Notes: Digging through the long list of NHTSA complaints about a sudden loss of engine power and the high pressure fuel pump failing, it's never good to come across the "my car (with a cold engine) set itself on fire in the middle of the night" complaint.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,884 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.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Jan 022012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 6,000 miles


Approximately a year ago, my engine began to give a clear sense of the car shuddering or rocking back and forth. While sometimes the feeling would occur even when stopped at a light, the vast majority of the time this occurred while I was driving at consistent low speeds. In almost all cases, I was attempting to maintain a consistent speed around either 13pmh or 30 mph. Eventually, I found the rocking motion very easy to reproduce. I'd set the car to 30 mph via cruise control and drive down a straight road with very slight upward and downward slopes. While it happens even on flat ground, I found that a slight decline is most likely to reproduce the feeling. My best guess is that there's something about the way the fuel supply system/transmission is trying to determine whether or not diesel needs to be supplied to the engine. The fuel supply system seems to almost cut out because giving diesel would produce a speed too high, and then it comes back on suddenly, because giving it no diesel would cause the car to slow too much. While sometimes this is simply a nuisance, I have had on many occasions felt that it was a genuine safety hazard since I couldn't predict how the engine would react. This in combination with overly strong engine break when letting off of the accelerator and delayed acceleration when stepping on the peddle that can cause inconsistencies and safety hazards when maneuvering in stop and go traffic on the highway. I've mentioned this problem every single time I've taken my car in for it's regularly scheduled maintenance. The vehicle has a diesel dsg engine, and as I've been told by service technicians and representatives, some of the things like strong engine breaking are associated with this type of engine. However, the car's rocking motion certainly goes beyond anything that could realistically be considered normal and safe.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #15

Nov 262012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 19,800 miles
On Monday, November 26th I was driving my wife in our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi diesel from our vacation property in salyer, California (trinity county) to our home in arcata, California (humboldt county), a distance of 45 miles along route 299. 299 is a two lane highway that has occasional passing lanes and has a posted speed of 55 mph. Approximately 15 miles into the trip, I attempted to pass a slow moving vehicle by means one of these passing lanes. As I pulled into the passing lane, the Jetta accelerated smoothly from 45 mph to approximately 60 mph, when it suddenly lost power and began to decelerate rapidly, eventually down to approximately 20 mph, although the engine was roaring at a very high level of RPM?S as this deceleration occurred. This event created an extremely dangerous situation: The passing lane is of limited length and the passing maneuver needed to be completed before it ended because there was oncoming traffic. Immediately behind the Jetta was a pickup truck that had also pulled into the passing lane. As the deceleration occurred, the pickup truck came within inches of colliding with the rear of the Jetta. Fortunately, I was able to get the car to safety at the shoulder of the road. Thereafter the car could only be driven in 1st gear and at only at a very slow speed. I called Volkswagen of american and they made arrangements to tow the Jetta to the nearest dealer, redding Volkswagen, located in redding California. This is the second time an event like this has occurred since I purchased the Jetta on July 10, 2011. In April 2012, as I pulled onto the main street in susanville California and began accelerating from a stop to approximately 35 mph, the Jetta suddenly and rapidly decelerated. On both occasions the rapid deceleration occurred without any warning lights.

- Arcata , CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 142012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 47,000 miles
Car engine stopped suddenly while driving. Drifted to side of road; car would not restart. Had to pay $250 for tow to dealer. Service person called to say there was metal in my fuel system/tank, but they didn't know what was wrong. He also accused me of putting the wrong gas in my car. I informed service person that it took 5 seconds on the internet to learn about the NHTSA investigation into the many high pressure fuel system failures that cause engine to stop running. Interestingly, he called back 2 hours later and acknowledged that fuel system and powertrain and other stuff need to be replaced. This is an unsafe car. I could have been going 65 on the freeway with a small child or other people in the car, all of whom could have been seriously injured when car suddenly looses all power and momentum. Many online complaint reports are for second failures, after repair. I do not trust the service dept. Of any Volkswagen dealer and have no confidence that the problem is eliminated. I am afraid to drive the car.

- Pacific Palisades, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles


This car has an automatic transmission. It's a Jetta tdi. If you stop on a sharp incline the car will roll backwards when you take your foot off of the brake and push the gas pedal. I've tried pushing the gas pedal before letting off the brake but it still rolls backward. I took it to the dealer and explained that I am afraid I will roll backward into another vehicle of even a pedestrian. The dealer said rolling backward is normal for this car. I think this is unsafe for me and the people around me. I bought this car new from tom bush regency motors 9850 atlantic blvd. Jax., Florida 32225. Ph (904) 725-0911.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
This car has an automatic transmission. It's a Jetta tdi. If you stop on a sharp incline the car will roll backwards when you take your foot off of the brake and push the gas pedal. I've tried pushing the gas pedal before letting off the brake but it still rolls backward. I took it to the dealer and explained that I am afraid I will roll backward into another vehicle of even a pedestrian. The dealer said rolling backward is normal for this car. I think this is unsafe for me and the people around me. I bought this car new from tom bush regency motors 9850 atlantic blvd. Jax., Florida 32225. Ph (904) 725-0911.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

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problem #11

Jul 052012


  • 44,500 miles
2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi - took it in for service on 07/05/2012 and the dealer states that I have a malfunctioning clutch (could be a throw out bearing, pressure plate or multiple clutch components) none of which has been 100% diagnosed until they pull the transmission out and inspect it, to do this the dealer wants $1000 + parts. I was also informed that my right front wheel bearing needs replacing ($435) for the bearing alone + labor. At this point it seems more of a manufacturer or workmanship defect, I currently have 44,500 miles on the car and use it 90% on the highway at 65-75 mph. Dealer states that they may open an investigation with Volkswagen but I still have to pay to get my car out.

- Littlerock, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 292011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 2,000 miles


I am having what I believe to be a serious, but intermittent, safety problem with my 2011 Jetta sportwagon tdi. There is also what may be a related issue with the automatic transmission shifting at low speed. Occasionally when I attempt to accelerate away from a stop sign/traffic light, the engine does not respond to throttle movement. When I take my foot off the brake and press on the gas pedal the car moves ahead under what I believe is idle power but as I try to accelerate, it is like the gas pedal is not connected to the engine. The engine is running but won't rev and move the car. I usually end up about a third of the way into the intersection with a car that is seemingly stalled (engine still running however). The car behind me then has to brake and if I happened to be trying to cut into moving traffic, I am now a target for the cross traffic. I reported this to selling dealer service department early in my ownership experience of this car and was told don't worry about it, that is normal, it's a transmission thing. Perhaps there is a link to the transmission and as I mentioned earlier, this is a problem area as well. When driving slowly, around 20-25 miles per hour, the transmission can't seem to decide what gear it should be in. It keeps bouncing back and forth between gears causing a very uncomfortable surging. The surging part I can work around by shifting to sport mode. This mode might also help the acceleration problem but I don't have good experience yet to confirm.

- Midland, MI, USA

problem #9

Feb 012011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 600 miles
I have experienced dramatic hesitation while, from slow speed, trying to accelerate quickly onto a main road with heavy traffic. The dsg cannot figure out which gear it needs to be in and either hesitates or goes into what seems to be neutral, the engine high reves. The Jetta just comes to a stand still in the middle of the road as the computer tries to decide what gear it needs to be in.the hesitation is pronounced enough that I fear I wouldn't be able to get out of someone?S way if I had to. This is most definitely a safety concern. I work in the boston area and you need to be able to get into fast moving traffic quickly. This happens on a daily basis and has been happening since I purchased the car in January of 11. I have reported this to the dealer numerous times and they said they are aware of the problem. One of the service advisor's stated that this is a known problem.

- Swansea, MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 122012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact pulled in the his garage, he pushed the start/stop ignition button to turn off the car, and then pushed the remote button for his garage door to close. He opened his house door and soon became distracted and inadvertently exited the vehicle without putting it in park. Moments later, the vehicle rolled out of the garage, before if fully closed. The failure and the current mileage was approximately 16,000. Updated 6/12/12

- Billings, MO, USA

problem #7

Sep 132011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 1,500 miles
At steady throttle angle of accelerator pedal, slow speeds pulling out on to main road with heavy traffic. Dsg can not select the proper gear and hesitates so badly that we were almost T- boned in the drivers side of the Jetta by on coming traffic. I guess about.1 tenth of a second no movement for the Jetta. This dsg had a daul clutch flywheel and is a computer shifted manual transmission on dual shafts to output drive. I called third different dealer and all say this is the way the Jetta with dsg performs. Dealer gunther Volkswagen in buford was helpful, and acknowledged the problem. Volkswagen has no software fix. Village Volkswagen chattanooga, tn advisor shared that all dsg transmissions have the problem. Volkswagen designed and make the dsg, why can they not fix the problem? this is a safety problem that will end up getting drivers and passengers hurt. The Jetta just stands still in the middle of the lane as the computer decides what gear selection is needed. This has happened to us three different times. My wife is scared to drive the Jetta for fear of a accident. We have contacted Volkswagen of America about the problem. After market software company unitronics has a software fix at a cost of $500. Please contact me!

- Ringgold, GA, USA

problem #6

Sep 132011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 1,700 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph, the transmission did not shift properly. As a result, the vehicle hesitated and decelerated almost to a complete stop. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred three times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure and stated that the vehicle was operating under normal conditions. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who referred he contact back to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 1,700 and the current mileage was 8,700. Updated 04/11/12 consumer stated there were 3 incidents of hesitation with the vehicle while driving on roads with speed limits of 55 mph. Consumer also stated vehicle hesitated almost to a complete stop while slowing down. Consumer took to VW dealer on 12/19/11 and dealer informed consumer transmission shifted normally. On 12/30/12 the dealer updated software.consumer searched online for technical service bulletins and found information about the delay on acceleration on consumers vehicle. Updated 6/7/12

- Ringgold, GA, USA

problem #5

Oct 102011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 10,472 miles
Car jerks when up shifting and down shifting I was told by the dealer that the transmission needed a part that had to be order from germany. They called the mechatron they told me it was the computer brain for the transmission I waited two weeks and after having the car for a few days it is doing the same thing I'm taking it back tomorrow. Sometimes it feels like the car doesn't want to come off a high gear IżżM afraid that I wont be able to stop the car.I wish I could get my money back.

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #4

Sep 212011


  • 1,710 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi. The contact started the vehicle and shift gears from park into the reverse position and immediately the vehicle surged forward. There were several attempts before the vehicle responded in reverse. The identical failure occurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who was unable to duplicate the failure. The contact will notify the manufacturer regarding the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 1,710.

- Jacksonville, NC, USA

problem #3

Jul 212011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 50 miles
While entering freeway have to depress accelerator peddle 1/4 to 3/4 of the way down before acceleration begins. From stop and merging into traffic have to depress accelerator 1/4 to 3/4 of the way down before acceleration. Entering freeway or fast starts, accelerates then dies off then goes again. On hill starts it sometimes rolls back as if it is in neutral. These are intermittent problems at varying degrees of severity.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 202011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 4,900 miles
Volkswagen Jetta sedan dsg tdi 2011. Vehicle as made has a two second hold for keeping the car from rolling backwards on inclines. However the car owners manual requires a slow acceleration which allows the car to roll backwards risking hitting the car or pedestrian behind you especially in driveways with inclines endangering small children because of visibility. The only way to overcome this safety defect is to use the emergency brake to hold vehicle until rpms increase enough to engage the transmission. The front and rear windshields have a blur, the front windshield extends from the bottom to approximately six inches up the glass and the rear glass has distortion throughout. This causes eye strain, watering, and headache when subjected to for an hour or more of travel and is especially bad in bright sunlight causing an unsafe driving condition. Dealer admitted distortion but refused to repair along with manufacturer. The car stalls when attempting to move forward from a stop resulting in an extremely unsafe vehicle when trying to cross lanes of traffic. The car will not reach its maximum RPM as indicated it should do by owners manual for passing or merging into traffic resulting in unsafe vehicle operation in multiple instances. The dealer actually made this worse then would not correct. The vehicle also does not have parking lights as required by some state statues and should have never been certified for sale in the usa.

- Corning, AR, USA

problem #1

Jan 042011


  • 950 miles
From time to time, when depressing the gas pedal to accelerate (entering highway via on ramp, climbing moderate hill or grade, passing slower vehicle) there is initially no acceleration, then a sudden surge of power causing an uncontrolled acceleration.

- San Anselmo, CA, USA

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