really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,013 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #12

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 #11

May 232012


  • 113,000 miles
While accelerating to pass another car, I fully depressed the gas pedal and upon releasing it, noticed it was stuck in the fully depressed position. Upon putting the car in neutral and hitting the gas pedal while it was it the stuck position, it became dislodged and was functional again. This is the second time this has happened to my car while driving it, the first time being in mid-November 2011. When the car is off and in park I am now able to recreate the pedal getting stuck, as it gets stuck about 25% of the time when fully depressed. I have not yet had a mechanic look at the pedal.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #10

Jul 042010


  • 154,450 miles
My 2002 w-8 Passat four times this weekend would not disengage the cruise control when stepping on the brake. The brake feels very solid and cannot be depressed until a very quick & hard quick pressure is put on it about 3-4 times. I noticed after that incident (frightening) that it does not happen going down hill, only uphill or even a slight incline.

- Castle Rock, CO, USA

problem #9

Jan 302010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
2002 Passat wagon, automatic transmission, accelerator pedal became stuck while getting on highway during a cold morning. Brakes were non-responsive even when car was put into neutral. Car continued to accelerate, driver put car into a lower gear which slowed down the car a bit and finally put the transmission in "park". this caused the car to eventually stop. To get off the highway, driver slowly drove off onto the exit ramp after calling 911 and being advised to get off the highway which had no shoulder. After that the car and brakes appeared to function normally. The next morning car would not start due to the battery being drained and was towed to VW mechanic. After being inspected for 2 days the mechanic did not find anything wrong with the accelerator or the breaks and there was no evidence that the pedal got stuck on the floor mat. No error codes were found on car's computer. We had had no prior problems with the car other than a dash message indicating a break fault would occasionally light up on cold wet days. The VW mechanic could never find anything wrong with the breaks after repeated visits and attributed the message to a computer glitch. After the incident with the accelerator we traded the car in for a new one of a different make since we did not feel safe driving it, despite assurances that nothing unusual was found with the car.

- Private, RI, USA

problem #8

Jan 152006

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
My wife told me last night that there have been 2 cases over the years with her 2002.5 VW Passat where her gas pedal also stuck and her car accelerated to 80mph+ on NJ rt 1 before she put it into neutral. She remembers that it happened on very cold mornings. Is it possible that VW uses a similar design to Toyota in these cars?

- Forest Hill, MD, USA

problem #7

Feb 012008


  • 80,000 miles
Approximately 2 years ago, or slightly less, I was driving my wife's 2002 VW Passat when the car began to accelerate without apparent cause and we could not stop the acceleration. I turned the ignition key off, and leaving the car in park, re-started it, only to observe the engine again racing. We eventually figured out that the floor mat was the cause of the problem and removed it. My wife sometime later replaced the mat and had no recurrence, but when I drove the car, it happened twice more before we permanently removed the mat. As we had no further problem, we thought no more of the issue, but with the recent publicity over similar situations which resulted in serious crashes and loss of life, we decided it was best to report this series of events.

- Millburn, NJ, USA

problem #6

May 022007

Passat 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,707 miles
Brake switch light failure. My first indication of failure was the brake lights remained on after shutting down the car. I pumped the pedal and this extinguished the light. The car continued to operate normally for another 500 miles until I noticed the cruise control was out. I then noticed the brake lights were not operating at all. After researching the problem I found that this is a common problem with VW's. to my surprise though the Passat which uses the same switch other vws have been recalled on has no recall yet. This switch is a very dangerous switch as it disables the brake lights providing no warning to another driver behind the car.

- Sonoma, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 052002

Passat 4-cyl

  • miles
There were numerous problems with this vehicle. The filter and carpet on the back passenger side was replaced. The mlp light had come on and the dealer installed a new vacuum hose. The radio did not work, standing water was found in the back right side of the vehicle under the front seat, the pollen filter was clogged and the air pollen filter was cracked due to the factory, the back door locks refused to open and could not be opened from the inside or out, a bumping noise was heard coming from under the vehicle, the engine revved, the vehicle lurched forward and accelerated at rapid speed all while the brakes were pumped with no response. The vehicle hit a curb doing over 50 mph all while pumping the brakes until it finally stopped 20-30 yards into a field damaging tires, rims and the bumper.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #4

Mar 052002


  • miles
Numberous problems with vehicle. After bumping noise, engine revved, car lurched forward and accelerated to a rapid speed. The mlp light cam on several times. The radio did not work. The radio was repaired and broke again then was replaced. The consumer stated that she found standing water in the car on the back right side under the front seat. The air pollen filter was cracked. Filter and carpet was replaced. The back door locks refused to unlock therefore the consumer could not open either back door from inside or out. The vehicle accelerated out of control of the driver and hit a curb at 50 miles an hour. The consumer continued to pump the brakes finally getting the vehicle to stop. The vehicle had 4 flat tires as a result of hitting the curb head on with rims bent as well. The bumper came off.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #3

Jun 152002

Passat 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I have owned a VW Passat V6 4motion since March of 2002. There have been many minor defects including electrical problems and paint. The one defect of importance is a throttle delay. When depressing the accelerator, there is a delay in response, especially while making a left hand turn. This problem has developed over time and worsened and now the steering also whines when making left turns. It feels like the pedal is hard to push, but then the car suddenly accelerates.. at "mid range, " there is no problem with the throttle. The dealership has attempted to remedy the throttle problem. There was some improvement after replacing the throttle body assembly in 1/03, but the problem has worsened again. During a test drive in 4/03 the service manager acknowledged the problem, stating that it needs to be fixed. Last word from the dealership was the Passat naturally has a throttle delay- in other words they are not able to fix the problem. 4/03, I sent paperwork initiating a lemon law buy back.

- Juneau, AK, USA

problem #2

Aug 072002

Passat 4WD

  • miles
Only 1 month after fixing the same problem, the system shorted out again, leaving the climate control system, the cruise control, garage door opener, and other items inoperative.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #1

Jun 192002

Passat 4WD

  • miles
After starting car, the climate control system was inoperative. It was a hot summer day. No air conditioning or fan. Also found the cruise control would not "set". drove immediately to dealer who would not even look at the 8 month old car for 2 weeks.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA