem. I was told the second time that it pulls hard to the right as a "safety measure", to lead the car to the right shoulder to get off the road on to the shoulder. Asked the service advisor to show me where VW had disclosed this as a "safety" measure. There was no such documentation. I took it in to another VW dealership in my same city. They did what they said was the 'best they could do without exceeding VW's specifications. This is a dangerous defect and the second dealership admitted to me that VW was having some problems with this issue. Lights/electrical: The low beam light went out on the drivers side of the vehicle. I took it to one of the dealerships in my city. I thought it went out too soon but suspect it was an issue. It turned out to be more then a simple burnt out bulb. The whole light assembly had to be replaced because of what the service advisor told me was indeed a problem VW was having with the electrical connection making continuous contact (like a plug & receptacle). He stated that they had changed the design in the 2014 models because of this defect in the 2013 models. I requested that since it was a known issue, I would like them to retrofit or change out the passenger side light. He stated to me he was not authorized to change the defective unit until it actually fails. This is potentially dangerous as it can happen at night when lights are really needed, and during the day if lights need to be on for safety where it is required on some of the more dangerous roads. Get it in writing what is wrong-no glossing over.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jun 072013

Passat 5-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Car owner was driving at approx. 60mph reached across the seat the car swerved she over corrected twice due to very "touchy" steering. The car then careened across four lanes of traffic, and down a 30ft embankment bouncing off several trees. Then striking one head on with enough force as to bend and push back the frame. None of the five air bags this car is factory equipped with deployed. The driver sustained many bumps and bruises along with a shattered ankle which required surgery to place two steel plates in her ankle. Recovery is expected but it will take several months. Upon reporting the crash and non-deployment of the air bags to the dealer where the car was purchased, all the salesman had to say was "thanks for getting our lemon off our lot".

- August , KS, USA

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