really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,073 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Feb 232010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Transmission has mechanical problems, wont shift smoothly from 1st to 2nd initially, then when in traffic the transmission kicks in like I was rear-ended causing my head to snap. I cannot make it through the intersection without the vehicle not shifting into gear causing a delay driving through an intersection. I almost have been rear-ended many times because of this. I had the transmission flushed and fluid replaced but to no avail. This is very alarming because I never know when the transmission is not going to shift, the rpms rev to 6 and 7 before the shift takes place. There have been times when I have been driving on the freeway when the transmission has suddenly revved into the 7 and 8. also the airbag light came on, the recall covered the defect in 2008 but, the light came back on and is not covered unless I get a diagnostic from the dealership which they want me to pay $150 then they will consider on a case bases.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #61

Jul 072010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW convertible Beetle that I have had less than 2 years. Obviously I bought it used. I have taken it to the VW dealer for a recall on the airbag, drove it 5 days and light came on again. At the same time that light came back on the check engine light came on & had to replace an 0-2 sensor. Drove it another appx. 8 mo. & had to replace the water pump. The last few mo. Have been having difficulty with the transmission, it all started with it not shifting out of 3rd gear after stopping. I would have to pull to the side of the road, turn off the engine and sit and wait for at least 15 minutes, start it up and continue on my way. This is really difficult in traffic on the interstate and dangerous!! it also began to shift very hard from 2nd, to 3rd and 4th. It jerks so hard I'm amazed I don't have whiplash! anyway, I took it to the mechanic and it needs a new $6000 transmission. I really believe that VW should be responsible for replacing faulty parts. Obviously, this is an issue that they refuse to acknowledge and a dangerous safety issue. One last thing is that both my rear windows seem to be sticking, I'm afraid to roll them down. I'm not driving it now anyway, it can't safely be driven. I would appreciate your doing something about these issues. We bought the car with early withdrawal retirement money, because we needed a reliable car. Now it just sits! thank you

- Cottontown, TN, USA

problem #60

Aug 212010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW bug with 51,000 miles. The car started jerking so hard its almost caused several accidents to me and others ! VW says it needs a new 7000 dollar transmission! they wont admit the problem is of epic proportions with this model. It's all over the internet. My car has also had the window motor go out and many parts just fall off such as seatbelt latch cover. These cars should be recalled for safety!please help me get VW to fix this problem! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #59

Aug 142010


  • 53,800 miles


My 2004 VW new Beetle convertible with triptonic transmission, only 53,800 miles, lurches in the lower gears after the car warms up in about 10 minutes. The car will not shift smoothly between the lower gears and often revs up to 5000 RPM before it "clunks" into higher gear. The car will not accelerate properly, left turns into oncoming traffic are dangerous. The car may decide to shift into neutral rather than lurch into gear. After stopping at traffic lights, I am often tailgated because the car will not get up to speed quickly. Luckily I have not been rear-ended as some others have. The VW dealer mechanic would like to replace the transmission at a cost to me of $6800. A transmission should not fail at only 53,800 miles unless there is a major design defect. There are hundreds of complaints in various car forums, in particular townhall-talk.edmunds.com where there are more posts about transmission problems for the new Beetle than anything except maintenance. My research has learned that the first generation of VW's double clutch transmissions had a chronic weak point. They combine a wet clutch (as in traditional automatic) and a gear part (as in traditional manual transmission), however both are lubricated out of same oil sump. The gear part causes the oil to be more contaminated with wear particles (vs. Traditional automatic transmission). The contaminated oil is used also in the valve body and the wet clutch, and these wear particles can deteriorate the performance of the wet clutch (clutch material, resulting in slippage, or clutch and gear change hydraulic controls, resulting in defective shift strategies). Once that happens, damage is usually irreversible. VW changed the oil service recommendation from "fill for life" or 100,000 miles to 40,000 miles. Even at this reduced amount, they clearly still had a problem. They probably modified the design since but have not admitted it. VW has not been ethical in their handling of this design defect.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #58

Jun 012010


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that when shifting from park to drive, the vehicle would hesitate and stall. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility where the contact was advised that the transmission would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 96,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #57

Aug 162010


  • 44,646 miles
My 2004 VW Beetle at 44,000 miles had to have the automatic transmission replaced, I allowed the VW dealer to do all the work.. the problem that occurs is it jerks and won't shift gears when on the freeway or in other dangerous situations. Over a year later at 54,000 miles my same car is now doing the same thing on the freeway. This is extremely dangerous and occurring on a so-called "brand new" transmission VW claims to have put in. My parts warranty from a year ago recently expired. A car should not have two automatic transmissions under 54,000 miles! I found several message boards full of the same complaint, same problem in the Beetles from this time period. The transmission jerks on people when they are driving down a highway or road. There are hundreds of these complaints online. I am filing mine with you in hopes you will start investigating these complaints before someone gets killed driving from them.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #56

Jun 202010


  • 61,900 miles


2004 VW convertible Beetle needs the valve body replaced. Car only has 61,900 miles on it. Rear windows both have broken air bag switch needs to be replaced.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #55

Aug 112010


  • 57,761 miles
Purchased a 2004 VW Beetle convertible 2 days ago. Drove it home, drove it to and from work (for one day), today the check engine light comes on. Took it to the garage and they tell me the transmission needs to be replaced for $6500. The car only has 57,000 miles on it. This is insane. I have a 3 year old and this car could and probably will leave us stranded on the side of the road.

- Farmville, NC, USA

problem #54

Aug 072010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 66,642 miles
Have had transmission issues with my 2004 new Beetle. On 5/12/10, I started having problems with my transmission took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated it was a faulty "turbo recirculation valve" and replaced the part (picked up same day-$250). On 5/18/10, I told them I was still having the same problem with the transmission where the rpms goes up but the speed of the car does not move..close to redline. This time the dealer told me the transmission was bad and had to be replaced (picked up on 5/25/10-$4,269). When I received the car I told them the car still did not perform like it should. On 5/26/10, I took the car back to the dealer and now they tell me the transmission controller unit and circuit was faulty and had to be replaced...this time it took a while (picked car up on 6/29/10 - $1,888). Around the week of July 9th I called the dealer and told them the car still felt it was slipping at time when the weather was hot and I had been driving in it. On, 7/14/10 I took the car in again to dealer and they had it for a day...now they told me they could not recreate the problem so I picked up the car on 7/15/10...no cost this time. They may have made a few tweaks as the car lasted till now 8/07/10 where I had to leave my car at a local post office after driving home from work in a 105 degree heat in Texas (I drove about 37 miles). It is just as I suspected I was able to ask my brother to take me to the car in the evening and was able to drive it home. I left a message for the dealership in the afternoon when I had the problems. Thank you for your assistance in this matter to not defraud the consumer by selling them defective vehicles/parts.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #53

Oct 152009


  • miles
I own a 2004 VW new Beetle and the transmission seems to be going bad. It is a sealed system so no one has tampered with it. At times, the vehicle will jerk very hard when trying to downshift from a higher speed to a lower speed (especially when trying to stop). At times, it will not shift up when trying to go from a lower speed to a higher speed, thereby causing a jerking in the vehicle. The people riding in the vehicle are also being jerked forward and backward as in a whiplash motion. There have been several people with a Volkswagen new Beetle that claim to have the same problem. There is a website where people have complained/blogged about their problems and VW is claiming no linkage to any of the effected vehicles. Can you assist in this matter or tell me where I can go to obtain assistance?

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #52

Dec 012008


  • 100,000 miles


Transmission failed.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #51

Mar 212010


  • 74,000 miles
VW new Beetle with transmission issues that are dangerous. It will jump unexpectedly and at one point I actually rear ended another vehicle from the uncontrollable transmission issues. It will also hesitate in an intersection making for a hazardous situation.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #50

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 #49

Nov 202009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
I have been experiencing numerous problems with my transmission slipping and jerking on hi ways and stop and go traffic. My vehicle mileage was approx 68,000 miles at the time. I have had a few incidents where the car did not move on the freeway since the transmission was slipping. This problems occurs everyday after the car is ran for around 5 miles. My VW is a 2004 VW Beetle. I took the vehicle into VW thinking it was due for an adjustment or an oil change. I was given recommendations that the oil may needed to be topped off or the computer may needed to be checked. I was told that for $120 I could have the car diagnosed. I took the car into the dealer and was told to come back in a few hours. After calling back I was told that the car was cooling off and that the dealer was going to top off the oil for 40 dollars more. I paid a total of $160 and than was told that I would possibly need to buy a new transmission for 7,000 dollars. The service rep said I could purchase a part for 2,000 dollars and see if that would fix the problem but he already has 5 transmissions he is currently working on that need to be replaced. I felt that the service department new this was not going to help but saw the opportunity to take advantage of me since I was not familiar with this issue. I than checked the blogs for VW transmission and to my surprise found 240+ reasons why I was not alone on this issue. Please read the complaints of other consumers that are having the same problems. These people are our neighbors and friends who can not afford to spend their money on this kind of problem. townhall-talk.edmunds.com/webx"14@@.F124D77/0 please help us in resolving this issue. As on blogger said, we didn't buy a VW so we could pay expensive maintenance cost. Thanks for your time. God bless townhall-talk.edmunds.com/webx"14@@.F124D77/0.

- Ontario, CA, USA

problem #48

Feb 012010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
I strongly feel that we owners should not have to pay for replacing an expensive transmission which obviously has a recognizable "pre-existing condition" that could very well cause a serious accident. My 2004 Beetle convertible 6-speed automatic turbo began shifting gears roughly, jerking and slipping on upshifting and downshifting a few months ago at 52K miles. Only after warming up. Sound familiar" yes, my transmission is going out and needs to be replaced for $6000, according to the dealer and a private auto trans shop. I'm the original owner and the car has always been serviced on time by the same dealer. Never abused. Since many people are reporting these exact same symptoms, and since it might lead to an abrupt gear failure while driving, I strongly recommend the NHTSA investigate. Web searches reveal the problem to be across model years. Wear & tear" no, I live in a small town in no.cal. And drive mostly freeway miles in light traffic with few gear changes. Please investigate.

- Ross, CA, USA

problem #47

Sep 012009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
A few months ago, my 2004 VW Beetle conv started experiencing erratic transmission shifting-it would "clunk" into 1st/2nd/3rd gears, sometimes to the point of "screeching" off and almost laying rubber. This happens after engine is warm--after getting off a freeway or driving for a few miles. After several trips to my mechanic, and hundreds of dollars trying to fix problem, I have been told that this is a recurring problem with the VW new Beetle after 60,000 miles and that the only fix is a new valve and electronic transmission costing from $4000 to $7000. This info is from my trusted mechanic of over 30 years. VW will not admit to any engineering flaws and will not pay to fix vehicle. It does this in heavy traffic, at stoplights and intersections and has nearly caused accidents. Please advise if I have any recourse with VW to get this fixed at their expense.

- Crestview Hills, KY, USA

problem #46

Apr 232007


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked she drove and especially when she was slowing down. The vehicle had previously been taken to an authorized dealership for a transmission recall remedy in April 2007 for this failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealership again and was advised the transmission had failed. The contact called the manufacturer and they advised since the recall remedy was already performed, there was nothing they could do. The failure mileage was approximately 82,000. The current mileage was approximately 83,000.

- Linwood , CA, USA

problem #45

May 252010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I bought my daughter a 2004 Beetle it has begun shifting hard 1st thru 3rd both up and down shifting. I've had it at the dealer 3 times and am getting the same run around. There's no way VW isn't aware of this issue, I called VW America to complain about the dealership but got nowhere. I'm fed up and tired of being screwed, the car only had 65K miles and I first took it in with 58K miles on it. Today they say I needed a new transmission at a cost of $6500 and is not covered by the warranty so I 'd have to fork over out of my pocket. Looking on the internet there are over 100 people posting the same problem.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #44

Apr 282010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
The transmission in my 2004 Volkswagen Beetle convertible is defective. It slams into gear from 2 to 3 and I have been told to fix the problem will cost approximately $6000. Also the rear window will not roll up and the tail light on the driver's side has gone out therefore creating turn signal problems. I have checked on line and these problems seem to be an issue for other owners of this vehicle and other years. I also have had the waterpump go out which also seems to be an issue.

- Paso Robles, CA, USA

problem #43

May 162010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Six speed auto trans began slamming downshifting and slipping up at around 75K. Car hung in neutral 3 times on a 20 minute commute nearly causing near rear end collisions as it was necessary to pull off road to stop and restart car. Blogs are filled with many others with the same scary problem. VW denies. Repair bill $5000.

- Plainfield, NJ, USA

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