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Volkswagen Beetle Maintenance and Repair



  • I was wondering if anyone knows what fluid goes in the compartment to the left of the battery? there is a green cap on the left side of the battery and i was wondering if its the transmission fluid that goes in there or power sterring fluid. The owners manual doesnt say what goes in there. Please if anyone knows what goes in there reply to my question. :confuse:

    Another question i have is, We changed the theromatat and CTS and filled it up with antifreeze , but now i am getting no heat, does anyone know why? :confuse:
  • Anyone had any major issues with the check engine light? It first came one in my girlfriends 2000 beetle a couple of years ago. Since then the following work has been done to try and fix it.

    * Replaced spark plugs
    * Replaced plug leads
    * Replaced coolant temp sensor
    * Replaced vacuum hose
    * Replaced all filters

    the car has otherwise been fine but the check engine light is on all the time now and is a little unsettling when driving on big journeys. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
  • I have blown out my speakers in it

    What are recommended brands?
    How much?
    How do I do it?
    How do I change the deck since it is circular as well?

    Basically give me teh run down on everything imaginable involving the audio equipment.

  • I had that problem in my beetle.
    I took it to the shop and it turned out to be an eletrical malfunction that the light kep coming on.
  • Papy, replace your gas filter. It's only $16 and will solve your problem. Computer will never read a fault on this kind of problem, check engine or not.
  • Power steering fluid. Check it periodically.
    Thermostat changed was faulty or it wasn't changed properly or if you went to the dealer they didn't change it but they said they did.
  • For the compatibility there is a pioneer and a panasonic that fit the wiring. They will not fit the round edge however. How simple for VW to outsmart us with a technicality!
    Options: salvage yards you can obtain original and cheaper than dealer.
    Dealer , new starting $500 and going up, like way up there.
  • A check engine light has a specific fault code if it is appearing. It leads to a troubled part, usually. If there is no fault code, which means computer detects a problem it cannot code,
    why replace unknown parts? For a 2000 car it is rare this goes to spark plugs. If your car starts and drives, why check the spark plugs and plug leads? Best one could do is start the car and while idle, jerk around the plug leads and wires to see if there is a problem there if you suspect one. If not, move along.
    Coolant sensor? Why? When the engine is cold, the temperature bay gauge is blue. When hot it should display red. If still not sure, check the Prestone level. If ok, move along. Filters? Filters only make the car smell bad inside or make the car eat more gas if old and clogged up. If one checks consumption yearly once, and no bad odors on the inside... should lead to filter replacement needs. Vacuum hose? Let us suppose it needs replacement, the obvious question is why? Was it torn, damaged or loose? If loose, tighten it, if damaged, see where the mechanic saw that and why he decided to replace it before the replacement. If not, why replace it?

    What I mean by the above is that often, dealers really "invent" repairs just to keep you in the shop or they simply don't know what is wrong and your best look to them is a payer. Most of the problems beetles have are not road or usage related but engineering related.We're not talking ball joints, brakes, mufflers, shock absorbers, timing belts and such. We're more into the check engine lights, oil consumption, a/c bad odors, parts that deteriorate or break while the cars are relatively new, electrical problems, fuel delivery system problems, hardware malfunctions and the list goes on. But, none of those are of simmilar reoccurence or of dead on diagnosis. Unless the mechanics have a complex understanding of these cars they will jerk you around over what they "suppose" the problem could be and lose your time and money because the real fact is they don't have a clue. Note how every mechanic works on a different car on a different year style model and engine during his day. Do they remember to even care? There are over 10 models of vw cars only this year, each with 2-4 types of engines. 2.0 liter, 1.8 turbo, VR6 or diesel. Different bodies and different styles every 2-3 years. In 7 years since the beetle was an ordinary model, a turbo, a diesel, a turbo s and a convertible do you think ANY mechanic knows what the f... he's doing with the car when he sees one?

    Best bet, get informed. Let information from people who had them swirl around in your brain, read Consumer Reports and any other info forum, stay in touch with everything and then buy. Do not touch first or second year models as a rule. Otherwise you'll be left...alone to

    And my las ...check engine light:

    Do you guys see these cars 25 years down the road still rolling around and people wanting them like 'em old mercedeses and chevys and cars that lasted back when cars were made well?
  • my mother has a new beetle [ 2002 w/5400 miles] ] and it almost had this problem. theres a main 50 amp relay under dash on the left side of steering column that will lose contact and could cause a fire as you described,this relay controls everything ac,turn signals,gauges, lights,starter, etc........ her's is still under warranty and i made the repair myself with a aftermarket relay to avoid going back to the dealer because it was a intermittant problem and they would have kept the car a week and parked it out in the lot and then call and say sorry we can't get it to duplicate the problem here {song and dance}... did vw reply back what could have caused the fire you had ?
  • ajbugajbug Posts: 1
    Does anyone know how to change the bulbs in the head lights? the front left one on my 2000 1.8T went out last week and i need to change it...thanks.
  • No, did not get a call back. I told my insurance co. about this site and printed out a few of the electrical problem letters for them ...I have had several people tell me about car fires since this happened ...some said they had recall letters that said "could cause a fire". I am still waiting for a check from insurance, driving a rental and thinking of looking at the Hyndai this time. Sandy
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455
    Here's a link on how to replace your headlights:

    New Beetle – Headlight and Bulb Replacement

    Basically, you look inside the hood a pull up on a release lever. Then the whole assembly comes forward. After you get it loose you can swap out the bulb.
  • captbpcaptbp Posts: 1
    I am looking for suggestions also for replacement types. I recently purchased a 2000 GLS and the speakers just don't sound as good as they should.
  • Anita,
    Thanks much for the great info on the key programing. Will the same procedure work with an existing remote switchblade key (working now) instead of the valet key and a new switchblade key? I just got a TDI that was beat awful and only had one remote key with it and no other keys. I appreciate your help.
  • sector1sector1 Posts: 22
    Anita was asking. I was the one who is Sector1

    Yes to your question, it will. When I picked up my car (after paying it of course) it came with one key (a 2nd key was there initially at test drive time). They threw away the second key by mistake and when I complained they threw me out the dealership.
  • Hi,

    I gave my car off to AAMCO and the diagnosis they did came up with fault code. But they said they need to do further diagnosis and will let me know what the problem was after 2 hrs of labor. Sounded fishy and I told them to stop the work. He said it was related to "engine performance" and wouldnt give me more info.

    Has anyone had experiences with AAMCO or should I drop my car off to a dealer/VW specific shop?

  • Ok, I posted below already but my engine check light has been on for a while (couple months). Initially it would come on for a while and them switch off but now it has been on for a while.

    I gave it to AAMCO for a free diagnosis and the guy said it came up with some codes. But he wanted me to authorize about 2 hrs in labour to even figure out the real problem and the AAMCO consumer reports dont look so good.. I didnt want someone messing with a car that runs well for the most part.
    Is there some manual or directory on these codes?

    The other thing it does is the oil burns off in roughly 2 months.
    I havent been very diligent about oil changes lately and usually top off engine oil when its low.( It makes a funny soundwhen the oil is low- am I waiting for too long to do the oil refill?) So it could be the transmission fluid, right? Is there an easy way to check the xmission fluid??
    One last thing, the dash board lights behave funkily sometimes, like a ghost is operating them. On-Off-On-Off....
    Not to mention the damn headlights.. I've replaced them 4-5 times already in the past 2 yrs..

  • sector1sector1 Posts: 22
    They are messing with you. A diagnosis takes a VAG unit plug in and 10 minutes for reading the code and identifying what it means with the list of codes. Go somewhere else.

    All Beetles burn their oil. This is normal since this is how the engine was engineered, to burn oil (bad engineering). There is little you can do except replace the engine piston rings within warranty (register for consumption tests with a VW dealer and VW will replace the engine if it burns oil at that rate). Remember, burnt oil ends up in the catalyst and damages the unit. If your car coverage warranty has expired, the cost for a catalyst replacement is about $2000.

    Transmission fluid is not something the car should consume. If it does, you have a leaking transmission or heavy mechanical problems. If you do, sell it as is, get rid of the heap.

    Headlight replacement is a known hazard with ALL german cars. VW is no different. I have replaced mine several times. This is related to the sub-par wiring made in 3rd world countries which doesn't follow required AMP parameters. But at about $5 a headlight bulb, it shouldn't be an issue.

    On and off dashboard lights? You have a circuit/connection malfunctioning, definitely. Remove the under dash panel with engine on but idling and pull on all wiring to replicate the feat. If you are a do it youself guy that is! Check the dash and illumination fuses and resistors by jerking them around.
    If nothing replicates the feat, get a professional circuit check unit at any Home
    Hardware/Depot and with the electrical wiring diagrams, start to check one by one. It can take you days!

    Good luck!
  • is that possible? like change the cabin filter, gas filter, can i service my own car? i am willing to learn. costs so much at the dealership and not sure if i trust unknown mechanics.
  • sector1sector1 Posts: 22
    That is a rethorical question. Doesn't that depend on so many things i.e.: how dirty you want to get, how deep do you want to go (i meant how difficult and technical) and how much time do you want to spend and if you're planning to keep the car or keep it only for the period of your lease?

    I am a "do it yourself guy" so I would say, do it yourself. But!
    You can replace an air filter, light bulb, perform an oil change and rotate the tires with a certain ease. It is not easy, you get dirty, it takes time and you have to be tedious, from being careful not to over tighten a bolt (and risk stripping the sleeve), to having the right tools, to avoid spilling liquids on your driveway and such.

    If you want to take the long path to satisfaction, things you can also do yourself are ball joint and tie rod replacements, brake and pad jobs,hand brake cable and trunk release mechanisms, repairs which require a VW Chilton's/Hynes car manual. You CAN do them yourself but go on indications and pictures which can help you avoid damaging the car by simply removing and putting back the original parts. Bolts are pressure/torque fitted, some other parts are welded and you risk breaking them by not knowing how to disassemble and a so called do it yourself repair ends up costing you more than it should. But you will a cost...

    Then there come the paint jobs for dents and fender benders, window mechanisms involving cables and pulleys, shock absorbers, bushings and ventilation, all which are well beyond our expertise and means of being able to repair. Some things are just too difficult. You would need a garage lift and appropriate tools from paint guns to pressure bolt removers and torque refitters to perform such repairs.

    Manufacturers avoid nowadays helping the owner to change a lightbulb by simply designing and assembling the car in such a fashion that serves form instead of function you would rather go to the dealer than replace the part yourself. Why? They get to charge you and lie about the replacement time. Have you ever seen a 10 minute job at the dealer? They calculate every little thing in...labour hours! With their equipment, it takes 20 minutes to replace a gas filter.

    As an example, check a front headlight bulb replacement procedure for the New Beetle. Most people would not perform it. Why? You have to get inside the engine compartment, rotate a certain clamp clockwise for about 30 degrees away from you and release the whole headlight assembly unit. Next, you have to pull it out and so on. All to say, it's not obvious.

    So, if you have the right tools, the space, time and the know how, yes it can be done. Only then, you can say you saved some money (i.e. a dealer $150 ball joint replacement, would cost you an estimated $30 something for the part only and about 1-2 hours of work if you do it yourself right) . Don't forget the satisfaction that comes with it also. sometimes it is worth it.
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