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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,638 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.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Apr 012013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


After sitting in traffic and driving at low speeds the car suddenly will slip out of gear. The engine races and I am stuck in first. I have to continue to drive at high rpms in 1st just to get home. It happened intermittently at first, but now it happens daily in traffic. I took it Volkswagen and they say nothing is wrong. Took it to a transmission shop and they say the transmission must be rebuilt for $6000. If I turn the car off and it cools down, I can sometimes get it to stay in gear. It happened several times while accelerating onto a freeway nearly causing an accident because I had to quickly pull off the roadway. Unreal that Volkswagen is "unaware" of this issue and can't seem to repair it. Please recall!

- Minneapolis , MN, USA

problem #22

Aug 072013

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Engine abruptly lost all power and turned off while driving down the street. No warning lights came on, and the car restarted and ran normally for 6 months. The same thing happened about 6 months later. 10 minutes after the second episode, mechanic wasn't able to find a fault code and drove it without the stall recurring.

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #21

May 202012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
After starting the car and letting it warm up. I drove out of my driveway to the stop sign. Made a right turn and then a quick left. After turning the car could not go into gear, the rpms kept racing up. But the gear would not engage. Pulled into a store parking lot and drove around in circles at this low speed. Until finally the car jumped into gear and I took off. Car was diagnosed as having a bad mother board to the cars computer. It drove fine for a few days then at a stop light it jumped off again. (car was warm because I had driven a distance). Today I had the transmission flushed and changed. No improvement again. Usually the car will drive straight after it's real warm. But if I make a sharp turn the car jerks and revs up the rpms just as if it was cold. The VW folks kept misdiagnosing and giving me the wrong parts (these must be the same people that made the transmission. They've been a nightmare for assistance very unknowledgeable. I have been buying Volkswagen since 1974. I have never had such a crappy piece of a car(also my first time owning a car with a automatic transmission and my last). It drives beautifully (when it's working) but has all plastic crap for parts.(while still under warranty I had most of that replaced). But to find that the transmission is faulty I demand a recall on this 2002 VW Jetta 1.8T. I promise I'll never buy another VW or will I let any one I know or contact through social media purchase a VW. I can actually say we have been ripped off by VW with their low standards for a car. These cars used to last forever what a way to rip off the public form for money! just like Toyota had a recall Volkswagen you need to recall this unrepairable car no and save your advertisement fees, because bad news travel faster..

- Riverdale, GA, USA

problem #20

Jan 192011


  • 115,000 miles


Transmission failure resulting in inability to shift above third gear without allowing the car to warm up for 20+ minutes. Sometimes the transmission will slip out of gear and the car will lose all power from the engine. (rpms drop to 0, car will coast).

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #19

Nov 182011


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2002 Jetta & in November 2011, I began experiencing issues with the automatic transmission. It only occurs when the car is cold & after warming up, the issues go away. Upon starting the vehicle, the car shifts hard between the 1st, 2nd & 3rd gears. It revs up between each gear then jumps to the next gear. I took it into one VW dealer service shop who told me that there were several issues, that the transmission was slipping, I had a vacuum leak & the cb boot is split. The transmission would need to be completely replaced costing me $5811.56 (parts and labor). The car has 103,508 miles. I took the car to another VW dealer shop to get a second opinion and they ran test and said that there was nothing wrong. Frustrated with the VW service shops, I decided to take it to a transmission repair - they stated that since this was a sealed transmission I would need to have it rebuilt which would cost $2,500-$3,500. Who knows if this will actually correct the issue since nobody can pinpoint what is wrong or diagnose the issue! I researched it online, and countless '02 Jetta owners are experiencing the exact issues. There are several forums and complaint boards regarding VW and their handling of this transmission problem = and also many on NHTSA. What is it going to take to get VW to admit that they have a faulty transmission in their 2002 Jettas. This needs to be recalled. I loved my car up until now, but the service and their attention to the customers issues is making me second guess ever owning a Volkswagen. It frustrates me that nobody from this huge corporation will admit that they've somehow dropped the ball with the transmission. This deserves to be recalled since it is not an isolated incident and is in not fault of the owner. Thank you for your attention to this!

- Dallas, TX, USA

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problem #18

Jan 212012


  • 117,000 miles
The car began to slip out of gear. Even though the gas pedal was pressed, the car would not accelerate. The mechanic says the transmission fluid is burnt out which indicates an internal transmission problem. Repair estimates between 3500 and 4000.

- Ocean Grove, NJ, USA

problem #17

Nov 032011


  • 160,000 miles


At a cold start, car is sluggish going into 2nd gear. Sounds like the engine is revving up at acceleration, but it will go no faster than 10 mph!! also I cannot reverse! the car must be warm (190 temp) in order to reverse and shift properly! ive read of other vws with similar problems.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #16

Dec 082010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
On cool days (approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below), the automatic transmission starts out in emergency running mode in third gear. If car warms up sufficiently, the ignition can be turned off and restarted to get the transmission to work correctly. I have read many boards where problems very similar to this seem widespread and many have been forced to do costly repairs. A recall may be necessary for this issue.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #15

Dec 032011

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,110 miles
My 2002 VW Jetta glx (automatic) has severe transmission problems. When accelerating, it hesitates and then pops into gear jerking the car. This is very alarming and dangerous, especially when I am on the road with other vehicles around me. I almost had several accidents due to trying to pull out in traffic but the transmission is so unreliable and slips thereby causing me to stall in oncoming traffic. Then, today the car would not go into reverse or neutral at all. I've seen so many transmission complaints about this year's model and it is so unfair for the consumer to be responsible for this expensive repair.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #14

Jun 152011


  • 130,000 miles
While driving the car at 35mph the tachometer will increase and decease at 2000rpm's and car will slightly increase and then decrease in speed. There is a jerking between 3rd and 4th gear. Also there is a slight delay of movement from park to reverse. Both are safety hazards while on streets with traffic.

- Carlotta, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 072011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles


Automatic transmission when cold will hesitate or not catch at all when putting into drive. Putting the car into 1st, then moving it to drive will usually work. Shudders when coming to stop after heating up at times. Mechanic says it needs a transmission rebuild at $3000. Failure of transmission control module and cascading to the master control module caused the transmission not to leave the park position, that tow and repair was $300 about 30 days ago. There are hundreds of complaints on the internet about this transmission failing repeatedly, a faulty design. We need a recall from Volkswagen to fix this design failure.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #12

Aug 022010


  • 120,000 miles
I bought this car with 108000 miles on it, I began having problems with the car shifting from 2nd to 3rd; however now it has been getting worst. I have done tons of research and the issues seems to be a issue that is more of a recall issue than just one care issue. I also do not like how VW of America is just fluffing it off like it is all the owners faults. I also have read that many people have paid for the transmissions to be replaced and or fixed for over 5K and the issue comes up again, it would be nice if someone would take and look into this issue because many of us bought the car because they liked VW and will soon be getting rid of them as well as no longer buying from VW due to VW ignoring our complaints.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #11

Oct 032011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate and jerk forward. The check engine warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostics. The technician stated that there could have been a computer or transmission failure. The technician then advised that the transmission would have to be taken apart to locate the source of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Dacula, GA, USA

problem #10

Aug 042004


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the transmission would jerk as soon as the vehicle was started. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred four times and he had to replace the transmission once prior to the most recent failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced again. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offered any assistance since the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and current mileage was 120,000.

- San Bernardino , CA, USA

problem #9

Dec 112009


  • 90,000 miles
The waste gate air flow system to the tdi malfunctions causing decrease in engine compression. This problem is persistent and occurs when shifting from 4th gear to 5th at an RPM of 3000 to 3500. This could lead to a dangerous situation when passing a vehicle, the vehicle could lose 50% of its power and should an on coming vehicle be present it could lead to a serious accident. This is a persistent problem and the only way to reset the waste gate is to turn off the ignition and restart the engine where the problem goes away until the next occurrence. VW was informed of the problem and they acknowledge awareness of the problem but since the vehicle is out of warranty they cannot replace the waste gate. Cost of repair - $850 for the waste gate only.

- Waterloo, 00, USA

problem #8

Nov 022009


  • 69,000 miles
Our Volkswagen Jetta developed transmission issues just after the warranty period ran out. The transmission jerks at low speeds, when you hit the accelerator. Mechanics have said there is no saying when this will conk out. The water pump also conked out recently. Replacing the tranny is about $6000. Replacing the water pump cost us around $900. I hear dealerships charge a lot more for this service. The Volkswagen Jetta is too expensive a car, for it to have such poor quality. Hope someone can help make them pay for ripping customers off in this way. This outrageous.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #7

Sep 162009


  • 126,750 miles
I bought my 2002 VW jettatdi in 2004, during routine maintenance I described a hesitation in the transmission. They checked the transmission fluid and said it was "burned" and replaced it. I asked how it got that way and was told something got hot in there. That was it. Several years later and one more changing of the transmission fluid because it was burned, the car wouldn't automatically shift into 4th gear and would hesitate and surge forward. The mechanic replaced a sensor that tells the car to shift into 4th. It was fine for two weeks then, while driving 55 mph on the highway, the car jolted like I had hit something (which I did not because I looked)and decelerated quickly. I immediately pulled over and from that point on the car would go up to 20 - 30 mph then buck and decelerate to 5 mph. It kept repeating this as I tried to accelerate. 1st gear and reverse didn't work at all. When the car was being loaded to be towed the front wheels would not roll backwards with the car in neutral and the E brake off. The transmission company said the transmission had melted down inside. And it will cost $4000 to rebuild the transmission. The way this happened was very dangerous; fortunately I was not passing another car or that there were no cars directly behind me or pulling out to cross traffic.

- Kamuela, HI, USA

problem #6

Sep 042009


  • 86,004 miles
2000 to 2002 Volkswagen tiptronic owners not provided correct information regarding the transmission servicing scheduling. Volkswagen states that the transmission is a "sealed" unit and therefore service is not need unless leaks are visible. Knowing this, I did not try to do transmission service on my car when it reached about 86,000 miles. - gears slip from 1st to 2nd at cold starts and jerks at 3rd gear. I have to warm the vehicle in 10 minutes to go back to normal operating mode. - today I was taking my wife and my 1-year old daughter to lake george NY from queens NY for a holiday weekend. The car suddenly slipped from 5th to 4th gear while we are driving 65 mph. However, I did not find the problem until I noticed that our speed almost feels the same eventhough I depress the pedal a little lower. I placed it on manual mode and the car shifted fine. We pulled over at the rest area and found out that there is a transmission fluid leak. We could have had an accident if the gear would have slipped to 2nd; almost like slamming the breaks while doing 65 mph. - tomorrow, I will have VW repair shop diagnose the problem. Most likely is the transmission control unit or the transmission solenoids. - similar issues in dsg transmission was reported at "good morning America" on August 28 2009. - please see similar tiptronic owner's complaints on this forum: This is a public web forum and no personal information is provided.

- Elmhurst, NY, USA

problem #5

May 272009


  • 79,000 miles
2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T transmission shifts irregular transmission problems.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #4

Jul 052007

(reported on)

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles
2002 Jetta with a safety recall- replaced brake light switch customer states that the dealership refused to fixed the recall* the VW service center and customer care informed the consumer the vehicle was out of warranty and they had no obligations to pay for towing or any other cost associated with the vehicle, including the last recall regarding the brake light switch that the consumer has replaced on 3 separate occasions. The consumers daughter had experienced the vehicle locking up as a result of the defective brake switch. The instrument panel failed and the consumers daughter was unable to read the panel. The consumer stated in the past, the trunk latch failed as well as a broken bolt on the transmission, the drivers side seat belt and the egr all had to be replaced. The door latch failed because the lock signal was not working. The consumer stated that he received a recall for his daughter's vehicle, this is the 3rd brake switch not to mention over $800 in unwarranted charges from the dealership. The consumer stated he was hoping that this classifies the vehicle as a lemon. The consumer stated would like dealership to review the over charges or buying the vehicle back.

- Littleton, CO, USA

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