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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,073 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

Nov 152010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


My 2004 VW new Beetle convertible with triptonic transmission, with only 55,000 miles, lurches in the lower gears after the car warms up in about 10 minutes. The car will not shift smoothly between the lower gears and often revs up to 5000 RPM before it "clunks" into higher gear. The VW dealer mechanic would like to replace the transmission, at a cost to me of $6800. My research has learned that the first generation of VW?S double clutch transmissions had a chronic weak point. They combine a wet clutch (as in traditional automatic) and a gear part (as in traditional manual transmission), however both are lubricated out of same oil sump. The gear part causes the oil to be more contaminated with wear particles (vs. Traditional automatic transmission). This contaminated oil is used also in the valve body and the wet clutch, and these wear particles can deteriorate the performance of the wet clutch (clutch material, resulting in slippage, or clutch and gear change hydraulic controls, resulting in defective shift strategies). Once that happens, damage is usually irreversible. VW changed the oil service recommendation recommend from (fill for life) or 100,000 miles to 40,000 miles. Even at this reduced amount, they clearly still had a problem. They probably modified the design since but have not admitted it. VW has not been ethical in their handling of the defective transmission design. The transmission can fail at anytime creating a dangerous situation on the freeway, turning across traffic, etc. VW of America acts like this is a new problem they have never seen before. Suggests replacing a pressure sensor and replacing transmission fluid at a cost of $700 plus the $150 for diagnosing. Local european repair (well respected) says pressure sensor and transmission valve casing needs to be replaced together (cost $2000)...if lucky this will delay full blown transmission self destruction. VW of America is screwing loyal customers by not repairing design flaw.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #81

Sep 012010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My vehicle has 75,000 miles on it and is a 2004 new Beetle. It is no longer drivable and the car needs a new transmission. I took it to aamco and they have told me it is an unsafe vehicle and will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 to repair. After much research, I can see that this seems to be an ongoing problems with the 2004 new Beetles. I am currently not driving it because it actually bucks so badly that it causes my car to jump anywhere from 1 to 5 feet and it could hit a vehicle or a pedestrian.

- West Conshohocken, PA, USA

problem #80

Apr 082007


  • 96,000 miles
2004 new Beetle conv turbo. Always in shop. Always had problems. In the shop more than at home. Elec issues, windows not working, air bag lights flashing, top staying down wont go up one repair after another. Now the transmission is gone. What a piece of [xxx]. just hope some one reads this and talks their daughter or wife out of making a 20,000 dollar mistake. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dickson, TN, USA

problem #79

Nov 022010


  • 64,000 miles


At 64,000 miles my 2004 VW, automatic, begin to "jump" gears between the 1st and 2nd gear after it warmed up. It got progressively worse and I took it in to the dealer. After being told that the warranty was out, I was told that they were certain it was the gear box because the transmission did not show up in the diagnostic as the problem. They did not guarantee that the gear box would fix the problem. I did not authorize the work and took it to another VW repair. They told me that it was the transmission, but there was a problem with it not showing up in the diagnostic. I have no confirmation of the problem and the work is expensive, the estimate for the gear box replacement (without guarantee that it would fix the problem was in excess of $2,000. The other gamble was to replace the transmission at the cost of $5,000 plus labor. I still don't have confirmation of what the problem is, but the repair options are costly and a gamble at best.

- Buda, TX, USA

problem #78

Oct 282010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 81,400 miles
I own a 04 Beetle conv. And at around 78,000 miles the transmission started acting sluggish and would make a loud popping sound as it shifted into gear and jolted U forward, now it is at around 81,000 and will only shift through first and second gears safely. When it hits 35mph the RPM's raise rapidly and the car will eventually come to rest at 25 mph and go no faster. If I slam on the breaks it gets stuck in 3rd gear and will only be able to reach 50 mph max at 5,500 RPM's.. I have contacted VW and they just tell me that a my only option is to replace this transmission at a cost of 5,813.00+labor or trade it in for a value somewhere around $1,500 and refuse to do anything further. This seems to be a common problem between Beetles, jettas, golfs, and gti's. with car transmissions completely going out or acting like this on the road, im a little confused as to why VW has not been forced to deal with this and why a recall has not been issued?

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #77

Oct 202010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
2004 VW Beetle slipping banging transmission 4500-7000 dollar fix seems to be on most cars. Should be a recall from VW.

- El Dorado Springs, MO, USA

problem #76

Oct 022010


  • 68,911 miles


I own a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle that has a tiptronic transmission with almost 69,000 miles. It started jerking when shifting gears, when accelerating and decelerating. I took it to an independent VW/Audi repair shop had diagnostics run and was told the transmission was bad, and that it was a problem frequently seen with 2004 Beetles that have the tiptronic transmission. The cost for a new transmission would be $5700 plus tax, and a used transmission would be $4400 plus tax. I called the local VW dealership to ask about the frequency of the problem and whether VW was planning any type of recall due to the large number of complaints with the tiptronic transmission, and was told the problem didn't warrant a recall at this time. I think a $6200 repair for a car that is worth around $10,000 is insane. Given the number of complaints regarding the transmission in the 2004 Beetles and the excessive cost of repair, VW should recall these transmissions.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #75

Aug 152010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Transmission problems with 2004 VW Beetle turbo, abrupt shifting, and accelerating at low speed to a sudden stop dealership cant find solution it is frustrating might need to replace transmission and the car is only 68000 miles, no warranty for this problem. Already paid VW dealership 500dlls without a diagnose, car is getting worse has engine light on, esp and asr lights on, not safe to drive according to the dealership, yet they cant figure out what is wrong with it!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Laredo, TX, USA

problem #74

Oct 012010


  • 68,000 miles
While driving the car, it started to just jerk right around the time I would brake to stop the car. Initially, I thought it was the brakes but had them checked out and that wasn't the problem. Then the car started getting worse. When the car shifts in low gears whether shifting up or down the car jerks and sometimes stalls.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #73

Sep 012010


  • 68,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW Beetle turbo, automatic convertible, with 77,000 miles. The transmissions does not change gears properly, and at will not operate at all. The dealer has indicated it needs a new transmission at a cost of $6,800. The vehicle is not worth much more than that!! it is not safe to drive..

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #72

Sep 112004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


My car is a 2004 VW Beetle. It only has over 48,000 miles. The car began to violently shift gears. VW service stated it needed the transmission replaced and quoted me $7,000. I now have it at a transmission specialist who is rebuilding it and it will cost approximately $3,000. I have a rental car that when all is said and done will be an additional $400. VW has a monopoly on their cars. I have read on-line people who have had similar problems. How is it fair to the consumer in this economy for Volkswagen not take ownership of their defective cars and shift the responsibility on the unknowing consumer?

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #71

Sep 172010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 63,782 miles
Problem with transmission, gear stuck in low.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #70

Sep 222010


  • 69,760 miles
The most recent incident occurred while I was in traffic driving up the dallas North tollway in stop and go traffic...when I depressed the pedal the transmission slipped and would not accelerate so I finally had an opportunity to pull over and let the car cool down. After about 20 minutes on the side of the road I was again able to drive the car. I contacted the dealer who repaired the transmission and told them I am having the same problem...sad thing is I have had the car at the dealership on 3 other times since late may for them to 1) replace the transmission, 2) replace the computer transmission chip, 3) replace the torque converter in the transmission...all in all I have been out about $7K including rentals and everything. My biggest concern is that in the other cases I have had problems it was when I was getting off the highway after driving a bit then the transmission would slip. This time however could have been a major accident since it occurred while I was in major traffic. In total the VW dealer has had my car a total of about 10 weeks since late May...this is terrible. I am not the only consumer with VW Beetle issues with the transmission several out there are having problems. Can something be done about this instead of the consumer suffering"? or do we have to wait until there are worst cases similar to Toyota or Ford"

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #69

Aug 202010


  • 55,900 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle. The automatic transmission would not shift properly and it began clanking, jerking and sometime it failed to shift into gear. The vehicle was driven to a transmission shop where she was told that it was the valve body that needed to be replaced. The vehicle should not be driven without repairing the failure. There were no recalls or warranties regarding the failure. The dealer was called and advised her to bring the vehicle in for diagnostic testing so that they could determine the problem. The Volkswagen manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 55,900.

- Lathrop, CA, USA

problem #68

Sep 172010


  • 77,250 miles
2004 VW Beetle transmission failure at 77K miles. Transmission needs to be replaced/rebuilt at a cost of $4,500.

- Valley Village, CA, USA

problem #67

Sep 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,148 miles
I own a 2004 VW new Beetle, gls 2.0 automatic, with 56,000 miles on it. I was making a quick trip down the street at around 30mph when my gears suddenly started slipping, causing my RPM to shoot dangerously high and my car to slow down. The next day I drove the car under 30mph to work (1.5 miles away) and the problem persisted. The only way I could drive safely was to let off of the gas every time the gear changed and slipped. I then took the car to a transmission repair shop and was told that the transmission needs to be rebuilt. The gentleman I spoke with at the shop said he had seen a lot of VW Beetles coming in with the same problem, all under 100K miles. Unfortunately I do not have $4,000 to replace the transmission on my car and am now left without transportation indefinitely. I am extremely angered by the fact that this would happen to a car at only 56,000 miles.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #66

Jun 162010


  • 76,000 miles
I have been having a problem with my 2004 Volkswagen Beetle transmission. It has been intermittently jerking and stalling. I was driving slowly through a doctor's office parking lot very mindful of pedestrians when the car unexpectedly jerked forward and I nearly hit a pedestrian. It happened again at a cross walk where I was slowing down to stop but before I did stop the car downshifted abruptly and had I not had a firm grip on the break I would have hit children in the cross walk. I have been unable to drive my car because it is not safe and Volkswagen will not address the problem even though there are hundreds of pages online of similar cases. It is just a matter of time before VW transmissions are the cause of a serious injury if it has not already happened. Very frightening and very expensive to fix.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #65

Jan 012009


  • 80,000 miles
Drive train on 2004 VW new Beetle convertible, vehicle will not down shift when stopped unless vehicle is turned off, then when put in gear jumps forward. Sealed transmission, dealer said it happens a lot but VW of America will do nothing to fix.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #64

May 152010


  • 82,000 miles
I have a 2004 Beetle convertible w/ 85K miles and the transmission began "clunking" about 3 months ago. I was told I will need a new transmission costing more than $4000. I came to this site and saw time and time again the exact same problem other owners are having. Many have researched further and it appears to be an obvious defect. This is a safety issue and should be a formal recall.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #63

Aug 202010


  • 83,445 miles
2004 VW new Beetle with dsg transmission. Car drops into limp mode. Happened on expressway resulting in low speed to get to median. Happens when pulling away from intersection and goes into neutral. Car will not move until engine is stopped and restarted. Above issues happened 4 times over a 3 day period. Not safe to drive. Dsg transmission with the mechatronics unit is rare in 04 Beetles. Not included in factory recalls of 07 and up. Had mechatronics unit replaced for $2250 my expense. 80,000 miles on car. 07 and up have warranty extension to 100,000 miles. 04 not included because of low frequency of event. Low frequency because not many around. Car is dangerous and should be covered by warranty same as O7 VW & Audi cars.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

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