definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,484 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 Jetta clutch problems

clutch problem

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2004 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #16

Jun 062007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 52,000 miles


Clutch failed at 52K miles, was told it was not covered under warrant due to wear and tear, mechanic deemed it a faulty part, VW said it only covered manufacturer defects up to 50K miles, paid $1500 to replace clutch. Trunk pops open randomly and latch makes clicking noises. Air cooling sensor needs to be replaced, my car is reading a running temp of -54 when it should be 160. Car stalls if I turn it off after driving more than a few miles then doesn't turn over if the engine cuts off. Black smoke pours out of tailpipe and it burns double the gas it should. Luckily they extended the factory warranty on the sensor last week and it can be fixed for free at a VW dealership only.

- Palmyra, VA, USA

problem #15

Aug 272007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,950 miles
I own a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T, and have just gone through clutch issues at 50K miles. 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears work fine, but I cannot engage 1st or reverse with the engine on. I have driven manual cars my whole life, and have put close to 100K miles on a few cars with the original clutch, with no repairs necessary. I spoke with 2 different VW dealers, and both said to me on the phone "this seems odd, I bet a new clutch isn't needed, a minor adjustment should do the trick". after bringing my car in, both dealers told me that I need a brand new clutch---estimated at $1500 or below. After researching this problem online, I have realized that there are literally hundreds of posts (representing most likely thousands and thousands of actual incidences) with this same exact problem of VW clutches failing well below the normal mileage. I know that the dealer is trained to say we need a brand new clutch, and that we don't know how to use manual transmissions----they are in business to make money. I just can't accept the fact that VW sells brand new cars with equipment that will necessarily fail well below their expected life. Given the fact that their clutches are failing at such low mileages (I have seen reports of this happening from 1K-60K), VW should make an effort to repair their sub-par parts, with little cost to the borrower. Instead, their cost for a clutch repair rivals that of a ferrari. It's unacceptable, and I hope that something will be done to hold Volkswagen responsible for their defective products.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #14

Aug 252007

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving 20 mph, the clutch pedal extended to the floor and would not lift back up. There were no warning indicators. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the failure was caused by excessive wear to the clutch. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 22,000.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #13

May 032007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles


My girlfriend purchased a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T in 2005, new overstocks from the lot. She just hit 30000 miles, and the clutch went out while she was driving home one evening. We had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealer to find that Volkswagen was blaming the problem on driver's error. The dealer wanted $1900 for repairs on a job that can be done for substantially less through an alternative auto shop. When we called to inquire about the limited restriction we were told that the item was considered wear and tear, and would not be covered by the warranty, but needed to be replaced only by a Volkswagen dealership to keep her extended warranty valid. After hearing this absurd policy I decided to check around to see if any other people have had issues with Volkswagen clutch reliability to find that this was an issue known to Volkswagen. However, instead of addressing the clutch issue as a faulty part they found it to be more successful to blame the mechanical failure on user error. This was especially disturbing to me after reading several Volkswagen owner reviews that stated the faulty clutch left them stranded while traveling. I believe that this issue needed immediate attention as it was my strong belief that Volkswagen has vehicles with impending known mechanical errors on the road, but they choose to neglect the issue.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #12

Jan 212007


  • miles
I purchased my 2004 VW Jetta gli 1.8T last August. It had 21,000 miles when I purchased it. At about 23,000 to 24,000 miles I was driving on the interstate and with no prior warnings the clutch popped. Thinking that it was the previous owner that caused the problem I had the car towed to a non Volkswagen dealer thinking that it was not still under warranty( which it wasn't). The repair shop told me that it was "driver error" that cause the problem and I assumed that it was the previous owner. I paid the $1500 for the repairs and about 25,000 to 26,000 miles later it went out again. I once again had it towed to the repair shop and was once again told that it was "driver error" that cause the problem. I paid the $1500 again and kept driving. Then about 200 or 300 miles later the clutch went out again. This time I sent it to a Volkswagen dealer and had them look at it. After about a week and a half without a car they finally fixed the problem and once again blamed it on "driver error." By this time I was sure that there was something that both dealers were missing so I called the first repair shop and they sent the service manager to talk to the service manager at the VW dealership. Both had replaced the exact same three parts and both think that it was because of "driver error." If it was driver error then why is the time between each clutch getting shorter but its the same problem every time? so I paid my $2000 and left and now have spent $5000 on a car I expected to last me over 100,000 miles. There is definitely something wrong with the VW clutch.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

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problem #11

Dec 072006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,700 miles
About 2 years ago I purchased a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T with the manual transmission (4 years/48,000 mile warranty). A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I had less and less power to drive the car when it was in gear. On December 7, I brought the car to the original dealership where I purchased the vehicle. I was told that the clutch had worn out and was not covered under warranty. Thus, the cost of the repair on the vehicle was going to be $1,800! my car has 30,700 miles on it, I am 34 years old and there are certain days when I drive it less than 5 miles a day! of course, I was told by my car-salesman, the service manager, the telephone operators at Volkswagen and the general manger at the place where I purchased the vehicle that I (through poor driving habits and little experience driving a clutch) wore it out. I requested to personally speak to the area service representative from Volkswagen yet, I was never given his/her contact information. In addition, I gave my contact information to the dealership to have them reach the Volkswagen service representative to have them contact me. Overall, I was never able to speak to this individual. I had 6 years of driving experience on a Ford with no clutch problems. I also did some research and found an interesting web site www.myvwlemon.com/ubb/forum1/html/000155.html it was interesting to read other individuals with the same problem as mine (some different year dates than my car)!

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #10

Oct 102006

Jetta Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,600 miles


Volkswagen Jetta tdi. Was running fine and I was very happy with the vehicle. During a routine stop at a stop sign I pushed in the clutch, a large clunking noise occurred and the clutch pressed all the way to the floor and would not return to normal position. Vehicle had 62,000 miles on it, thus manufacturers warranty expired. Extended service warranty (obtained when vehicle was purchased new) covered towing and initially investigation until they discovered the damage was due to the clutch -- a 'wearable' item. Apparently the clutch plate had been rubbing against the transmission, unseeable until the transmission was taken out of the vehicle. I took the vehicle in for all scheduled maintenances with a Volkswagen service center and they never inspected the clutch, nor is damage caused by the clutch or the clutch assembly covered in either the original manufacturers warranty or the extended warranty. I believe if it is a 'wearable' item it should be part of the standard service program (which is quite expensive for Volkswagen vehicles) or it should be covered under warranty.

- Brandon, WI, USA

problem #9

May 232006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 32,000 miles
My 2004 Jetta had to have the flywheel, pressure plate and clutch replaced at 32,000 miles. VW would not cover the cost of these repairs as they said it was due to driver error and it was not covered under warranty. They also stated that I must be driving the car down the freeway with the clutch pushed in. I have driven manual transmission cars for 20 plus years, have never driven the way VW states and have never had a clutch go out on me.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 062006

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 37,100 miles
I am the original owner of a 2004 VW Jetta gli (VR6), purchased in fall '04. The car was delivered off the truck at the time of purchase (never driven by other customers). It currently has 37,100 highway miles on it. I am a previous owner of a '03 VW Jetta gli and traded it in (47K mi.) for my current car. Both vehicles have a manual transmission. On 6/6/06, I experienced serious problems shifting gears. The car started to rev, even though I was methodically letting the clutch out, shifting accordingly, to see if I could troubleshoot. Unfortunately after 4 mi., each subsequent gear started breaking-I could no longer shift into 2nd, then 3rd, up to 6th. Then reverse failed. Smoke also came up from under the hood with a fuel smell. I took my car to an authorized VW dealer (still under warranty) & the original diagnosis (without removing the transmission) was the clutch had completely failed. It is clear there is a manufacturing issue with the VW clutches. They should not fail at 37K mi. The dealership stated that it could be from normal wear-tear or "user error". I'm not new to driving manual; I have been driving stick shift for about 10 years. To have a car that is driven primarily (80% of travel) on the highway have clutch failure is unfathomable. Additionally, I had the 30K maintenance completed & there was no indication of clutch problems. While waiting for final diagnosis for the failure, I conducted research & found this is not an usual problem with vws or VW corporation. According to VW owners, the clutches are failing starting at 19K mi., even after not driving the car hard. This is unacceptable & for the company to know this is a common issue, costing owners thousands in repairs & subsequent bills, endangering people who are driving during failure (without any warning lights from the car), to not cover such issues under warranty, & automatically default the problem being "user error" is unethical & unsafe.

- Round Hill, VA, USA

problem #7

Apr 032005

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,802 miles
Daily commute is approximately 125 miles round trip 100+ miles expressway travel at cruise speed. Clutch failed at 20,802 miles. Replaced under warranty. When car was picked up after repair, notified dealer clutch felt strange. Was advised that it needed breaking in, being a veterinarian not a mechanic I accepted the statement as factual. At 44,226 or 22,324 additional miles of same travel conditions clutch failed again. Repaired this time at a cost of $1167.85. My father arranged to pick the car up after repair and notified service manager that the clutch was not functioning properly. He was advised that clutch needed "breaking in" however having a 2001 Jetta tdi and being experience in such matters he questioned the explanation. The shop foreman was called and agreed that it was not functioning properly. The car was taken back for further examination and it was determined that the clutch slave cylinder was failing internally, had fluid on both sides of the piston. Cylinder was replaced and clutch functions correctly. I think it likely that the failing cylinder contributed to both failures and the second should have been covered under the vehicle warranty as was the first. Additionally I believe Volkswagen has a problem with the adequacy of the current clutch when used in the tdi diesel application. This is supported by the experience of other owners as indicated on the website www.fredstdipage.com thank you.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #6

Jan 212006

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 18,600 miles


While I drove car the clutch started to slip in 2004 Jetta. I took it to heritage Volkswagen in union city Georgia, and they said that they adjusted the clutch. The clutch still slips. If I pull out in front of a car and need to get out of the way the car does not go because the clutch slips. This is extremely dangerous. Thousands of others have the same problem. The problem is still not fixed by the dealer. They say that the clutch is error on the driver. This cannot be because the clutch with the engine can only handle 8 more feet-lbs than the engine produces. If the engine, therefore, produces a couple more horse power for whatever reason the clutch slips. Im not talking about any modifications to the car I am talking about every stock car will vary in hp and torque even though they say they are all the same. This is ridiculous, and now am scared to drive my car longer than 30 minutes for fear that the clutch will slip and I will get hit from behind and die.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #5

May 132005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Our 2004 VW Jetta 1.8T has had numerous problems from a clicking/popping noise in the front end at approxmiately 10,000 miles, to the transmission locking up while operating vehicle. The clutch/disc went completely out at 15,000 miles. All the interior and exterior lights went out as my wife was driving in the dark on a non lit back road to work, transmission locked up between 3rd and 4th gears, transmission still slipping, back door locks do not un-lock when remote is activated, service department has re-torqued everything on vehicle but this has not made problems go away. Since May 2005, the service department at local VW dealership has had my car fora total of 62 days for service and it is still not fixed. Problems continue to mount and the dealership for the most part states "that they cannot replicate the problem." The dealership replaced all the wheel bearings in the front of the vehicle and this did not stop the clicking/popping noise, they replaced the clutch disc this did not clear up the problem, the electrical problem could not be replicated per dealership, the engine continues to have a whistling noise, transmission continues to slip. The driver's side leather seat has the seams pooping loose and a part of the frame is pushing through the leather. Trunk latch has been replaced 2 times. Dealership states car is safe to operate, I beg to differ!

- Senoia, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 022005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,000 miles
I purchased my 2004 Jetta in October 2004. I took the car in for repair September 2, 2005 because the gears had become difficult to shift (esp. Into and out of reverse). After only 20,000 miles on the car and 10 months of ownership, VW tells me I need a new clutch. Furthermore, they are telling me that the warranty is out since it has over 12,000 miles and that they will not cover the repair because it is due to "driver error". this cannot be possible, as I've been driving manual transmissions for nearly 20 years and have never had a clutch fail before--my last car, a 1997 Jetta had over 100,000 miles and never needed a clutch replacement. Furthermore, VW has been very difficult as I've tried to negotiate manufacturer's coverage--not returning calls for days, sending me in circles asking me to call the dealer, the VW of America again and again.

- Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, USA

problem #3

May 162005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 29,500 miles
This is the second time we have had issues with our 2004 VW Jetta wagon. Both times the car has suddenly, with no warning, had a clutch failure. The first time this happened was with 16,000 miles, now a 2nd occurence with just 29,000 miles. VW tries to pass blame as driver error, but since I drive tractor/trailers for a living, and in my 15 years of driving, have never had a clutch failure prior to this car, I do not think that my driving is to blame. It is apparent from the numerous experiences I have read about that there is a serious defect in the quality or build of the VW clutch system in newer models. Fortunately no one was injured in this occurence, but since the car suddenly stopped shifting in traffic, there could easily have been accidents involved. This matter needs to be looked into further.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #2

Apr 082005

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 17,000 miles
The clutch is slipping. When shifting from 2nd gear and up the RPM revvs up but the vehicle fails to accelerate. The dealership had to take the clutch assembly apart to determine the cause of the failure before repairs were done.

- Boyertown, PA, USA

problem #1

Oct 022004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 1,500 miles
I bought a 2004 VW Jetta gls on March 15, 2004 and it has now been to the shop, oh, about 4 or 5 times! the first time, the clutch was chattering - so, they had to replace the whole clutch kit, then the clutch cable had to be adjusted because it wasn't shifting right, then the secondary air pump had to be replaced, now the brake pedal makes a popping sound everytime I press and depress it... then to top it all off - - I went to goto work the other day, and it wouldn't start!!! - finally got it started after thinking it was the battery (but, battery wasn't dead), and two days later, it barely starts and is releasing a horrible smell - the inside smelled like rotten eggs.. if there's something wrong with the emissions, I don't know what I'm going to do! I really thing VW should replace my car with a new one and cover it for life!

- Whitman, MA, USA

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