Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,716 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Volkswagen Beetle engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #14

Apr 242012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Automatic transmission has problem and sometimes while driving does not advances, this could be a safety issue.

- Miami , FL, USA

problem #13

Mar 142009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 69,890 miles
Throttle body goes out (02-03-2009) cv axel goes out (03-31-2009 brake lights go out (02-18-2010) cv axel goes out again (4-31-2010) alternator goes out (06-21-2010) ignition coils fail (09-13-2010) ignition coils fail again(01-21-2011) brake switch replaced again (01-21-2011) air flow sensor fails (01-21-2011) air flow sensor fails again (07-26-2011) timing belt replaced (06-15-2011) thermostat replaced (06-15-2011) water pump replaced (06-15-2011) now having problems with throttle body/ throttle body sensor/ electrical issue. Dealer is not sure what the problems is and wants to throw money at it to see what the problems is. This car is just one problem after another after another.

- Warner Robins, GA, USA

problem #12

Jul 012011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 67,860 miles
2001 VW Beetle. From the very beginning, it has been nothing but problems. For the first few years it was covered under the warranty, free of charge repairs. I have low mileage so I thought that by the time these items were repaired it would be fine when the warranty expired. There is always something wrong with the car and in particular the electrical system. The check engine light is always going off. The safety issue comes in with its current problem. I had a fuel injection flush which included the carbon deposits removal known as induction, air filter replaced, engine fuel filter replaced, and a brake fluid flush plus 4 new spark plugs. Prior to this service, my car was having difficulty starting with major shaking. I had to put my foot on the accelerator to get it going while starting. Now after the service it runs much better but the problem is that now stalls when I come to a traffic light and stop for a period of time. This is extremely dangerous. The other malfunctions that have happened over the years are an expense but it was something that I could somehow manage. This is incredibly dangerous. I have no control over traffic lights and the generator comes on when I stop, it is worse when the light changes fast and then I have to stop even more suddenly. Imagine if I am on the highway and it stops. This has happened once, a few weeks prior to the cleaning service. Now, I am afraid to drive that vehicle. I have looked online at message boards from other VW Beetle owners and had read similar stories of such dissatisfaction, incredible financial expense with the electrical system and other components of cars. I have even read that these cars can become inflamed, necessitating the fire dept. To put it out. This is a lemon and so many other VW owners have written similar account message boards. The consumer stated the oxygen sensor and mass air flow sensor had to be replaced. Also, the epc light illuminated. Updated IVOQ 07/07/11.

- Holyoke, MA, USA

problem #11

Apr 052008


  • 75,000 miles


I have a 2001 VW new Beetle. I have replaced brake light, which was drains the battery, serpentine belt, remoteless key which is still broken- basically 6 days after buying this car- I spent $1200 on repairs- now the check engine light is on, the transmission is acting funny, and basically- my VW dealership has a field day with me. To top it off- my battery died a month ago- and caught on fire when I tried to jump it. I am afraid that this car will blow up on me at any time. Please help me!

- Delray Ebach, FL, USA

problem #10

Oct 102005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
2001 brand new Beetle started developing stains on the seat from day one. Blue jeans and dark sweaters stain the interiors to that color everytime someone sits down in the car. The throttle body has gone out three times, costing me over countless dollars in repair fees and is now out for the fourth time. Crown Volkswagen in tyler, tx has repaired it each time, the longest repair lasting about four months. They've paid for the repair once, but do not provide me with a replacement rental vehicle, refuse to pick up the phone during the day or return phone calls, and has cost me tons of time and money traveling from dallas to tyler to check on the car and pick it up. Once, I drove two hours from nacogdoches, tx to tyler, tx on the scheduled pick up day, having tried to call before leaving town to make sure it was ready, only to find that they hadn't gotten to the car when I arrived. This happened twice during the same repair which lasted a couple of weeks. They have been uncooperative, and the car is horrible. The arm rest broke one day as I lifted it, it just fell apart in my hands, the interior covering on the doors and dashboard flakes off, the sunroof broke numerous times while driving over a railroad track to get to work everyday. It finally jammed the visor so that it no longer works. The seat moving mechanisms no longer work. The airbag is in constant malfunction, the check engine and eps lights are always on. I constantly have to pull my car over onto the side of the road because it loses power and I have to restart it to get it to work again, although it never has a lot of power. This particular issue has nearly caused several wrecks. I am incredibly lucky. The cruise control no longer works, and it takes about 200 dollars a month to fill it up with gas because the engine problems effect the fuel efficiency.

- Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #9

Oct 082007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,268 miles
The top of the oil dipstick on my 2001 VW Beetle is apparently very fragile and could come off by itself, possibly lodging itself into another part of the motor and causing a dangerous situation. It disappeared during preventive maintenance at dover Volkswagen, Inc. In dover, Delaware. They claimed they did not break it.

- Milford, DE, USA

problem #8

Jun 132007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Epc light came on numerous times, causing the engine power to be reduced greatly. The light was never constant it would come on at random times. Brought to dealer 6/13-6/15. Engine failed on 6/16 due to a coolant component failure. New engine put in, I had to pay $1,360 even thought still under warranty. Vehicle was picked up 7/9. epc light on again the next week, brought back to dealer, when I went to pick it up the light was still on accompanied by the check engine light and the car was barely running, it sounded like it would stall out at any minute. Car was picked up a few days later. Epc and check engine light on again on 9/11 before bringing it to the dealer I had my brother look at it, he states its a problem with the throttle, the same problem as all the other times. I brought the car to dealer on 9/13 and still waiting for repairs.

- Niskayuna, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 262006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
This is my second VW Beetle turbo that has an engine that has died below the recommended mileage for maintenance. Both vehicles did the same thing and died while I was driving on a highway at 75 miles per hour. I lost power and was not able to use my breaks to pull over for safety. After contacting VW customer service (800 882 8987 ref# 60353557 9-29-06) I was informed, "the vehicle is no longer under warranty even though the damage occurred below the recommended service". my current mileage is 73K and my current mechanic informed me that the usual mileage for this type of problem is 105K. After some research I have found that this is not a unique issue and Volkswagen is more than aware of this defect. It is ridiculous that they think they should not be responsible.

- Elizabeth, CO, USA

problem #6

Aug 052006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 56,000 miles
I purchased a certified used 2001 Volkswagen new Beetle in Feb 2003. While driving down the turnpike suddenly the car lost power and all the lights on the dashboard lit up. I was able to get the car off to the side of the road. I had the car towed to a certified VW garage where I was told I needed a new engine. I had no warning that the car was overheating until it stopped and the dashboard lights came on. This car has only 56,000 miles on it. The mechanic is going to give me a rebuilt engine because he is trying to save me some money. So far my car is in the garage for over a month because it seems it is not easy to get a repairable used motor. This is going to cost me several thousands of dollars. Also I have been without a car for one month already which of course causes a hardship and a lot of stress. I don't feel that a motor should have to be replaced with only 56,000 miles on it. I thought I was buying a reliable car. Boy was I wrong!!

- Freemansburg, PA, USA

problem #5

Jul 092006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Almost too many to list O2 sensor at 20K miles - twice temp sensor for cooling fan ($5 part - $200 to install) at 30K miles ignition coils at 50K miles. VW had initiated a "customer action" on all 1.8L engines for defective ignition coils on VW and Audi models. Customer service action means nothing, cost me $600 without rental car added. They refused to acknowledge this press release when contacted directly. Water pump went South at 61K miles electronic control module went South at 61K miles also. Warranty covered still cost me $300 for rental car for 5 days. Timing belt damaged when water pump went. Voa will tell you to "check" it at 50K but it should last to 108K. Paid full labor even though engine was apart for pump work. VW should be forced to honor the quality problems with this car. NHTSA should investigate and force a recall on the coils, potentially the O2 sensor and definitely the ECM. The repair costs are insane. ECM on this car is $1300 no labor. Current warranty on new is 60K. Mine went at 61K. 2001 warranty was 10/100 and 8/80. They know they have problems. Car is a lemon, contact lawyer too much hassle - they win again.

- Manville, NJ, USA

problem #4

Mar 012005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles


The consumer has had to replace the transmission, bearings, axle, cooling system, seat tracks and bolts and window track in her 2001 Volkswagen new Beetle. The consumer also needed to replace the catalytic converter and the front axle.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #3

May 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I have 21,500 miles on my 2001 VW Beetle, has been in the shop aprox 6 times for the same problem, car hesitates and stalls out as check engine light is a constant on, dealership cannot find the problem, my wife and I were almost killed in vehicle due to stalling out in front of fast moving traffic, I let them know that this vehicle was an endanger to my and my families life while driving and would like this vehicle towed in, and since was an on going problem also needed a rental car and the dealership and Volkswagen of America both refused on both accounts, because of the bitter taste in my mouth for VW. I no longer want this car.

- Pasorobles, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 022003

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving at 40 mph, consumer states vehicle began to misfire, check engine light started to flash then it stayed on. The vehicle started to ride very rough. Took to delaer and dealer stated coil packs had failed.

- S. San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 242002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states while driving across a bridge, one of his engines died leaving him with very little power. He states that this is the second time this has happened to him. He had it repaired under the warranty, but it may happen again, or with other people, which is a high risk for an accident if the auto stops in heavy traffic.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

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