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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,805 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.

2004 Volkswagen Beetle drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Jul 012012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


When accelerating from a stop or from a low speed, when shifting from 3rd to 4th gear, the engine revs to a very high RPM, and I have no power and no acceleration. If I take my foot off the gas, it will then shift with a hard clunk. Shifting in other gears is starting to be clunky as well. It is very dangerous to be driving on a highway with a car drifting to a lower velocity, when you are trying to accelerate!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #24

Oct 012007


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle gls. The contact stated that the transmission failed. The contact mentioned that when the gears were shift from park into drive there was a brief delay on the vehicle acceleration. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the transmission had a three second delay which was considered normal but as a safety precaution the transmission fluid and filter needed to be replaced. The remedy failed to repair the problem. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 57,000 and the current mileage was 97,000.

- Honolulu , HI, USA

problem #23

Jun 252012

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • 89,000 miles
The transmission is slipping and N flaring. The car hesitates and then lunges forward upon acceleration. I had a mechanic look at it and he said the transmission needs to be replaced. There is a class action lawsuit in process for this vehicle.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #22

Apr 022012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


My automatic 2004 VW Beetle convertible jerks so hard from 1st to 2nd gear, it fells like I have been rear ended, or popped the clutch. I have almost been in 2 accidents due to the severity of the jerking, and have had the wheels actually squeal. The car works fine for the first 20-30 minutes, but then gets so bad I fear I may get whiplash. It is now beginning to rev to 6000 RPM when it shifts into 6th gear, or hesitates and I lose power. Have been told I will need to replace transmission, but that will cost almost as much as the car is worth.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #21

Apr 232012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 63,370 miles
The contact was driving 60 mph when the vehicle diplayed an abnormal noise when shifting. The vehicle also jumped gears when shifting. It is a triptronic transmission. It almost caused me to have an accident. When looking on the website I find many VW Beetle owners are having the same problem. These tranmissions should be recalled. Faulty and dangerous.

- Akron, OH, USA

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problem #20

Jan 162012


  • miles
Bought my car in 2011 August. Started noticing problems in November 2011. Gears shifting problems in Jan 2012. My mileage was only 77,000 could not drive car. VW said my warranty was expired and wanted $3,500 for new transmission. Paid money and in 2 weeks was back in shop with same problem. But I almost got in a car accident, my gears stalled in middle of road. Luckily no one was in front of me or in back. Scared me and I wouldn't drive it anymore. Friend took it back in and they replaced transmission two times. (this was all VW transmissions). And its still in the shop because it took out the car computer now. Its been 2 months without a car and im a single working mother. Getting rides. They also wanted to charge me labor for the additional transmission errors!!!!! its been a nightmare! VW has been rude and not sensitive to problems at all. They could care less.

- Nixa, MO, USA

problem #19

Jan 102012


  • 101,362 miles


Car occasionally stops in the middle of the road without warning. Takes several minutes to restart. Mechanic says it needs a new transmission. Used car warranty requires expensive testing on transmission before giving a decision as to whether they will pay for it or not. If they won't pay for it we can't afford to do it ourselves. We bought this car in Sept. 2011. The mileage is too high to be part of the recall on many of the Beetles built during that time. VW is very cagey about acknowledging this issue.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #18

Nov 122008


  • 50,000 miles
Trans shifting badly, problem started shortly after vehicle purchase took to dealer and they said they could not duplicate. Vehicle was under warranty and nothing was vehicle has 94000 miles and looks like trans and valve body will need to be replaced. I wish someone would get on VW of America so they would step up to the plate. They come to thiscountry sell a defective product and the american people get taken hope the government will step in. I am an american vet and cannot believe this is happening.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #17

Dec 182011


  • 59,100 miles
Vehicle is seven years old with 59,100 miles and already needs a new transmission due to incorrect gear ratio fault 17114, and PO330. Also, needs a catalytic converter, has air leak from brake booster vacuum pipe. VW corporation advised converter under warranty and offered $1,000 toward a new or used VW. The transmission is approximately $4,000. I declined their offer. I also had to replace three window regulators....updated 01/30/12

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #16

Jan 162012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 69,160 miles
The car jerks between gears and it is getting worse. The problem is the valve body. It is a known problem. (hundreds of postings on the internet complaining.) VW had an extended warranty up to 100,000 and we are only at 69,000, but it ended in October 2010. We were never notified of the problem nor did the mechanic tell us of the problem. From what I have read the transmission will now suddenly jam up and this has happened in traffic. The VW dealership now wants $2,317 for the repair! clearly this is a safety issue that should be covered by VW.

- Round Lake , IL, USA

problem #15

Jan 212008

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles


The transmission started out shifting rough. Then it progressed to a point that it will shift so hard that it will throw you forward in you seat. We took it to the dealership and they said the warranty had expired and that we would have to pay for it. Then last year the VW sent us a letter saying the warranty had been extended as the transmission was defective. However, they sent it to us a month after the extension expired. We complained to VW and they said there was nothing they could do about it.

- Santa Maria, CA, USA

problem #14

Dec 142011


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. The contact stated that the vehicle would jerk violently when shifting gears. A local mechanic diagnosed that the vehicle would need a new transmission. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer were notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 60,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Brandon , MS, USA

problem #13

Dec 052011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 95,100 miles
My problem with the car is the same as everyone else that has complained...identical problems! all told the cost, with a rental car is $6,500, so far. The car is in the shop and I am having to wait for the remanufactured transmission to be delivered. This is insanity and I won't even begin with all the other issues the car has had and still has! the transmission is/was a safety hazard. Wake up people! I know a few of us must die for you to wake up...get real... we are mad as [xxx]. I want VW to pay for the transmission. Thank you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Englewood , FL, USA

problem #12

Aug 042011


  • 63,250 miles
In city traffic, my vehicle has a violent jerky down-shift when approaching a stop, approximately 25mph to 20 mph. It feels like the bottom of the car is falling out. When these occurrences first happened, they were occasional. On the highway I believe it slips from one gear to another. Today, a few months later the occurrences are more frequent and I am forced to seek professional care for my vehicle. I have regularly maintained my vehicle with care and attention to the maintenance requirements. My online research has indicated that this event is not an isolated event, but this occurrence describes a typical VW Beetle transmission with mileage between 50K and 70K; there are hundreds if not thousands of like complaints. I have found two separate forums online supporting this very complaint. This is very low mileage for a failed transmission, especially when many similar small vehicles are offering warranties for 100K miles or more. The VW customer care has failed to respond to my inquiries. I believe my car has become unsafe to drive and I am fearful that it will break down on the freeway or a potentially dark road or in bad weather. I would ask that the NHTSA please look into these recurrent issues with Volkswagen and make Volkswagen accountable for the failing transmission, or, at the very least look into the valve bodies and whether they are up to standards, standards that would prevent this vehicle from failing on the highway and causing potential hazards to drivers and passengers. Thank you,

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #11

Nov 102010


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle. The contact was driving 60 mph when the contact attempted to shift from second gear but the vehicle would not respond. In addition, the vehicle exhibited an abnormally hard shift. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic where the mechanic advised that the valve body in the transmission was defective. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 58,000. The VIN was not available.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 052011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
At less 60K miles, I've been having transmission problem and was told by 2 repair shops that it need to be replaced. Both repair shops admitted that this is a common problem with VW Beetle. I purchase the car new and maintained and service at suggested times at same place of purchase. I purchased extended warranty and have complained in the past. The problem then was intermittent and shop never found the problem until the warranty expired a month later. I have read similar problem from several owners and some were repaired free while other were turned away. Since the problem is inconsistent with many owners at such low mileage, this problem qualifies under lemon law. I request that NHTSA investigate this mechanical problem and consider a recall based on many complaints. Even repair shops know this problem existed and we need help form this government body to investigate this problem before it continues to compromised safety.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 172011

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated while driving the vehicle it would shift into neutral gear and then the brake pedal had to be engaged in order to shift back into drive. The contact spoke with the dealer who was told that the control valves caused the failure. The current mileage was 64,000. The consumer stated the engine would increase in speed and the transmission shifted down to 5th gear. Updated 12/02/11

- Canon, GA, USA

problem #8

May 022011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
My car is a certified used VW Beetle. The transmission started slipping a few months ago, along with other parts of the car. This was after the warranty period on the car, and I know it is used, but I now come to find out that the transmission problems have been documented, in fact are blatantly on this wiki for the car (which unfortunately, either was not up when we bought the car, or I did not read it carefully) "the automatic transmission, for example, is a well-documented issue, often failing after only a relatively short period of use." There are numerous pages where this is noted now across the web: some incidents noted show the danger of this situation. Luckily this has not happened to me, but now I am looking at replacing a whole transmission (along with failed door motors and such). If this is a known problem, how can VW get away with certifying this car, without at least a warning or a longer warranty on parts they know will fail. I consider this a fraud perpetrated on me. Unfortunately this repair is going to cost more than the car is worth, and yet, we still owe money on it to VW for our loan. I am very frustrated here. Thank you.

- Beverly, MA, USA

problem #7

May 012011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 83,008 miles
Purchased my 2004 convertible Beetle in may of 2011 with 83,000 miles and within a few days the transmission began slipping and jerking. It started getting worse as time went on, so we had a mechanic put in some lucas trans fix, it helped a little but did not fix the problem. The slipping and jerking is a definite safety issue and has to be recalled. Noticed on that there are numerous complaints regarding the transmission slipping and jerking. Also noticed that VW America has not taken responsibility for this issue. So I am documenting my complaint and I am asking all 2004 Beetle owners to do the same in hopes to put pressure on VW to take responsibility. The engineers responsible for the transmission failed this program, I hope you idiots take responsibility for your mistakes.

- Amnaheim, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 062010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Well it has been nothing but trouble. First thing, the transmission went bad and then right after that there was no brake lights. The top will not come down by it self. The dash lights come on ( air bag, brakes, check engine, emissions). Sounds like there are holes in the muffler. Last but not least the right rear window fell down and they won't 800 to fix, there are several complaints about this and nothing is being done.

- Plainfield, IN, USA

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