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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,380 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.

2002 Volkswagen Beetle transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #20

May 252010

Beetle

  • 75,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Our 2002 VW transmission went out @ 75,000 miles with no notice. Just one day it would not back up. Then it was almost like it jumped into reverse and then when we put it in drive you could just tell it was not right. We limped it around from place to place getting opinions on what was wrong and getting estimates on repair. Had one garage take the cover off side of transmission seeing metal shavings was when we got it replaced. That replacement lasted a total of 3 days, it was used with only 23000 miles on it and only lasted 3 days. It just stopped in the middle of road and would no go into any gear. Replaced that one with another ( both were fdf transmissions) and now the speedometer is off X 8-13 mph, the RPM are running high around 2800 to 3000 @ 55 -60 mph. Fuel mileage is down cut in half. Have taken it to a VW dealer and was told there were no codes anywhere and they did not know what was wrong or why these problems were happening. This tells me there is a big problem somewhere with VW transmissions and someone needs to inquire into this. The internet is full of VW transmission problems.

- Siler City, NC, USA

problem #19

Jun 102010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,000 miles
I have a 2002 VW new Beetle with an automatic transmission that has failed with 220,000 miles on it. It began to slip and not down shift properly at 170,000 miles. It is a diesel and I expect the engine will continue to perform for another 3 to 400 thousand miles. Has VW been honest with the consumer about its track history of transmission failures in the new Beetle? please add my new Beetle to the list of automatic transmission complaints.

- Cedar Grove, TN, USA

problem #18

Apr 162010

Beetle

  • 65,234 miles
Over the past two months, I have experienced problems shifting in between gears. The problem began on a road trip to houston, tx and was stuck on a back highway in low gear in the middle on nowhere. After bringing the car to a stop and restarting the vehicle it worked for some time but the issue progressively got worse over the last two months. I live in nacogdoches, tx where there are many hills throughout town, this past Friday on my way home from school my car would not shift gears and I could not get over the hills. Another car came over the hill and almost hit me as the speed limit is 55 mph in that area and my car was not even moving as I hit over 6000 RPM and I could not move forward to climb the hill. Now the vehicle will not even move forward once it was brought to my driveway, no matter how many times I have restarted.

- Nacogdoches, TX, USA

problem #17

Oct 162009

Beetle

  • 104,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

After driving the car for about 20 minutes, I stopped at a redlight. When the light turned green, my car acted like it did not have a lot of power and would not shift into 2nd and 3rd gears without over revving. Whenever I slowed back down, the car abruptly and severely downshifts. The shift is hard enough that it slings me forward. I fear that I will soon be rearended because of this. I do not feel safe to drive my car. This occurrence happens sporadically and I can't get it fixed until a mechanic witnesses it happening.

- Glasgow, KY, USA

problem #16

Sep 012009

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
2002 Volkswagen Beetle automatic transmission. There is a long hesitation then a violent jerk going into gears. I had stopped at the stop sign at the end of my road, I then proceeded to cross 4 lanes of highway traffic when the transmission decided to do a long hesitation. A multiple car accident was almost the result. I have since parked the car and do not drive it because I cannot afford to fix it and Volkswagen told me that the repairs would be $5700. This hesitation and jerking happens everytime time now when driven. I believe this is a safety concern and should be looked into. Thank you!

- Chillicothe, OH, USA

problem #15

Oct 212002

Beetle

  • 31,000 miles
Transmission of 2002 VW Beetle needs to be replaced. The car has only 31,000 miles and has been very well cared for. This seems to be a common problem on VW Beetles. Could there be a defect in the transmissions of there cars?

- Mound, TX, USA

problem #14

Jul 012009

Beetle

  • 70,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2002 turbo VW Beetle. Seems to be jerking when shifting into gear. Last week it jerked me forward quite hard. Scary!! car has 70,000 miles. I see there is alot of people with this same problem. I've spent $1200 in the last year on various repairs. As I saw with other complaints, A/C stops working and then this. Wondering if this is a safety issue with the seriousness of this jerking affect. Jerking now has gotten harder and is everytime it shifts into gear. This is an automatic! when recently taken into a VW shop they did a computer scan on it and nothing comes up. Various hoses, water pump, thermo reader have been replaced.

- Vancouver, WV, USA

problem #13

Jul 282007

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,400 miles
When you put the car in drive with your foot on the brake, when you let off the brake the car will roll backwards then jerk forward.

- Carl Junction, MO, USA

problem #12

Sep 042004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,057 miles
Transmission replaced three times, still not working properly, lunges into forward and reverse, and will drop into and out of high and low gear when driving. Sunroof leaked because the drainage tubing was not connected at factory causing water damage to leather seats and now mold is growing inside of vehicle, making it difficult to be inside and have had one sinus infection already.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 262005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
I purchased this "like new"VW super Beetle on Dec 31 04. It had only 17000 miles on it. Since that time I have had the transmission modulator on it changed, and in the shop 6 time for a transmission problem. When the car has been sitting for an hour or so it will hesitate then slam into 2nd gear. It causes me and passengers to lunge foward then back. I am told this is a charaturistic of VW and should just ignore it or get use to it.

- Ukiah, California, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 172002

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The transmission in my 2002 New beetle fails to engage for a second or two after the car has been sitting for a while. Doesn't do it at other times, only when the car has been sitting an hour or more. Dealership replaced transmission module twice (two different dealerships) and the third and fourth time I brought it in with the same complaint, they said it was normal for the transmission to behave this way. Inherent to the design of the transmission was this small delay for emissions reasons. I am not buying it, not with all the other issues I have had with this car. I have had it in four times for power window problems and getting ready to bring it in for a fifth. The monsoon stereo has been replaced once and is malfunctioning again. The parking brake assembly broke and had to be replaced. Lots of bothersome problems and now I hear what sounds like a valve tap.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #9

Aug 182004

Beetle

  • 19,900 miles
While at a stop/driving vehicle jerked forward. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Farmersville, CA, USA

problem #8

Nov 012003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
Consumer stated when shifting the vehicle into reverse it moved forward. This happened three different times to three different drivers. Once while sitting at a light, when consumer took foot off the brake, it went reverse.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #7

Apr 012003

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
After the vehicle was started, the consumer was unable to shift the gear from park to drive.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #6

Dec 182002

(reported on)

Beetle

  • miles
While traveling on the highway the vehicle will jerk back and forth. The transmission has froze and will not shift gear. Please fill in additional information dealer is aware of the problem.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 302002

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While consumer has his fot on the brake, and the transmission in forward gear, it will not engage. When removing his foot, the vehicle will hesitate and then lurch forward into gear. If on a hill the vehicle will roll backwards before engaging. The transmission control module has been changed several times and the problem still exists.

- Whitehall, MI, USA

problem #4

Mar 302002

Beetle

  • miles
Consumer states that when vehicle is shifted into drive with foot still on the brakes it will not engage. When foot is removed from the brake vehicle will hesitateand then lurch forward. Dealer contacted, cannot fix problem.

- Whitehall, MI, USA

problem #3

Jun 012002

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
A component within the transmission causes the vehicle to either not come out of park or while being driven the vehicle drops down to 20 mph and speed cannot be regained. Nlm

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #2

Feb 052002

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission noted to be downshifted very hard when coming to a slow stop. When slowing to a stop and reaching the 15-20 mph area car will jerk hard. Took back to tony Honda for service and they told me that everything checks out to Volkswagen specs and they were not going to check into it any further. Volkwagen was contacted by me and told to take car for second opinion at cutter volkwagen here in honolulu. Steve from service drove the car and could not belive it was doing the downshifting. After several days in the shop they replaced parts of the transmission and it was still doing it. They were authorized to replace my transmission with another from a new car in stock but they also did the same thing. It turns out that there is a computer malfunction in the transmission and it needs to be reprogrammed. They are supposed to be getting this in from germany and so far I have been waiting 2 weeks. During this time I spilled hot coffe on my leg and have 2nd degree burns due to this shifting problem and while my wife was driving with my son he hit his head on the dashboard coming to a stop when this defect occurred. They told me this is non-life threatening but I beg to differ. They told me that I will be the first in Hawaii to have this reprogramming done. I want out of this car, it is unsafe to drive and volkwagen doesn't care.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #1

Feb 032002

Beetle

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car downshifts extremely hard when coming to a stop, causing driver and passengers to be lunged forward in their seat.. dealer states that this is a characteristic of the car. Problem is intermittent and increases when vehicle is warmed up. On occasion downshift occurred so hard that I thought I was just rear -ended by another car. I bought the car for my wife and now she is afraid to drive it.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

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