really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,479 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.

2005 Volkswagen Beetle drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Feb 212016


  • 82,000 miles


I bought a used 2005 VW new Beetle with triptonic transmission with 82,000 miles a few weeks ago. Very quickly the car started having transmission issues which appear when the car has warmed up after ~10/15 mins. The problem I'm experiencing is that the car will not shift smoothly when running between the 3 and 4th gear and often revs up to 5000 RPM before it "clunks" into higher gear. It's also hard shifting very abruptly sometimes which gives me very little confidence in driving the car. It seems unsafe to drive as it suddenly lunges forward or gets stuck in gear and doesn't accelerate. One of the worst incident for me was while in traffic going slightly uphill the car got stuck in third and started revving up without accelerating and I almost got hit by a car behind who didn't expect my car to move so slowly. I took the car to a Volkswagen dealership and they didn't find anything weird the first time when I took it for the 80.000 miles revision. After repeatedly experiencing the issue I took it again to the dealership to explicitly check the transmission and they recommended to change the valve body of the transmission. I have now read a lot of information on the internet and this is a very well known issue by VW as well as by many people who own Beetles with triptronic transmission. VW extended the warranty of the valve body of the transmission to 7 years or 100.000 miles whichever happens first. Unfortunately they didn't want to cover the replacement for my car since it's 2016 and the 7 years warranty expired in 2012 for this case. This is extremely disappointing and I feel scammed by VW not wanting to cover for an issue that's very well known by them. They sold defective cars and know perfectly well that the transmission is failing way faster than it should yet they now dismiss this because of the age of the car.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #37

Jul 012011


  • 75,000 miles
Problems with shifting between 3rd & 4th gears, lurching, and lagging. I called the dealer, gave the symptoms and asked what they thought the problem could be, they insisted they hadn't heard of VW's doing that. My car continued to decline, becoming stuck in a gear, violently lurching, stalling, and all gears lit up(bracketed) on the dash. When I took car to VW Nov 2011, 80,000 miles, first they said they couldn't duplicate, but I persisted explaining my horrible, lurching drive into work, where I stalled several times almost getting hit, and how I couldn't put the children I care for in my car for fear of someone hitting my stalled vehicle. The VW mechanic talked me into flushing out the trans and checking the magnet($560). He said 80% chance it was my trans(quoted $6,000), even after there were no metal shavings in the pan, or said it could be the valve body(quoted $1,600), but they wouldn't know until after the repair. I have driven other cars well beyond 200,000 miles without having a trans issue, so was shocked the trans could be bad at 80,000 miles! I took good care of my car, and drove her kindly. The mechanic denied trans issues being common for Beetles. I paid the $560, and there wasn't an improvement. I found out about the extended warranty on the valve body too late(even though it was in effect when I took my car in for service!) I was scared every time I drove, and irate once I learned through online search that faulty transmissions are a hugely known problem and VW won't fess up and fix their problem!! after the trans blew on the interstate(that was terrifying having a trans go at 70mph and I am so thankful I was able to guide my car to the shoulder of the road before I was hit!!), the Beetle sat in my driveway while I still made payments on it for several months. Please investigate and force Volkswagen to recall these dangerous transmissions!!

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #36

Apr 022015

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
On the 2nd my son was driving my car on the highway with me as a passenger at 70 mph when suddenly the RPM's shot up and the car stalled out. Fortunately he was able to restart the car and safely get us off the highway. We then approached a light in which we had to stop at and the car did not want to go. I finally figured out the car was in a safety mode and is stuck in 3rd gear. I have had three mechanic look at the car. No one can figure out at this point if it needs a new transmission or it is an electrical problem with the transmission. Either way a transmission should not have issues at under 100,000 miles. I have also looked on line and seen to shock how many people with this car are have issues with their transmissions. Why have the transmissions not been recalled? we could have been killed or seriously injured when the car just stalled out at 70 mph. On top of the car is falling apart! in the 9 months I have owed the fuel pump has gone out, waterpump, timing belt, and thermostat as well. Not too forget to mention that the interior is slowly falling apart as well. Something done about this situation!!!

- Abilene, TX, USA

problem #35

Oct 012014


  • 70,000 miles


VW new Beetle tiptronic automatic transmission manufacturer/design defect: I experienced multiple close calls in the freeway while the car behind me almost hit me. I could not keep up with the traffic after slowing down in a congested freeway condition due to this transmission malfunction. This is a safety concern to all drivers, not just me. Although I was driving very carefully to avoid any accidents caused by this transmission malfunction problem; but not so for other drivers around me. This is a know potential safety-related defects caused by transmission malfunction. There is a class action (case # 11-cv-02243, in the us district court for the western district of Arkansas). Although this was dismissed in Arkansas, but the judge said "other co-plaintiffs in the case could pursue claims in ca". to me, this means this design and/or manufacture defect of the automatic transmission is valid. It should be address immediately and I am asking NHTSA to make a swift judgment before it cause any life or major safety issue.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #34

Apr 022014


  • 58,405 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the contact heard a knocking sound. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the triptronic sensors had failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 58,405.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

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problem #33

Dec 092013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 85,981 miles
I acquired my vehicle on 7/29/2010 as a high school graduation gift with 31,290 miles on it. As of December 2013 my vehicle has been experiencing hard shifting issues.12/15/2013 I took the vehicle to VW for hard shifting issues when decelerating. VW indicated that the vehicle had an extended warranty for the part causing the hard shifting issues. When the coverage information was pulled up for the auto trans valve body aq-250 warrant ext. The end date of the warranty was on 9/27/2011 or the end mileage of 100,000 miles. VW dealership was unable to do anything because of the end date, so I proceeded to call 1-800 VW number only to be told that nothing could be done even though I was never experiencing any issues at the time or had any knowledge of the extended warranty. I had my vehicle for only a year. When experiencing this hard shift issue while decelerating the car feels as if someone has rear-ended me and driving this vehicle with this bad valve body is a nightmare, so the car has been stuck in my garage for a couple months now. I have read of many complaints about this same issue and VW quoted me for the valve body replacement of about $1,832.26. This is issue should be resolved and all consumers should be compensated because of this defect.

- Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

problem #32

Sep 112009


  • 54,639 miles


In September of 2009 the Beetle was taken to brown's Volkswagen of richmond due to transmission shifting issues. They noted the file: Removed the trans pan to check--small shaving, cleaned screen and reinstalled--still having problem. They did not provide information on the extended warranty which had been approved by VW corporate.VW had extended the warranty period on the electronic trans valve body for the known issue with the transmission. Instead they wanted to install a new transmission which was not covered by them. This was not agreed on. In may of 2013 I learned of the extended warranty which had been offered by VW corporate and contacted VW via their web site and filed a complaint. In July of 2013 the vehicle was taken to West broad Volkswagen for a computer diagnostic for shifting related issues. In July of 2013 VW corporate contact me stating browns VW had not logged enough information to determine the cause of the problem. I did state to them the car was at West broad VW now. The computer came back with code P0730 incorrect gear ratio. The mechanic stated verbally replacing the valve body should take care of the immediate problem. But the service advisor would not put that in writing and did advise to replace the transmission for $8,500. VW corporate declined any warranty to replace the valve body. This condition is wide spread throughout the Beetle 09G six speed tiptronic transmission. It is my opinion this is a safety concern that VW has passed on to the consumer. VW knows this problem exist but has falsely represented their concern with the problem. VW is not taking responsibility for their actions. They have misled the public. They should be held accountable for the truth about the problem and resolution. Erratic shifting/ slamming into gears/ loosing power transfer to the wheels/ without indication this is going to happen.

- Henrico , VA, USA

problem #31

Sep 172013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 82,500 miles
I was driving down the road and as it shifted into 5th I felt a bang. It felt as though someone ran into the rear of my car. It snapped my neck hard. It keeps doing this. I took it back to where I bought it and they said they could find nothing wrong with it.

- Batavia, OH, USA

problem #30

Oct 172012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
The transmission lurches when shifting. It feels like it slips and will rev up and. From what I am reading this is a common problem with these cars. The dealerships want $7000 dollars to fix the problem. They all seem to be very familier with this "common" problem. Sounds like there needs to be a recall on these cars. Got this car for my daughter to use through college and now I am stuck with a car that cost more to fix than its worth.

- Kannapolis, NC, USA

problem #29

Dec 122012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Upon increasing speed vehicle shifts extremely hard especially in low gears. A decrease in speed also results in extremely hard downshifting. Sometimes car will not shift. Upon slowing down at same red light two days in a row car appears to drop into first gear, but then begins to try to roll back upon releasing the break. This particular light is on a hill with 3 lanes of traffic. I had to switch the car off, shift into park, and then crank the car again for it to catch first to be able to move forward. I called VW dealerships with no return call. Finally got a svc mgr. Could not tell me anything. Gave me an 800 phone # to call. I was told the extended warranty had run out in Nov of 2012 even though my car was still under the 100,000 miles. I was also informed that I should have called that number when I bought the car to "register" it in my name with VW. I received no information at purchase, and with this being my 8th vehicle it was the first I was told I had to call the maker to register it with. I am scared when I have to drive my car to work every day.

- Cairo, GA, USA

problem #28

Jul 012012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


Purchased this vehicle from a dealership in del ray beach Florida on October 2011. The dealerships name is autobahn/usa (1800 North federal highway, del ray beach, Florida 33483). The vehicle was purchased "as is", with no extended warranty. According to the dealership there was no issues with said vehicle at the time of purchase. This vehicle was then driven back to the state of Michigan where I reside. I have experienced the transmission issues reference this vehicle from the start. It appears when slowing down the transmission disengages feeling like it is jumping gears. I have talked with a Volkswagen dealership in bay city, Michigan, and a Volkswagen dealership in grand rapids, Michigan. Both stated that the year of vehicle I purchased had a recall for the transmission. They also noted in order for the recall to be valid, I needed to have purchased an extended warranty. I have just over 60,000 miles on my Volkswagen Beetle. I believe that this faulty transmission can be a danger while driving. I am attempting to repair said transmission. I am a little confused when Volkswagen is stating there was a recall for the transmission for the years 2004 and 2005, and they would only honor the recall if I purchased there extended warranty. Please advise.

- Tawas City, MI, USA

problem #27

Sep 112009

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 82,561 miles
The transmission shifts fails to shift at the proper engine RPM. The problem gets worse as the transmission gets hot. When it does shift it hits very hard, jerking the vehicle out of control. Secondly, the failure shift will leave you stranded on the side of the road placing you in harms way should this happen at the wrong place. The vehicle is not operational due to this uncontrollable shifting malfunction. It is not possible to predict when this malfunction will occur and could lead to bodily injury or possible death.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #26

Jun 082010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 50,742 miles
I purchased this vehicle used with original warranty still going and I also purchased an extended warranty (high tech) with it. Within a few months the car started to jerk and then shift into gear or sometimes it wouldn't shift into gear or it would barely move. My malfunction lights different ones were coming on and the car started to overheat. Sometimes it would leak all the water out and others you would see it boiling the car also made different noises as I drove and the drivers side window would make this piercing noise and the passenger side would go down and up by itself. Well the following has been replaced plus more.....(2) head gaskets, a few waterpumps, coolant flange melted a few times, a couple thermostats, impellor, timing belt tensioner needless to say this vehicle has had on going problems with overheating numerous times and several things have been replaced several times along with other items. This vehicle has been in to VW capo for repair over 40 + times I stopped counting. VW capo is the only place that has serviced this car since my purchase. I have been stranded on ortega hwy in 103 degrees with no cell coverage due to vehicle overheating I think I've been towed in 4 or 5 times. Something is not right here....the dealership said it's my fault that I must have put something in the car to clog it. I now have replaced the radiator at my cost of $1600 plus. Has anyone else had all these problems?? I have had alot of problems with the struts, mount, cv boots, control arms etc.........

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 102012


  • 90,000 miles
2005 Volkswagen transmission will lurch and slip from 1st to 2nd gear. Issue is supposed to be a valve body issue that VW doesn't seem to want to recognize the defective part. This issue could cause potentially dangerous situation when pulling out onto traffic. The vehicle basically will not go when shifting between those gears. It takes several seconds for it to shift, the vehicle will rev up at that time and then slam into gear.

- Bath, PA, USA

problem #24

Feb 162010


  • 75,000 miles
Defective valve body in the transmission causing severe car troubles on-road, simply stopped working while going 60 mph on a busy interstate.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #23

Mar 212012

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 72,500 miles
My 05 VW Beetle automatic began lurching/slipping when going from full stop to about 40mph.....when trans is going from 1st to 2nd to 3rd gears.

- Granger, IN, USA

problem #22

Feb 112013


  • 80,801 miles
When gearing down or starting up at redlight, car downshifts and gears-up with a jerk; took to VW dealer; says it is valve body defect which could utimately cause transmission to go bad; was told at dealership VW knows about the problem and extended a warranty on valve cover only which went out last yr on my vehicle. I never got a notice. VW admits the problem was there when manufactured in Mexico. I believe that this could be a safety issue for many VW owners. Also have had numerous problems with window regulators malfuctioning - affecting locking of doors and window closings- even when these costly regulators are replaced, the problems return... my car value is now -0- thanks to VW manufacturing issues.

- Lincolnton, GA, USA

problem #21

Jan 312013

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Car jolts into gear between 1st and 2nd gear; also problems between 3rd and 4th gear on an automatic transmission. Brought car into local VW dealer immediately, to have repaired. Diagnosed problem as needing a new valve body for transmission. This problem has been so widespread that VW issued an extended warranty for 7 years 100,000 mi. Problem...repair is $1,800. VW will not cover this and honor the warranty for my vehicle which only has 49,000 mi. On it. They said I am 6 month outside of the time warranty (expired 6/18/12). They will not authorize an exception even though my car only has 49,000 mi.. it is unsafe to drive as it lunges forward and also gets stuck in gear.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #20

Jan 142013


  • 96,534 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the transmission began to shake violently. The contact merged to the shoulder of the road where the vehicle was powered off and restarted. The contact stated the failure recurred approximately 10 minutes after restarting. Also, the contact mentioned that the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 96,534.

- Slidell, LA, USA

problem #19

Jul 242010

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • 50,000 miles
The first time I drove my used over 50 mph along coastal road (within 24 hours of purchase from a Toyota dealer), the engine cut power and rolled to a stop. From first gear, it began to drive again. I took the car to the dealer and they determined that the valve body was defective. I am scared to drive the car over 55 on the freeway for fear of cutting power. In August 2011, the same cut of power occurred after driving 4 miles in the far right lane on the 405 freeway. I rolled off the freeway offramp and came to a stop. The transmission reset itself and drove up to 40 mph to my destination on side streets. Again the dealer accused the valve body. In July 2012, I decided to let the dealer check the car out again because I had a strange cut in power upon acceleration from a left turn traffic light the previous day. The dealer determined that my fuel pump was defective. After these three fixes, I trust the car to drive around town. But I suffer extreme anxiety about driving the car on a freeway. This week, I need to move the car from California 300 miles to Nevada. I am not certain if the transmission can drive that distance without a cut in power. Not dependable, not worth $15,000 price tag. Embarrassment!

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

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