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The fifth-generation Volkswagen Jetta was introduced in January 2005.

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Intermittent shifting problems -need real advice

I have a 2006 Jetta 2.5 special edition automatic with the tiptronic shifting, with 145,000 miles. I have been having an intermittent shifting problem. For years now. I’ve taken it in multiple times to different mechanics including the dealership and a transmission specialist. They continue to fix a crapload of other problems and continually do NOT fix the problem I do have.

The problem has escalated and I’d like advice from people who aren’t just going to charge me thousands to not fix the problem.

  • It started out with just occasional rough shifting usually going from 3rd to 4th.
  • At times, specifically when I’d been a bit lower on gas it would have problems starting after I refilled the tank. (I don’t know if these problems were related, but they started at the same time. I have not noticed this hesitation in starting recently however so that might have been related to something that did get fixed)
  • A little over a year ago, after driving highway speeds I pulled off into a town and it shifted Very rough, I think around 3rd and 4th gear. It was rough enough I first thought I’d been hit.
  • After driving another 150 yards or so it suddenly shifted out of gear completely. I pulled over and it then started working again. I took it in to a transmission shop. It seemed to fix it, though I didn’t drive as much, very rarely on a hwy over 2 miles.
  • The weather got hot again. And it happened again. Only after driving a distance at highway speeds and then slowing down to stop and go traffic.
  • It will get stuck in gears (3 & 5 usually, recently 1st) or stuck out of gear. Sometimes if I switch to the tiptronic shifting it helps for a little while. Usually when I pull over and put it in park it’ll reset and I’ll at least be able to get somewhere I need to be. After it sits for a while, it drives fine again.
  • The heat makes it worse, I have never had it happen when it’s cool. But that might just be coincidence with timing… but a few times very recently I’ve driven it in cooler weather I’ve had 0 problems.
  • The display showing which gear I’m in will also malfunction, sometimes, even when it does start shifting again. All the letters will be highlighted and either the displays won’t have any number or it’ll get stuck on one.
  • The check engine light was on recently. I took it in to a local mechanic and they said there was an O2 sensor problem, which was suggested by a mechanic friend when this originally started happening. I keep suggesting these getting replaced only to be literally refused. There were a few other items that came up. I was told I had to take it to the dealer. Apparently the dealers code reader came up with completely different things. They replaced what they came up with and didn’t listen to me about the shifting problem. The check engine light did go off.
  • I drove it a distance this weekend. It had problems when I got into town. The engine light came on again. I drove back home the next day, no problems. I got gas after it being pretty much on empty, the engine light was off after I filled up.
  • Just today I drove it only 20 min away, but on the hwy. I got to where I was going with it getting stuck in 3rd. When I started it back up hours later (usually plenty of time for it to work again) it didn’t shift into gear at all, and the display did it’s weird highlighting thing.
  • Please someone give me a real answer to what is going on. Was the transmission place just bad? Is it caused by something else? I need to get this fixed!
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Hi Jackie,

From what you describe it looks like you have a selector issue.

When changing gear a different selector leaver lifts the gears into the right position for the clutch to reengage the drive. depending on the auto box is could be oil pressure that makes the selection If you have been getting this issue between two gears then that will be the selector or pick up that has an issue, extreme temperature changes can also effect selectors when transition oil is low or old.

The display uses a passive switch usually a simply magnet normally on the leaver to the gear box being that the issues should be with the gear selector the display would still operate correctly.

I would visit a good mechanic and say that you have a selector issue between the gears and see what the offer, with the miles you have on this car they may only offer a replacement transition.

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It could be a number of issues. Here are the steps in which I would proceed…

  1. Check the transmission oil, many newer cars do not have transmission dipsticks so if you do not have one use a fluid extractor to remove about half a pint oil from the transmission filler port. (Do not remove the drain plug the filler is a bit higher. If the oil is dark brown or black and smells burnt your transmission is on the way out. Do not replace the fluid if this is the case, the transmission will instantly fail. If the fluid is fine check fluid level by replacing fluid you removed back through the filler port, Add a little bit more than that until fluid escapes filler port. Use a diagnostic tool such as OBDelevn or VAG-Com to read transmission temperature. Start car and cycle through gears at 90-100C remove filler port and let fluid escape and reinstall plug. transmission is now filled.
  2. If the fluid is red, at proper level and smells fine use a diagnostic tool such as VAG-COM or OBDeleven to check for any existing codes in the transmission module and powertrain control module. Your car uses several sensors and solenoids to control its function including a few engine related sensors such as the Map and Throttle position sensor to calculate load. If there are any codes proceed to diagnose and repair those.
  3. Any shift selector issue will cause the associated selection to flash if not fully engaged, these codes will also show up on a VAG-COM and OBDeleven tool

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Friend, I have a Jetta mk5 2007 Tiptronic from Mexico. I live in Brazil. A few months ago, in a hot tropical climate, when I stopped at a traffic light and was about to go back, the car would cut the engine, I had to restart it to continue. This was always repeated when it was hot and whenever I stopped in traffic or at a lighthouse, the strange thing is that the indicator light on the panel did not indicate anything! This bothered me a lot and I started my journey with different mechanics and even VW dealerships but nobody found out what it was. Until one day, I was recommended a mechanical specialist in a computerized system, I went to him and after the scanner went through, he concluded that he should reset (leave it as if it had left the factory), however, he had to remove the computerized board from the panel to do the reset. Conclusion, the problem is over. I don't know if this will help you, but it's just my suggestion after reading your story. I hope you can solve it, even if it's not because of my suggestion! Hugs!

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Since this is from 2018 I’m sure it won’t do good haha but I also have a 2013 VW Jetta SE 2.5L. When I use super gas it seems to be shifting great. When I get low on gas or when I use regular gas it shifts funky. It’s weird but what I think it needs maybe is a factory reset of the computer. Idk.. I changed the valve cover thinking it could’ve been the PCV valve but that didn’t fix the issue. I also have the issue where it has trouble starting after I fuel up. Could be fuel filter or fuel pump which I’m going to replace soon to see what that does.

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