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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
120,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Jetta transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #2

Nov 092011

Jetta GXL 2.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles


When we first got this car it was a dream! German engineering, super fast, sporty, luxurious, great sound system & sexy! Everybody loved the car! BUT I also want to mention that I told my woman, various times NOT to buy the car. But she wanted that one & that one only. I explained the transmission problems & the expenses others have incurred with this particular model year. I told her to go Japanese. In fact, I told her to use the money to put down on a new Honda & make payments. But like always, her & her stubborn mother won the decision.

So now we have a great looking car, great driving & handling car (It drives like a BMW 3 series) & everybody's happy right? Uh, no not really.

Anyways, 12 thousand dollars later, the total of what this car has cost us including the purchase itself, we now have a worthless, good looking car with a great stereo, nice leather, great rims & body, & engine. BUT no transmission.

At first the transmission wouldn't go in reverse. This is where the nightmare began. Then we took it to AMCO (another huge mistake to which I also told her & parents NOT to do but like always, they won) $4,500 they said. And it WILL be fixed. Well, they fixed it, we bought it home, everybody's happy again. A few weeks later the car starts shifting rather funny so I told her to take it back. A few days later, the car is fixed. A few weeks after that, the car starts shifting funny again, we take it in, they fix it & we drive it one last time. Only this time they held it for 2 weeks!! Told us they changed all kinds of parts & that they're throwing money into it (Which I really don't believe because as a business they have to keep costs down, although my girl & her mother swear by God that they have changed the thousands of dollars it would have cost to change those parts, not including man hours) But hey, they believe anything. It got to the point where I told my girl to call them & have them rent us a car (to create a sense of urgency) and they did. Lastly, they called us & said Listen, we couldn't fix the car, we have to cut our losses. We will refund your money come pick the car up. But when they gave us the car back, it was in worse condition than when we gave it to them!!! At least we got our money back & a lemon. Moral of this truthful story? DO NOT BUY A 2003 VW, DO NOT BUY A CAR WITHOUT SPENDING HOURS UPON HOURS RESEARCHING THE CARS HISTORY INCLUDING MAKE, MODEL, YEAR, ETC. GO TO FORUMS WHERE REAL CAR OWNERS SPEAK THEIR TRUTHS, DON'T LISTEN TO COMMERCIALS OR NEWS MAGAZINES, INTERNET SITES WHERE THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO GAIN BY ENDORSING THE BRAND (THEY ARE PAID BY CAR MANUFACTURERS). AND DO EVEN MORE RESEARCH AFTER THAT. I MAY SEEM UNPATRIOTIC BUT BELIEVE ME, MY OTHER AMERICAN CAR COST ME $7,000 OF PATRIOTISM, NOT TO MENTION MY TAXES ARE UP BECAUSE I HELPED BAIL THEM OUT. NO ONE IS BAILING ME OUT!!!

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 272011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

On October 11 of this year, we replaced the automatic transmission in a 2003 VW Jetta, at 106,111 miles. Since getting it back the car has been used mostly for getting around town and an occasional trip or two that included highway driving. At the end of November, my son and I took it to go skiing in VT and, it was during that trip that a speeding ticket highlighted a potential problem. Although the speedometer registered 60, it struggled to stay there in spite of the rate of acceleration. Reality hit when we got pulled over and the state trooper said he clocked it at 83.

As we continued on our trip, with closer attention on the speed and sound of the engine, we realized that it wasn't shifting into 5th gear. Once we reached a "registered" speed of 55, the RPMS were over 3000 and the transmission was not shifting into the final gear. Needless to say, we drove staying in 4th gear for the balance of the trip which ran fine.

After multiple calls between the warranty company and Aamco, we took the car back to Aamco. The warranty covered half the original cost to replace it but it still cost us about $1300 and now it seems the only recourse we have is going back to Aamco and paying more to find the problem. Conversations have gone back and forth on whether it's something in the transmission or a something that leads to it. After much persistence, they've ruled out all the celluloids but one - the tork converter ??

The other question I had is if the car is racing at a higher speed than it's actually going, does the odometer keep pace with the acceleration speed? The amount of miles the odometer registers is quite a bit more that the car has actually gone in two months.

It's my son's first car and not a great way to build credibility in the car industry!

Any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

- , Weare, NH, canada

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