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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Dec 022009


  • 50,000 miles


2004 Volkswagen new Beetle with less than 40,000 miles when the automatic transmission started slipping; now, with less than 60,000 miles, it is slipping constantly, resulting in increased driving danger. According to numerous websites, this appears to be an uncomfortably widespread problem for many owners of new Beetles, 2003 - 2005. This will be an expensive fix, requiring a new transmission.

- Newbury Park, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 302009


  • 100,000 miles
I have a 2004 VW Beetle convertible. For the last couple of months my car's gears have been acting up, slipping in and out of gear; and in more then 10 cases completely going out of gear and leaving my car in neutral while im driving (in some cases on the freeway). The car jerks when it down shifts, and also jerks when accelerating into certain gears. At first, it was something that happened rarely. Now it happens almost every time I drive my car.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #20

Dec 312003


  • miles
Bought my VW new. Have had problems with jerky shifting from early on. Took it to the dealer several times, and they "could not duplicate the problem". they acted like they had never heard of the problem, which has to be a lie considering the number of complaints here. I'm now past the warranty, the car is paid for, and I worry every time I get in it that I'll get stuck in a gear. Volkswagen knew the transmissions were bad in these cars and they did nothing about it.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #19

Nov 012009


  • 80,000 miles


1. automatic transmission slips during acceleration. On de-acceleration downshifting the transmission jerks. 2. it happens all the time and is very dangerous if trying to speed up to avoid an accident or pedestrian. 3. currently obtaining estimate to repair vehicle. My vehicle has 80,000 miles and I noticed other owners with similar mileage have the same problem. Repair cost of $4,000 to $6,000.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #18

Oct 012009


  • 120,000 miles
2004 VW Beetle convertible automatic transmission 2.0 liter engine. When slowing down, automatic transmission jerks from 5th gear down to 3rd gear, severely affecting braking. VW dealership, where purchased the car, and which has provided all regularly scheduled service, advised transmission is sealed, can't replace fluids, can't fix, and that the car needs a new transmission. Only 121K highway miles. Replacement will cost over $6K. According to edmunds carspace.com this problem is rampant with VW Beetles. Dangerous situation deserves a recall by VW America.

- Tallassee, AL, USA

problem #17

Apr 172009


  • 84,000 miles
2004 VW new Beetle: The car would shift to "no" gear while driving, which would make it in "neutral." When after a stop the car would not go right into a gear....cars behind would have to slam on brakes because my car would not move into gear. Had the car checked by at least two mechanics - one who works with european cars; and my VW dealership. After a mis-diagnosing by VW - I am told indeed a new transmission!! 88,000 miles! I need a car - couldn't afford the $6000 + that VW was going to charge, so brought it to a aamco and had it fixed for just over $4000...this is a recall problem...I really can't afford to put all this money into the car, especially since it cannot be traded in for any other car. It was certainly a scary ride when the car would go out of gear(automatic transmission). Please help.

- Stratham, NH, USA

problem #16

May 282009


  • 70,000 miles


VW Beetle convertible '04 (approx. 80K miles) - slipping and banging transmission. Slams and bangs hard with each downshift (automatic) after about 15 miles or driving. Slips or will not move when accelerating after slamming and banging begins. Cannot drive car in traffic for fear or being rear ended or broadsided, therefore, cannot safely or dependably drive the car. Expected thousands to repair if a mechanic who understands the problem can be found. Many of the know issues with car have also occurred; broken plastic water pump, rear window seal broken, passenger side window will not go all the way down, passenger side seat belt light malfunction, headlights uneven brightness, short in dash, heated seat too hot to use (fear of fire) and incredible door rattles.

- Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #15

Aug 152009


  • 75,000 miles
2004 Volkswagen Beetle convertible turbo...2.0 liter engine...the transmission jerks when shifting down or up....feels like someone has rearened it in the back....have taken it to dealership and couple of other transmission places...they said they couldn't find any thing wrong while it was still under warranty...now that it has 94000 miles and is out of warranty they decide it needs a new transmission.....we have had it serviced just like we should...it doesn't matter...we don't have $6000 to get it fixed...something should be done...I've talked with many, many Volkswagen owners experiencing the same problem..how many does it take before you guys do a recall?

- Chickamauga, GA, USA

problem #14

Sep 012009


  • 101,000 miles
I have a 04 VW Beetle conv. The transmission is acting up. It shifts late & bangs into gear or doesn't shift at all. The dealer say the trans needs to be replaced @ a cost of 6K. I brought it to a transmission shop & they can not fix the problem after having the veh for over 2 months. In reading the web pages I find many others with this veh having the same problem, with low & higher mileage. VW knows there is a problem, but will not address it. I ended up having the trans rebuilt, but its still doing the same thing, no change. The trans shop is baffled.

- Templeton, MA, USA

problem #13

Nov 092009


  • 90,000 miles
While driving the car it will not shift out and then jerk real bad. Downshifts extremely hard and sometimes will not come out of gear when slowing down to a stop. It has been to the dealership and several other people are having the same problem. When taking off the car will stall and then engage in gear almost causing me to be rear ended several times.

- Summerville, GA, USA

problem #12

Sep 032009


  • 56,551 miles


I have a 04 volks.Beetle that has transmission problems. It jerks real hard when you break and switching from 3rd to 4th gear then from 4th to 3rd. This is very dangerous especially when you go to stop and it seems not to catch then jerk. My car has only 53,000 miles and already needs a transmission. I brought it to a mechanic and they quoted me $5000 to rebuild they also said that the transmission does not have a coolant sensor and that's why is jerking cause its hot. The dealership wants $7000. I'm a single parent of 4 who truly cannot afford this.

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #11

Oct 192009


  • 90,000 miles
My VW Beetle will not shift out of gear and gets stuck in 3rd gear. It shifts hard and surges at take off. Has almost caused me to get hit several times when leaving a redlight. The latest was today when trying to turn and it was stuck in 6th gear. I have to stop the car and turn it off it reset the computer to get it back in first gear. This occurs once the car heats up and sometimes will not show you what gear it is in and will not shift down. Have taken it to the VW dealership and they want a new transmission. Have looked at edmonds.com and my VW is not the only one having this problem.

- Summerville, GA, USA

problem #10

Aug 202009


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen new Beetle convertible. When he tried to place the vehicle in "drive" or shift gears they locked between 3rd and 4th gear. The vehicle also lost speed while driving and the dashboard illuminated displaying all of the gears at once ( P, R, N, D, S, ). a mechanic stated that the failure could be the transmission or the tip tronic system. The manufacturer stated that since there were no related recalls, they would not be responsible for the repairs. The current and failure mileages were 124,000.

- Fort Mill, , SC, USA

problem #9

Mar 012009


  • 78,000 miles
Transmission hard to shift and jerking at all speeds then locks in 5th gear. Repair shop wants $6,000. To repair. Have searched for help in this matter went to VW dealership but was told don't worry that jerking was normal. Now I have lost the use of my 2004 VW red convertible Beetle. My wife is heart broken. The car is useless without a transmission. The dealership could have prevented the problems on the onset when we first told them of the problem. She was so impressed when we purchased the car new that an extended warranty was bought on the inset with the car. When the transmission failed we found out that the warranty company has since went out of business the year before in 2008 and was never informed of this fact.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #8

May 182007


  • 73,000 miles
The car went into "limp mode" about 12 miles from home. It dropped into first gear and limped home at 15 mph. Next morning it performed normally. That night started into town, it dumped again down to limp mode, then refused to move at all. Had to dolly it home. Dollied it to dealer a week later. They did the computer scan and said it was the "valve body" on the transmission. Wanted $1700 to replace it. Dollied it back home. Tried to get someone to look at it for a second opinion. No one would touch it. A german in the german air force who worked for VW in germany agreed to work on it. Scan he did indicated "valve body", so he removed that and we tried to order one from the same dealer. The dealer now tells us the part is not available and a new valve body won't fix it anyway. That tells us they have other Beetles with the same problem and they couldn't fix those either. Talked to VW of America several times. They were not helpful at all and basically would not cooperate in any way. Not under warranty and they won't do anything. We have since learned that it has a unique transmission used only during 2004 and almost everyone who has a Beetle with that transmission has had the same problem. Can't get parts. No one will work on it. VW of America is aware of these problems and make no effort to help. We would like to find out how to start a class action lawsuit! basically, we have a $16,000 piece of junk that we drove for about a year and it is now completely worthless! recently they told us there were no parts available to fix the transmission.

- Alamogordo, NM, USA

problem #7

Aug 152008


  • 62,000 miles
2004 VW new Beetle conv. 6 speed transmission. Transmission fails and slips causing erratic shifting after only 65000 miles. VW suggests to replace entire transmission for $6500.

- Collierville, TN, USA

problem #6

Sep 022008


  • 66,500 miles
2004 VW Beetle transmission slipping between 3rd and 4th gear. In my vehicle it started around 66500 miles and happens just after the vehicle reaches operating temperature every day. I have made an appt with dealership to have this looked at. I have looked on the internet and I have noted there have been numerous complaints regarding this particular yr model Beetle and the same type transmission problem. There has been no recall yet on this vehicle.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 222007

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
On August 22, 2007 the dsg 6 speed automatic transmission on my 2004 tdi VW Beetle started to disintegrate. Small pieces of coil springs and metal fragments fell onto the belly pan and a grinding noise could be heard. From research I have done, this seems to be a frequent problem with VW's with this type of transmission.

- Matawan, NJ, USA

problem #4

Oct 152005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
: the contact stated while placing a cup of coffee into the cup holder, coffee was spilled into the transmission. The cup holder is located right above the clutch. Since this incident, the transmission has progressively worsened. Other than going into the park, drive and reverse mode, the transmission does not operate. The console and check engine lights intermittently illuminate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they determined that the problem with the vehicle is due to external factors, not a manufacturers defect. The contact expressed concerns of the location of the cup holder and the transmission playing a significant role in the current transmission problems..

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #3

Aug 042004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
Consumer complained about electrical problems; the speakers didn't work/windows kept going up and down, and transmission failed. The car was not even a one year old. The replaced transmission still performs poorly. The air bag light came on at least 3-4 times.

- Bloomington, CA, USA

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