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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,280 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

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #8

Apr 252009


  • 60,000 miles


2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T wolfsburg edition purchased used at 23,000 miles with a burnt out clutch. The clutch was replaced by the dealership in order to complete sale. At purchase we were assured the clutch would last and not be an issue. This is the only way the sale was completed. Within 30,000 miles the clutch has gone out once more. The technician it was taken to reported that he receives at least 2 of the exact same car with the exact same issue per month. VW does not acknowledge that the pressure plate is defective and blames the driver. Any clutch is expected to last at least 90,000 miles. Both VW and extended warranties will not cover the repair which is being quoted at $1900- $2200. The part has been reported defective in previous models but is still not being corrected or acknowledged as a manufacturer defect, which it is. The pressure plate, flywheel, and clutch disc are under-rated for the vehicles stock horsepower. The identical parts are found in other VW vehicles with up to 80 horsepower less. The vehicle should have been recalled since the previous 2 models. The vehicles need to be recalled. When even a VW technician acknowledges that the parts are defective something needs to be done with VW America, requiring them to replace these parts at their expense with parts qualified to support the vehicles needs.

- Santa Fe , NM, USA

problem #7

Mar 012009


  • miles
Several problems with this car, and it's unfortunate. Started about a year ago, at times my car will start at the turn of the ignition and sometimes it will not. I have also brought to VW's attention about my clutch, in particular is very heavy (I have always driven manuals) and again, at times I have difficulty shifting into 'R' and into '3rd' gear. I would have to return shift into neutral; step on the clutch several times and I am able to get into 'R'. as far as '3rd' gear, its pretty tricky(since I am moving!!!!) sometimes I cannot shift into 3rd gear, and literally have to down-shift and attempt 3rd again!!!! and now, my clutch is completely shot, with only 65,000mi on it.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #6

Nov 132003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100 miles
The clutch on my 03' VW Jetta has been failing since day one, I now have 42,000 kms. When I bought the car. Reverse, second gear and third gear all have problems. This problem has been going on with every person with a manual Jetta, especially a 1.8T. I think vwoa should recall the clutch and transmission and correct this problem. We spend hard earned money on our cars and do not deserve a problem like this on brand new cars.

- Mount Olive, NJ, USA

problem #5

Sep 282004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 18,600 miles


I began noting transmission problems with my car in February of 04. When I brought it to the attention of my dealership and VW of America, they both dismissed my concerns. The clutch was inspected in the spring but they could find no problem with it. My clutch has now failed at 18,600 miles and VW is refusing to repair it. I have never driven anything other than manual trasmission cars and have never needed to replace a clutch, even after 130K. The dealership has my car and refuses to repair it. I have no transporation as a result as they will not give me a loaner car while I wait for the factory customer service person to inspect the car. I have notified them that I will seek lemon law status if they fail to repair the car by October 8th, 2004.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #4

Mar 032003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I own a 2003 VW Jetta. I bought it on 09/02. Since then I have had a variety of problems. First it was my electrical. By brake lights stayed on and the key less remote did not work I could not lock my car and non of the interior and exterior lights worked. I took this problem to VW and the said that I needed to make an appontment before they would help me. So I had to drive home with all these problems and make my appt. This problem was fixed however occasionaly the brake lights still stay stuck on. This was also noted to VW. The second time I took my car in for a rattle in my clutch. I was told I would need to take my car on a test drive with a customer service rep (?). so I did and she stated she did not here anything and I told here that when I take the clutch out it does rattles very loud but when I push the clutch in the rattle stops. Customer service rep stated since she did not here this she could not let the actual tech look at it. I demanded the tech to look at it. Finally the tech and customer service rep told me I had a rattle in my clutch due to my bald tires."??" since I did need new tires, I replaced all 4. my clutch still rattled. (shocker) I then decided to take my VW to another VW service dealer, and they determined that the rattle was a loose heat plate. VW dealer stated this was fixed. The next day this rattle was still there. I have taken this car in for a total of 3 times for this rattle. I have decided on getting a new non-VW car. Not only has the car dissappointed me but the servcie poeple have treated me and my husband like ignorant consumers. On each of these visits to the VW dealer they have ahd to keep my car for numerous days, and never was I able to receive a rental, which resulted in me missing work and costing me more money.*

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 052003

Jetta 4WD 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 26,000 miles
I'm on 3rd transmission on my 2003 Jetta tdi wagon in less than one year. Original plus two failures replaced.

- Vinton, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 132003


  • Manual transmission
  • 43 miles
Problems with rear window defogger and transmission. Rear defogger didn't turn off. Consumer feared it would cause an electrical hazard. Transmission locked and wouldn't move to reverse. Transmission was repaired and failed again. Consumer was informed a new transmission and clutch was installed. On the day of purchase, consumer complained of the problem but the salesman stated he wasn't use to a manual transmission and ignored it.

- Miramar, FL, USA

problem #1

Oct 172003

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 1,500 miles
My vehicle often will not shift into reverse. I have a manual transmission, and it will shift into the other gears, but often upon starting the vehicle, it will not go into reverse.

- Concord, CA, USA

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