2001 VW Beetle Transmission Poor Shifting

Jacob’s Question: The transmission in my 01 VW Beetle is shifting poorly. I took it in, and was told I needed a remanufactured transmission installed. 5300 dollars was their quote on the job. I’m floored. What options do I have?



Answer: Of course, get a second opinion from a transmission expert, you never know what someone else will say. BUT, they’ve had a lot of problems with the automatic transmissions breaking down in VWs (and I assume you have an automatic, since a standard tranny is much cheaper and they rarely break down anyway.) A factory rebuilt (not even new) unit costs big money on those Beetles–that’s just how most German cars are. If you don’t like the cost, my advice for others is basically don’t purchase a German car.

You already have the vehicle, so now you’re pretty much stuck. You could gamble with a used automatic transmission (realizing that they do break down a lot so a used one may not work too well either) but that’s taking a relatively big chance if you plan on keeping the car for years. You could find a mechanic who charges less labor cost for replacing the VW rebuilt transmission, BUT you’d still have to pony up for the expensive factory rebuilt transmission. Or, you could look for a good transmission man who could rebuild the transmission for you.

Just realize that those VW trannies are really complicated and only a person with a LOT of experience rebuilding them is going to do a really good job repairing it. I personally wouldn’t trust some national chain of transmission repair shops to do this job. I’ve seen too many horror stories of people who’ve tried that route and then had nothing BUT problems after the “rebuild” was done. I’ll give you an example of what I did with one a few months ago. I took a gamble and got my customer a used transmission. It worked OK, and I convinced the customer to then sell the car before something else went wrong. They got enough money out of the car to buy a nice used Ford instead. And if the Ford transmission ever goes out, it would cost him one thousand something dollars to repair it instead of five thousand something dollars.