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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 1 of 3)

problem #45

Dec 272015


  • 118,000 miles


My transmission went out all at once my airbag/seatbeilt light on all the time

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #44

Jul 152015


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. While driving at any speed, when the vehicle slowed down to approach a stop sign or traffic light, it would downshift independently. The vehicle became inoperable and had to be pulled over, turned off, and restarted. The mechanic stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified and the vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Niles, OH, USA

problem #43

Mar 012016


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that after the vehicle was parked, fluid was leaking from the front passenger side of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that coolant was leaking and an unknown hose needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. On another occasion, the contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, a burning odor emitted inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the timing chain and the water pump kit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. In addition, the contact stated that after the vehicle was started and switched into the drive position, it failed to accelerate without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #42

Nov 202015


  • 75,000 miles


For the past 3-4 years my Beetle has had worsening electrical issues. Sometimes it just turns off all by itself. Everything electrical goes out. It has even happened while driving, I was in traffic and it shut off. I was nearly killed.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #41

Apr 282014


  • 90,000 miles
April 2014, the mechatronic unit for my 2004 VW new Beetle tdi failed. It would surge in and out gear. This part was recalled overseas but not in the usa. This January 2015 what I had a a turbo failure and a dual mass clutch flywheel failure. This is the dsg 6 speed automatic transmission. The special flywheel has failed, it has a hole in the out casing and the internal springs inside are slowing breaking up and were shooting out the the assembly. These pieces then somehow managed to machine the transmission bellhousing creating at least 3 holes in the transmission case. The car seriously vibrates at idle but when under power the the car runs normal. There is a grinding sounds also when at idle. I am amazed that the the transmission hasn't catastrophically failed yet. This would be a potential crash if not repaired. Are there any other cases similar to the aforementioned problems. Please help!

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

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problem #40

May 152012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
Transmission problem only when at use for 20min starts to thump in all gears. But mostly noticeable at 3 and 4. sometime locks at 3 and have to turn off and let rest to engage 1 again.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #39

Jul 252014

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Car has sudden jerky when shifting also rear windows will not roll up or down. Dealership said needs new transmission but have only had car 8 months. The windows quit working after owning it for one week cost 400 just to fix one window. Dealership estimate to fix transmition $6700.

- Klamath Falls, OR, USA

problem #38

Feb 122014

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The transmission slips in and out of gear. The lights on the dash indicating prnd2 all have brackets around them and don't indicate what gear the car is in. It feels like we hit a road hazard every time the transmission does change gears, the dealer told us this is normal, but it is getting worse and after looking through online forums, this is a common issue with this vehicle.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #37

Nov 122013


  • 128,000 miles
Simply what happen was I bought the wrong car it night I was driving to work and all the sudden as I press the accelerator I notice the car was just revving and not going anywhere at all and on the gauge cluster the pnrds was flashing so I put my hazards on and moved into the breakdown lane and waited for a tow truck.

- Voluntown , CT, USA

problem #36

Nov 262013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 67,850 miles
Car slipped completely out of gear when shifting from 3rd gear to 4th gear. It continues to do this when the car has completely warmed up. Going out of gear essentially makes us a sitting duck on the highway for a rear end collision. Very much a safety issue for the children riding in the back seat.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #35

Oct 192013

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • 104,200 miles


Vehicle lurches forward when starting from stop. Lurching is severe and becomes worse and transmission warms. Transmission is dsg type of automatic.

- Parkville, MD, USA

problem #34

Jul 032013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
I found out today that my 2004 VW Beetle has a faulty transmission valve body. Upon researching it more, it became clear that VW was aware of this problem and denied any responsibility in correcting the problem. Additionally, VW continued to produce cars for years with the defective transmissions. I bought the car used in 2011, which was already out of warranty. I had no knowledge of this problem until last month when it started lurching and shifting hard. My car has fewer than 55,000 miles, and is only driven to work and back (9 miles a day). It was not until I read the enormous amount of complaints that I found out that this problem was not isolated to my car. I am shocked that VW will not correct an expensive and debilitating issue with their cars that causes transmissions to shut down. This problem should not be happening to a car with low miles and is not normal wear and tear. VW refuses to take responsibility and basically told me they would not do anything to help. I am hoping this complaint will force them to correct this known problem with any VW Beetle produced in the years (2003-2010) that has this defect. It is the safe and right thing to do.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #33

Nov 102012


  • 75,000 miles
My car was fine and it started running a lil funky so I took it to get a diagnostic test and turns out there is a recall on my air bags ! transmission and body valve ? it absolutely doesn't want to go in reverse anymore and I barley bought the car in July of 2012 and this incident happens just 5 months later. Very disappointed please help I am a working nursing student that still makes payments on this car. I know my rights and I feel you can help me out please and thank you. ## VIN failed ##

- Tulare , CA, USA

problem #32

Dec 272012


  • 80,000 miles
Car wouldn't excel while driving suddenly 1 mile from town suddenly traffic slowed from snow storm in town, the vehicle smell was funny black smoked slowly leaked inside the car windows up heard a misfire engine light went on blinked then I heard loud blast like I thought it was a plow trucks muffler loudness realized ir was my vehicle stopped immediately less 1/3 mile at bank. Shut off motor M now seeing smoke slowly entered in the middle of the 2 front seatsand console. Feeling hot under belly of floors. Orange glow through electrical outlet in back of console appeared to be hotwith plastic casing in and under floors hot sizzling crackling under center casing/I try to call 911 misused the cell wouldn't operate effectively flagged down a man N woman at the corner light of bank they declined to help so I went to car put snow on compartment and wet it down and aired out smoke with passenger door open.I went in bank for assistance.this vehicle was recalled for safety issues by manufacturer in the past.were said to be corrected by repairman also said seatbelt harness was a issue heated seats were a issue and airbags tranny also recalled for electrical issues and or transmission and air bags on some 2004 VW vehicle Beetles recalls so far occurred to this VW were airbag sensors/ also the seatbelt harness cases were breaking repeatedly once purchased due to putting the seats up and back to get in the vehicle. Now this mysterious fire and headlamp issue..

- Plainfield, MA, USA

problem #31

Jul 142012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph, the vehicle experienced difficulty shifting between first and second gears. The contact was able to move to the shoulder to restart the vehicle. The failure recurred several times after restarting the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the issue. The failure mileage was not available and the current mileage was 114,888. The VIN was not available.

- Gibsonville, NC, USA

problem #30

Oct 152012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 85,776 miles
The car jolts after it is warmed up. Usually at slower speeds. Tiptronic transmission.

- Nutley, NJ, USA

problem #29

Sep 172012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Car was shifting very hard, tires would squeal as shifting between 1-2 and 2-3rd gears. To replace the transmission it will be between 2-5000.00 dollars we have had to replace window regulators, thermometer.

- Milton, DE, USA

problem #28

Sep 012012


  • 67,000 miles
Erratic shifting up and down between 1st and 3rd gears. Car lurches to the point that a natural reaction is to relieve your foot from the brake which could cause a rear end collision in some cases. Problematic part is internal valve body which is a known problem with VW's of this make and model. We had the problem fixed then called VW customer care to see about reimbursement and were told that an extended warranty was issued for 7 years or 2010. Since my car had low mileage the intication occurred outside of warranty and I was told by VW that it is now my problem to take care of it to the tune of $2300 parts and labor. Incidentally, I also did not receive the warranty as I was told it would have gone to the original owner anyway. Considering this is a known issue and acknowledged by VW to be problematic up to 70,000 miles I feel that VW should offer up compensation in that it is their faulty part. Any help in recouping costs incurred to fix this problem would be appreciated.

- Nixa, MO, USA

problem #27

Jul 022012


  • 87,000 miles
Vehicle just started downshifting very hard (automatic transmission). Broke two motor mounts while driving due to the transmission shifting this hard.

- League City, TX, USA

problem #26

Sep 192012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 66,548 miles
Transmission slips second gear through fifth gear. Contacted 2 VW dealers and was told by them VW made bad transmissions in this year. They know of the problem and want 6000 dollars to fix it!

- King Of Prussia, PA, USA

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