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Volkswagen Beetle Transmission Problems

68mgb68mgb Posts: 2
edited May 2015 in Volkswagen
I have a 99 Beetle w/60M miles. Recently it sat for a month with a dead battery. When I charged the battery and began driving it i had transmission problems. At forst it would be shifting through 2nd and 3rd and would slip sending the rpm's up to 5-6M. After talking with several mechanics they said the computer needed to re-learn how to shift and to continue to drive it unless it worsened. It seems to have gotten better, but now when I go from park to drive it does not want to engage about half the time unless I take it to 3rd and back to drive. It feels like the shifter is the problem because you can move it up slightly from 3rd to drive and it will catch. I can take it to VW and pay their $100 diagnostic but wondered if maybe AAMCO would be better? Thanks!

See Also: VW Vortex Automatic Transmission Forum


  • lachicalachica Posts: 1
    My speedometer struggles to show accelaeration past 50 mph. It is a 2002 volkswagon automatic beetle. It is about 2 years old. There are no problems with acceleration or shifting gears. So far, the dealership has reported that a speed sensor and an instrument cluster replacement have not fixed the problem. They have recommended replacing the whole sensor transmission for $4000. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • I told the dealership of this problem and they said the mech. test drove it for 15 min. and saw nothing wrong! Will it does not happen all the time, maybe a few times a month and I have had a few scary situations and told the dealership again, and again the same excuse! I am scared to drive my car and have contacted the warranty dept. and they told me that it would cost them $1000's to find out the problem and they wont do it unless it is wittnessed by the mech. so I am soo upset that they wont check it out, its still under warranty and I wont stop here, I want my car safe and I will hold them responsible 100% if I end up in the back of someones car!!! I dont know who else to contact! I tryed looking online for a Corp. # and nothing! Please help!
  • The automatic transmission on our '02 Beetle won't shift out of park when the key is turned on. It appears to be an electrical problem, yet all of the fuses are okay. Any suggestions? Anybody else had this problem and how is it fixed? Thanks.
  • I have a 99 vw beetle with 60,000 miles on it i have had a transmission replaced at 20,000. Recently were were driving along and went to downshift from whatever gear to second and hub said ohhhhh this doesnt feel good, well needless to say the only gears we have are what we believe may be 3 and 4 if you put it into reverse all we seem to get is a high forward gear. any ideas
  • I heard that teh powertrain has a long 100,ooo mile warranty if u r original owner
  • 98 beetle bought used for my daughter trany slips when put drive cold.Then is ok, speedometer doesn't register correctly and won't go over 55 mph falls back at around 55.
    3 codes p0422 catalyst below threshhold, P0102 Maf or VAF low input, p1582 idle speed mixture,p0112 IAT sensor 1 low input.
    So far new air filter, new fuel filter, cleaned MAF, I bought the gasket to clean the throttle intake but havn't doen it yet, think I need a new speedometer sensor but Haynes book says raise vehicle and access from underneath, I can,t find it from underneath car. Not sure I fair leak could cause po422 error or not.
    Any ideas would be helpful
  • '00 diesel beetle has a problem with acceleration. i know not to expect the same power from a diesel engine compared to a gasoline, however, this car does not shift on time, it does not gear down the way a car should , when pulling out of a corner, you have to ensure that there is nothing coming because there is no power. i had the car to VW dealer who told me that the engine is running fine but can't seem to figure out why the transmission is not responding. could someone help me out?
  • My 15 year love affair with Volkswagen has officially come to an end. I would like to scream from the roof tops that this company doesn't back their product and does not care if they lose loyal customers. And I will never buy another car from them again.

    I leased a 2007 VW New Beetle in October of 2006. It is a 5 speed manual transmission. It has 10,000 miles on it to date. Thursday while attempting to drive up North to visit my family for Thanksgiving the clutch started skipping and a horrible smelling white smoke started blowing out of the car. We pulled over to see what was wrong, it finally stopped smoking and the clutch was barely working.

    I called the local dealership Saturday morning and they say "bring the car right in". We bring it in and then they tell us "well, we don't actually have anybody who can look at it today but we'll see what we can do and call you". They call me at 5:00 p.m. and say "nope, didn't have anybody to look at it, it'll have to wait until Monday". So Monday in the middle of the afternoon they call us and say "we need your authorization for the $900 fee to take the car apart and look at it, it may be a wear and tear item and not covered under warranty". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? 10,000 miles???? I have been driving a stick shift since I was 16 years old. I have leased two other New Beetles from Volkswagen and have never ONCE had an issue with the clutch. I KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A MANUAL TRANSMISSION. I'm sorry but if their product is so badly made that the clutch will burn out after 10,000 miles I have no interest in putting my life in the hands of Volkswagen.

    We called the corporate office to complain. The corporate office didn't call back until the next day and told us we're out of luck, that's policy. Their policy is 12 months or 12,000 miles for wear and tear items. We've had the car for 13 months. They don't care that we've leased 2 other Volkswagens from them and have been a loyal, on-time paying, perfect lease returning customer since 2000. They have never had one single issue with us. And they would not even look at the car to see if it was a possible failure opposed to "wear and tear" unless we first fronted $900.

    I am DONE with Volkswagen. Their product is NOT well made, they don't back their product and they care about profit and NOT keeping loyal GOOD customers. I am sad to see them go... I look back on my '68 and '69 Bugs, I look back on my 1990 GTI and I look back on my 2 New Beetles with fondness. But I WILL NOT deal with a company who isn't willing to work with GOOD customers.
  • regnefregnef Posts: 2
    After driving 2004 Beetle more than 20 minutes, the 6-spd auto transmssion starts intermittently shifting badly for both upshifting and downshifting. VW service couldn't repro/resolve issue. Problem doesn't happen when cold or after sitting a while. VW service replaced the trans fluid/filter and problem still happens. Has anybody else experienced this? Any ideas?
  • rcrumrcrum Posts: 1
    I too am experiencing some of the same issues. Mainly, I notice a severe lurching occasionally when coming to a stop. My car is not cold, and typically I have been driving for more than 15 minutes when this happens. I am finding too that my driver window occasionally pops right back down when I raise it. The dealer replaced a part and made some adjustments...still happens sometimes. Yes, any thoughts and advice would help. The dealership said they cannot find any codes to explain the shifting issues. I love my car and really don't want to have to get rid of it!!
  • I have a 2002 turbo Beetle. I am the original owner and I just recently paid it off. It has just over 80,000M on it, and the warranty was only 5 yrs or 50,000. I did not buy an extended warranty. The car has been to the dealer for every single service check. In 12/07, after spending $1600 to have the blown water pump replaced and to fix the collateral damage caused by the blow, I started to have problems with the car shifting.

    Basically after driving the car on the freeway for some distance, then driving for a few minutes in stop and go city traffic, the car will refuse to go from 2nd to 3rd gear. The engine will scream as the RPM's go into 6000. The only way to get the car to shift into the next gear is to whomp on the gas pedal, drive the RPM's higher, and the car will lurch into the next gear.

    When it's not refusing to go into gear at all, it is "rough shifting", which is going into slightly higher RPM's than normal for a bit longer than usual, then finally shifting, giving the car a little jerk as it does so.

    So far I have brought the car to the dealer for this problem 5 times, and it is happening again. The first time I took it in the dealer could not replicate the problem and told me to bring the car back if it happened again as they were not detecting anything wrong with any of the systems.

    The second time it happened I took the car in and they again could not replicate the problem, but told me the transmission was bad (they said the fluid was completely burned up and there were metal shavings in the trannie), so I paid $4600 to have the trannie replaced.

    A short time later it happened a third time, so I drove it in just before the New Years holiday, left the car running, found a mechanic that had not gone home early who got in the car and confirmed the problem so at least I had a witness now. This trip cost me $1000 for a new Transmission Control Module, which they said was probably at fault for making the first trannie go bad.

    Just a short time later it happened again for the fourth time, so back to the dealer, kidnapped another mechanic, confirmed problem, they said the left rear tire had too deep of a tread and was screwing with the Anti Skid Resistance system, which was reading the pressure changes from the tread as wheel spinning and setting off the safety feature that kept the car from shifting. They replaced the rear tire for free (but not really, since they kept the brand new tire they took off).

    Short time later, happens again for the fifth time. Back to the dealer, kidnap same mechanic from fourth time, he confirms problem still happening, this time they said it was a faulty valve in the transmission, which they fixed for free since the transmission they put in the car has a warranty for 1 year or 12,000M.

    Now, less than two weeks later it happened again as I got off the freeway heading to work, about 40 miles from where I live and the VW dealer that I bought the car from and has been taking care of the car since I bought it. I called the dealer when I got to work and he says bring it in Monday (this was Wednesday). I asked him why Monday and he states that the mechanic who has been working on this is not in till Monday. Goodie for him. Maybe that's the problem and they need to get a different mechanic, but from the stories I have been reading here and at consumer affairs, it's the car and will probably never be fixed correctly.

    Anyone got any advice besides driving the car up the dealers rear end? :confuse:

    PS It's really funny seeing the add on this page for the VW Sign Then Drive Event. Yeah, like I would ever buy a VW again.
  • carakcarak Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 2002 Beetle from a private dealer and am unsure about how the transmission works. Do I have to take it to a dealer to have the fluid checked or is it a "self check" transmission?
  • Hi- your post is the only thing I can find online about the problem you mentioned of not having 1st, 2nd, or reverse gears. The same thing just happened to my girlfriends bug with 98000 miles on it. Did you figure out the problem? If you did, will you let me know what the fix is please?


  • efontenoefonteno Posts: 2
    I am having the exact same issues with my 04 convertible! Car is at the dealership now, awaiting their take on how to fix it. Took the car in 6 months (before the 50000 mile warranty expired), ago with the same issue, they said it was warped rotors....not true! Will let you know how/if we resolved it!
  • regnefregnef Posts: 2
    I gave up - just traded in the '04 Beetle. Had it to the dealer 3 times and they couldn't resolve it. Last time the trans fluid/filter was changed and it didn't help - they claimed there was no tech reports on this issue. I'd be curious to know what it was and how much it cost to fix. I'll probably never buy a VW again... :lemon:
  • this is interesting, I thought I was the only one who experienced having problems with transmissions. I almost throw my Vox to junk, good thing my dad (a mechanic) went home on time and told my to buy the corresponding Volkswagen Beetle parts and a new battery. After spending almost $1000 on overall tuneup of my dad. It went good, I hope I'll never encounter that kind of problem again. It swiped away all my money.
  • scotteeescotteee Posts: 5
    I recently got an 01 Beetle - 2.0 engine w/ 4 speed auto trans. I've had it for 5 months and maybe put 300 miles on it, most of them to and from my mechanic. My current problem is something that I've seen other posts about but haven't really seen any solutions. About 4 weeks ago the battery died. Interestingly enough, when I went to get a new one and when they pulled up which one for the car a big warning came up on the computer saying NOT to remove old battery because it could render the car undriveable. So what the hell are you supposed to do? You gotta replace the battery.... So of course now it won't shift right. From 2nd to 3rd it races the engine before it engages in gear. I have a really good mechanic and he suspected the computer and tried several things that didn't work. He has a VAG Com but apparently the software to get into that part of the computer is VW propietary. So, we took it to VW and specifically asked them to simply reprogram the computer and of course they said it needs a new tranny for $4000. So my mechanic thought maybe the problem was the valve body inside the tranny. We replaced it and the problem's still there. So now I'm faced with having to replace the damn transmission but it just doesn't seem right. I still believe there's something electronic going on, especially reading some of the other posts. Does anyone have any feedback for me on this problem??? PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!! I'm at the end of my rope and the noose is getting tighter. :-(

  • julzrulzjulzrulz Posts: 1
    My heart is broken - I bought my used VW bug - (yellow, of course) - early December of 2007. I paid $5,000 and the vehicle barely had 50,000 miles on it. The person I bought it from, a reputable mechanic in my area, had done work on it before putting it up for sale - however, he did not replace the clutch because he noticed that it had already been replaced (prior to him getting the car).

    Truly a GREAT deal ... absolutely LOVE the car - until this past Sunday. The clutch started slipping - severely - so I took it back to the fellow I bought if from so he could take a look at it ... long story longer - it will cost me nearly $1,000 to replace the clutch/assembly - due to it being a labor intensive job.

    The car has 62,000 miles on it ... I have been driving a manual transmission for the past 30 years .... I know how to drive stick .... What I don't understand is how the heck can Volkswagen NOT address this issue.... it is plain to see that there is problem with this car. How can my car - with only 62,000 ORIGINAL miles be on its 3rd clutch!???!?
  • ghudsghuds Posts: 8
    My daughter has a 98 Beetle with about 105,000 miles on it. We bought it used about a year ago with 98,000 miles on it. I don't have any history on it - a Carfax turned up only regular maintanence for a couple years. I checked the fluid level when we bought it and it was good. It ran perfect for about a year then started lurching in drive every once in a while. Recently it started slipping bad and it's basically not driveable. I pulled the pan and replaced the filter and gasket. The fluid was brown but did not smell burned. There was a small amount of metal shavings on the pan magnet but not much considering the mileage on the car. After servicing it, it still slips in and out of drive. Is there anything else I can look for before I take it to a mechanic to have it checked out?
  • nataliemacnataliemac Posts: 14
    I have a 2003 Beetle that has the exact same problems. I bought the car used in January with 60,000 miles on it. It was fine at first, but by March was having the bad shifting problems when the engine was warm. I took it to the dealer twice but both times they said they couldn't find anything wrong with the transmission and couldn't replicate the issue.

    Finally, driving on the freeway, it finally stopped shifting at all. I was stuck in third gear on the 405 in LA. I had to pull to the shoulder and call a tow truck to tow me to the dealer. It took them three days to even look at the car, at which point they told me it needed a new transmission. Incidentally, the car had 66,000 miles on it and the powertrain warranty expired at 65,000. They wanted $6,000 for the new transmission.

    Rather than pay it, I had the car towed to a transmission specialist who's been in business since 1963. After sitting for a few days, the car was shifting somewhat normally again. The transmission shop took it out for a drive and told me they couldn't find anything wrong. I told them they had to take it for a longer drive, and then they discovered the problem. They proceeded to take the entire transmission apart - it's burned and black and does need to be replaced. However, the problem isn't caused by the transmission. It's caused by the computer forcing the transmission to shift at improper times - wrong signals or whatever. So the computer is messed up and that's messing up the transmission, causing it to burn itself out.

    I have to have the computer fixed as well - if I just replace the transmission, it will just happen again. Still waiting to hear how much the transmission replacement and computer repair/replacement are going to cost.
  • efontenoefonteno Posts: 2
    Check the computer that tells the trasmission when to shift. When i took my car to the dealer, after SEVERAL tries, they finally determined that there was some sort of Sensor connected to the computer that was malfunctioning, causing the transmission to try to shift inappropriately. After replacing the sensor, my car has not "lurched" since. I hope this helps!
  • nataliemacnataliemac Posts: 14
    Thank you! I printed out your post and am taking it to the transmission shop now. At least it gives them something to try. I'll post back when my car is finished and let everyone know if it's fixed.
  • cooper22cooper22 Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem witg my '98 NB. Know it has been some time since your posting, just wondering if you got any help and how you got it fixed. Thanks!
  • zeekeyszeekeys Posts: 1
    I've had the exact same thing happen to my 2000 Beetle. It started with having to
    over rev the engine to get from 2nd to 3rd when driving around town, you park it to do some shopping come back everything 's normal. Took it in to the dealer and was told
    that the tranny needed servicing, of course while your here you need a timing belt.
    I had my beetle serviced and a week later the same problem. Took it back to the dealer with Hey! maybe it's a sensor problem, No I was told You need A transmission
    It,s a nightmare. To anyone reading this don't feel alone you see I don,t have 4000
    dollars and no way to get it, Can't sell a car with bad transmission.
  • Apparently, this is a relatively common issue that can have a few different causes.

    After rebuilding the transmission, the kicking problem was still there once the engine warmed up. The transmission shop and I (with the help of this message board) identified three possibilities:

    * The sensors in the transmission
    * The transmission computer
    * The valve body (I have no earthly idea what this is)

    We started with the cheapest - the sensors - and replaced those. It didn't fix the problem on my car, though someone else here reported that fixed their car.

    The next lest expensive part to replace was the valve body. Luckily, in my case. That fixed the problem. And we didn't have to move on to the computer.

    Another transmission shop we consulted for guidance said they had solved a similar issue by re-programming rather than replacing the transmission computer.

    None of this was cheap. The total cost to me for rental car, transmission rebuild, parts and labor was almost exactly $6,000. The dealer was in no way of any help throughout the process, and they continue to insist that the only way to fix the problem is to replace the transmission. But at least two other people have posted here with the same problem and reported that replacing the transmission didn't fix the issue.

    So, there you go. I still owe $6,200 on the car. It could have been very nearly paid off for the cost of this one repair.
  • I have read all your problems with automatic transmission stuck in third. Did anyone resolve this problem. HELP Jeanne
  • Hi Jeanne - in the post right before yours, I wrote about the things I had to do to resolve the problem.

    Basically, my transmission had to be completely re-built. Then the problem that caused the transmission to become stuck in third had to be fixed. All the details are in my earlier post.
  • Thanks for your comment the end how much did it cost you to resolve this problem. I have an appt with my VW dealer this Thur. Thanks Jeanne
  • The transmission re-build was about $4,000. The dealer will not rebuild. They'll only replace, which runs about $6,000.

    Additionally, my transmission problem was actually caused by something else. It was another $300 to replace the sensors, and another $1100 to replace the Valve Body.

    Plus this took several weeks and the rental car was nearly $1000.
  • Well Natalie...hopefully it will be only the sensor. When I spoke with the service manager(who I know personally as a previous coworker) suggested it my be a sensor problem. That was a good sign....must be an issue they are familiar with. I just bought my "Bug" in April. Everything was been AOK up till now. Have a great weekend....Jeanne
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