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Thread: Auto transmission won't engage reverse!

  1. #1

    Default Auto transmission won't engage reverse!

    Hey guys,

    I just bought a 2003 Jetta 1.8T with an automatic transmission last week. When I haven't driven it for a few hours and put the tranny in reverse, it won't engage reverse and just revs up like it's in neutral. Forward gears are all fine even when cold. If I drive it for 5-10 mins and let the car warm up, then reverse works fine with no delays.

    I took it to the VW dealer who charged me $180 (!!) just to add half a litre of transmission fluid and check for any error codes, and they said no codes came up. The fluid topup didn't fix the problem either. They want $500 just to diagnose the problem now. Does anyone have any idea what else might be causing this?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Auto transmission won't engage reverse!


    Did you ever get this resolved? I have the exact same model and year you do, and am having the EXACT same issues. It's beyond ridiculous. After googling this issue, I see there are tons of people having the same problem, but, no fixes have been posted. Hmm, seems like a recall kind of issue.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Auto transmission won't engage reverse!

    Hi there mspross,

    Took it to the shop, they thought it was a cracked reverse piston based on the problem and what was most likely for a VW transmission. They took the casing off the transmission and said it was the reverse piston AND the reverse solenoid. Sounds fishy that two different parts were causing my problem, and they "forgot" to keep the parts for me, but bottom line it is fixed now. Hope that helps.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Auto transmission won't engage reverse!

    What kind of shop did you take it to? A transmission shop, general mechanic, or dealer? How much did that end up costing?


  7. #5

    Default Re: Auto transmission won't engage reverse!

    Took it to a generic transmission shop because VW probably would have tried to rebuild the whole transmission. These guys charged me $1400; thankfully I bought the crappy used car warranty when I got the car so I only had to pay the amount over $1000 ($400) which the dealer split with me 50/50.

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