really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
15 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,479 miles

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problem #63

Dec 302010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 134,200 miles
I was driving my 2002 VW Jetta, my 6 year old was riding in the backseat in the passenger side when the passenger side curtain airbags spontaneously went off!!! it sounded like a shot gun went off in the car, scared both of us!! I did not hit anything, anyone, no one was even driving around me! it was crazy! I thought the car was on fire due to the smoke coming out of the airbag.... no on was hurt but it was terrifying and it could have been a lot worse!! I am the original owner of the car, bought it new in 2002. It's been a great car, I've owned VW's for years and over all, they are great vehicles but this has really freaked me out! I took it to the dealer and they ran a diagnostic, turns out the computer in the car said there was a crash - this is no physical evidence of any damage on the car to justify this happening! the cost to repair it is 5300.00!!! the care likely isn't even worth that. The next step is to contact vwoa. I just read of some other instances this happened and looks like VW did repair the airbag at no charge. I'm hoping they do it for me, otherwise, I'm out of a vehicle. There's no way I can sell it like that, I've just lost what ever money I might have been able to sell that car for..... how many other complaints have been filed pertaining to this issue?? [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #62

Jul 252010

Jetta 6-cyl

  • 105,256 miles
Passenger side air bags in a 2002 VW Jetta deployed after hitting a pothole on a city street at approximately 25 mph. The adult in the passenger seat received bruises on his arm from the deployment.

- Neenah, WI, USA

problem #61

Jun 242010


  • 158,700 miles
Was driving along a graded dirt road when passenger side airbag and side curtain airbag deployed suddenly. There was no side impact whatsoever, and was not able to determine any cause of airbag deploying. Two passengers in the car suffered temporary ringing in their ears and headaches, but no significant injuries occurred, thank goodness. Have contacted dealer for information about repairs, but nothing has been done to fix it yet.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #60

Jul 282009


  • 130,005 miles
Side curtain and seat airbag deployed while driving at 35-40 mph. No damage to the car other than that caused by the airbags deploying. No potholes in the smooth paved road near the intersection of fl SR70 and US301. No debris in the road or any reason for the airbags to have deployed. Driver received welt and bruises on the ribs from the seat airbag.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #59

Jul 272009


  • 105,000 miles
2002 VW sedan wa broad sided by a motorcycle. It hit the right front door and buckled the center post and bent the roof and the dash was pushed in. The VW has front and side airbags. None of the air bags deployed. My son was covered with glass and the right hand mirror just missed him.

- Raymondville, NY, USA

problem #58

Jul 282009


  • 103,256 miles
I have a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta this morning while driving my car to work in houston Texas on interstate 59 South my driverside window airbag deployed as well as the seat airbag. After getting to the side of the road my car cranked back up and I got out to inspect if there was any damages. I found no damages on the car and the air bag deployed for no reason. I am lucky I did not swerve or there would have been a huge wreck. I believe there should be a recall on all of these 2002 Jetta since there have been so many occurrences of this happening.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #57

Jan 192008


  • 58,000 miles
While driving down the road at about 30 mph the side curtain airbags and the seat airbags wrongfully deployed. There was no reason whatsoever for this to happen.

- Harriman, NY, USA

problem #56

Sep 122008


  • 76,702 miles
Car information: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta #: while exiting driveway, rear tire became caught on curb. Airbags deployed on passenger side (side curtain protection airbag and backrest side airbag). No collision had occurred. Car immediately died in street but later started. Contacted insurance company, as well as VW dealer.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #55

Sep 082008


  • 75,000 miles
2002 VW Jetta, husband ran over pothole, passenger side airbags deployed. Had to tow car and get rental. No impact or accident. Waiting for VW to look at car. Am sure they will say it's our fault just from what I'm seeing on web. How can government have 499 plus incidents of investigation and not make VW recall?? maybe not until someone dies and they get sued.

- Marietta, OH, USA

problem #54

Jul 212008


  • 61,500 miles
I was driving my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta and hit a pot hole in the road causing my passenger, side and head air bags to deploy. There was no impact. My passenger side tire hit the pot hole. There were hundreds of reports of this occurring. I researched online and probably many more since then. I was wondering if there was a recall made, and if not, why not? yes, these are good if a real crash occurred, but dangerous to no crash occurrences. Something should be done and I, nor any other Volkswagen owner, should be responsible for this. Thank you. NHTSA action number : PE04081 NHTSA recall campaign number : N/a make / models : model/build years: Volkswagen / golf 2001-2003 Volkswagen / gti 2001-2003 Volkswagen / Jetta 2001-2003 manufacturer : Volkswagen of America, Inc component : air bags:side/window date investigation opened : December 16, 2004 date investigation closed : April 1, 2005 this investigation identified a total of 499 reports (482 owners reports and 17 warranty claims). The crash sensing system's algorithm may recognize certain non-crash impacts (wheel, tire and undercarriage impacts) as deployable events.

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #53

Apr 152008

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Was driving down the street and my side air bags deploy for no reason. I did not hit anything there is no damage done to my car nor been in a accident. Went to VW southern states and was told that my car only has a 50,000 mile warranty and that I have to pay for the car to get fixed. About 3,000 dollars he said.....

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #52

Feb 192008

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,700 miles
I inadvertently hit a pot hole. The pot hole was probably a little deeper than most. The driver's side-curtain airbag, the seat side airbag and the seatbelt tensioner were deployed. There was no damage to the car. There was no immediate danger to me. I did not lose control of the car even with the startling deployment of the safety systems. I was told by the guy in one of the body shops that I went to to get estimates that vws and bmws are known for their "touchy" airbag systems. I do not think that it is reasonable to have a $2700 repair bill, the inconvenience of all of the legwork to get my car fixed or the temporary non-functioning of my car's safety system just from hitting a pot hole! I am working on a claim and have not yet had the car repaired. Parts listed as being necessary to replace are: Side curtain airbag, seat side airbag, seat belt/tensioner assembly, seat cover, A-pillar trim, headliner, sail panel trim, airbag sensor and airbag control module. Also, the car will need to be plugged into a computer analyzer in order that the airbag codes be reset.

- West Olive, MI, USA

problem #51

Oct 132007


  • Manual transmission
  • 120,000 miles
I was driving less than 10 mph through a parking lot, pulling into a spot when my side air bags deployed. I saw that there is an existing complaint (NHTSA action number : PE04081) outlining this exact problem. When I got out of my car to inspect I found that I had hit nothing. There was no impact, not even a scratch. The repair is pending with my local VW dealer. I am not yet sure who will financially be responsible.

- Mars, PA, USA

problem #50

Jun 012007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I was driving the car normally and at the speed limit on a road close to my home when I drove over a small bump or pothole in the road. Normally, this impact would have been so small as to barely cause any extra motion in the car. However, on this occasion, after I ran over the bump, the driver's side seat and driver's side front and back curtain airbags deployed. I was startled when this occurred and accidentally jerked the steering wheel, hitting off of the divider with the front tire. I inspected the car to make sure nothing hit the vehicle, and to check that prior to the airbag deployment, I had not hit anything, I had not, three days after this incident, after filing a claim, insurance company called me to inform me that the manufacturer had notified them that when the airbags had deployed a report was sent to the manufacturer with data from the incident. The insurance company suggested I contact NHTSA to file a report. The report showed that the airbags did not deploy due to a collision. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer from which I purchased it to have the airbags reinstalled, and to repair damage done during the aftermath of the incident. The front driver's side tire was damaged and needed to be replaced.

- Tarentum, PA, USA

problem #49

Apr 042007

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,900 miles
The passenger side air bag/ curtain on 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, deployed while turning right on a winding road. I was traveling under 20 mph. The engine shut off, and because it was on a blind turn I was almost hit by a car behind me. After 30 seconds I turned the engine on, and pulled over to a safe area to inspect the car. I travel the road everyday and no pot holes exist. The dealer said that the computer did not register an accident. The manufacturer, engineer, looked at pictures sent by the dealership, and said that there were scrapes under the car which must have caused the deployment. Asked the dealership and manufacturer if the side air bag/curtain was not replaced would the other air bags be effected. They told me they did not have any public information on the effect one deployment has on the rest of the system, and I would have to replace it for the other air bags to provide protection. I called the manufacturer customer service, and they called the dealership, who now reported that the computer read an accident occurred. I was told to contact the insurance company.

- York, PA, USA

problem #48

Jan 302007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Left side air bags deployed without warning on my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta on 1/30/07. VW claims there is crash data in the onboard computer. However no accident / crash occurred. The air bags deployed on their own. I see according to NHTSA #PE04081 that the investigation is closed on this. I'll bet this inadvertent air bag deployment continues to happen and only after someone gets killed and law suits fly will something get done about it.

- Cinnaminson, NJ, USA

problem #47

Oct 232006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 35 mph over a pothole, the passenger side curtain airbags deployed. The dealership was alerted. Updated 12/01/06.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #46

Jun 032006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 20 mph the driver and side curtain air bag deployed without warning. The dealer determined by computer diagnostic that a crash occurred although no crash actually occurred. The dealer can give no other reason for the deployment.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #45

Feb 202006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
The '02 Jetta 1.8T 4-door was stopped at a red light. The Jetta proceeded into intersection. Jetta was hit (T-boned) on drivers side door and rear passenger door by 1995 Grand Marquis, Mercury in excess of 45 mph. Ticket was issued for failing to stop at a red light, no braking on part of the Mercury. Extensive damage to the Jetta - the front door was driven into the drivers cage which moved the front seat and bent the steering wheel. The front windshield formed a large crack, probably from a side stress point and did not shatter, the drivers side windows in both door shattered. Severe frame damage could be seen and none of the drivers side doors could open, nor the passenger side either after the accident. The drivers side airbags (2), located between the two damaged doors and also the airbag between the drivers side door and windshield failed to deploy. VW claims that the car decided because the seat belt was in use, the car made an intelligent decision not to deploy the airbags. This is either false or an error in how the car is designed. Airbags should deploy and not decide that the seat belt was sufficient - it was not sufficient, as there were medical injuries. Jetta is totaled, but being held by usaa, pending anyone who will investigate this issue on my behalf. Others should not have to suffer if a problem can be identified here and resolved.

- Goldenrod, FL, USA

problem #44

Nov 032005

Jetta 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
My husband was driving down manchester road (a busy 4 lane road) getting ready to make a right hand when the passenger airbags deployed. He said it sounded like a gunshot went off in the car. He was able to pull the car into a walgreens parking lot. My 4 year old son was suppose to be in the car with him. He would have been injured if he was. This is a serious defect and needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. There was no impact and not a mark on the car indicating an accident. VW is refusing to pay for the repair because they state that an accident had to occur because air bags don't just go off. My car insurance company is also not paying because there is no visible damage on the car to be fixed therefore there is no claim to be filed.

- Kirkwood, MO, USA

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