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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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Jul 152009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


I have a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle purchased in 2008. I'm putting in this complaint along with thousand of other VW Beetle owners. The problem is the 5 speed transmission. It jerks real hard when down shifting and then again when coming to a complete stop. Now it's to the point where it won't pull at all. I have tried to call VW of America to see if there were any recalls on this problem but no will return my calls so I went on and realized there are many people with the same problem with the car and VW. I also called VW credit who I still owe for this car they told me they couldn't do anything about this, and to call VW of America. My question is what am I to do with a vehicle that I can't drive and I owe $9,000 on. That has a transmission that they are telling me I going to cost $6,000 to replace. Please! is there anyone who can help my situation ? [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #41

Apr 182010


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle convertible. While driving at 20 mph, the contact stated that when he depressed the accelerator pedal, the vehicle would hesitate before moving forward. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who informed the contact that the transmission needed to be replaced needed by the dealership. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 54,000. The current mileage was approximately 55,000.

- Tidiron, CA, USA

problem #40

Apr 022010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2004 VW Beetle convertible and my car has just hit 75,000 miles. A few weeks ago I noticed that when my car would go in or out of 3rd gear, it would jerk. At one point I was stopped at a light and when I went to accelerate it made a huge lurch and sputtered before going forward. I've also had issues shifting from reverse to drive. I took it into the VW dealership yesterday as I received a notification in the mail that I may have a faulty catalytic converter. I spoke with the dealership this afternoon and they are saying I need a new transmission. At only 75,000 miles? I looked this issue up online and have discovered hundreds of people are having the same issue. Some have even had this issue appear at 10,000 miles. From what I've read, most have replaced the transmission only to have it fail again. This sounds like a major defect and am wondering if this shouldn't fall under a recall.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #39

Apr 292010


  • miles


My 2004 VW conv. Beetle recently had to be smogged for the first time, requested by the dmv. I have submitted all dmv fees but was unable to send a smog certificate because the car will not pass smog test due to the check engine light being on. I have had my car smogged two separate times only to be told my catalytic converter needed to be replaced, and my engine light was on. I was told I can only buy a catalytic converter from a VW dealer only for approximately $1000 VW America agreed to extend my emissions control systems warranty for a catalytic converter replacement to 10 years or 120,000 miles. I took it into a V w dealer to have it fixed & replaced but was unable to because the mechanic refused to replace the converter because his diagnosis supposedly found troubles with the transmission to be the problem, and he states that all prior diagnosis are incorrect and that the catalytic converter is testing normal. This diagnosis cost me a fee of $110 because they found there to be no problem with the cat. Conv, and the fee was charged due to them finding a separate problem. Mean while the check engine light is still coming on and the car is running terrible, I am told I have no hope of receiving any extended warranty help from VW, and not to mention there has already been a recall on my transmission back in 2007 which already required major replacements and repairs, now only 3 years latter and here I am once again with major transmission trouble with no warranty. I find it very hard to believe this year of car is suppose to go through two transmissions in only six years. I also find it hard to believe two prior smog stations and there machines could be wrong about there diagnosis and found there to only be catalytic converter problem and mil light on. The bottom line is I cant get my tags from dmv because the check engine light is on due to emissions(functional) failing. And my car hardly runs.

- Lynwood, CA, USA

problem #38

Apr 102009


  • 71,314 miles
I have a 2004 VW Beetle convertible with 71314 miles. The transmission is acting up. I went to the dealer and they said it needs a new one. They want $4500 to $6000 for a transmission. They also said that is not recommended to buy a used one since they all have the same problem. I asked to the guy who was helping me after 3 hours with him; if the transmission on these cars were that bad? he said ¿yes they are¿. that was better to sell it and get another year. It was the same for all the transmissions (triptronic) for VW and Audi. VW knows the transmission is bad on these cars and all the ones that carry this transmission. Even if they fix it there is no warranty that is going to last because the original problem is not fixed. I've been doing a lot of research and you will find that the transmission is supposed to be maintenance free. Well, that is not true. The problem is that these transmissions are going bad around 30K, 40K, 50K. The problem is due to the valve body overheating. The ducts for the cooling inside the transmission are not big enough which cause the valve body to get hot and it start bending making the hold car to shake, hit inside, it feels very hard and rough. Dealers know that the problem doesn't happen immediately it can take 30min to 2 hour for the car to act up. They take advantage and sell you the car anyway because the car is sold as is and there is no warranty. There is no real way to fix this transmission only to put a different one. No the same with the upgrade. That is what they do. They sell you one with another valve body kit and new software for $6000. However that is not enough. You will find that after sometime a lot of people have reported the transmission failed again. There is thousand of complains about the same problem. Can the government do something? the transmission can fail at any time while driving and can cause the driver to lose control in an emergency situation which can result in an injury or even death. Again death.

- Apopka, FL, USA

problem #37

Apr 202010


  • 40,000 miles
Under normal use and regular maintenance the automatic transmission shifts hard up and down the gears. It does this under both light and heavy acceleration. Searching your website I see over 20 complaints on this very issue yet, I see no investigation or recalls listed. My local VW dealership says this will cost me around $7000 to replace the transmission, just from calling in and describing the problem. The danger come from unexpected jerks and lags in acceleration. You can not depend on the car to operate normally making it dangerous to make left hand turns and use in heavy traffic. This started off slowly, occurring randomly and now seems to occur no matter how far you drive or how warm the car is.

- Sherwood, AR, USA

problem #36

Mar 012010


  • miles


I also have the very common problem with the transmission in my 2004 convertible VW Beetle. Every time I downshift there's an extremely hard jerk. There should be a recall. There are many many others out there with this same problem!

- Racine, OH, USA

problem #35

Jun 122009


  • 58,600 miles
2004 VW Beetle downshifts without reason. This has happened in city traffic two times. The last time the car was driven, because it is not safe to drive, it downshifted from 6th gear to 2nd gear while being driven on the interstate.

- Arden, NC, USA

problem #34

Apr 102010


  • 82,000 miles
Problems with transmission/shifting problems. Everytime the car shifts into a gear, its very rough and infact will jerk very hard. This started every once in a while and began happening more regular as a month or so went on. Now it will stick in 3rd gear and just stay there. We can stop at a redlight, and it will remain in 3rd gear, then drive from the redlight with the car starting in 3rd gear! this is a safety issue, because the car will stick when shifting almost everytime and you could push the gas but only the rpms will go up..nothing else. This could cause me to be rear ended or hit from the side when turning left. I have had many close calls due to this issue! I have children, and the car is not safe to drive anymore. I have priced what would fix this, and its not only that I can not afford it, but the solution to the problem is only temporary! I have seen many, many people have the same issues with the same car, and they have spent countless dollars on a problem that still persists. This past Saturday my family was driving and the car stuck in gear going 45 mph, which caused the car to descend in speed, giving the people behind us hardly no time to realize what was happening. We were very very close to an accident. To add to this problem I have had an airbag sensor come on the dash about 2 months ago and will not go off. I had this looked at because it was a safety recall, but the VW dealer told me that my car was no one of the vins, but looked as if it had the same problem! this is serious! they said they could fix it, for a very high amount, but if it was defective that I could be bringing it back in for repair! this is not acceptable!!! we are talking about life or death in a crash!

- Key West, FL, USA

problem #33

Mar 012010


  • 55,000 miles
I have a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle convertible and have had numerous problems with the transmission jerking and shifting hard. The car has 55,000 miles, and the dealership cant tell me nothing only that I need a new transmission for around $7000. I have done research and talked with a lot of people with the very same issues.

- Sheffield, AL, USA

problem #32

Jun 122009


  • 58,010 miles


2004 VW Beetle downshifts from higher gear down to 2nd gear without reason or warning. Twice I was traveling at 40 mph and the 3rd time happened on interstate 26 at 60 mph. Very dangerous. Each time the car had to be towed. When the car cooled down, it could be driven 8-10 miles with no problem and then it would downshift again. This car has been at the auto repair shop for 8 months. VW will not acknowledge the problem.

- Arden, NC, USA

problem #31

Mar 162010


  • 61,500 miles
At about 35,000 miles my car started slipping with the transmission. It would jerk forward and sometimes get stuck in between 1, 3, and 4th gears. This was not a huge problem at this point and during my regular check ups, VW dealership always said there was no problem detected. 2. the automatic transmission is now failing at 60,000 miles. It has almost caused me several accidents, especially at intersections. People almost rearend me daily. Not only is the car jerking forward and backward upon gear shifting, but now it gets stuck period and will not move..the RPM's going all the way to 6-7. the tires spin, the car groans horribly, the gears show up on my dash in brackets. When I had a diagnostic test done at the dealership about four months ago, and I explained in detail the tranny problem, they said nothing was wrong with it. Now, I can tell it is almost undrivable at this pt. On my fifteen mile commute home today, I had to pull over seven times because the transmission failed. I could not get out of first gear then it jumped to six. I was stuck in the middle of an intersection at a red light, almost getting backended. This is terrifying. I had a panic attack. I have an appt. Tomorrow at the dealership to see what the problem is and how much money this will cost me. My car has always been checked up regularly.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #30

Jan 142010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles
Have a 2004 VW Beetle with automatic transmission. When the car warms up the transmission sticks for a few seconds and then jerks into gear, causing a dangerous lurch forward. It is my daughters car and she is scared to drive it because she has almost wrecked on a few occasions when this has happened.

- Soddy Daisy, TN, USA

problem #29

Nov 202009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
For the past several months, after driving my 2004 Beetle convertible for about 15-20 minutes, my car starts to shift (it feels as if I have been rear ended) and my car is jerked forward. I feel that this is a safety risk to me, my passengers and the vehicles around me. I took my car to the dealer and was informed that it need a new transmission ($7,000). After much thought and several weeks, I moved my vehicle to a local transmission shop. I was informed that the Beetle convertibles had a special transmission and that replacing one would be extremely expensive and that I should put in a salvaged transmission. Costs between $4000-$5000. This transmission will also have the risk of defection. I voiced my complaint with Volkswagen Corp. And they would not help me since my power train warranty has expired. I am extremely upset about this.

- Signal Mountain, TN, USA

problem #28

Jun 012009


  • 105,000 miles
Transmission failure in my 2004 VW Beetle. Began shifting very hard after engine warmed up. It will shift so hard the tires burn rubber on the pavement between 2nd and 3rd. It also randomly shifts between gears at high speeds.

- South Haven, MI, USA

problem #27

Feb 012010


  • 57,000 miles
There seems to be a problem with the 2004 VW Beetle transmission valve body at around 60,000 miles. We have our 04 VW at a transmission shop and I am being told that this seems to be enough of a problem that VW changed the design from 2004 to 2005. VW does not admit anything and says that the car must be taken to a VW dealership in order that they can address this issue, I do not believe them.

- Lawrenceville, IL, USA

problem #26

Apr 212009


  • 59,432 miles
I have a 2004 new Beetle convertible w/60,000. Miles on it. Transmission shifting from a stop, it won't go into proper gears. It jerks really bad after bogging down (not going into gear). I have had several near misses in getting rear-ended. This has been going on & the VW dealer just says they need to diagnose the problem so to start it is $150. & I was told it could need a new transmission; but, I see other posting of similar issues on web sites when I did a search about it. That is where I found this link, I think this is a dangerous & costly issue! I believe it is a recall issue for Volkswagen.

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #25

Jan 232010


  • 68,000 miles
The transmission intermittently has trouble upshifting and downshifting between gears. It jerks, hesitates and then lurches forward. It starts occurring after about 5-10 min drive. It is especially uncontrollable when downshifting. The car slows down, the panel shows downshifted gear, car almost stops, then makes a sharp sudden movement forward. It is especially dangerous at intersections, because of uncontrollable jerks.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #24

Nov 012009


  • 84,000 miles
I bought a 2004 automatic VW Beetle last year from a dealer. The transmission has begun to go into neutral in between shifting, and sometimes locks into 3rd gear until I disconnect the battery. I have read online that almost all the 6 spd. Automatic Volkswagen cars have this problem at 80,000 mile, mine has 84,000 on it now. I have brought it into the dealer, and they say "there are no engine codes, we can't fix it", but it is a hazard to drive because if you need to accelerate quickly, it will slip into neutral sometimes, and the engine just revs until it finally slams into gear. I have had the transmission serviced, but that has no effect.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #23

Jul 102009


  • 73,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW Beetle convertible with 80K and a transmission that is jerking and shifting terribly for months, and I feel very unsafe driving it. I've spent too much on this car already, and 7500 to replace a transmission that is a major safety issue is awful. There are many of us out there with problem transmissions with this car. Please help!

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

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