really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,790 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #11

Feb 292008

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,215 miles
Driverside heated seat caught on fire. Burnt 2 small holes through seat and the pocket of my wife's pants.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #10

Mar 032007


  • miles
I was driving my 2002 VW Passat with the seat heater on when I noticed the underside of my thigh was very warm. I pulled into a parking lot, got out and looked at my seat and there was a burn hole on the upholstered seat. I had only been driving with the seat heater on for about 15 minutes - on level 3 (or 4 max). I have not turned on the driver side seat heater since and have not allowed a passenger to turn on the passenger side seat heater. Luckily, I incurred no injury and my clothing was not burned, but I am concerned what might happen if someone had not been paying attention, had not been wearing thin clothing at the time, or if a child had been sitting on a malfunctioning seat. I have been to the dealer who said both the driver side and passenger side seat heaters need to be replaced (they said the passenger side was also on its way to burning- although it had not come through the cloth yet). I have not yet reached any resolution with volkwagen, although they have been notified of the problem. I have been told that my particular vehicle was not covered by a recall.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #9

Jan 192007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Drivers side heated seat element burned a whole through fabric..

- Carpentersville, IL, USA

problem #8

Oct 152006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
I got into my car for the first time that day - around 11:00 am. I started the car, adjusted the heat and put on the driver's side seat warmer. After about 15 seconds, I smelled something burning, but was unaware of what it was. At the same time I felt something cutting in to my leg. I put my hand under my leg to see what was poking into me but couldn't find anything. The smell was getting worse and the stabbing pain in my leg was still there. After about 60 seconds there was smoke coming from my seat and I realized the smell was coming from inside my car and the seat warmer was burning. I pulled over, shut the car off and jumped out of my car. I pressed my hands to the seat in an attempt to stop the burning and smoke. I waited a few minutes and when I was convinced the burning had stopped, jumped in my car and headed back to the hotel I had been at. I removed the fuse for the seat warmers.

- Everett, MA, USA

problem #7

Oct 092006

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 92,030 miles
After turning on the heated seat option of my car I started to smell something burning. After about a minute I felt something sting the left side of my buttocks towards the side. With in seconds I realized that it was my seat burning my bottom. Not only my bottom, but a whole right through the seat and my jogging pants. I quickly turned off the heat to my seat. Looks like a cigarette burn. My husband and I were afraid to leave the car in the garage in case it was still smoldering and potentially start a fire. I called our dealer and was told that my car was no longer under warranty. Past mileage. They suggested that I contact the manufacturer which I have not done quite yet. I am afraid to turn it on again of course!

- Lafayette, OR, USA

problem #6

Feb 282006

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,450 miles
We have a VW Passat wagon with cloth seats. Sometime the seat heater ignited the foam and fabric of the car and burned three holes in the seat. I'm afraid that this could cause a fire in the car. The VW dealer tried to get VW to replace the seat but they won't. they have a recall on many 02 Passat's now but won't repair or fix mine. I feel this is a danger would like some help from your organization. Thanks for any help craig beisker.

- Swisher, IA, USA

problem #5

Nov 232005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
I turned on my driver's seat warmer after not having used it for several months. Within 60 seconds, I smelled a burning smell and turned the warmer off immediately. I immediately noticed a deep burn on the seat, just to the left of where I sit, that is larger than the size of a quarter. I have not yet brought this to Volkswagen's attention, but I intend to do so shortly.

- Brookline, MA, USA

problem #4

Jan 152004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Caller stated: Vehicle with heated seats. Driver's seat caught on fire. Caller was sitting in the vehicle, and felt that the seat was becoming overly warm, and noticed considerable smoke coming from the seat itself. Small flames were noticed, and the heat melted a nickel-sized portion of the seat before heat was turned off manually. Caller's pants were burned. Taken vehicle to dealer under warranty, and dealer stated that the problem was repaired, and then the problem recurred in almost the exact same spot on the seat.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 102002

Passat 6-cyl

  • miles
2002 Volkswagen Passat experiencing problems with passenger seat, door panels, glove compartment, radio equipment, buttons for the mirror equipment and the vehicle kept cutting off. The consumer stated when the passenger seat went forward it would not stop, the heated seats burned the consumers children, however he did not state how many children. The vehicle could not be aligned. The door panels and arm rest were peeling. The headlights were always going out. The brakes squeaked. The battery, generator and ground wire were replaced due to vehicle stalling.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Jan 282004

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
In late January, the heated seat on my 2002 Volkswagen Passat burned through the seat cover. It also burned through my pants and gave me a minor burn. Volkswagen repaired the problem, but the mechanics informed me that I was the third such problem in a 48 hour period. The other two cars were jettas. Another mechanic said that the heated seats ran too hot on the highest setting and weren't meant to run on setting 5 for too long. The repair documentation I received from my local Volkswagen dealer stated that the problem was due to faulty wiring. I have been unable to find out from Volkswagen what steps they plan to take to fix this problem and I am concerned that someone else may suffer a far more serious issue if the problem is not fixed. I have reported this problem to Volkswagen, but they appear unconcerned. I hope that you will have more luck than I have.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #1

Dec 012003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
The driver's heated seat burned (VW Passat 2002).

- Stamford, CT, USA