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Volkswagen Beetle Transmission Problems

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  • Hey guys...so glad I found this forum. I am seriously concerned with the safety of people driving Beetles. I have a 2004 Beetle AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION bought in 2006. I bought it when it was around 30K miles and still under warranty. Around 2008 (at this point it was maybe 40K miles because I worked from home!). Anyway...around 08 I would be on a CA Freeway (scary!) just driving along at a highway speed and all of a sudden it would grind and almost downshift to a lower gear and I would push my foot on the gas pedal really strongly and it would slowdown to almost a stall and then jerk really bad and kick in and finally go back to acceleration. I was almost killed not just once but several times when this happened on freeways and side roads. Very scary. I took it in to VW soon after and because I still had my powertrain warranty left they replaced the transmission and acted like they had never heard of such a problem and when they hooked it up to diagnostics nothing was wrong with my car? They also drove it around the block and it of course didn't do it for them. I could not begin to understand why the transmission needed to be replaced? The car did not have much wear and tear or miles for that. So they replaced it and over a year later it started doing it again occasionally which was convenient for them considering I was past the 12 months work guarantee (mind you I live in a warm climate, I was working from home so I only used it to drive places periodically throughout the week). So it started doing the weird thing where you are driving along and it suddenly slows down out of nowhere and you can't get it to go and someone is behind you and almost rear ends you! Then it jerks and finally kicks in. At this point I already push my hazards and I'm panic stricken I'm going to get hit. I took it in to a shop and they did a computer diagnostic and found nothing wrong with my car! Seriously??? So they replaced my battery because it was getting really old and it was time. Yesterday I was going up a Canyon road in major LA traffic and it did the weird sudden downshift thing again and the guy behind me layed on the horn and almost hit me. I was so scared.

    BTW I never got a letter about them replacing a valve for free? I hear this doesn't solve the problem of the transmissions and that it's probably just a company cover up so they don't look like they are not taking care of the problem.

    I just don't get why VW is not addressing this issue. It reminds me of the Ford Pinto. All those people were killed even though Ford knew there was a defect in the engine that if hit would cause a fire or explosion. This went on for awhile and several people were killed in the process before Ford got busted. This is very similar because it is such a serious problem that can occur at a high speed. I am wondering why nobody is doing anything about this? Toyota's recent problems that caused serious accidents were immediately addressed. I know we can't discuss organizing anything on Edmunds but this is ridiculous. I could die on the freeway because of this problem.

    I am going to try to bring it to the dealer again but honestly if giving me a brand new transmission didn't fix it then what on earth will? I'm sure this time they will tell me I have to pay for it. Ugh. I can't wait to get rid of this car. I WILL NEVER BUY A VW AGAIN.

    Let it be noted I run a consumer show about commercials at the world's largest live streaming internet network. I will be talking about this problem and warning people across the world to not buy VW's and I will be updating them every week on how VW handles this problem with me. I will also be printing up all these complaints and writing a nice bitchy letter to the President of VW along with a copy of my show and your packet of complaints. I figure I will priority overnight right to all the top executives in this joke of a company.

    My whole family will never buy VWs again. My friend who has a Jetta had a whole other set of problems and she is never going to buy VW either. It's hysterical how many customers they are losing. If they would just be honest and deal with things then in the long run people will not have a bad image of them but when they lie and are dishonest it leaves such a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Especially when dealing with major safety issues!!! What car co. ignores such a dangerous issue?
  • Glenda,

    Can you tell me about this value body part recall? I never got a letter? See my postings on transmission issues and them replacing my transmission. Don't be surprised if it happens to your car again.

    Rere
  • bugoutbugout Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
    i have a 05 new beatle gl with 46k miles ...automatic... i bougt 6 months ago with 42 k miles. the beatle started jerking when driving . the trani was banging wether driving upshifting or downshifting at any gear. it would do it only once a day . sounds like something hit you at the back of the car or you run over something ...i received the letter about the valve body...being the problem whith jerking of the trani on dec. 2010 so i just took the beatle to the dealer they told me they would replace the valve body for free ... ,,,3 days later i picked it up and it seems to be driving better but i only drove it for about 20 minutes ride to my house........i will sell the beatle anyway ....its a shame with these beatles that the tranis will go at this low miles.......good luck... :surprise:
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  • bugbearbugbear Posts: 1
    Looks like I'm the 468th person to complain about VW transmissions on this site! I have a 2003 convertible that had less than 70,000 miles on it when the transmission failed back in 2010. It started bucking when the engine was hot, (after about 7 miles). I took it to the dealership, they had no idea what was wrong, but they wanted to charge me $6000 for a REBUILT transmission! I took it to A1 Transmissions in Dallas, and they were eventually able to diagnose the source as a faulty transmission valve. They rebuilt the transmission, and got me back on the road for around $2000. (Highly recommend them)..
    Then I received a notice from VW saying that, due to numerous complaints, they had extended their warranty on the VW NewBeetle transmission from 5 to 7 years, or 100,000 miles! I submitted a claim, (as the transmission failed in 2010, within the 7 year period), plus my mileage was well within the warranty limits.
    The Customer care "advocate" took almost three months to respond, only to reject my claim on the strength that the 7 year clause meant "7 years from the date the car left the lot", not within the calendar year.
    This is the fourth VW I have had in the last ten years. Two of the transmissions have failed , one even within five years. I have had numerous expensive repairs to car parts that traditionally should have lasted much longer, especially from a company that likes to project the whole "expensive luxury car "image. One would expect much more quality from a company holding the VW name. Seems like all that has changed.
    In short, I have become SO disenchanted with VW, that despite my long love affair with Beetles and Golfs, I've had it! It's very sad that a once reputable company would stoop to such low standards, and such poor customer care. I wonder if anyone from VW even bothers to read these posts.
    Their recent motto is "Here today, gone today". Are they referring to their customers? It seems to be a Going Going Gone event!
    Hope you're watching VW!!!
  • If you read my earlier post about major safety concerns with the VW Beetle. It also may help if we all file safety complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I'm not kidding around with this situation. People are going to get hurt if they have not already from this jerking downshifting problem. It's super dangerous.
  • pplautpplaut Posts: 4
    I called Volkswagon on this.
    Sadly, I missed the cutoff by about six months. Had, I just called Volkswagon Customer Service from day one... Sigh.. I know, non of us trust the dealership to shoot straight with us, that's why we are here.

    Below is the URL for customer service:
    http://web.vw.com/templates/Service?serviceName=customercare

    The phone number is:
    1-800-822-8987

    I like our convertible enough to pay the $1,500 out of pocket to get it fixed.
    Before you get the valve body replaced, under warranty or otherwise, I would have transmission fluid replaced and run it for awhile. Ours got much better, but to get it perfect we felt we needed to get the valve body replaced. Also, since the transmission has been running clean fluid for awhile, hopefully most of the gunk has been cleaned off and will not harm the new valve body.

    Hopefully this will be the end of the story for us.

    Best of luck to "all y'all" (as we say down south).

    Peer
  • It has been almost a two years that my automatic VW beetle, "04 convertible, began acting strange - hard drive, brackets around gears, going into neutral, sluggish after about 15 minutes, etc. I have posted on this site starting in October 2009. I have spoken to the "customer service" at VW to no avail - offered $750 towards a new car!!!! can you believe that? Dealer got it to $1200. All this time the dealer couldn't find the problem....when driving on route 95 in NH the car just went into 2nd gear...needed to get off the highway immediately...been pretty close to being hit from behind because of the sluggish start at a traffic light, and lots more incidents. Already got the reject letter on the valve body. AAMCO was wonderful....replaced and rebuilt parts of the transmission...couldn't believe the way VW had built this car! anyway, filed a complaint with highway safety and other groups. NOTHING has happened, but I will continue to try. Can't imagine that the CEO of VW would allow his family members to drive this thing. Keep filing.
  • I too am an angry VW owner, please share your story on fb: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_184717214908626 :lemon:
  • Our 2005 Bug with under 75,000 miles is at the dealership having the transmission replaced. We, too, in December received a letter about the recall on the valve body. The valve body is supposed to be the brains of the transmission, but VW says that the valve body is not our problem. If it's the brains and the transmission is malfunctioning, something is telling it to malfunction. Has anyone thought about a class action suit? Is anyone interested? This is our first time on this site and don't know if anyone has attempted this in the past.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,859
    The Edmunds forums CANNOT be used to organize legal actions so please do not make posts along those lines as they will have to be removed.

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  • davegpsdavegps Posts: 1
    Well Beetleites, I just got my 2003 2.0 convertible back from AAMCO in Clearwater Fl with a completely rebuilt trans. As most of you in this discussion know that this is a VW problem. I had the manager at this AAMCO location (which is right across the street from Lokey VW) look up in his cpu how many 2003-2005 buggies have come through his shop. 35 of them! All with the same problem and all with mileage under 100k. I only tell you this because it's going to take more and more of these discussions to get VW to listen. The silver lining to this is that Sam at AAMCO is a great guy. They were able to completely rebuild what they could and replace what they couldn't and got me out the door for $2,600.00 which as we all know is $3,000.00 less than what the dealer wants.

    It sucked to fork out that kind of money on something that is a manufactures defect, but the way I was handled and the quality of work was worth it. The weather is beautiful today, it's Easter weekend, and my buggy and I are back in action. I actually passed someone today for the first time in 16 months. On a side note, if you are still driving your buggy with major slips and bangs, please take heed. Based on what they saw when they opened up mine; I'm lucky that the transmission fluid didn't catch on fire and destroy the car. I know it is still a ton of $$, but again, i love the car.

    Good Luck! :)
  • I read a previous post about someone seeing their beautiful car and saying what garbage. I feel the same way! I see my Volkswagen 2004 Convertible Cosmic Blue car and think to myself ... this is such a pretty car but GOD does it suck! I am a 20 year old male with a minimum wadge job and the car I just described is the first car I have ever bought. What a shame if I could go back in time I would tell my self, "Don't do it Omar! Don't spent your hard earn saved up money on your dream car!" but sadly I can't. I experience rough shifting after 15 minutes(like many do). It's so embarrassing, I can't go anywhere for fear of my life. Luckily my work is 15 minutes away but that's about as far as I can take it. I really hope and pray Volkswagen does a HUGE recall, it is so dangerous that it makes me sad. I don't know what to do. I have some money saved up so I can fix the transmission but I read someone's post saying that the problem will show up again!!! Do I take it to the junkyard?? It only has 60 k miles. I bought it used, and it is under "salvage" but clearly that was not the cause of the problem. I think that's the only way I would get something in return is if they did a recall because since my car is salvage the dealership won't do anything about it. HELP HELP HELP!!! :sick: Good Luck to you all fellow Beetle owners.
  • imbanterimbanter Posts: 5
    My wife has the exact same problem with her transmission and the VW dealer has taken $1,000 in repairs from her and now says the transmission will need to be replaced and that will be another $4,900. I have called VW directly and they seemed to have cared less and said there was nothing they could do. I have since misplaced that letter so I can't find that number again.

    Because of the sheer volume of posts related to this and how little VW seems to care, I am calling my local call for action here in Kansas City in hopes of getting this out to people. I wanted to provide that letter from VW to them. Can someone please send me a pdf of the letter to rockinrileys@gmail.com
  • Mine is a 2005, turbo engine. Loved the car until...... Anyway, after a lot of talking and help from our local dealership, VW agreed to pick up a little more than half of the cost of replacing the transmission. We had it fixed, but now I no longer love my car and would not purchase another VW. Letter does not cover the transmission replacement.
  • imbanterimbanter Posts: 5
    brut4orce they are not all alike. My 2006 Corolla started shifting hard with ~86,000 miles on it and it turned the check engine light said it was the computer. I called Toyota's corp number (very easy to locate - try finding VW's) and they said to take it to my local Toyata dealer. The dealer confirmed the computer was bad and when I called Toyota's corp office back they said that although the warranty on that part expired they would cover it because they had identified it as a problem on numerous models. I didn't pay one dime of the almost $800 repair and Toyota will have a customer for life.

    Unlike my wife's experience with VW on her 2003 VW Beetle with the shifting problem that the dealer "thinks" needs a new transmission. Third world quality backed by second rate customer service should be VW's motto.
  • allisondallisond Posts: 1
    I am thinking of purchasing a Beetle and found this site. I found a 2005 convertible Beetle with 31,000 miles at a decent price, but am a little concerned about early transmission problems. I'm also looking at a 2008 Beetle (hard top) and was hoping you all could tell me if VW made improvements to the transmission problems from 2005 to 2008. Should I not even consider the 2005, which seems to be in amazing condition?
  • imbanterimbanter Posts: 5
    Only you can decide if you want to take a chance with VW. I will just say that if you read through the posts on this site and others you will see that when there are obvious common issues, VW will not take care of the problem. For us we have purchased our last VW and I even contacted an attorney today that handles class action lawsuits.

    They look good but the quality and service is terrible. Good luck.
  • I can only tell you about my experience. Let me start with the problems BEFORE the transmission issue. I bought a used 2005 VW convertible with low mileage. Within the first 18 months, the convertible top would not work right. It would not go down all the way, and repeatedly it got stuck going back up. The windows did not automatically lower when the top was going down and this caused the top to fray on the edges. Cost to fix: according to the dealership, $5,000. The car was under warranty. So, it got fixed without any charge to me. The handles that cause the seats to move forward so that a person can get access to the backseats kept coming off. I never could figure out how to pop those handles back on. So, off to the dealership I would go to get them put back on. TWICE the cable that is in the interior of the front seat on the passenger side broke. This cable is connected to the handle. Once it breaks, the backrest will not move forward so that you can access the backseats. The 1st time, the car was under warranty. The 2nd time, it was not. So, I decided to live with it. TWICE the a/c had to be fixed. Then at about 73,000 miles, the "hard shift" problem started. The car was rapidly becoming undrivable. VW fixed the transmission valve body, but the dealership told me that if the problem reoccurred that the transmission would have to be replaced. Cost: About $5,000. So, I decided to find another car. My advice to someone buying a car is RESEARCH! I went online and looked at the gas mileage, maintenance costs, and performance of various small cars. Once I decided on the model and type, I researched dealerships. Luckily, I found a used car with low mileage and the model and type that I wanted at a dealership within 50 miles of my home. VW beetles are cute - no doubt about it. But once the warranty runs out, they can be costly to fix.
  • buggedout1buggedout1 Posts: 19
    please post any information that your attorney offers. I think that many of these people writing on this site would be interested in at least signing some sort of class action suit. Wonder what would happen if we could just keep sending these e-notes to the CEO of VW, if we could only get the exact email address or phone number (not their customer service people)?
  • buggedout1buggedout1 Posts: 19
    I would recommend NOT EVEN PURCHASING A VW!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,859
    Please do NOT post information from an attorney. The Edmunds forums cannot be used to organize legal actions (this includes posting links to attorney web sites, etc) and any posts along those lines will have to be removed.

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  • imbanterimbanter Posts: 5
    My message did not include any information about an attorney. It simply stated that I had contacted an attorney regarding the issues I have had with VW. I'm not sure how that is construed as me "organizing" legal action or posting information "from an attorney."

    My post simply demonstrated the severity of the situation I have had with VW. I would thing Edmunds would like a free exchange of information so it's readers and subscribers can make a more informed decision.
  • girlcopgirlcop Posts: 6
    Agreed! I did not see any messages with attorney information. The safety of Owners who are driving unsafe VW Beetles need to be reimbursed for repairs they made on unsafe transmission problems. :sick:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,859
    Someone asked for information from an attorney to be posted, that's why the warning to not post such information, that's all. It's happened before in many other discussions about all sorts of vehicles and will happen again that someone mentions "class action" an the snowball starts to roll. Just trying to avoid that trap here.

    A free exchange of info about the problems you're having with the vehicles is absolutely fine.

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  • perotmaperotma Posts: 1
    This is the worst car I have ever had and I am pushing VW for money back. If you know of a class action suit started let me know. I had 70,000 miles on the car (90% freeway miles) and the transmission went out. I had an option of repair or replace and they VW talked me into replacing as "repair has a very limited warranty and I'd probably be looking at future problems". Then I received a recall notice for a transmission problem. thus the fight was on with VW because the service records talked about the previous transmission having this recall problem. 3 months and counting I'm trying to get my money back. This is VW's fault. Let me know if you want any more information. I WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER VW.
  • shirley14shirley14 Posts: 9
    To all those having the VW transmission problems, just saying, THINGS ARE LOOKING UP! It will take some time though. Dig out ALL your papers on the VW, especially those papers reguarding the faulty transmission.
  • nobug48nobug48 Posts: 1
    Iam so sick and tired of this VW 2005 beetles problems. We need to get one lawyer to represent us against VW reps. You can count one me. Please keep me informed.
  • laurenabclaurenabc Posts: 1
    I am a hardworking girl who only needed a car to get across country to go to school and work. Well, I have had to push my school starting date back because I made a HORRIBLE purchase.

    I bought this car with 56,500 miles on it and really since I have had it, the car has been at an AAMCO shop. We took it to two transmission repair shops and both said that the oil was smoking and that there was too much metal in the transmission oil. The transmission has been rebuilt time and time again. We only notice that the car slips when we go above 45 mph. The check engine light will go off if you drive slower than that. But the car slips really bad and gets stuck in gears. I am afraid that one of these days my car will slip and i will get rear ended. We took the car to the transmission shop at the beginning of march, it is now the middle of may. WE HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING. They rebuilt the transmission, changed the valve body multiple times, put high performance transmission fluid in, and they even replaced my computer.

    They finally told us that they would give us all of our money back if they dont ever have to see the car again. But that doesnt help me. I am worried about driving this thing cross country and having my clutch go out.

    This is a serious problem, from what I have read on multiple websites VW knows that this is a problem. What is it going to take for them to have a recall? These cars aren't safe. I was always looking forward to having a VW Golf too, well after the problems I have had with my Beetle it is safe to say that I am NEVER going to buy any Beetle again, and I will also be spreading the word about how horrible these cars are.
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