really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,736 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 #14

Aug 062014


  • 70,000 miles
While driving on the freeway at approximately 70mph with a quarter tank of gas, my 2002 Jetta glx displayed the battery light and then stalled at full speed. The car slowed, the steering and gas pedal were stiff and I had to pull to the shoulder and call for a tow truck. I had the crank position sensor replaced, new spark plugs put in and the throttle body cleaned. I test drove the car and once again, the engine started to stall at around 70mph on the freeway. This time I was able to floor the accelerator and the car did not completely stall. This defect seems is incredibly dangerous and seems to be unacceptably prevalent on VW Jettas. My next part to replace is the fuel pump but it appears that does not always remedy the problem. This should be a recall.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #13

May 192014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The car takes 15 minutes to heat up to 190, otherwise the car won't drive forward in proper gear without jerking. It drives like it is a stick shift instead of an automatic changing gear on it's own. The car stops without me pressing the brakes and sometimes just turns off unexpectedly. It smells like gasoline in the car. The cd player, clock and vehicle electrical malfunctions on and off. The engine light stays on. Autonation performed a multi point inspection and says the car needs a timing belt, coolant flange and after run pump, and rollers.

- Delray Beach , FL, USA

problem #12

Jun 152011


  • 130,000 miles
While driving the car at 35mph the tachometer will increase and decease at 2000rpm's and car will slightly increase and then decrease in speed. There is a jerking between 3rd and 4th gear. Also there is a slight delay of movement from park to reverse. Both are safety hazards while on streets with traffic.

- Carlotta, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 272011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated they have experienced incidents of sudden acceleration with the vehicle. The contact stated each time they tried using the brakes they did not respond. The first time the vehicle eventually stopped, but the second time the vehicle stopped when it crashed into the garage. The contact didnt mention that there were any injuries. The vehicle was not inspected. The failure mileage was unknown. The current mileage was 101,000.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #10

Jul 222010


  • 95,600 miles
Loss of power on freeway, without warning. Vehicle lost power, then, while attempting to restore power by 'pumping' the accelerator, shifted into second gear, resulting in a very rapid deceleration from 70 mph to 45 mph. This occurred twice in one hour, at both times requiring following motorists to swerve severely to avoid.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 012010


  • 134,000 miles
Sitting at a light, foot on clutch pedal and foot on brake pedal car engine began racing. Put in neutral and put emergency brake on and pumped gas pedal, did not get it to stop. Turned key off and removed key, car raced to full aend stayed there until engine stopped, about a minute. Car was towed to repair shop.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #8

Nov 172009

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 203,806 miles
When the gas pedal on a Jetta 2002 4 cyl 1.9L diesel turbo is depressed quickly versus slowly, the engine will race, I.e. rpms will increase, with no corresponding change in the vehicle's speed. It appears that the sensor attached to the pedal is not functioning as designed. I stopped at a non VW dealer to see if I could get the problem corrected. They could not correct the problem. I will be going to a VW dealer on Nov 18. The problem can be potentially fatal if I need to accelerate quickly to avoid a dangerous situation or merge safely from an on ramp into traffic traveling at 60 mph.

- Boerne, TX, USA

problem #7

Jul 142006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,900 miles
While driving in the afternoon, my vehicle suddenly lost power and acceleration capability with the "check engine" light coming on and blinking. I took it to the dealer immediately. I am informed my 2002 VW Jetta 1.8T has "3 faulty coils." The failure was sudden and without warning. I maintain my car according to VW specs. In 02/2003 VW acknowledged a problem with this in over 530,000 2001 to early 2003 vehicles. I feel the failure was premature (as to what could be typically expected of an engine/vehicle for reliability), and a danger. Obviously the fact that it has remanifested in such a short period of time shows that it was not properly addressed with the original fix only 2 years ago. My vehicle was unable to adequately maintain itself within the flow of traffic. I was lucky to get to the 'slow lane' without incident. VW disclaims any responsibility for defect or otherwise and says that because the vehicle is out of its warranty period I am responsible ($454). I will pay this, but how can I drive knowing that these coils could stop all or any one cylinder from correctly firing? this could kill me and the manufacturer does not care.. as they quite bluntly stated.

- El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #6

Sep 172005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
Please refer to my previous complaint submitted 9/17/2005 regarding my '02 VW Jetta. The crash was a result of sudden acceleration and extended braking distance. The reason I am writing again is to address the fact that my local news (denver channel 7 news) did an undercover feature in regards to the Volvo's sudden acceleration and deceleration. The mechanic used in the piece determined the problem was the electronic throttle. Thus, Volvo is announcing a major recall on all 1999-2002 Volvo's. this issue is rampant among the auto industry including vwoa. Please extend your investigation to include VW and hopefully vwoa will do a major recall on all cars equipped with electronic throttles. Please note that I was required to attend dmv court since I was issued a ticket. The judge ruling over my case ended up dismissing my case because of the evidence I had brought to court. More over, the judge was a former mechanic for 8 years and he has worked extensively on VW's. he was very familiar with my situation. I don't have my VIN # handy, but it was listed in my complaint ODI id #: 10136890. Please refer to my case number for further details.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #5

Sep 172005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,995 miles
On 9/17/2005 I was pulling into my assigned parking spot at my condo. I was approximately traveling about 3 mph and had my brakes applied to maneuver into my parking spot. Upon reaching the curb, I applied pressure to the brakes and expected to come to a complete stop. However, my car lunged forward and ended up in my neighbor's living room. My car only stopped after taking out the brick structure and front window of her condo. Before making impact with the outside structure I attempted to brake twice with no response. The impact was substantial and yet the airbags never deployed. My car was towed to a garage that my insurance approved and not to the dealership who has serviced my car for all the current recalls and various problems. The recalls and problems include the brake light switch, replacement of the coil ignition, armrest break, alarm sounding for no reason, and the window falling into the door frame. This accident caused serious property damage and the police were called to the scene. The police acknowledged my skid marks and my attempt at applying the brakes. The situation was treated/cited as a car accident so that my neighbor and I could go through the proper procedures of her damages being reimbursed. I plan to prove my car is defective and a lemon. I would appreciate any feedback, advice or suggestions regarding my situation.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #4

May 102004

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
I own a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta gls tdi. This car has a surging problem during normal or cruise control, occurring between 40 and 50 mph. The car has been returned to the dealership many times without being repaired, dating back to Oct. 2003. Last year it spent 31 days at the dealer, May 10, 2004 through June 10, 2004, returned to me working better. Within two days the problem was now worse. I am afraid that this car may surge and take off leaving me unable to stop or control. This car is a safety hazard in my opinion. I have tried to work with VW but they refuse to replace it and are unable to repair it. [xxx]. anything that you could do would be much welcomed. Thank you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 082002


  • miles
Consumer states when slowing for a stop it feels like someone has just rear ended consumer, consumer has to hold foot on brake to keep car from taking off. Nlm

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #2

Jul 262002

(reported on)


  • miles
Vehicle hesitates before acceleration; could cause stall in intersection.

- Michigan City, IN, USA

problem #1

Jul 052002


  • miles
Passenger front airbags deployed without cause while driving on the freeway. This is the second safety problem with this Jetta, the first being unintentional accelleration.

- Agoura Hills, CA, USA