really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,300 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.

2004 Volkswagen Beetle engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 272012


  • 80,000 miles


Car wouldn't excel while driving suddenly 1 mile from town suddenly traffic slowed from snow storm in town, the vehicle smell was funny black smoked slowly leaked inside the car windows up heard a misfire engine light went on blinked then I heard loud blast like I thought it was a plow trucks muffler loudness realized ir was my vehicle stopped immediately less 1/3 mile at bank. Shut off motor M now seeing smoke slowly entered in the middle of the 2 front seatsand console. Feeling hot under belly of floors. Orange glow through electrical outlet in back of console appeared to be hotwith plastic casing in and under floors hot sizzling crackling under center casing/I try to call 911 misused the cell wouldn't operate effectively flagged down a man N woman at the corner light of bank they declined to help so I went to car put snow on compartment and wet it down and aired out smoke with passenger door open.I went in bank for assistance.this vehicle was recalled for safety issues by manufacturer in the past.were said to be corrected by repairman also said seatbelt harness was a issue heated seats were a issue and airbags tranny also recalled for electrical issues and or transmission and air bags on some 2004 VW vehicle Beetles recalls so far occurred to this VW were airbag sensors/ also the seatbelt harness cases were breaking repeatedly once purchased due to putting the seats up and back to get in the vehicle. Now this mysterious fire and headlamp issue..

- Plainfield, MA, USA

problem #8

Sep 172012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Car was shifting very hard, tires would squeal as shifting between 1-2 and 2-3rd gears. To replace the transmission it will be between 2-5000.00 dollars we have had to replace window regulators, thermometer.

- Milton, DE, USA

problem #7

May 052011


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. While traveling 30 mph, the vehicle became resistant to acceleration attempts and the vehicle could not be shut off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the valve body needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was 64,000 and the failure mileage was 53,000.

- Alfreda, GA, USA

problem #6

Mar 032012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact was traveling 60 mph when the vehicle caught on fire. The check engine warning light illuminated seconds prior to the fire. The contact was able to exit the vehicle and checked under the hood to inspect the failure. The engine blew shortly after the hood was opened. The contact was able to extinguish the fire and the vehicle was towed to the dealer for repairs. The contact stated that the water pump, radiator and vehicle regulator sensor was replaced. In addition, the head gaskets were leaking but the dealer advised that the vehicle could still be driven. Eight months later, the vehicle caught on fire a second time. The vehicle was destroyed. The contact was advised that the fire was caused by the leak from the head gasket seals. The failure and current mileages were 28,000. Updated 5/16/12 the consumer stated there was oil in the anti-freeze and the seal on the overflow tank was leaking. Updated 05/23/12

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #5

Dec 262011

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 101,700 miles
Replace all ignition coils.

- Golden Valley , AZ, USA

problem #4

Dec 312010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My 2004 Beetle ran fine for the first several months after a purchased it from the dealer, now the car stops running at 65 mph on the freeway several times a week, during my travel to work. I have read several postings on the internet stating the same issues from thousands of VW owners. This is a serious problem. I have had my car diagnosis stating I need to replace the trans, but theres no indication trans failure. One week there car runs great then, next it stops during travel and has jerky feels during movement. I'm sure there hundred of thousands of complaints of the same issues and that's just one of the many too many to list.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 202009


  • 64,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle gls. The contact stated while attempting to accelerate, the vehicle began abnormally jerking while switching gears. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the engine was repaired. The failure recurred within one month. The dealer then replaced the transmission gear box. Shortly after, the headlights and tail lights failed which were also repaired by the dealer. On a separate occasion, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to immediately restart the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was then towed to the dealer where the contact was awaiting a diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 56,000 and the current mileage was 64,000.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #2

Sep 302004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer was involved in an accident where the air bags failed to deploy. The airbag light was on, as well as the check engine and ABS lights. Consumer went to dealership to get vehicle serviced, but dealership could not determine the cause of the problem.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #1

Nov 022004

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
When changing the oil, a frame support pan found only on convertible catches the motor oil. This support pen is concaved and traps a large mount of oil. If not wiped out with rags it stays there causing a potential fire hazard from a spark.

- Greenleaf, WI, USA

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