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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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,667 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.

2003 Volkswagen Beetle transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #85

Apr 202011

Beetle 6-cyl

  • 71,000 miles

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

My 2003 new Beetle convertible has been having transmission problems where it will jerk violently when it shifts up or down and sometimes it will not shift at all. It will get stuck in a gear and I have to stop it and turn the engine off and restart it. It will jerk even when stopped at a light. I have to make sure I am far away from the car in front of me. I no longer drive it because I don't know what will happen at any time. My airbag light stays on and will not turn off also, so I'm not sure if it will even work if there was an accident. Transmissions should not be jerking that way at all and if someone was to walk in front of my car at a stop light or sign, it could jerk forward and hit them. Not a safe car.

- Cloverdale, CA, USA

problem #84

Sep 192011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
I couldn't wait for the new Beetle convertible to come out. I bought it brand new from the dealership. Now, after only 60,000 miles, I am told I need a new transmission. The car is completely unsafe to drive--it will get stuck in first gear, it will kick between gears one and two, and it will jolt suddenly and without warning. These vehicles are unsafe for the road.

- Playa Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #83

Sep 062011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles
My 2003 new Beetle convertible with a 2.0 automatic transmission (code: Ggz) has a bad transmission that needs to be replaced and I see many other people are having the same problem. I cannot afford $6,000 for a new transmission and $3,500 for used. The used transmissions have more miles than my poor car. I want to file a complaint against VW.

- Palm Springs, CA, USA

problem #82

Jan 152011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,100 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle. The contact stated the vehicle would jerk violently when she attempted to shift between gears. She also noticed debris entered the vehicle through the ventilation system which was a greasy substance that caused her eyes to burn and could have obstructed her view. The dealer nor manufacturer were notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was awaiting an appointment with a private mechanic. The current mileage was 67,700. The approximate failure mileage was 67,100. Updated 10/18/11 the dealer indicated the debris was a result of the A/C unit protection with a foam substance which was peeling off the A/C unit. The consumer also stated the main valve for the transmission was replaced

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #81

Apr 082011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
While driving at a speed of around 45+ mph my wife's VW Beetle randomly downshifted to the point that it squealed the tires and threw her forward. The dealership determined that the transmission will have to be replaced. Their estimate is $4900 for a used transmission or $6000+ for a new one from VW. They also said that this is a "known" problem with this specific transmission. The dealership said we should have received a letter from VW extending the warranty on the transmission to 100,000 miles for this problem. I have the letter but my wife's car has 128,000 miles so VW has refused to help at all with the problem. I also checked with two other VW dealerships in the kc metro and they immediately started nodding their head in agreement about this being a "known" problem with this transmission. As I was trying to locate a used transmission online at a cheaper price I was absolutely in shock at the volume of people that have had this same problem with this transmission. That random downshift is going to cause a wreck if it hasn't already. If someone is following too close, the pavement is wet, snow on the ground, gravel roads, whatever scenario you can imagine - a downshift of that nature could easily result in a wreck. I also checked with a national transmission company (certified transmission) and they said that due to a "design flaw" with that transmission they will only warranty their work to 12mos/12,000 miles instead of their normal 3yr/50,000. VW's own letter acknowledging a problem due to "customer complaints", 3 dealerships stating this is a "known" problem, a national transmission company reducing their warranty due to a "design flaw" and the literally hundreds of discussions with the same problem - it is obvious there is a known issue with VW's "ggz" transmission.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #80

May 202011

Beetle

  • 93,764 miles
2003 Beetle conv tiptronic switch failure to down shifts on the Beetle leads to false reading as to replacing of the whole transmissions on the Beetles. Not safe while driving on freeway up- hill jerks like losing speed in shifting. Transmission should not be going out at 93, 000 miles do to tipronic shifter over $592 to fix 6, $792 for rebuilt transmission. I was told by VW to replace transmission due totipronic shifter failure est $6,792 dollars for transmission $592 for tipronic shifter. Replace shifter till have old part.

- Perris, CA, USA

problem #79

Apr 142011

Beetle

  • 80,000 miles

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

Bought car for daughter Feb.2011. The gear seems to get hung up between 2nd and 3rd then the car will barely move. Sometimes when it goes in to gear it lunges forward. My daughter almost had a wreck trying to turn and the gear got hung up and stalled in traffic.

- Boiling Springs, SC, USA

problem #78

May 062011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
2003 VW Beetle... transmission "lurches" forward... not safe. VW extended warranty by only 7 years. That excluded any 2003's sold during normal model year. Only had 54,000 miles. Cost over $3,000 to fix. How can Volkswagen know there is a problem and then exclude vehicles like this?

- Stow, OH, USA

problem #77

Sep 202009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 76,500 miles
Near-miss but no traffic collision due to unexpected jerkiness, loss of power transfer to drive wheels, with associated revving of engine of 2003 VW new Beetle convertible with automatic transmission, while I tried entering traffic stream on a busy street. Symptoms were intermittent for 9 months; now present whenever vehicle warmed up after 3 miles driving; vehicle not used for past 9 mo. Volkswagen dealer advises "replace transmission". valve body failure in 6-speed tiptronic (aisin-warner 09G) automatic transmission causes hard upshifts and downshifts and lapses in power transfer, resulting in unsafe situations when merging onto freeway or into heavy traffic, for example. The 6 electrically controlled valves and associated solenoids in this transmission gradually wear out, typically soon after the Volkswagen 5-year, 60000-mile powertrain warranty expires. The problem is traceable to defective design of the combination of aluminum valve bores, shift valves which cause wear in the bores, faulty solenoids, and shift programming which relies on frequent electrically activated movement of the valves to modulate and produce smooth shifts between gears. The consequence of continuing to drive the car can be complete transmission failure, which may occur unexpectedly and place the driver in a dangerous situation if unable to pull off the roadway, or if failure occurs while attempting to merge or execute normal driving maneuvers. In my case, the transmission operates well for the first 3 miles, but not when warmed up. Volkswagen of America announced a warranty extension on the "valve body only" for the 09G model transmissions, for a specific 7 years from vehicle-in-service date or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. I will have the valve body replaced by an independent transmission shop, using genuine VW parts, as vwofa has declined to repair my transmission or replace it completely unless I am willing to pay for a new transmission. The used parts will be saved.

- Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

problem #76

Apr 012009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle. While driving at any speed, the contact noticed that the vehicle would surge and jerk forward and shift hard between gears. The dealer advised the contact to have the transmission replaced. The manufacturer did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic; however, he was unable to duplicate the failure. The current mileage is 79,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 65,000. Updated 05/05/11 updated 05/13/11

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #75

Mar 012011

Beetle

  • 106,000 miles

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

2003 volkswagon Beetle convertable..transmission company stating I need a new valve body..very dangerous to drive. Received the extension letter but was a little to late. My young daughter was driving has been stranded on the side of the road. Something needs to be doen about this..

- Cookeville, TN, USA

problem #74

Mar 012011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles
I had previously complained about my 2003 Beetle on this website. Somehow my car seems to have somehow repaired it self !! it is no longer shifting hard when it shifts and its no longer lurching or pausing as it shifts. Im not sure why, im just really relieved!

- Pittsfield, NH, USA

problem #73

Jan 132011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Transmission shifts very hard from 1st to 2nd and 3rd to 4th. Has even stalled on occasion. Has less than 70,000 miles. Transmission hits so hard it feels as though it will fall out of the car. I have stopped driving it due to this dangerous situation. Can not afford the 4,000 - 7000 dollars quoted to replace.

- Star, ID, USA

problem #72

Aug 202010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
As happened to many other owners of this vehicle, the automatic transmission on my 2003 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible began to bang very hard when shifting and locked up periodically in third gear. When the transmission locked up in third gear while stopped at a light, the car was very slow to move. This left me nearly stranded in the middle of major busy intersections several times. I had to get out of the car to push it to the side of the road with cars whizzing past. This defect is very dangerous and is a known frequent problem with these cars through several year models. It cost me over $3000 to have the transmission fixed. VW is well aware of the problems with the control valve in this defective transmission and has extended the warranty, but has left out cars sold at the time mine was.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #71

Jun 122009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 81,009 miles
2003 VW new Beetle transmission valve body. Rough shifting up and down. 1st and 2nd.. could not be driven safley. I had to have it repaired at aamco. VW is rufusing to reimburse me. 4K +.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #70

Jan 152010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 34,636 miles
After around 36000 miles we noticed that the car would shift rough. The dealer told us it was not under warranty because it had a leak. The problem has persisted and we were told by a transmission shop that the leak was not severe enough to cause these problems. It now shifts so rough that when it goes into gear it pull hard left or right when it engages. Upon downshifting it actually lunges forward and has caused many concerns with me and my wife.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #69

Aug 142010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Occasional violent shifting from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to third gear - automatic transmission. Very dangerous in intersections. VW had a recall to fix this problem, I was notified by them last month- VW said my car was 1 year too old - can't afford to fix on my own - car is worthless with this problem.

- Kirkwood, MO, USA

problem #68

Aug 142010

Beetle

  • 98,000 miles
Occasional violent shifting from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to third gear - automatic transmission. Very dangerous in intersections. VW had a recall to fix this problem, I was notified by them last month- VW said my car was 1 year too old - can't afford to fix on my own - car is worthless with this problem.

- Kirkwood, MO, USA

problem #67

Jan 062008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
My 2003 Volkswagen Beetle, with under 50,000 miles on it will shift dangerously hard. When it shifts into 1st or 2nd gear, it shifts with a slam and lurches forward. There is a pause before it shifts which makes it very dangerous due to oncoming traffic, instead of moving forward when it should there is that pause while it lurches down and slams into gear. It does this on a regular basis.

- Pittsfield, NH, USA

problem #66

Jan 032011

Beetle

  • 104,350 miles
2003 tdi Beetle (auto) jerks abruptly when upshifting. The car almost stalls in fast-moving traffic, creating a life-threatening condition. Dealer service dept. States a temperature sensor for transmission fluid is not functioning, and needs replacement. This is not a part that should fail as it threatens lives, and should be replaced by VW.

- Cheshire, CT, USA

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