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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
112,650 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replace transmission (2 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Beetle transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #4

Nov 282015

Beetle 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles


I bought the car two ago. I should have took it back but didn't. The transmission went out and starting leaking. What can I do do about anybody know. The people I bought it from didn't want to do anything.

- , Claremont, NC, USA

problem #3

May 162014

Beetle TDI 1.9L Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I've been driving my automatic 2003 VW Beetle (Diesel) for 7-8 years and noticed the occasional jerkiness when shifting between gears. Last Friday whatever was wrong with it finally gave up the ghost, as when I stopped at a light, when the light turned green and I pushed on the gas, it just sat there and rev'd then slammed into gear and I was able to drive. It did this several more times, each at a stop light, before finally going out completely. Reverse still works, but no longer will it work in Drive, D2 or D3.

Searched the internet and found lots of other complaints about the 2003 and 2004 VW Beetle Transmissions. So it's a known issue with VW, but they are not willing to do anything about it.

- , Woodinville, WA, USA

problem #2

Sep 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

VW has a long history of not standing behind its cars. VW has known about this transmission defect, yet they continued to produce bad transmissions, and they refuse to accept responsibility for fixing this potentially dangerous problem. VW is not customer friendly in the USA because VW knowingly screws its automotive owners. A good car company will acknowledge its faults, and it will correct its problems before being FORCED to do so by government agencies.

- , Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #1

Nov 052009

Beetle GLS 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,600 miles

This problem has been reported in the 2004 Beetles, but I have a 2003 that is doing exactly what the 2004's are doing. The trans has been hard shifting, jolting into gear or slipping since I purchased it 16 months age. The problem has been intermittent until now and has left my mechanics scratching their heads. The slipping has now escalated into the car going into "Limp Mode" and only traveling in 1st gear. I have noticed that the slipping seems to get worse as the transmission warms up and becomes the most severe on the way home rather than when it is cold starting out. It has been to the repair shop 3 times already for the slipping and they have been unable to determine a cause after charging me over $600 in diagnostics, services and failed attempts at repair. I will be returning it to the shop in the morning and will be bringing the information I have uncovered about the 2004 models with the same problems, but from what I have read, I have no confidence that the problem will be resolved. VW has lost a consumer for life.

- , Auburn, CA, USA

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