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Volkswagen Beetle Transmission Problems



  • drsteve66drsteve66 Posts: 2
    My wife owns a 2004 convertible VW Beetle. It only has 58,000 miles. Same issue here with problems shifting while accelerating, getting stuck between gears, and hard down shifting when slowing and braking. Just called the local dealer and they told me that the valve body is covered to 100,000 miles. Will be dropping it off today for diagnostics. Hopefully this will be repaired without any costs to me. Will keep you posted.
  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 13
    Good luck, we too have a 2004 convertible Beetle. We had the shifting problems and our dealer said it was most likely the transmission. They offered to take it apart, if it was just the valve body ($2000) they would fix it but if it was the transmission they would replace it for $7000.

    I hope you have a really good dealer mechanic that you trust, because the valve body should be covered by the warranty (which VW recently increased because of all the complaints).

    We took my car to Aamco, where they can rebuild transmissions but also do valve body work. Fortunately, it was only the valve body, we paid for the repair, made a warranty claim and were reimbursed. My car is running great with its new valve body!
  • blackdog20blackdog20 Posts: 19
    I hope you are right, but don't be surprised when they next tell you that it isn't covered. VW is playing with you. Ours had 84K and it wasn't covered. Check your owners warranty info. They changed the warranty every year just about. We had a 2004 and it was not covered.
  • surfosurfo Posts: 1
    WoW this is crazy.. we should protest in all VW Dealers... same problem in my wifes car.. 2003 convertible triptronic transmission.. , i took it to the dealer so they could change the valve... and they didnt want to, they said I needed a new tranny... no I drive a 2011 Hyundai Sonata i love it 100,000 Miles .. no problems .. VW will start loosing customers if they don't act and fix their big problem in all defective transmissions.. So what can we really do ?
  • My car has the same proiblem. 2003 beetle convertible with 73,000 miles. I was told that I needed a new transmission (dealship $6500.00) Now taking it to a local transmission shop who says all 2003 VW Convertibles have the same problem. I got the letter but I was 6 months too late to be part of the "recall". I think a class action lawsuit would suit us all!!
  • d11rcdd11rcd Posts: 1
    "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. "


    "...the number who died in Pinto rear-impact fires was well below the hundreds cited in contemporary news reports and closer to the 27 recorded by a limited NHTSA database. Given the Pinto's production figures (over 2 million built), this was not substantially worse than typical for the time. Schwartz said that the car was no more fire-prone than other cars of the time, that its fatality rates were lower than comparably sized imported automobiles, and that the supposed "smoking gun" document that plaintiffs said demonstrated Ford's callousness in designing the Pinto was actually a document based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations about the value of a human life — rather than a document containing an assessment of Ford's potential tort liability."

    And clearly it had nothing to do with the engine.

    "Toyota's recent problems that caused serious accidents were immediately addressed."

    Toyota's unintended acceleration problems started with its 1996 Camry model.

    "In February 2010, a motion for retrial was submitted on behalf of a Minnesota man, Koua Fong Lee, who, in 2008, was sentenced to eight years in jail for rear-ending a car, killing three of the five occupants and injuring the other two. This happened in June 2006 when he was driving home from church with his family and exiting the highway. Koua insists that his 1996 Toyota Camry sped up to between 70 and 90 mph despite heavy braking. In May 2010, a vehicle inspector hired by attorneys for the convicted man reported finding problems with the car's accelerator system."

    Hardly "immediately" addressing the problem.

    "What car co. ignores such a dangerous issue?"

    Clearly Toyota is one of them.

    I clearly understand your dismay and disgust with the problem you have with VW and your car. No argument here. But the mis-information you are spreading via your post not only exaggerates one problem and understates another, but it is a huge disservice to those who are looking for factual information regarding situations like yours or the ones you referenced. Given your responsibility per your position on the net ("Let it be noted I run a consumer show about commercials at the world's largest live streaming internet network."), I respectfully request you do fact checking before you "spread the word" via your medium. Spreading falsities does no one any good.
  • imbanterimbanter Posts: 5
    How are things looking up? The only way this is going to be resolved is if EVERY owner files a complaint with the National Transportation Safety Board. Here is the online link to file a complaint:

    If you really want help everyone needs to light up the inbox of the NTSB with complaints.
  • megandh8megandh8 Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 VW Beetle and recently its been shifting down into first/second gear when i reach 50 MPH. Any lower speed and it runs just fine. I had a diagnostic program run on it and it said the speed sensor was bad, but after speaking with the auto repair shop they said it will normally read that with a lot of other transmission problems. I cannot afford to drop $4000-$6500 on a new transmission, realistically is this what I should expect?
    Thanks!!! :sick:
  • emc90405emc90405 Posts: 2
    To add another Beetle to the list - my 2005 convertible had just over 40K miles on it when the transmission went. VW insisted it wasn't the valve body, told me I could have a new transmission for $5000. Like others, I opted for the Aamco route. Got a rebuilt transmission in January 2011, during which I was told that the valve body was bad, contradicting the VW dealer. Since then, the valve body has gone bad again (in March) and the car is now back at Aamco (in July) with major electrical problems in the sensors and contacts related to the transmission. At least Aamco is honoring their 1-year warranty (so far), but I've been carless for about 4 weeks with all these various repairs and learning to love the city bus.
  • After it is fixed, get rid of it. Use it as a trade on something more reliable.
  • emc90405emc90405 Posts: 2
    Absolutely. I was hoping to get it through the summer for my daughter to drive while she is home from college, but as soon as she goes back to school, the car will be sold. I already bought a Hyundai (which I chose because of the 10 year warranty - take that VW!)
  • I've been in touch with VW corporate which referred me to VW of America which emailed me with a case number and gave me a personal phone call. The Customer Care "Advocate" Aaron R., said the hard shifting is solved when the transmission valve body is replaced and it is not a danger to the driver, just an annoyance. If I choose not to have the valve body replaced, the transmission will not fail. I'm quoting Aaron R. I've contacted my state's Atty General and plan to file a complaint with the NHTSA

    Aaron R said that VW monitors dealership service reports for patterns and it has not seen a pattern of transmissions failing because of this issue.

    Is this problem simply an annoyance to owners? Are people getting into accidents, being injured or injuring others, or are transmissions actually failing while you're driving down the road?

    I love my bug but... :lemon: ??
  • and boy was it easy! Just have your VIN ready and the form takes about five minutes.
  • Wow I don't know how late I am writing this but I am definetly down. I have always dreamed of owning a vw convertable bug and when I got one i was so happy I couldn't see straight. Then the same thing happened and until tonight I did not know what could be wrong with my car. I got it a month ago and before my first car payment the transmition, water pump, cosmetics in the car, and the tempature gauge went out. They replaced it but they are still playing stupid with me and not fessing up that this is their problem for not making us all better reliable cars. They almost crashed my moms credit and have really bummed me out because I am starting to resent the one thing I have always wanted. I am only 26 and being stranded on the side of the road over and over again it is dangerous and not to mention a chance of a wreck on my head as my mom said it the best " Would you want your daughter or family member to get stuck in this situation? Or be put in a car that might endanger them?" :sick:
  • Fill out the form, it only takes a few minutes. VW probably won't help until it's forced to.
  • Bugged, In addition to filling out that form that the other reader suggested, file a complaint with your state attorney general's office (consumer protection division). You can get the address by typing in the name of your state followed by the words "attorney general". Example: Wyoming attorney general. You might also want to research on the Internet if your state has a "lemon law". Lemon laws are for folks who buy a car and almost immediately begin to have a multitude of problems. In addition, report the dealership to the Better Business Bureau. (Frankly, I would not be happy until the dealership returned my money or was willing to make a trade on a different make/model of car. If the dealership is willing, make sure that you do your research first on Edmunds and other Internet sites before you agree to accept another vehicle. You don't want to trade one problem/high maintenance car for another. I traded my VW for a Hyundai Accent and have been very happy.)
  • elzbetelzbet Posts: 1
    There is a recall on the valve body and transmission. I received a letter because I wrote and called VW. I had mine fixed at a VW dealer. No sweat
  • elenewlifeelenewlife Posts: 21
    HOW did they extend the warranty??? Mine has been bad since 5,000 miles. I NOW how 114,000 miles? I have over 10,000 dollars in the trans and STILL it is bad. NO ONE has sent ME anything???


  • ANY NEW INFO ON THIS WOULD BE APPRECIATED. I Can't afford to have it repaired and my car bucks and jerks all over the place. Can anyone tell me if this has the potential to be dangerous? What's the latest word?

    VW would have sent the following letter to you based on info they have (your VIN and the address on file) I think that if you had the exact repair they refer to here done on your car and/or you can document that it was diagnosed before 7 years or 100,000 miles, you may qualify for reimbursement. However I believe the problem arises when people who didn't know about the "warranty extension" (not recall) had their entire transmissions replaced. I believe VW is not reimbursing for these transmission costs. but I could be wrong... Here's the letter:

    Subject: Warranty Extension – Transmission Valve Body
    Certain 2003-2008 MY Volkswagen Automatic Transmission Vehicles

    Dear Volkswagen Owner of VIN 1234567890

    As part of our ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction, we are pleased to inform you of our decision to extend the warranty that covers the valve body in your vehicle’s transmission to 7 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first, from the vehicle’s original in-service date.

    The vehicle’s original in-service date is defined as the date the vehicle was delivered to either the original purchaser or the original lessee; or if the vehicle was first placed in service as a “demonstrator” or “company” car, on the date such vehicle was first placed in service.

    What is the Problem?
    Volkswagen has received customer complaints of affected vehicles that may experience a hard shift from first to second gear, and also from second to third gear.

    What Will Volkswagen Do?
    Should you ever have an issue with hard shifting as described above due to an issue with the transmission valve body, your authorized Volkswagen dealer will diagnose and repair it at no cost to you, as long as your vehicle is within the time and mileage limit of this warranty extension. Please keep this letter with your Warranty booklet and deliver it to any new owner, along with the owner’s manual.

    This warranty extension covers only the diagnosis and repair of the transmission valve body. This warranty extension will not cover any damage or malfunctions caused by installation of parts that alter the performance of the transmission or transmission controls, such as the installation of transmission management components (“chipped” or “tuned” TCMs) not approved by Volkswagen.

    Any repairs that are (1) necessary for proper diagnosis of these other conditions or (2) required to bring the vehicle up to factory specifications are not covered by this warranty extension. Additionally, the transmission in your vehicle must have been maintained in accordance with the maintenance requirements found in your vehicle owner’s manual. For verification purposes, be sure to retain proof of each maintenance once it has been completed.

    Any malfunctions of other components remain covered by the normal terms of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Additionally, should you ever sell the vehicle, this warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.

    Lease Vehicles
    If you are the lessor and registered owner of the vehicle identified in this warranty extension, please forward this information immediately via first-class mail to the lessee within ten (10) days of receipt of this notification.

    Have You Changed Your Address Or Sold The Vehicle?
    If you have, please fill out the enclosed prepaid Owner Reply card and mail it to us so we can update our records.

    Reimbursement of Expenses
    If you have previously paid for transmission valve body repairs or replacement relating to the condition described in this letter, the enclosed form explains how to request reimbursement. We would be pleased to review your reimbursement request.

    Safety, customer satisfaction, quality and long-term vehicle reliability are top priorities at Volkswagen, and we are pleased to offer this extended warranty. Thank you for driving a Volkswagen!
    Volkswagen Service & Quality
  • drsteve66drsteve66 Posts: 2
    I apologize for the late update. I finally did bring in the 2004 VW Beetle to VW of Santa Monica California. They told me that it was probably the valve body and that they would replace it (based on warranty coverage). They also told me that it could be a more extensive repair. It took a few days for them to order the part. The valve body has now been replaced and the transmission has been working without any problems for almost 2 months (no issues with shifting, etc.). And it didn't cost me a dime! All was covered under warranty. I would like to thank VW of Santa Monica for honest and great service.
  • I had a bit of a scare today. I had been on the hwy for about a half hour, when i ran into some road construction. I slowed, all was well, but when I gave it a bit of gas, not much, mind you, it went from 2nd to 3rd gear, it felt like someone had just rammed me from behind. Not the case, wtf? continued on, slow, give it gas, from 2nd to 3rd gear, did it again. Once back on hwy, all was fine, slowed in town, stopped at light, all was fine. My son suggested maybe getting a transmission oil cooler? Since it happened whilst the tranny was warm. First time this has happened to me. I so love my little bug, I hope it is nothing major. Anyone try the tranny oil cooler with any luck? Or can it be done?
  • les24les24 Posts: 11
    I got rid of my bug back in Dec. but that is the way it presents...once you have driven for about 10 to 15 minutes and the car is warmed up...then the problems (jerking into gear) start. Once you were back on the hiway and staying in one gear you probably wouldn't have problems. I would document everything and have everything checked by the dealership and if you don't get confirmation that you have a problem, then check with an independent mechanic. I sold the bug but held on to all my documentation to hopefully get re-imbursed the $4,000 it took to fix it and the $6000 I got from CArmax (so I netted only $2,000 for a beautiful, 2005 convertible bug with 55,000 miles on in. Not a good deal
  • I bought her less than a month ago, used, with 120,000. Had a few minor issues, used car, that happens. But my son was thinking maybe a transmission oil cooler since it did not happen until it was warm. Just wondering if anyone has tried that? Seems that there are a lot of issues with the cute bug and it's tritronic tranny. :surprise:
  • sad thing is, if it is not reliable, and you trade it in, you are just giving someone else the headache that you had. I just bought, less than a month ago, a used beetle. LOVE it, But have had a few minor issues.
  • Dr. Steve, Based on what I've read on this forum, the problem tends to reoccur after the valve body fix. If you are going to keep the bug, then make sure that you purchase another warranty from a reputable company before your current warranty expires. Your VW dealership should be able to steer you to reputable companies that they have worked with. (I got ripped off on a warranty that I bought from a scam company.) Hope all continues to go well with your bug. My started to have so many reoccuring problems (convertible top problems, a/c problems) in addition to the transmission that I traded it in and got a used Hyundai.
  • lwdlbrnlwdlbrn Posts: 1
    HELP!!!! I have a 2003 Beetle currently in the shop for the transmission/valve body. I NEVER received the extended warranty information. I am under 100,000 miles, but the car is almost 8 years old. They quoted me $2600 for valve body, and $6500 for transmission.

    Can I fight this????
  • les24les24 Posts: 11
    Good luck. I haven't sent papers in yet to try to get re-imbursed since it seems no one is having cooperation. I have proof I went to the dealership with transmission concerns at about 30,000 miles and they found 57,000 miles (post warranty) I spent $4,000 to get the valve body fixed and then sold the damn thing. The car of my dreams (convertible) betrayed me. I am going to seek re-imbursement soon and will let everyone know how it goes.
  • My guess regarding why you did not receive the letter on repairing the transmission valve body is that the car is more than seven years old. If you have some documentation that the problem was occurring prior to the car being seven years old, then maybe VW of America might be willing to fix it. Don't know for sure, but, hey, it's worth a try. VW of America is in Auburn Hills, Michigan. You can "google" their website and then look for the "contact us" button. That should give you the phone number.

    As far as how to fight it, you could print off the comments on this site to prove that this is a manufacturing problem that has effected many persons. Contact your State Attorney General and send a copy of all the comments on this site. Maybe he can put pressure on VW. However, it is going to take time, and if you are like most of us, you need your car now.

    I assume that you are having it fixed at the dealership. See if the dealer is willing to accept it in its current unfixed condition as a trade in for another vehicle of your choice. Try and get them to pay off your bug as part of the deal. However, the dealership will probably be unwilling to do this unless you buy a more expensive car.
  • After having severe problems withthe transmission in my 2004 bettle convertible and no support from the dealership or VW, I decided to contact the Attorney's General Office and they also adviced me to contact the National Hwy and Traffic Safety Administration and file a Complaint. I hope that many of you do the same bacause this car needs to be recall. It is an easy process and the phone call will take only 10 minutes to complete. If you really want something done about this issue call 1 888 327 4236 and add you case to create more pressure on the authorities to solve the issue.
  • After having so many problems with my 2004 VW bettle convertible, the last straw is now the transmission problem, now I am being more proactive and starting a movement.
    Please contact the National Hwy and Traffic Safety Admon and start a case, we need to get VW to recognize their responsability in this problems.
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