really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
132,966 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 #13

Dec 152018


  • 200,000 miles
When it rains the car gets flooded causing the whole wiring system through the car to get damage. The car will suddenly lose power and die as your driving. Seems to happen. When on highway most. The car will not start or crank. I've had to vacuum the floor boards and trunk, search for damaged wires, change relays as well as camshaft position sensor, and fuel pump.as well as sensors. Trying to get it running again. Also the transmission jerks very hard when trying to go into reverse and most of the time in slips out of gear within1or 2 seconds.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #12

Jul 152015


  • miles
Low oil pressure light came on for the first time and now engine makes a ticking noise. There was a recall for this issue. Now I'm stuck with a car I can't get fixed. For an issue that had a law suit.

- Menomonie, WI, USA

problem #11

Feb 102016


  • 116,470 miles
I started my car and proceeded to drive down around city streets for about 5 minutes. I was going speed limit(25-30 mph) during a cool night(60). I stopped at a red light and then my temperature gauge spiked(car was slightly below normal temperature prior(190; according to gauge); this gauge spike was followed by a battery indicator light which simultaneously cut off my engine. My car became immobile and I lost brake and steering function. However, my radio and car lights still worked! luckily there was no surrounding cars and my parking brake was functional. I then turned off the car, waited a few minutes and attempted to turn over the engine once more. It did start however I am worried this may happen again under less forgiving circumstances.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #10

Dec 052015


  • 183,000 miles
Vehicle was in motion, driving uphill. Needle on thermostat gauge suddenly perked really fast towards hot. Engine light went on. Vehicle was driven to side of road and engine was shut off. Smoke was coming out of front of engine. Driver stepped out of car. While inspecting the front of the car, the driver saw flickering flames under right side of engine (as seen from inside). Driver took sleeping child out of car seat and stepped away from car. Car was engulfed in fire within minutes and completely burnt up.

- Topanga, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 202015


  • 172,808 miles
The contact owned a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. While driving approximately 25 mph, an extremely loud noise emitted from the engine. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road. The contact exited the vehicle and large flames ignited underneath the hood. The fire department extinguished the fire and stated that the fire originated from the engine compartment. The vehicle was destroyed. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 172,808.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #8

Nov 132013


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle had an issue accelerating after slowing down. The vehicle failed to pick up speed while driving. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 125,000.

- Benson Ciyt, WA, USA

problem #7

Nov 272014


  • 185,611 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the engine stalled. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 185,611.

- Center , CO, USA

problem #6

Aug 282014

Passat 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I was driving the car about 30 minutes prior to incident traveling at approximately 45 mph with my child in the car and without warning of any kind my car shuts off and I almost got rear ended. I was able to coast to the side of the road put the vehicle in park tried starting the vehicle and it started right away. I drove vehicle home without incident. I took the vehicle to a mechanic and they couldn't find a problem no engine codes where present. I drove the vehicle for a week and this same scenario played out again I wasn't driving the car any further at this point because again I had my child in the car and again also got rear ended. Had it towed to a different mechanic and they to were unable to find any engine codes or problems. I had my boyfriend drive the car home and it stalled on him at a red light. Car wouldn't restart so he had to push the vehicle across a lane of traffic to the shoulder of the road. When the car cooled down for 2 hours it restarted and drove fine no check engine light or codes present.. after a month of headaches with the car we discovers it was a faulty engine speed sensor this is a very dangerous part to fail without warning leaving the car powerless if this happened on the freeway I wouldn't have been so lucky I imagine.

- Hemet , CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 182014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 135,525 miles
While driving home on a snowy day was going up a steep hill causing the car to slide side to side had to try and ease up the hill, which intern raised he RPM up and the "stop oil pressure light &turn off engine" light came on after researching it seems to be a sludge issue and is going to be costly repair and would most likely have the same issue. Would like to know what I can do on this issue the car has been maintained using synthetic oil on all oil changes since purchased did purchase used but according to the car fax and after contacting the dealers that service the vehicle it has always had synthetic.

- West Warwick , RI, USA

problem #4

Feb 102014


  • 134,000 miles
My car was turned off and parked when I entered a convenience store. No smoke from underneath the hood or any sign of trouble when I entered the store. I exited the store approximately 3 minutes after entering, and there was a large amount of smoke bellowing from under the hood. Something under the hood had caught fire. The fire ultimately grew large enough where a standard fire extinguisher could not put out the flame and a firefighters were required. The engine was damaged beyond repair. The firefighters on the scene and a mechanic afterwards could not determine the cause of the fire, but believed that it was likely mechanical of some sort.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 142013

Passat 4-cyl

  • 128,800 miles
In August of 2013, while backing out of a driveway, I experienced a total loss of braking. After examining the car, I discovered that the plenum that holds the battery and brake booster was nearly filled with rain water. It was necessary for me to remove one of the duck-billed drain plugs in the plenum as all were clogged with debris, preventing water from draining out. The flooded plenum appears to have resulted in water being drawn through the vacuum lines when attempting to brake. This, in turn, caused a significant amount of water to be drawn into the crankcase. Water was also drawn into the cylinders resulting in misfiring. After removing at least one drain plug in the plenum for proper drainage, and double flushing the contaminated oil in the crankcase, I experienced no further braking problems until freezing weather in November 2013. In November, while braking near the bottom of a hill, I again experienced a hard pedal with no depression and almost no braking ability, resulting in the car going into the intersection before fully stopping. The car was towed to the Volkswagen dealership for repair. Two weeks later, there was again the symptom of a hard pedal? with no depression and near loss of all braking. The car was again returned to the Volkswagen dealership for repair. This time, the vacuum booster, the vacuum pipes, and their related items were replaced. As noted in the dealership invoice, evidence of water was found in the replaced vacuum booster. The dealership acknowledged that the plenum had a significant high-water pollen line, indicating flooding of the plenum. It was believed by their service department staff that the brake failures in November and December 2013 were likely the result of residual water freezing in the vacuum booster, causing the booster to be inoperative. Also, the ignition coils were replaced. Updated 01/30/14 the consumer stated the insufficient fix during the 2008 campaign did not resolve the problem. It allowed for continued flooding of the plenum compartment a

- West Milford, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jun 222012

Passat 6-cyl

  • 120,345 miles
My daughter pulled into our neighborhood and noticed a faint odor of smoke. She pulled into our garage, got out of the car and saw smoke coming from the hood. She opened the hood and saw flames on the passenger side of the engine block. She went to get the fire extinguisher and upon her return the flame was out and the smoke subsided. I have inspected the area and I can't identify significant damage from the fire. I just learned of a recent investigation by NHTSA into MY2002 VW Passat for engine fires caused by a faulty ignition coil (NHTSA action number EA11002 - reported initial as PE10-027).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

May 312012


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the check engine light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. She was able to restart the vehicle after 45 minutes. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer replaced the rear catalytic convertor but the failure continued. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileage was 102,000. The VIN was not available.

- Chicago , IL, USA