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.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,260 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #15

Apr 052013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 112,478 miles


First of all< your form won"T let me select transmission< that is why I selected engine> the problem is the transmission>>>>> I was driving at 45 mph, suddenly transmission slips into neutral. Pressing accelerator did not help. Coasted to side of road. Moved transmission selector thru gears including reverse. Car did not move, then suddenly the transmission jumped into gear and lurched forward. Very scary! I was pointing towards the road when the car lurched forward from a stop, my quick response avoided me lurching into passing traffic. I kept moving, along the shoulder, but the car wasn't upshifting until I reached approx 45 mph, then it slammed into the next gear. Jumped back into neutral, then slammed into next gear.

- Williamsburg, OH, USA

problem #14

Aug 012009


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Volkswagen bettle. The contact stated that the vehicle would downshift abnormally between gears and he would have to manually shift from fourth into third. The vehicle would then roar loudly and lose all power. The failure recurred intermittently. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, did not offer any assistance. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was 86,000. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Marble Falls, TX, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Nov 042007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 137,520 miles


I have a 2001 VW new Beetle. The transmission keeps failing, lurching, skidding, & the dealer & mechanics have done/found out nothing about it. I am one of thousands experiencing this problem with no reply from VW. I have never received anything about the recalls they order. My car is totally unsafe & I have put $5,500 in it to be told I need more work. They are taking no responsibility & we that own these cars are forced to drive them unsafely. My car jumps & skids forward from a stop. It goes so slow before the skidding that cars almost rear end me. The car cannot be traded in broken & VW refuses to address any problems we all have. My mom has a 2005 new Beetle that is beginning to lurch and stall out on the freeway & during regular driving. We own 2 of these cars and never receive any recall info and we are forced to pay $5,700 each to fix the faulty transmission, $900 each for sensors, who know what for computers that all fail and cause our vehicles to be extremely unsafe. My car right now will not reverse, it only drives forward. VW needs to be forced to recall there faulty unsafe cars for not only those that drive them but for others on the road. This is a huge safety issue for drivers and anyone on the road. I should not have to fear for my life when driving a vehicle I have maintained and the maker will not recall the problems it knows these vehicles have. They are not safe and all of us that own them are stuck paying thousands of dollars to fix a problem VW is aware of and will do nothing about. It is scary and dangerous to be a VW new Beetle owner.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 072011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
I purchased a 2001 new Beetle gls turbo with 42K miles on it in 2008 for my teenage daughter. I have had this car garaged, oil changed, and have only put 8K miles on it in the three years I've owned it. At my most recent oil change, I explained to the VW dealership of the transmission issue which they brushed off as being the way VW transmission's do in and that they are not smooth running transmissions. During this 8K miles, I have went through two new batteries until the dealership made me aware of the need for a new alternator. After getting the new alternator fixed this week at the tune of $500, the tech informed me the transmission needed replacing at a cost between $4K-$6K. I had been noticing when I stop and then accelerate again, the engine hesitates and then slings forward so fast the tires will bark. It's hesitation almost cost me a rear-end accident not long ago. Thankfully, everyone was just shaken up a bit. I have also had to replace the cabin air filter when it disintegrated and started blowing filter in her face as she was driving. All these repairs in the 8K miles I've put on it. The car at this moment now has only 50K miles and sits in my garage as I am afraid for my teenage daughter to drive it because of it's unreliability and safety issues. Also, the console has broken, the clear coat is pealing off the interior doors, handles and dash. Please help us because there are alot of people that depend on the VW's and cannot afford new, safer cars.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #10

Nov 012010


  • miles
The transmission on my 2001 Volkswagen Beetle has many issues including but not limited to, slipping into neutral while accelerating, hard shifts between gears, and not going into the correct gear causing slow to no acceleration which can cause an accident at any given time.

- Neenah, WI, USA

problem #9

Dec 192009

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • 100,000 miles


I have a 2001 VW Beetle transmission slips in 1st and 2nd gear and took to a shop and they said I need a new transmission.

- Kirtland, NM, USA

problem #8

Jan 172010


  • 120 miles
2001 Volkswagen Beetle transmission problems!!!!!!

- Weatherford, OK, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jul 282006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
My 2001 VW Beetle turbo will not come out of park. It is stuck there. I was parked on a downward slope without the parking brake on. I T was 95 degrees F. I called VW and they told me to do the following. * 1. I have to turn it off * 2. pump the brake 5 times and hold it for the 5th time all the way down * 3. turn the car on completely * 4. wait 5 seconds * 5. then turn it off * 6. turn it 1/4 turn (no lights on the dashboard of the car) * 7. then I can turn the shift in between neutral and drive * 8. then turn the car completely on to turn it completely on to shift it into drive.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #5

Mar 142006

Beetle Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,920 miles


: the contact stated that the vehicle would not shift out of park intermittently. There is recall, #03V265000, concerning the brake light switch. The recall did not correct the problem. The vehicle is having the same problems again. The dealership has been contacted. Four brake switches have been replaced. The contact had to pay for all of them. Vehicle has been a problem since day one. The contact purchased extended warranty, but it did not help. It cost the contact over $3,000 in repairs. Updated on 05/16/2006.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #4

Feb 202006

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle would not shift out of park and the dealer replaced the shift interlock system solenoid. The replacement only remedied the problem for a two year period and it has now returned, but the vehicle has not been repaired. The shift interlock solenoid, the safety feature that requires the brake to be depressed in order for the vehicle to be taken out of park failed twice.

- Commerce Township, MI, USA

problem #3

Nov 192005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2001 Beetle gets stuck in park. When the car is off, it will move freely into any other gear. When I start the car, the gear shift will not move out of park.

- Argyle, TX, USA

problem #2

Mar 202003

(reported on)


  • miles
When shifting from drive to reverse the vehicle did not move.

- Abington, MD, USA

problem #1

Dec 022000


  • miles
Consumer was traveling about 10mph on a side street at a traffic stop, and when light turned green, he applied gas and steering wheel column locked up. He couldn't turn steering left or right. Dealership was aware of problem. Also, transmission leaks coolant, and wheels locked up.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

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