really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,111 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 Beetle drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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

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

2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Dec 222010


  • 53,000 miles


While driving one evening the car lost the ability to shift into higher gears on highway, thus limiting the speed to less than 35 miles per hour in a posted zone of 55 mph. Third -sixth gears failed.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #6

Dec 012010


  • 82,000 miles
Drove 600 miles to purchase this vehicle-my dream car. Had it for 2 days, put the top down twice and the cable to the convertible top snapped. Couldn't afford to have it fixed right away (missed the whole first season of using the convertible). Finally got enough $$ together to have it repaired and found out a piece of something must have fallen down into the channel of the rear window and broke a part inside so added that to the expense, around $800. Replaced the brakes next (O.K. with that, normal repair of any vehicle). But, not too long after, noticed transmission had a tiny "slip". ignored that since I didn't want to think something else was going wrong already. Progressed to where I am now, slamming down into the lower gears when slowing to a stop. Received a letter from VW stating if any repairs had been incurred during the warranty/extended warranty, it would be covered as 7 years or 100,000 miles, whichever came first. Well, as it happens, my car has just under 83,000 miles on it and the warranty had expired in April of 2010. I took it to my local dealership and they quoted me $2490 for repair. The service manager said he had a rep he could call to see if "there was anything they could do" since it was such a short time after my warranty expired. After it was all said and done, they would deduct $750 from the total repair if I would show good faith and purchase new tires ($500), new battery ($195 or $165) and an exhaust clamp ($58) from their dealership. I'm no math wizard, but that put me right back to almost the original repair cost. I am at my wit's end with this car. I don't feel safe driving it but have no choice as it is my only mode of transportation. I have been reading several other comparable complaints, so I know I am not alone. I feel that a 100,00 mile warranty should be just that, not 7 years/or.......

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #5

Jan 042011


  • 88,210 miles
The electronic automatic transmission became stuck in third gear while driving in traffic. I had to turn the car off while in heavy traffic for the transmission to reset. This is a perilous maneuver, but I didn't have many options. The transmission had been experiencing some problems shifting both up and down. The upshifts are problematic in that the car can suddenly lurch forward when the automatic transmission re-engages. For example, when accelerating from a stop, the car will not immediately shift from 1st to 2nd. The rpms will go to @5000, then the shift will cause the car to squeal tires and lurch forward.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #4

Dec 012010


  • miles


Vehicle would lurch when down or upshifting between 2nd and 3rd and 3rd to 4th at just over 90,000 miles. It would also stick in neutral for a few seconds before engaging. We took it to our local shop for repair in December 2010. This is a well known issue with the transmission valve body causing a number of accidents. While the our bug was in the shop we received a letter dated November 2010 from VW about extended warranty to 100,000 miles or 7 years from date of purchase. Our bug was purchased August 2003 putting it out of warranty. Considering the number of incidents VW should have been doing a general service recall on the transmission long before November 2010..

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 142010


  • 59,000 miles
The car has a transmission that is needing replacing after only 60,000 miles.

- Chicago, IL, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #2

Nov 232009


  • 112,000 miles
I purchased my VW 2003 new Beetle convertible new in 2003. I have kept vehicle maintained- mostly at dealership according to the schedule. I have about 115,000 miles. Over the past month it has begun "revving up" or "jerking"- especially when slowing to a stop or accelerating from stop. This happens very sporadically, but is very scary when it occurs. I am not sure what the problem is, but have an amateur guess that it is transmission related.

- Gainesville, VA, USA

problem #1

Feb 012006


  • miles
2003 Volkswagen jerk when slowing down and accelerating. The consumer was told the transmission would be covered for 60,000 miles.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

Not what you are looking for?