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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,970 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.

2003 Volkswagen Jetta transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Volkswagen Jetta:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #13

Aug 152010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta wagon. The contact stated that the speedometer failed to provide an accurate speed traveled. The contact also stated that when the cruise control switch was activated, it would cause the vehicle to surge forward abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they confirmed that the sensor in the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 170,000 and the current mileage was 211,000. Updated 12/14/11 the consumer stated the transmission was exhibiting an intermittent hesitation. Updated 12/20/11.

- Eaton Rapids, MI, USA

problem #12

Jun 152007

Jetta 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
At approximately 61,000 miles on my 2003 VW Jetta glx (V6), I began to experience problems that seemed to be transmission related. This initially occurred in June of 2007. All except one of the issues were resolved by the wray VW in columbia SC. The ongoing and current problem I have is the car changes gears hard between 2nd and 3rd. The hard gear shifts happens 95% of the time the car changes between 2nd and 3rd gear. I had the transmission replaced a couple of months ago due to the fact the 2 VW dealerships deemed the transmission to be the problem. However, changing the transmission did not resolve the problem. My problem is still ongoing.

- St. Matthews, SC, USA

problem #11

May 152008


  • 78,126 miles
I have a 2003 VW Jetta tdi. I have always had it serviced on time and have kept it well maintained, I have 78,000 miles on it. The speed sensor in the transmission has failed and Volkswagen refuses to fix it. I worry because the doors not lock correctly because of this and I am not aware at the speed I travel because the gauges have failed. My biggest worry is that if I were to have an accident the airbags would not work because the car does not know how fast it is going. If this were a normal item like breaks, tires or something that has normal wear and tear I would understand but its not. It is a mechanical problem what I vital function of the car. I really feel that VW should cover the cost or at least split it with me. What do I need to do?

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #10

Mar 202008

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles


I am a resident of South Florida and in the summer of 2007, due to the fact my car has been reliable I decided to drive cross country to los angeles, I took all precautions prior to living, from oil changes, brakes, tire rotation and so forth. In Oct. Of 2007, I was in a fender bender in los angeles, which delayed my return to South Florida in the accident they had to replace front end lights as well as my radiator. I once again took all precautions on the vehicle prior to my journey. As of mid November I was back in miami, no problems with the car, all is good at that point the vehicle had approximately 72,000 or so. In mid March I noticed that when I started my car and try to accelerate the car, it would not surpass 15/20mph and it made a very strange sound. It would only function appropriately when the engine was @ 190. I have taken it to a dealership as well as another mechanic and they both have informed me that my clutch is worn out. I'm not sure why that is? I have done everything in my power to keep this car up to par, as far as maintenance. The dealer quoted me $5600 and the other mechanic $2500. This vehicle has had been amazing to me till now, I have a little less then 80,000 and would love to drive it too at least 160,000, but the way this is going I'm afraid that will not happen. I have noticed several complaints on the issue. VW Jetta station wagon - 2003, turbo gls tiptronic - 80,000.

- North Miami , FL, USA

problem #9

Sep 282006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,022 miles
: the contact stated when the speedometer read 70 mph, the vehicle was traveling 97.3 mph. The dealership determined the gear bushing was bad and needed to be replaced. The part number for the gear was: 01M-409-187. The part number for the bushing was: 095-409-190. The dealership informed the contact, the manufacturer needed to keep the old gear and bushing. The contact did not agree and wanted the old parts.

- Cottage Grove, MN, USA

problem #8

Jul 032004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
The transmission in my 2003 VW Jetta has not worked right since the 1st week after I bought the car. It shifts inappropriatley and hesitates when pulling into on oncoming traffic. I have been nearly hit by cars and trucks on several occasions. When going up a hill the car seems to downshift or skip a gear, this is an automatic transmission. Going 75 miles an hour recently the car seemed to down shift and I thought the car was going to spin around in the road. I was on the trans Canada highway. Very scary. When using the cruise control the car accelerates extremley fast. The car has been for transmission repair 6 or more times. Volkswagon is aware.

- Holden, ME, USA

problem #7

Oct 172003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Last January I bought myself a 2003 Jetta straight off the lot brand new. Everything was going great up to October once the cold weather started to set in. The car is an automatic and when leaving it to sit for a period of time I would get in to drive the car and starting out when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear it would slam into gear. It was absolutly horrible and scary felt as if the car was going to bottom out. So I called the dealership and brought it in for a check, they told me there was nothing wrong with the car so I took it home again but the problem kept happening. So again come March I brought it back this time they had it for a whole wk and again told me nothing was wrong, so I brought it home again and again later on not even a week later it started to shift late again so I called again this time the service rep told me there was nothing more he could do for me. I called the VW company and they told me it was the wayi was driving the car "I was an aggressive driver". I called the BBB and opened up a claim and now again they have my car and I have a rental but again they are telling me there is nothing wrong with the car. Never once has anyone apoligized. No automatic should slam into gear when driving it. They have done nothing to even try to fix the problem. All they keep doing it turning it around on me as if it is my fault the way I am driving the car.. I have done research on and I have found a million other customers with the same problem and informed barrys of this and they told me unless it is the exact same car same engine same style there is no case.. this is the absolutly the worst I have ever been treated from a company.

- Marion, MA, USA

problem #6

Apr 012004

(reported on)

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When pressing on the accelerator pedal vehicle hesitated. Consumer contacted dealership. However, dealership was unable to resolve the problem. Consumer's wife spoke to someone at Volkswagen of America and said it was an inherent problem of the vehicle. Also, dealer said that they can't fix the problem because the transmission is computerized and communicates with the engine.

- Anniston, AL, USA

problem #5

Jan 232004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,400 miles
Intermittently, the vehicle would not shift out of park into any gear. The dealer replaced the shift lock solenoid.

- Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, USA

problem #4

Dec 242003

(reported on)

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,067 miles
Vehicle experienced hesitation, keyless key battery does not work, epc light illuminated due to lost of power, jack fell while car was on it, and problems shifting the car out of park. When the epc light illuminated for the second time, the dealer replaced the engine control module. The vehicle experienced two flat due to the tires being overinflated.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #3

Dec 102003

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles


While driving my 2002 Jetta tdi (29,000 miles), the automatic transmission locked up causing whiplash and almost a chain reaction accident to the cars behind me. After having the car towed to the dealership, I looked on the internet and it seems that this has happened to other people. This is a serious life threatening issue in my eyes. I am only seem to be sore, thankfully this wasn't more serious. I have attached my search results below.

- Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 262003


  • miles
Transmission will not engage while applying the gear shift. Driver was shifting from drive to park and gear were stuck, causing transmission to shut down. Also, transmission coolant was leaking from underneath the vehicle. Dealer was aware of the problem.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 012003


  • miles
While applying the vehicle in gear the reverse gear will stick and will not go back into the park intermittently.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?