really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,500 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.

1998 Volkswagen Beetle transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1998 Volkswagen Beetle:

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

1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 302010


  • 66,000 miles


My 98 VW new Beetle has 68,000 miles on it. Around 66,000 miles it began to shift real hard. In order to get the car to shift into 3rd gear or higher I have to accelerate enough to get the engine up to 4,000+ RPM's, ease off the gas a little and then it will finally lurch into the next gear. This is a safety issue when accelerating after stopping in intersections due to the high traffic volume in my area. This problem is consistent and happens whenever the car is running. I haven't taken it to be serviced because of the extremely high cost of repairing the transmission. The car is worth less than the necessary repair.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #3

Oct 192001

Beetle Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Left side transmission/engine mount bolts came loose due to viberation. One bolt broken, believed to be defective, causing other two bolts to come loose from transmission case. Bolts can no longer be tightened up to secure engine in place. Volkswagen of America denies that this a defect, will not cover the repair under thier powetrain warranty, even though it states in the manual that the transmission case is a covered part, and will not repair car or look into this matter any further.

- Eustis, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 212000


  • miles
Battery problem. I stopped at signal and when I restarted the engine stopped and I was almost rear end. The ABS and brake lights came on. The car was towed. Apparently the battery was falling out of the car at 13,000 miles. A few months later I heard a noise and slipping within the transmission. As it turned out, engine coolant had leaked into the transmission and a rebuilt was put in. Within a few weeks after the rebuilt was put in, it was making some noise and it had intermittent lurching. I complained to VW of America and the dealership. They took care of the noise and said they would be unable to help with the lurch problem. I was in an accident a month and a half after getting the rebuilt. I went into a pole sideways. I had an independent transmission specialist test drive it after the car was repaired. He reported an unusually long pause for engagemet. I believe that when I was in a roll forward motion and would put my foot to the gas, it would not engage properly and lurched. The reason it was intermittent, is due to the fact that sometimes when you would be in a rollforward motion it would be in gear and not lurch. If it was not in gear due to the long pause, you would get a lurching movement. My first transmission never had this problem. There is a potential design flaw with this transmission. When I was talking to the service manager at commonwealth, with my first transmission, he had stated they were having problems with the jetta transmissions.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 242000

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When traveling up an incline vehicle started jerking. Vehicle cut off without prior warning, causing it to roll backwards. Consumer has contacted dealer. Also, recall 98V100000 did not include this vehicle.

- Wahiawa, HI, USA

Not what you are looking for?