really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,667 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

Sep 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,500 miles


The car slams into gear when starting from a cold start. It was in the shop over a month, and it was given back to me with "we can find nothing mechanically wrong with it, it may buck a bit, but there are no safety hazards." Live with it basically. VW themselves have been of no help whatsoever in resolving this issue.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 142003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Powertrain problems-- vehicle has tiptronic. Intermittent failure shifting from automatic to tiptronic manual functionality. In addition, passenger frontal airbag failed within the first week of purchase of the vehicle. Multiple service related complaints.

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 272003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Hard shifting between second and third gears of automatic transmission of 2003 Volkswagen New beetle

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #2

Aug 012003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 260 miles
Car will not shift from park to reverse. This has happened 4 times, and I have only had the car for a week!

- North Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #1

Feb 202003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 489 miles
Transmission - intermittently will not shift from reverse to drive. Occurred beginning the third week after purchase of this brand new car. Took to dealership - they adjusted transmission but said they cannot replicate the problem so I will have to wait until it gets worse or leave it until they experience the problem. Now the transmission (as of 1 week ago) occasionally "slams" into first and second gear. I am scheduling another service with the dealer. I advised them the failure to shift from reverse to drive is a safety hazard (I have been almost rear ended 3 times in a parking garage). They are not the least bit concerned. I asked for a new replacemenet car since it had 500 miles on it at that point - they would not even discuss this. I am not optimistic as they will likley give me the "we cannot replicate the problem - you will have to wait until it gets worse" routine. This is a safety hazard. I want a new car or a new transmission.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

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