really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
83,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

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problem #4

Dec 262017


  • 107,000 miles
I was driving my vehicle on the highway going approximately 70mph. My seat heater had been on for about 10-15 minutes when my passenger and I began to smell a sweet, smokey odor. The smoke was not visible at the time, but over the next 5-10 minutes the smell became more intense and there was smoke visible inside the car. My passenger noticed thick smoke coming up from the back of my seat, causing me to jump forward and swerve the car slightly. I immediately turned off the seat heater and pulled over to the side of the highway. Upon examining the seat, I found the seat heater had burned a hole at base of the lower back where the upper seat meets the lower seat cusion (as seen in the attached photo). I turned off the seat heater and have not used it since. I am concerned around the safety of this feature and upon speaking to a VW representative, they stated I would need to purchase a new seat and have them replace it at full cost.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #3

Dec 212015


  • 125,000 miles
The front passenger seat heater burned through the seat fabric. The burn-through location is on the vertical surface of the seat, mid-line, at about the lumbar height. Please refer to the attached photograph. A passenger was seated in the aforementioned seat when the burn-through occurred. The vehicle was in motion at highway speed at the time of the burn-through, but the passenger was not injured.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #2

Feb 272012

Eurovan 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driving my daughter to school today and we had put the heated seats on in my 2002 VW Eurovan. As we approached the school my daughter yelled ouch and grabbed her back. We discovered a hole in the seat that had burned through the seat fabric and burned a hole in her North face jacket. It had started to heat up her shirt but luckily she felt it before it got even hotter. This could have caused a severe burn to her back. She had a large red patch on her lower back but nothing more. This is a major hazard to the passenger and driver - as both seats are heated and could have this problem at any time. I have read multiple complaints online and there are some as recent as this year already. It sounds to me that VW will not do anything to remedy the situation, which is ridiculous as it is a safety issue. I have never received a recall for such a problem and it sounds to me like many others have not either.

- Harwich, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 022009


  • 100,000 miles
Heated front passenger seat smoldering. No fire. Manufacturer will not correct. Out of warranty. Passenger seat heating element previously replaced under extended vehicle warranty. Heating element burned through cloth fabric. I believe this to be a manufacturer defect that does present a fire danger and there should be a recall.

- Universal City, TX, USA