This generation of the Passat is defined by its solid and luxurious feel; along with a quiet and comfortable ride, capable handling and quality interior furnishings. Further, it's advanced standard safety gear was remarkable for the time. Those strengths helped the Passat remain among the top choices in this segment. But its controls and cargo space didn't score quite as well as those in some competing models.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard; available in rear side from 2006. Head protection air bags standard from 2001. ESC available from 2002, standard from 2006.
Road Test

This generation of the Passat is defined by its solid and luxurious feel; along with a quiet and comfortable ride, capable handling and quality interior furnishings. Further, it's advanced standard safety gear was remarkable for the time. Those strengths helped the Passat remain among the top choices in this segment. But its controls and cargo space didn't score quite as well as those in some competing models.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (170 hp)
  • 2.8-liter V6 (190 hp)
  • 4-liter 8 (270 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Volkswagen Passat owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

"Needed new catalytic converter. Also needed new fuel pump which you didn't ask about"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The check engine light comes on and then goes off. We never know when it might come on. We have started adding a liquid additive to the gas (premium) and it seems to help"

Barbara K., TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Age and deterioration of rubber causing a EGR check engine light every now and then"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Required multiple trips to private mechanic to diagnose and replace PCV valve"

Michael N., WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Car did not pass the annual emission test. Took it to the dealership and they found the gas tank was not venting correctly so they replaced several values"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The whole PVC system had to be replaced"

Tom M., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Pipes from catalytic converter to engine, catalytic converter, tune up with plugs and wires, oil seeping from camshaft chain tensioners"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Engine light"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"I had to have the fuel system cleaned out. Gas was not flowing thru system"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Replaced PCV after check engine light came on"

Bruce S., MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Check engine light stays on. Was told not to worry about it"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Not sure exactly that it's the sensors, but engine light code is catalytic converters--there are 2 on my car, both need replacing, way too expensive--better to replace car before next smog check due because this one won't pass"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"Check engine light came on and a O2 sensor needed to be replaced"

Bruce S., MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"repeated failures & failure to pass inspection because of this"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"Fuel cap not secure, difficult to ascertain"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"My engine light is on, and I've been advised my catalytic converters need to be replaced. Other forums indicate this is a problem with this year. You can repair everything (sensors & converter) and light continues to come on"

Lori T., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"Valve broken"

Anonymous, RI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Oil pressure sensor comes on randomly, even after VW dealership mechanics replaced oil pressure sensor, and cleaned out the oil pick-up tube from oil pan"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Dealer installed new fuel pump"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

"6 months after compressor replacement, ac failed again"

Philip J., TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Could not recharge the system - total compressor failure - had to be replaced"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"needed new fluid"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 4.0-L 8 Cyl)

"overly complicated system design with many parts that fail over time, requiring repair and replacement that is difficult and expensive to do"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Auto climate control read outdoor temp as minus zero degrees and tries to compensate interior heating"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Great difficulty repairing/replacing climate control"

Lori S., OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Heater vent will not close. Requires removing entire dash assembly to get at vent motors. This car has been this way since purchase. Dealer refused to repair. Purchased in winter and did not notice until warmer weather months later. Cannot drive the"

Geffrey B., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Heater system

"The heater just stopped working. Fortunately, a local mechanic could fix it for $65, which contrasts greatly with dealer estimate"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Heater core had to be replaced and it was REALLY expensive. But it's nice to have heat in the winter"

Michael R., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The heater went out in the car during a snowstorm in Colorado and I could not see"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Needed a new heater core and cooling system flush"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"Replaced heater core"

Jo J., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Heater core clogged. No hot air in winter. Flushed it out. It now works fine"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"Evidentially the heater core must be bad and it will take 8 hours of labor to replace by removing the dash"

Michael S., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Heater stopped sending heat, and required several complete flushing of system to get any heat at all"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"turned out to be a cracked housing that resulted in a $1200 repair"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Repeated leaks, every time we replaced a part another portion of the system would start leaking a month or so later. In the end we ended up replacing nearly the entire system one piece at a time as the parts failed"

Jessica A., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Dealer has allegedly repaired coolant leaks 2x, including new hoses and reservoir. Cap doesn't fit right, I see steam escaping, and continue to have serious leaks; must add expensive special coolant every 2 days"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"Exit line cracked and leaked refrigerant"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

"Need to replace bulbs frequently. My (VW service center based) mechanic tells me this is a problem with VWs"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4.0-L 8 Cyl)

"Right headlamp burned out...really expensive to replace"

Ken O., NM (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"Headlights became very cloudy over time and I had to sand them and polish them with a kit to get them clear again"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Left headlight has failed twice and is impossible to replace without going to dealer or repair shop"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Tail lights remain on when car is turned off"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Signal indicator switch malfunctions. My mechanic says this is common in VWs"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"heated seat on passenger side no longer functioning. Requires replacing or reupholstering seat for approx. $1000. Too expensive to fix"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Passenger front seat heating coil burned hole in seat and in my coat"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Seat heater on drivers seat right side burned a hole in the seat and burned my leg"

Francis G., NJ (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Keyless entry

"Keyless entry no longer works. Trunk release no longer works. Electric windows no longer works. Locking doors is multi-step sequential process. Car no longer safe to drive. Will be getting rid of car within a week"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"We have had several problems with the key system and now use an old fashion key. Some of the electrical connections are on the floor under the mat on the driver's side. The seal around the cable that opens the hood leaked and water got in under the mat. Poor design"

Linda S., OR (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Warning lights

"Lights would come on - door open- when it was not. Brake lights come on, but there is nothing wrong with the brakes"

Anonymous, NM (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"dome lights don't come on as expected ABS warning and skid control malfunctioning, even though it appears the systems work"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"false alarms. mechanics always verify that there's nothing wrong that justifies the warning light (e.g., for brakes) but can't get the warning light to go off"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
12V power plug

"blew fuse because used charger"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)
Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Alarm systems drains battery after a few days of non-use"

Marcel F., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Interior light won't come on when the door opens, and when they occasionally do come on they turn off too soon"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Interior light in rear wagon compartment stopped working because of gate switch failure. Could not repair"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

"Intermittent antifreeze leak which was very difficult to diagnose and find"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"overflow tank seam leaked"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"coolant backing into oil due ti broken gasket..........coolant system had to be replaced and radiator flushed"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Overheating

"Minor water leaks and overheating before water pump failed completely"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"My dashboard indicated that the engine was overheating. It turned out that the temperature gauge had failed. The cooling fan was also replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Impeller loosened off the engine drive shaft, and no coolant circulation caused overheating"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Water pump

"Water pump failed and leaked all coolant on the ground"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The most expensive repair was replacing a bearing near the water pump. (You don'thave a category for engine problems like this.) I have also had two water pumps replaced"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The impeller was not working"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"started losing coolant, burned coolant smell after highway or mountain driving. continued to get worse. diagnosed with failing water pump which required SIGNIFICANT labor to replace as front of car needed to be disassembled to get to timing/aux belts"

Tom S., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Cooling fan

"The coming fan was replaced while the radiator was being checked for issues"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Secondary electric fan was declared in need of replacement by dealer, but an independent repair place said it is OK. Did not replace"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)
Radiator

"Radiator leak. Had to replace radiator"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"small part of the coolant line located behind the engine block leaked and needed replacement"

Whittey G., OR (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The temperature gauge wasn't going up to the middle, so they replaced it two times until it was fixed. I think they said there is more than one thermostat regulator"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

"Tensioner seized up, causing serpentine belt to break, resulting in loss of power steering and alternator while traveling on highway"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Check engine light came on, repair shop cleared code"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"$1200 for engine mount replacement at about 150000 miles"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Small seepage from the back of the head. Occasionally you can smell oil in the cabin"

Anonymous, KS (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"&I upper engine cover, R&I clean valve covers, R&R valve cover gaskets, sparkplug seals and oil plugs"

Jo J., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Valve cover gasket, vacuum pump and cam adjuster seals leaking"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"apparently rear block seals don't hold well and allow continual minor leakage onto manifold. as it burns off during first miles it can even lightly smoke. in retrospect the problem began after switching to synthetic oil. have switched back to 10w40 and problem has been greatly reduced. neither dealer or independent were able to stop the leak at all"

David V., NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"All of the hoses are rubber"

Mark F., NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Oil leaked for most of th elife of the car. Had expensive gasket replacement that made no difference. Recently mechanic found "plugs" that leaked and replaced them. This resolved the problem"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"I'm on my second engine in this Passat and both have leaked significant amounts of oil. The problem in both instances is a faulty valve gasket"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"smell of oil burning on the engine. problem corrected, then oil puddling on the driveway. Seems there was residual oil in the oil pan, once it leaked problem solved"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Leaks oil and coolant"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"have replaced head gasket and exhaust valve mechanic still hasn't found leak. [next go around suspect main oil seal at transmission]. seems to be a minor leak but onto exhaust manifold which causes it to burn off in first 10 miles creating fumes in"

David V., NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

"Dead battery"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"Had to replace battery"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Coil pack failure while driving. Three of four coil packs replaced"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Car had been hesitating at high speeds for several months and one day died on the interstate. The computer indicated misfires. Replacing the coils fixed it although they could not replicate the problem"

R W., TN (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure Unsure)

"These were recalled, but we never had them inspected/replaced by dealer. I wish I had, as I've had two of them fail on me so far"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Electrical system has failed three times. Brakes wear out every 20000 miles. Front axle wore out after 35000 miles. Door Locks do not unlock regularly"

Michael P., WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"valve cover gasket leaked causing oil to foul spark plug"

Whittey G., OR (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Failure of two cylinders to fire--intermittent, cause not determined"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Starter

"Sometimes, the starter stops for ¿ seconds and then comes alive. Dealer didn't find the problem... yet"

Anonymous, QC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"damaged wires on voltage regulator on alternator"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The alternator went out and had to be replaced. That lead to changing the serpentine belt, water pump, and a CV boot"

Anonymous, AL (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"An electronic ignition module was replaced 3 times in a year, supposedly because of defective parts. Fortunately, the 2nd and 3rd were warranty replacements"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"hit something and bent the front. Took awhile to get a good fix for it"

Peter M., CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Shocks or struts

"Rear spring broke. Rear strut failed"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Had to be replaced @ 183000 mikes"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Upper control arms broken"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Along with Front axle failure, brake failure, shocks do not last. Struts do not last. I spend $ 3,000 + each year for service repairs"

Michael P., WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"rattle in front passenger side, diagnosed as front strut failure"

Tom S., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"When struts went suspension went"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Clunking noise in front end when turning steering wheel. Dealer said a screw was loose on steering rack, and tightened it for hundreds of dollars"

R M., NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Upper control arm links, CV boot, serpentine belt"

Jo J., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Tie rods

"Clunking noise in front end when turning steering wheel. Dealer fixed tie rods for a high price"

R M., NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Bushings?! never had to replace them on any other brand. Looking online this seems to be a common problem. Dealer wants $1500.00 to replace"

Michael P., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Head gasket

"Valve covers were leaking, this is second time replacing them. Also in the same part of the engine, cam shaft seals, tensioner seals and cam plugs were leaking on one or both side of the engine (v6 engine). Also, there were major vacuum system problems due to vacuum hoses crumbling apart"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"There was a leak and they changed the gasket"

Anonymous, QC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Oil leaking and burning smell"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"Required replacement - engine light came on and the car was running rough"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Slight head gasket leak. Oil mixing some with coolant. Oil burning. Added oil and continue to watch"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)

"Paid over $1000 twice to replace head gasket. 2 years since last repair, oil leaking again and probably needs to be replaced for the 3rd time"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The car likely has a cracked head. It has had multiple engine issues over its lifespan with us (since 2005)"

Michelle L., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"we replaced the gasket in 2010 and the oil leaks again. There are oil leaks in other parts of the engine, too"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"A metal housing cover over the timing chain disintegrated and upon doing so, fell into the cylinder chambers and destroying the cylinders, etc.. At cost of rebuild, it was same cost to replace with used engine with less miles on it"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 2.7-L V6)
Turbo or supercharger

"Sludge in system caused replacement of whole pac unit. VW mechanic admitted turbo to close to engine"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4.0-L 8 Cyl)

"After 200K plus the turbo charger just froze up. Can't really complain"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

"Leaks coolant, needs to be topped up 2 to 3 times per year"

Anonymous, KS (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Washer fluid leaked out at pump grommet connection near the bottom of the tank. Probably hardened gromet. Due to VW's astronomical charges, I intend to attempt the repair myself"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Coolest temp indicator problems & leaking from senser area"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"chronic radiator coolant leakage from multiple spots. Water pump is likely failing but because of poor design requires removing the front bumper first to get at it and diagnose at a cost of over $500"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"minor water leak and cannot find the source"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Had some cooling system leaks. had to replace some hoses in rear of engine"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Known problem with leaks due to drains in sunroof"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Water pump seals. This was an expected replacement given the mileage"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

"A coolant hose was leaking and hand to be replaced. Because of its location, the repair was costly-about $900"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"leaking through sunroof"

Anonymous, QC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Windshield washer fluid leak"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Exhaust leaks

"flexible pipe became unattached at catalytic converter"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4.0-L 8 Cyl)

"Small "evap leak" fault code was diagnosed, after a check engine light appeared. Technician smoke-tested system and noted trace amounts of smoke from around the gas cap. Tech inspected cap and found hairline cracks in gasket. Cap was replaced and the"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Car makes a lot of noise all of a sudden"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Exhaust pipe split and required welding to replace damaged section"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)
Pipes

"Rear section rusted out; required welding in section"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"exhaust pipes leading to catalytic converter replaced"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Catalytic converter

"Engine light came on repeatedly after various repairs and replacement of sensors and one of two catalytic converters. Both VW dealer and other mechanics could not resolve the problem permanently after thoUSnds of dollars in repairs"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Both Catalytic Converters failed six months after purchase. Can no longer pass smog test. Car will be scrapped within a year prior to next smog check for registration renewal"

Geffrey B., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The original muffler and pipes were replaced, due to defect from normal wear and tear"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"what do you expect from a 12 year old car with 277K. It still drives really well as I've maintained it"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Total failure. Research indicates due to cheap parts. Have not fixed yet due to cost"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Rear calipers siezed and required replacement"

Matthew M., NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Rotors had to be replaced despite replace brake pads before wear limit, $600"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"break pads on rear breaks are worn and squealing"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Parking brake

"Parking brake will not hold car on an incline"

Matthew M., NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Once again... not surprising in a care of this age with this amount of mileage"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Seized right front caliper leading to rotor warping; require replacement of calipers, pads, and rotors for right and left front brakes"

Anonymous, DC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

"Noise when driving. Mechanic says R. F. wheel bearing. I suspect damage by the garage when they installed both front drive shafts less than 5,000 miles ago. I have never seen a car bearing wear out in less than 5,000 miles. Have not had repaired yet"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Need to replace the front axles again, after only 20,000 miles"

Scott P., CT (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"on its 3rd set of driveshafts and will need a 4th in the next year"

Michael P., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Door sensors fail due to overly sensitive design, which then prevents alarms and headlight reminders from working properly"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The CV boots cracked on both sides and the axle assemblies had to be replaced"

Paul W., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Frequent cv boot replacement"

Tom M., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"we had to replace front semi-axles twice in the life of the car (it's easier and costs not much more to replace axle rather than the joint). Last time in 2011. and now the CV joints need work again"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose interior trim or moldings

"The roof liner fell off. This is the first time I had seen this happen in a car. I totally didn't expect this from a German car. The roof liner around pillars is peeling off, too. This is, while a nuisance, is a major one since the sagging liner blocks rear view"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Dash panel clips broke. Door panel cloth loosened. Headliner came loose"

Stewart S., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Patches of crusty rust on the rear hatch of the car just below the license plate holder"

Patrick D., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Surface rust around rear license plate and driver's side back panel behind rear door and around rear wheel"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Front skid plate became loose and caught on parking lot burm pulling the bumper loose"

Scott K., CO (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"Trim never was properly attached and cannot be attached"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

"Passenger heated seat no longer heats"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Locks and latches

"Manufacturing defect results in electric door lock mechanism failing or becoming intermittent over time. Very expensive to repair, requiring replacement of electronic circuit board in each door"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The lock/latch for opening the rear hatch does not always open and I have to use the key to get into the rear area"

Patrick D., MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"The trunk flat-out broke. Hinge snapped. Incredibly irritating that something so basically mechanical would fail"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"clutch is starting to slip"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Clutch was not working properly, needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"It was just beginning to wear so I replaced the clutch"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"The torque converter was replaced and then went bad again after only 11,000 miles. However, since it took more than 12 months to drive that mileage it was out of warranty. I think VW should have covered it since it is a known problem, but they would"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat Unsure 2.7-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

"Transmission computer sorted malfunctioning randomly putting car into "limp" mode as a result of wiring harness issues"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"When accelerator is fully depressed, transmission cuts to neutral"

Kevin C., WA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"On occasion, when at either a stop sign or a traffic light the transmission doesn't automatically downshift to first gear. My guess is that it's in second gear because the car is very slow to gain speed when going from zero to 40 MPH. The only way I'"

Robert S., TN (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"When the car sits for a while and the outside air temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher the center display screen is impossible to read. When I say the center it's directly in front of the driver"

Robert S., TN (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)

"In dash display becomes unreadable when ambient temperature is higher (above 80)"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.7-L V6)
Radio

"Antenna pre-amp failed for a second time"

Grant H., CA (2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Change Vehicle