really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,509 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.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #56

Oct 202011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


The transmission started slipping and shifting hard between 2nd and 3rd. This occurrence is due to a faulty transmission control unit and transmission solenoid. If not properly taken care of this might cause a transmission failure and ultimately a transmission crash. This means a new transmission and the cost can range from 3000-7000 dollars. This has happened to many VW owners. Especially Volkswagen between 2001-2003.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #55

Sep 012010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,500 miles
The automatic transmission-when shifted into D-lags for a few seconds and then the car lunges forward-transmission shifts in an odd manner-car only has 43000 miles on it-original miles-.

- Atlanta , GA, USA

problem #54

Oct 132011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Volkswagen Jetta. Consumer writes to express discontent regarding repairs at local dealer the consumer stated three days after retrieving the vehicle from the dealer, for maintenance work, the vehicle broke down on the highway. The problem was determined to be the alternator. The consumer stated he was involved in a hit-and run accident in which the rear end impact caused damage to the transmission. The consumer stated even though the vehicle was repaired, he continued to experience problems with the transmission. Updated 12/08/11

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #53

Apr 172011


  • 102,000 miles


Vehicle lost power at highway speed. Further application of the throttle caused the transmission to second from fourth, causing the vehicle to rapidly decelerate from 70 to 40 mph, at which point the engine resumed normal operation. This happened several times in the span of an hour, and is entirely intermittent. Three VW dealers are at a complete loss for an explanation. The ECU does not return a fault code. This problem occurs completely at random, regardless of fuel level, incline, or throttle position. The only consistency is that it has never happened at a speed over 50 mph.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #52

Dec 012006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Transmission slips, doesn't grab when you first put it into drive. Shifts hard, between 1st and 2nd gears. Have almost backed into cars when in drive. Then I have to give it gas to move forward and almost hit car parked in front of me, with parallel parking. Also jumps really bad when I give it a lil gas sometimes, like at stop lights.

- Cana, VA, USA

problem #51

Jan 012011


  • 110,000 miles
First issue, the engine is burning oil. I've noticed that my car engine started burning oil when it had about 50,000 miles on it. It took me almost two years to prove to the VW dealership mechanics that the engine is burning oil. At 73,000 miles the VW dealership mechanics rebuilt the engine. My oil consumption normalized. Now, at around 115,000 miles, I've noticed that the engine started burning oil again. 1,800 miles after an oil change, jiffy lube mechanic had to add 2.5qt of oil. Shouldn't the engine last at least 100,000 miles after rebuild" it seems that this engine only lasts 45,000 miles. This feels like a major defect and VW has to recall the engine. Second issue, my car is only 8 years old but it's on its third transmission. I had to replace transmission at 32,000 miles and again at 73,000 miles. I'm at 115,000 and I'm getting very worried because I'm starting to feel little jerks. This looks to be a 40,000 miles transmission. How can VW do this to consumers" it would seem reasonable to me if this transmission gets recalled. I'm not even mentioning many other malfunctions. One of which includes getting flooded during rainy season. I can't believe my car, 2002 VW Jetta 2.0L gls was allowed to be on the market.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #50

Dec 152010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


According to carfax report, maintenance has been regular. I maintained car appropriately. All of sudden major sporadic shifting issues began occurring around 140,000K with 3rd gear causing the car to jerk and lose power each time it attempts 3rd gear. This has occurred with me at numerous stop lights in city causing traffic behind me to slam on brakes to avoid a collision.

- Advance, NC, USA

problem #49

Nov 222010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated. Then he noticed that the gear shifts would change without warning. The dealer was notified who informed the contact that the transmission solenoid valve needed to be replaced. The contact did not inform the manufacturer. The transmission solenoid valve was replaced by a private mechanic. The current mileage was approximately 80,722. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #48

Nov 282010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the vehicle would experience problems shifting from first to second gear. The vehicle would not move forward as well. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were approximately 105,000. Updated 1/25/11 updated 02/07/11

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #47

Aug 272010


  • 124,600 miles
We have a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta with the 1.8T engine and the transmission is failing. At times it has gotten stuck in first gear while on the highway. It also slips between second and third gear causing the car to lose all power. In general, it has been a danger to drive on the highway and you cannot get out of the righthand lane because you need to be able to pull quickly to the side in case of a rapid downshift or loss of power while it can't find the gear. VW repair shop says it is a known problem with this transmission (09A) and that Volkswagen has refused to deal with it. The repair cost for a new transmission is $5K!

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #46

Jul 162009


  • 108,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta gls tdi. The contact shifted into reverse and as he began to proceed, the transmission slipped out of gear. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility where the mechanic advised that the reverse gear barring had failed. There were shards of metal from the barring found in the transmission screen, causing the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 108,000 and the current mileage was 114,000.

- Baytown, TX, USA

problem #45

Jul 222010


  • 95,600 miles
Loss of power on freeway, without warning. Vehicle lost power, then, while attempting to restore power by 'pumping' the accelerator, shifted into second gear, resulting in a very rapid deceleration from 70 mph to 45 mph. This occurred twice in one hour, at both times requiring following motorists to swerve severely to avoid.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #44

May 012002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
At 70000 miles, Jetta gls sedan with automatic transmission stopped being able to shift into reverse and started revving hard between 1st and 2nd. Dealership claims no knowledge of the problem, though these forums are full of reports of similar problems. After a series of expensive tests (400$ total) dealership recommends a new transmission to the tune of 5000$, which is approximately 70% of the car's blue book value. Despite the numerous complaints VW refuses to acknowledge the issue or compensate those who have experienced it.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #43

Apr 222010


  • 69,500 miles
I have always followed the recommended service schedule for my car. The owner manual doesn't mention replacing the transmission fluid for the life of the car. The car has 69500 miles. Three days ago while driving uphill I accelerated but the car did not pick up speed while the RPM went considerably higher (6000 RPM). I went to see my mechanic (a certified VW mechanic) who said that the transmission was slipping and not downgrading as it should and I should consider changing the transmission fluid as a possible remedy. He explained that a transmission fluid level could be the cause. He also said that since the transmission is "sealed" it was all he could do to try to remedy the problem. How can a "sealed" transmission that requires no maintenance be low in fluid ? he did change the transmission fluid and told me that the fluid was almost as dark as coffee, an indication that there was an issue inside the transmission. After changing the fluid the problem did not go away and gradually got worse. Three days later my transmission is extremely noisy and I can only run the car in "manual"mode in order to change the gears. I can no longer accelerate in 4th or 5th gear and just use them while cruising (at a maximum speed of 45 mph. VW has a 60000 miles warranty on the power train but a quick search on google revealed that a lot of 2002 Jetta owners had their transmission go bad around 70000 to 85000 miles. VW used to have 100000 miles warranty and reduced it to 60000, just below the mileage at which the transmission seem to break down. I suspect that they know their transmissions are defective and cut down the warranty in order not to have to bear the financial burden of a defective design. Considering the number of 2002 Jetta owner that have had to replace their "sealed" transmission around 70000 it seems to indicate a trend or at least a known problem with the part. I am now left with changing the transmission at a cost of around $5000. Please investigate.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

problem #42

Aug 272009


  • 9,500 miles
I have spent over $9000 since 2004 on repairs on my VW Jetta. I complained to the authorized repair shop that my car had to warm up when it was 90 degrees outside for it run without slowing down and almost stopping. I took my car in had bushings replaced and they said my temperature sensor needed replacing. When I got the car back I was having the same problem. I took the car back now they are saying that I need a valve body replaced to the tune of $1600. Even then there is no guarantee the problem will be fixed. The other option is to get a new transmission replaced for $3500. I honestly think all of these cars are lemons and I would never buy another Volkswagen product in my life.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #41

Sep 042009


  • 86,004 miles
2000 to 2002 Volkswagen tiptronic owners not provided correct information regarding the transmission servicing scheduling. Volkswagen states that the transmission is a "sealed" unit and therefore service is not need unless leaks are visible. Knowing this, I did not try to do transmission service on my car when it reached about 86,000 miles. - gears slip from 1st to 2nd at cold starts and jerks at 3rd gear. I have to warm the vehicle in 10 minutes to go back to normal operating mode. - today I was taking my wife and my 1-year old daughter to lake george NY from queens NY for a holiday weekend. The car suddenly slipped from 5th to 4th gear while we are driving 65 mph. However, I did not find the problem until I noticed that our speed almost feels the same eventhough I depress the pedal a little lower. I placed it on manual mode and the car shifted fine. We pulled over at the rest area and found out that there is a transmission fluid leak. We could have had an accident if the gear would have slipped to 2nd; almost like slamming the breaks while doing 65 mph. - tomorrow, I will have VW repair shop diagnose the problem. Most likely is the transmission control unit or the transmission solenoids. - similar issues in dsg transmission was reported at "good morning America" on August 28 2009. - please see similar tiptronic owner's complaints on this forum: Vwvortex.com. This is a public web forum and no personal information is provided.

- Elmhurst, NY, USA

problem #40

May 272009


  • 79,000 miles
2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T transmission shifts irregular transmission problems.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #39

Apr 102008


  • 65,000 miles
At about 65,000 miles my car would sometimes get stuck in park. It felt like I was trying to drive with the parking brake on. Then it stopped going in reverse. The shops in my area don't work on VW's due to their complicated trans. The dealer told me they don't repair any transmissions, that they can only replace it at a cost of $4500. I took a loan from my 401K, paid it thinking it would last, and sure enough this one is going too! it only had a warranty of 12000 miles... seems fishy since it's new. Never will I buy a VW again.

- Mchenry, IL, USA

problem #38

Feb 102008


  • miles
2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8turbo automatic transmission. Transmission shifts hard from 3rd to 4th gear. Needs new transmission. $4500.

- Hot Springs, AR, USA

problem #37

Feb 252009


  • 87,000 miles
I bought my 2002 Jetta 1.8T with an automatic transmission in August of 2006. The day I picked it up, the transmission blew while I was driving. After about 2 months, I finally got it back but the car was still shifting hard and had to bring it back. The car dies randomly, I have had to replace the entire A/C unit as well as numerous other repairs. This morning the car started shaking violently when stopped and when accelerating up to 60 mph. I have noticed there are over 35 other complaints regarding the transmissions on Jetta and from what I have learned informally online, I am not the only one experiencing these problems. Apparently the 2002's were built in Mexico and have had a large amount of problems. I am only a college student and would appreciate help resolving the issue of owning a faulty car. I cannot afford to keep up a car that was not made properly in the first place. Thank you!

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

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