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 1 of 2)

problem #36

Dec 022016


  • 63,000 miles


The contact owned a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. While the vehicle was stationary, it rolled back down a hill and crashed into a tree. The contact stated that the key was not in the ignition and there were no occupants in the vehicle. The air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was towed. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 63,000.

- Godo, AL, USA

problem #35

Sep 062016

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 50,000 miles
2011 VW Jetta tdi failed while driving on highway. As car slowed due to traffic, the coil (glow plug?) light came on. When car came to complete stop due to traffic, engine light came on and the car stopped and would not restart. There was no time for me to move to the side of the highway due to traffic congestion so I was stranded in the middle of the freeway. Waiting for ca highway patrol for help, traffic cleared and I was subsequently hit by a car moving at freeway speeds and sustained injuries (ribs, back and neck injuries, and concussion) online, there are numerous reports of other VW cars that experienced the exact same issue (coil/glow plug light, then engine failure). This happened to me on a freeway and the rear-end collision I was subjected to due to car failure could have been fatal. Since this is happening to other VW cars, I believe this needs to be investigated to prevent fatalities. Thank you!

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #34

Jul 262016


  • 60,000 miles
When coming to a stop as vehicle is shifting down, it lunges forward and you feel a hard knock coming from transmission. Intermittent issue. Safety concern as it occurs as you are slowing down. When researching online noticed other owners have experienced similar issue. I took to dealer and they were not able to replicate issue.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #33

Jul 072015


  • 42,000 miles


I parked on a driveway with a 15 degree pitch. I followed the same procedure each time I park, waiting 1 minute in idle, transmission to neutral, with my foot depressed on the brake pedal. After shutdown I engaged the parking brake and placed the transmission in 1st gear. I exited the vehicle for 10 to 15 minutes preparing the car for waxing. I left the area for about 15 minutes and returned to find the car had rolled down the driveway, crashed through a fence, down a hill, and into trees. (the parking brake was engaged but transmission was in neutral) I performed tests and determined that randomly, gear shifter appeared to be in 1st gear but when I released the parking brake the shifter returned to the neutral position and car started rolling back. I contacted VW customer service and reported this. A VW service manager asked me to replicate conditions of incident. I parked the vehicle on a slight upgrade, allowed one minute in idle, set the parking brake, and placed the shifter in 1st gear. The service manager informed me that manual transmission synchronizers can randomly catch while stationary preventing proper engagement into 1st gear. He also informed me that I had not fully engaged the parking brake. He pulled the parking brake up slowly (approximately 6-7 clicks). The service department reported parking brake and transmission tested ok and no repairs required. Questions for ntsb: 1 should order of operations outlined in VW owner's manual for parking car with manual transmission be revised to first place the transmission in 1st gear, release the main brake slowly, and determine if car remains stationary before engaging parking brake? this would prevent full load on transmission while insuring that the car remains stationary regardless of a parking brake failure. 2: should the VW manual state that the parking brake needs to be fully extended (6-7 clicks)?

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #32

Sep 012015


  • 95,000 miles
Emission issues, needs to replace egr filter assembly and dpf assembly for a 4 year old car. Check engine light comes and goes.

- Monroe Twp, NJ, USA

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problem #31

Sep 262015


  • 70,000 miles
2011 VW Jetta not completing downshifting the car will lurch when the vehicle comes to a stop because of the incomplete shift. Sitting at a stop sign I lifted my foot off the brake and the car lurched forward about 4 inches. This took place several times. Took it to the dealer to have it looked at and it was diagnosed as a bad valve body in the transmission. After looking on countless forums and looking at service bulletins its happen to many people. I would Venture to say this is a carryover transmission from other model years and others are having the same issue. Could prove to be fatal if you were to be stopped at a stop sign and a child was to walk out in front of you!!!!

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #30

Jan 172015


  • 105,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle failed to accelerate as the traction control and the low air pressure warning light illuminated. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle shifted into the neutral position independently as the drive position light flashed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician stated that the vehicle was functioning as designed. The failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the mech tronic unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 09V333000 (power train). The failure mileage was 105,000. The VIN was not available.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #29

Jan 062015

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Brought to dealer for a dpf light. Dealer diagnosed with a clogged particulate filter replaced under warranty. Picked up car drove about 5 miles and the glow plug light came on turned around and headed back to dealer car went into limp mode (on I93 rush hour traffic) shut car off in VW parking lot and tech could not get it to start again. Received a call next day with the hpfp failure news and the fragment went through the entire system. Dealer tested fuel and confirmed no gas in the 3/4 of a tank that is in the car currently.

- East Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #28

Nov 232014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 102,400 miles
Transmission kicked into neutral while cruising on highway. Had to pull over and come to a complete stop and restart the car before it would allow me to shift back into drive. The fault recurred a few miles later and has recurred several times since then. The car is now too unsafe to drive.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #27

Nov 302011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 54 miles
This car stalls out as it slows down. It does not change to a lower gear in time when decelerating and stalls out. It will not stall out every time I slow down. I never know when it will stall. It's very random and I have stalled out in the middle of intersections and any situation slowing down. I brought this car back to the deal twice and they could not find anything wrong with it. I pleaded with them that the car is dangerous but they sent me packing. I am writing this because I do not want them to resell this car to someone, the car stalls out and they get injured. For four year, I have had to drive this car using either the manual shift, or put it into neutral when slowing down. I am returning the car today. Please don't let them resell this car. Also, sometimes the car will not shift into 6th gear. The driver side window will not stay up. I will roll it up and it will automatically room down like something is obstructing it.

- Las Vegas , NV, USA

problem #26

Apr 302011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 20 miles


This 2011 VW sportwagen tdi (diesel)would easily stall in first gear. Since the first test drive we were told at the dealership, this manual transmission takes getting used to. I have a friend who owns a 2011 golf tdi with a similar issue. However, even though I became more accustomed to driving it, I would still stall in first gear...sometimes in intersections. I mentioned this to the service advisor, during several service visits and I was told it was just the way these cars are. Every time a service advisor would test drive my car they'd stall it. They never looked into it. At 89,000 the dual mass flywheel had to be replaced. At this point the car was out of warranty. I went to and independent mechanic (that I trusted)and asked him to not only replace the dual mass flywheel, but the clutch plate and throw out bearing as well. He said the clutch plate and throw out bearing looked fine. I said since we have this apart I don't want to take any chances. Since replacing the parts with original VW parts it drives like a normal manual transmission car should...I no longer stall this car in 1st gear. One can check on line and see other people are having similar problems. Besides the expense it is also dangerous. I'm surprised there isn't a recall on this issue. On September 19th I spoke to the service manager at flynn VW, and asked his advice about dealing with VW and he reiterated that the manual transmissions on the diesels (tdi) were like that. He stated he still stalls when driving the diesel vws. However he said the gas engines didn't seem to stall like the diesels.

- Chatham, NY, USA

problem #25

Sep 202014


  • 34,000 miles
Driving on I-5 southbound in our 2011 VW Jetta tdi; my car dropped horse power and the glow plug light started blinking. The car did not shut off, but the horse power was cut significantly. We stopped at the next interchange 6 miles away and called VW. They said it should be looked at and scheduled an appointment for the next Monday. I turned the car off. It restarted and the glow plug light was not on. Car functioned normally on the drive home (35 miles). I took the car to the dealership on Monday and they ran some tests. The hpfp on the engine was out. It sounds like it is a known issue. It is covered by my 60 power train warranty. But my car only has 34,000 miles. It sounds like there are quite a few issues on this type of tdi with the hpfp. Is this something the ntsb will be investigating?

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #24

Jun 232014

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 30,515 miles
Glow plug light started blinking, then the engine light came on. Shifting became erratic. Pulled into a service station, and once the vehicle was turned off, it wouldn't restart. After basic checks, the fuel pump was pulled for inspection and metal shavings were found. In researching the repair, the independent station suggested putting things back together, and having it towed to the dealer, as it was suspected to be a known issue with the Bosch high pressure fuel pump. In fact it was, and while the car was two months out of warranty, the dealer went ahead and covered the repair under the unrelated drivetrain warranty. I consider myself incredibly lucky that this wasn't 15 minutes earlier, when I was traveling at highway speeds, on an incredibly full freeway. It could've been a major accident if I had suddenly lost power. Considering there are entire websites devoted to tracking this issue, I can't believe that there hasn't been a recall.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 062014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 47,637 miles
While attempting to accelerate car sputtered, and hesitated while losing power. Regained power briefly then sputtered, lost power and engine cut off completely. Started engine after letting sit for a few minutes drove home ok. Happened again a week later and took it to dealership. Dealer diagnosed it as faulty ignition coil and arcing.

- Berea, OH, USA

problem #22

Apr 232014

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 19,000 miles
My car has had 3 stalls within 3 months. I took it to the dealer they replaced the throttle assembly. Since then I was pulling out of a parking spot and put the car in drive and the car stalled. I took it to the dealer and they said they couldn't find anything wrong with the vehicle.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jan 172014

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 48,074 miles
The effected car was a diesel model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi sedan with 48,074 miles on the odometer at the time of the incident. While traveling at approximately 40 mph in normal driving conditions, the vehicle experienced a sudden reduction in power and displayed a flashing glow plug light and solid check engine warning lights. The vehicle was immediately pulled to the side of the road where the engine was shut off. The engine failed to restart and was towed to a Volkswagen dealership service department. The Volkswagen dealer determined that a catastrophic failure of the vehicle's high pressure fuel pump (hpfp) had occurred. The dealer found that extensive damage to the entire fuel system had resulted from the failure, causing internal metal debris contamination that required substantial repairs. The total cost of repairs were reported by the dealership to equal $6,500.

- La Crescenta, CA, USA

problem #20

Jul 062011


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the vehicle jerked and decelerated without warning. The vehicle was taken to dealer where unknown repairs were performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000 and the current mileage was 15,000.

- Wheaton , IL, USA

problem #19

Apr 152012


  • 7,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle jerked and decelerated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 7,000.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #18

Mar 272013

Jetta 6-cyl Diesel

  • 70,000 miles
While driving down the highway at 70 mph the engine lost power and coasted to a stop on the side of the highway with several lights on the dash flashing and it appears from research on the internet this is a common problem that the hpfp quits and the car will not accelerate. The motor is a diesel tdi.

- Keller, TX, USA

problem #17

Mar 042013

Jetta 5-cyl

  • 39,543 miles
Dangerous and harrowing clutch/flywheel failure (near-new 2011 Jetta with 39,000 miles) without warning at 55 mph when I depressed the clutch pedal to downshift from 5th gear while braking, stalling my car in traffic at speed. I managed to get the car to the side of the road. Car was towed to VW dealership that today tells me the flywheel and clutch were damaged with repairs estimated at $2,500. An investigation of the ntsb site shows this problem has occurred with other 2011 Jetta owners. A search of the internet generally turned up hundreds of identical or near-identical reports of clutch and flywheel failures for 2006 to 2013 Jettas. Manufacturer's responses have been, according to Jetta owners, varied, with some people reporting free repairs and other reporting large out-of-pocket costs. Interestingly, clutch and flywheel failures are, according to my research (available to anyone who cares to look for it online) being covered by technical bulletins in the european union but not in the United States. My car has been driven and maintained per manufacturer specifications and recommendations, with dealership where I had the car towed for repairs acknowledging verbally that these components should last much longer. A technical bulletin issued by VW is paying for some flywheel parts under some circumstances but not for additional damage to the clutch that often occurs, per the dealership, when the flywheel fails. Labor costs are not covered, and they are estimable.

- Green Cove Springs, FL, USA

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