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Volkswagen Beetle Transmission Problems



  • Hi my car back from the shop. Everything is now aOK. The problem was a trans control module. Total cost with tax $930.90. The part was $595.00. The module is replaced by removing the dash. Car runs great....$900.00 sucks....I will dispute this with the VW Warranty rep. when she comes to my dealer at the end of Oct. For those who don't know my problem my 2002 Beetle would not shift from 3rd to 4th Thought I had to replace my transmission....Lucky that did not have to happen. Trans control module needed to be replaced. Wish me luck....I plan on printing all these posts in the forum as part as my ammo. Thanks for your support and replies. Jeanne in Cape May County, NJ (very South NJ)
  • Hi Natalie,

    My fiance has a 2004 Beetle turbo and the transmission is kicking when downshifting to 3rd and 2nd gear. Sounds like we need to replace the trans control module also I hope! $900 sounds better than some people replacing their transmission at $6000. If anyone else is experiencing the same problem and solved it please let me know!
  • Just make sure to go and get the repairs before the transmission is ruined by the faulty control module. Otherwise you'll have to replace/rebuild the transmission *and* pay to replace the control module.
  • I bought an automatic transmission 99 VW Beetle with 110,000 miles. I started having a problem, I was starting the car and putting it in reverse to back out and then I'd switch it into drive and the car would start rolling backward and would jerk and go forward. I would then switch it into park and sit for a couple seconds then try it again, and it'd be fine. I brought it to a mechanic and he said that the transmission fluid was burnt, and I'm waiting for the results. Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong? :confuse:
  • sharon60sharon60 Posts: 1
    98 beetle 130000 miles , if you take off real slow the first shift is rather hard , if you take off normal it then shifts normal , car is new to us no info on pre service would a trans oil change help ???
  • Hello everyone!

    I've been reading a lot of posts on here and on other forums and I think I might be having the same problem as some of you.
    A few months ago, my 05 Beetle started to jerk when I would put on the brakes and sometimes when I would step on the gas. I called the VW dealership and the guy said that it was normal for VW's to do that when they are about 4 years old. I didn't really understand how it could be normal, but I just left it as it was. It got a little it worse over time, but not much. About 2 months ago, I accidently ran over a cement block which caused my transmission pan to get dented. I had that fixed and since then my car has been having shifting problems. When the car gets warmed up (after driving if for about 15 minutes or so), it will get stuck in a gear and the engine will rev for a bit then jerk roughly into gear. I recently took my car in to get it looked at. The mechanic wasn't sure what the problem could be, but he noticed that the car was low on transmission fluid and that a piece in that area was bent and sort of melted or something (that piece had to be fixed in order to change the fluid). So, he fixed that, but the car still has the same problem. When I drove it home after getting that piece fixed, the problem seemed liked it was worse than before. When the engine was revving, the check engine light came on (it was yellow) and the drive, park, reverse, etc initials each had brackets around them, instead of just the drive ( [D] ). My car is at a transmission shop now. At first, they couldn't find anything wrong with it. Then they hooked it up to their computer and found a problem in the 4th gear. The mechanic isn't sure what the problem is, so in order to find out, he has to rebuild the transmission. So, even if that ends up not being the problem, I'll still have to pay for the rebuild. I cannot afford to pay for the trans to be rebuilt. So, I was just wondering, should I try to save money to get the trans fixed? Is it worth it? Could it be caused from something else other than the transmission? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • markveemarkvee Posts: 2
    Whats the status of your car? Same thing happened to my girlfriends car 2005 turbo convertible this last week. When stopped at a light it "bang" really loud and jerk forward then not come out of gear and rev really high. The engine light came on and all the gears selections on the dash were surrounded in brackets. Brought thecar to a local mechanic, charged me $100 telling me it was a pressure sensor switch, told me to contact VW first before bringing it to a tranny shop and basically have it taken apart. Brought it to VW, they told me my girlfriend spilled something on the shifter to make it stick, (girlfriend said it was always like that) they took it apart and claened it up and regreased it. Said the engine light was something else that came on the same time but is a recirculating valve in the turbo. they are not going to charge me for the cleanup of the shifter but the $250 for the turbo valve. They said the tranny goes into "limp"mode if the tranny gets the wrong info from the shifter, basicall the shifter is telling the tranny something wrong. the transmission protects itself by not shifting, which is a bunch of bull. That doesnt really protect the tranny when your car stays in first driving down the road.
    Seems like we have the same prob and i would be curious to find out what hapend to yours!
    - mark
  • Aloha,
    I own a 2005 VW Beetle that has all the typical problems including malfunctioning air bag light(check recalls for your year!), bad driver door handle, windows out of alignment etc; however, the transmission can be the most critical/costly problem of any late model Beetle with over 50K miles!

    If you have the hard shift and the slippage into neutral (feel like you ride in a carnival bumper car) you need to find out if the problem is indeed mechanical (which will need actual trans repair) or another contributing problem that is making the trans malfunction.

    Your repair tech will first scan your vehicle and tell you that the scan results balance with the driving symptoms of no shifting into 3rd/4th gear, etc. If there is no obvious contributing factor, i.e. sever overheating(can dissolve the viscosity of the trans fluid) or malfunctioning alternator(can affect cellonoid operation), that could affect the trans you will need to "service" the trans to determine if it is mechanical or something else.

    The trans "service" including filter and fluid will cost approx $300-$500 depending on your trans model and what kind of fluid it takes. it is not unusual to have trans fluid cost $130.00. You want to ask you mechanic to look for metal shavings on the magnet. If there are significant metal shavings on the magnet then it is a mechanical problem and will need to be rebuilt. (if you have significant shifting problems then tell your mechanic to just "drop the trans pan and check the magnet" no need to spend the service money if it will be a waste and you will only pay for another service with a rebuild). The rebuilt should include a $500 trans rebuild kit a $400 replacement torque converter, fluid, filter, labor and possibly new triptonic and neutral safety switches. A rough labor estimate should be 18-24 hours. A rebuild parts and labor is roughly $3500.00 for a solid job and warranty.

    Make sure you exhaust all contributing factors while keeping costs low. Overheating on these cars is common especially since the warning light(no gauge) doesn't even come on until almost 250deg. Your water pump, thermostat, driver and passenger side cooling fans, radiator, all work together to cool your vehicle(including trans fluid). The stock cooling fan motors often blow out the low speed and only operate on high when the vehicle is already too hot. The stock water pump has a plastic type spool and should be replaced with a metal spool to avoid total timing belt meltdown and especially clogging in the radiator are all common factors that lead to hot operations and overheating. An overheated vehicle can lead to burned up trans fluid and hard shifting. Don't repair expensive cooling parts until you check the magnet!!!!!

    Aftermarket alarms, roadside jump starts, incorrect new battery install, and on the fritz alternator can all lead to malfunction trans. Again check the magnet first!!!!

    With Aloha,
  • markveemarkvee Posts: 2
    After searching the internet and reading horror stories of this make and model and spending lots of money on a car that has only 40,000 miles on :lemon: it having problem after problem over the last couple of months i did the best thing imaginable. They got the engine light to go away and the brackets around the gear selection indicator. The mechanic at the VW dealership said that it might only be a temporary fix. Brought it down to the local Honda dealership, (of course after doing my research on Traded it in, got $11,000 towards a 2009 Honda Accord. I don't think i'll have any problems for a while..... :shades:
  • koskikoski Posts: 1
    I have a 99 New Beetle, original owner. The car has 164,000 miles on it. Without warning, I was driving at 30 mph, stopped at a traffic light, and when the light turned green, I could only accelerate an inch or so at a time. The clutch felt the same, but the shifter has lost all control. The shifter is REALLY loose, and moves 1" sideways, and up and down thru the middle of the H, but not in any gear. I had it towed home. Has anyone had any similar problems?
  • alexavonalexavon Posts: 2
    God, I wanted a Beetle since they came out with the model. I got a 2001 Beetle two years ago. But what a piece of crap. Mention of that trade-in has got me thinking ...

    Anyway, for a while now while driving on the freeway or something I felt like the car suddenly stopped listening to my gas pedal, but I told myself it was the wind--until today. There was a clear 4-5 seconds after a stop light that I tried to go--did at first--then it just wouldn't listen. Then it was back. I took it immediately to my VW mechanic who told me it was my catalytic converter. Went driving tonight--hmmm, not the catalytic converter. That kind of pisses me off not just cuz it's a waste of money, but from this forum I'm seeing that these symptoms seem to be tied regularly to transmission problems.
  • alexavonalexavon Posts: 2
    I've spent over $1,000 in repairs over the last five months on this car--once to replace some stupid chip in my car key for $300. For the love of God, don't get a Beetle if you're looking into it right now.
  • maduransmadurans Posts: 2
    The front wheel of my VW NEW BEETLE 99 are locked, the car turned on but not moving and you can not push. Being turned on and accelerate and release the pedal, the RPMs drop quickly.">
  • maduransmadurans Posts: 2
    Which is the most common problem in the transmission of the beetle.
  • vernaverna Posts: 1
    03' beetle - after over $6,000 in repairs, ie: repair everything showing up on the computer (engine/tranny) the car is still jerking. Now they are saying I need a new tranny. New tran will cost $6,000. Just not worth it.
    I love my beetle, but not that much. anyone out there who is considering buying a beetle, reconsider. Your heart will be broken.Now I hope when I try to trade it in, it doesn't jerk while they test drive it. Wish me luck.
  • pilchpilch Posts: 1
    Sounds like I'm not the only one! I found this forum just now while looking up beetle transmission issues, I'd heard of them happening often and was trying to post and find if Volkswagen intends on doing any sort of a recall. For now they haven't but I intend to post everywhere in hopes of them finally hearing enough.....

    Here's my story. Bought my dream car in May and next month will be a year. It's a 2003 Beetle convertible and had 50k miles on it. Around Oct or Nov I noticed how hard it was shifting down. It would just jerk from gear to gear until I would come to a complete stop. I drove for a Christmas party mid Dec round trip of 3 hours and was fine. I parked the car in my driveway for 5 min then got in it to go to the grocery store and about a quarter mile from my house while up-shifting it couldn't make it out of third gear! My heart dropped I knew this was bad, bad news. Took it to three mechanics before one could tell me he'd need to rebuild the transmission. Between three mechanics and ordering parts it took three months to fix! Just got it back about a month ago and it sounds like I'm riding around with a crock pot under my feet. Something just rattles like metal clanking anytime I get in and just take off, seems like it does it all around town but here's the thing. My mechanic is about 40m away and by the time I get it to him each time to have him test drive it the noise is gone. It's like after it warms up it silences. Anybody have any suggestions? He says he believes me but it warming up and quitting doesn't make sense.

    Furthermore he informed me that it seems beetles and jettas alike have this issue. Also he had to order all my parts from California which added to the headache (Kentucky) and ordered several before he could get 4th gear back. This was all after replacing the thermostat and the dipstick holder. But I'm looking up, this is the end right? I love my car. Oh and by the way when I took it to him yesterday there were two more beetles there with the same problem. hmmm.
  • hey pilch, you need to take advantage of your parts and labor warranty on the rebuild. If they rebuilt your 2003 ask if they only did a rebuild kit and torque converter or if they actually replaced the transmission piston. also find out about the sensors and valve assembly.

    also if rebuilt double and triple check that they used the correct trans fluid. for your year car with a trans rebuild your fluid should have been $250.00. Remember there is no trans dipstick so they need to overfill and then bleed off. I'm assuming your dipstick holder is for the oil.

    did they use only volks parts? or aftermarket parts?

    was the battery disconnected during the removal of the trans? If you believe that the clanking is trans based you might need to simply reset the transmission computer.

    it is worth another visit for your reassurance...the wrong or short pour fluid and not properly reset computer could eventually lead to the same trans prob. If done correctly then yes, it is the end, clanking could be a million things....bearings, loose exhaust, cam etc......let us know how it end up
  • yomeganyomegan Posts: 1
    I've read most of the posts on this site. I am experiencing the same issues. I bought my car used last year and started experiencing lurching recently when braking and after about 15 minutes of driving. Please be careful, because the crooks are out there!! I had an independent mechanic do a transmission service, basically check the fluids and charge me $300, he then tells me I need a new tranny after keeping the car for a week. I then took the car to AAMCO, they quoted $1600 - $3000 without taking the tranny apart. My car is now at another independent dealer who has identified the transmission sensor as being the problem. He is quoting me $400 out the door. I hope this resolves the problem.
  • kimloverkimlover Posts: 1
    I have a new Beetle and I wish I would have found this forrum before I bought. I am also having transmission problems. It down shifts really hard and brackets show up around every gear on the gear indicator. This is very anoying when you have less than 100,000 miles on the car. Especially after spending over $300 dollars to replace the cable that rolls up the electric window on every window in the car.Also there have been many other small things break in the interior. I bought this car for my wifes birthday abn it has continously given us problems with fit and finish, and good luck finding someone to even do a frontend alignment. Enough complaining. Does anyone know were the transmission dip stick is at on a 2005 6 speed auto trans. Thanks
  • "Your VW might not be as reliable as you once thought.
    Announced earlier today, Volkswagen of America has decided to recall 13,500 of their cars The Boston Globe reports. The reason? Problems with a dual-clutch transmission that causes a warning light on the dashboard to appear. Audi of America, the luxury division of Volkswagen, also made a recall yesterday. This affected 2,500 vehicles with similar problems. All of the cars were built between September 2008 and August 2009.
    The Volkswagen recall affects cars from the model year 2009, along with a limited number of 2010 Jetta, Jetta SportsWagen, GTI and Eos vehicles. The Audi recall affects 2009 MY A3, TT and TT Roadster models equipped with S tronic transmissions. A limited number of 2010 MY A3 cars equipped with S tronic transmissions are also affected.
    Volkswagen said some of their vehicles could have a faulty temperature sensor in the transmission, which could lead to the warning light showing up on the dashboard. In rare cases, the transmission could shift into neutral (Yowza!). Audi also cited problems with warning lamps, and the same problem of the transmission shifting into neutral in rare cares.
    If you own one of the cars affected by the recall, you will be contacted by Volkswagen so that you can take the car into a shop for repairs or new sensors. But if you want to contact the company’s Loyalty Center, you can do that too. Call them at 1-800-444-8982"
  • I found out that there is no transmission dipstick, the only way for them to check the transmission level is to let it cool for 24-48 hours (means being without a car) and they still wont be able to fix the slipping in the slipping in the transmission.. I have almost been rearended 3 times, and have taken my car into the dealer 6 or 7 times and they still can not fix the problem, I have taken pictures of brackets to show the dealer, they said it was a computer fault. LOL.. since they have done a recall on 2009 and 2010 models of the EOS, with the exact same problem I hope they can not fix my car - Good Luck
  • I have an 04 New Beetle Conv. GLS. Like everyone else, I just had to have it. Little did I know. VW needs to do a recall on the transmissions among other things. My transmission continues to jerk and not come out of third gear. THe check engine light will come on and then the "brackets" come up on the gears and it will not tell me what gear I am in. This seems to be common. It contiues to down shift very hard and slips going up into gears. Sometimes it changes so hard into 2nd gear that I will "bark the tires". When the brackets are on the dash, when I go to stop, I have to pull the car over and turn it off to reset before it will come out of 3rd gear. This is so much trouble and a headache. All VW will do is say you need a transmission for $6,000. They don't even know what the problem is at the dealership. THe car has feel in price so bad that they are not worth anything anymore. They need to do a recall very bad. I wonder if there is anything we can do as VW owners that would light a spark that would make them do a recall. Anyway, just to name a few problems more, I have had 3 windows break and require a regulator. My total cost $750.00. My seatbelt latch broke causeing my airbag light to come on $220.00. The battery was $146.00. Some many things in the inside like cupholders and small thingshave broke. The VW dealer also break the front(i guess you would call it a samll grill on the bottom) of my car while pulling it in. I have had 7 headlights and once the entire light assembly fell out while driving down the interstate. There again another $200.00. I am so tired of everything breaking on this car. I just wish someone would listen and help everyone with these problems. I have also called VW's main headquarter's. There again, I am sorry about your trouble BUT!!! we can't do anyting without a recall. Does anyone know of some relief?? I take very good care of my car and its seems to always be something. Help!!!!!
  • Don't be surprised that other Car Makers are also just as bad in some sense.
    Honda has been just as bad for issues. I also have VW Beetle and it appears as soon as the car is over 1 year old all manufacturers treat you like a second class citizen. They never want to look at anything without paying some fee.

    It just sounds like a monopoly... Everyone is out to make a buck.

    I can't imagine why it would take $900 to open and look at the issue. Don't they charge by the hour... about $80/hr.. so that is more the 11 hrs of work. I can't imagine that it takes that long to open the car to see what is wrong with it.

    Crap - Oh it daylight robbery...
  • I drive a 99 Beetle and when it gets hot the brake light flashes makes a beeping sound. I dont know what it is and I was wondering if anyone else has this problem.
  • My daughter has a 2004 New Beetle with 60,000 miles on it. Same problem as most, with jerking, shuddering, lurching, etc.
    Brought into dealer last week, and I was told it needed the non-servicable transmission replaced. To the tune of $6,500.00 plus! Of course, my service person told me "off the record", that there is an "issue" with the transmissions.
    I have done lengthy research, and there are no recalls, etc., in the works by Volkswagen of North America.
    This has nothing to do with the temperature sensor in the transmission, which could lead to the warning light showing up on the dashboard. That is another problem, and is currently being addressed by Volks of N. America.
    There are also currently no class action lawsuits in regards to the transmission problems. There needs to be one.
    I have contacted an attorney and he is willing to assist, if I can show him that there are numerous problems out there.

    If you are willing to assist, please email me @

    Thanks, John R.
  • I am presently in Mexico on a short getaway, and I have a leak under the hood, it doesnt appear to be the oil, so I thought I would check the transmission fluid. I cant even find a trany dip stick. Help!
  • The transmission is a closed system. No way to check or add fluid. Crazy design and causes many problems. Trust me, I am dealing with them everyday.
  • John,

    I purchased a used, 2005, Volkswagen Beetle Turbo GLS for my wife in July of 2008. At the time of purchase, the vehicle had approximately 24K miles, and to date has 32K miles. The four-year bumper to bumper warranty expired in February of 2009; however, the vehicle is still well below the 50K mile warranty threshold. Approximately 7 weeks ago, my wife began complaining that the vehicle was running "rough". The "roughness" she described was an abrupt jolt of the vehicle when attempting to shift gears. We live in Texas, so I assumed that any engine roughness was due to the harsh Texas summer climate. As the weeks progressed, however, the car continued to experience significant issues transitioning from 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, to the point that I became concerned that a repair job was imminent to prohibit any engine damage. Therefore, we opted to take the car to a well known licensed independent mechanic (BMW, Mercedes, VW, etc.) who we sincerely trust. He evaluated the "bug" on two separate occasions and came to the conclusion that the transmission was in need of a valve stem replacement (approx. $1,500), but that due to the vehicles' low mileage, Volkswagen should be held responsible. He was not positive this would cure the issue, but mentioned this attempt was significantly cheaper than replacing the entire transmission. He also mentioned that in order for VW to take action, I had to present the problem to a VW dealer. After hearing this, we immediately took the vehicle to a local VW dealership so that their technicians could evaluate the problem (even though their mechanics have about 20 years LESS experience than our personal mechanic). I received a call today (10/6/09) from the dealership, who indeed acknowledged a problem, but said there is a slim chance VW would absorb the cost of repair because "we had a small dent in the oil pan." I'm not a mechanic, I'm a pilot by choice and a banker by force, but I cannot comprehend why the small oil pan dent would have anything to do with a [non-permissible content removed] transmission/vehicle. That being said, the service manager is supposedly in contact with "his" VW rep to determine what, if any, cost will be assumed by VW. Hands down the most frustrating car experience I have ever had. I WILL NOT EVEN CONSIDER VW FOR MY NEXT VEHICLE PURCHASE. EVER.

    On a global note, after reading many of the reviews on this particular website, I feel that we have a strong case for the shoddy engineering of the VW transmission. In the event that VW declines my request to pay for the repair and labor cost to bring our "bug" back to working order, I will be more than happy to stand alongside you in any type of class-action suit we "ripped off'" VW owners come up with. In my opinion, your product is only as good as your service after the sale. If VW doesn't want to put forth the effort to acknowledge their engineering issues, they can keep their worthless product in Germany.


    Dan H.
  • ethanfethanf Posts: 2

    Bought an '06 Beetle for my daughter to go to college. Thought we were doing the right thing, putting her in a dependable car. Besides the window regulator problems, interior falling apart, turn signals falling out, etc., we just went past the 60,000 mile warranty by 2k and fried the transmission. The VW service tech wasted no time getting on the offensive. He started our conversation telling me how dirty the car was, how the air filter was dirty and then accused us of having submerged the car as there is moisture in the trans. No suggestion how the moisture got in there, just "decided" we did something wrong. Oh yeah, he also had to mention that the bottom of the car had some dents and bruises! Went the same route as you with VOA & got their patronizing routine.
    Pretty tough decision what to do with it now. Car sells for about $10k. Doesn't seem worth a $7k transmission!
    Please keep me in mind if you here of any class actions.

    Ethan Feeney
  • Ethan,

    I'm sorry to hear that you, like myself and many others, have fallen subject to the numerous defects that VW continues to produce. I love the fact that the mechanic blamed you for the damage. It's almost like VW is paying the dealerships and service centers to convince the customer that any defects with the car have been owner induced, rather than facing reality that their cars are well below today's standards.

    As for me, the local dealership has our "bug" aka POS, and is charging me a $200 exploration fee to try and determine whether the phantom dent caused any transmission damage, to which I indicated to the service individual that I wanted pictures documenting each step of the "exploration." According to the complete incompetent service individual I have been dealing with, if the dent is found to have caused ANY disruption in the transmission, VW has already stated they will not cover ANY cost. When I asked the service rep if the dent was found to have nothing to do with the transmission, his response, "VW still may not pay for a dime." Furthermore, I had to educate our local dealership as to the VW powertrain warranty. Two individuals told me the vehicle was out of warranty, only to recant their words and tell me the opposite.

    I'm currently in a holding pattern as to what steps to take next. If the dealership calls me tomorrow and tells me VW has declined to honor the warranty based on the "dent" in the oil pan, I will more than likely take this to a higher power, i.e. attorney, VW corporate, etc. Enough is enough. VW has a reputation of producing a superior product, but has evidently been caught up in profit schemes while sacrificing quality. I will not, ever, tolerate this mentality.

    For whatever reason, I don't feel this battle is over.

    Wichita Falls, TX
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