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Volkswagen Beetle Maintenance and Repair



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    If this only happens with ONE of the doors, The microswitches in that door need to be looked at. (See above append for links to doorswitch procedure)

    If this is happening with MORE than one door, then you have a problem with the alarm system.
  • coop6coop6 Posts: 2
    I have a strange prob with my 98 2.0. After filling it with gas it is real hesitant to start, and when it does it runs very rough and wants to die unless I keep my foot on the accelerator. To narrow it down a I tryed just taking the gas cap off and putting it back on then it starts just fine. The only time it is hesitant to start is after filling it or putting any amount of gas into it. I even left it running once when I put gas in it and then it died. I have talked to a few dealerships and they have never heard of this. Anyone have any ideas?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Sounds as if the EVAP system has some issues.

    EVAP system: (short for Evaperative Emmissions)

    Basically, this sytem captures the fumes coming off of the fuel in the tank and stores them in a "charcoal canister" . Under specific running conditions, this stored fumes is fed into the intake manifold to be burned in the engine.

    The EVAP system does 2 things for us...
    1) it helps the envrionment by not allowing the hydrocarbon vapors from escaping into the atmosphere.
    2) It prevents EXPLOSIONS in underground parking decks where the accumulation of these highly flamable gasoline fumes could ignite.

    One of the things that the EVAP system must do is to allow fresh air INTO the system as the engine consumes fuel. The gascap has a one-way valve in it to allow air to enter the fueltank.

    QUESTION: Does the engine run OK if you leave the gascap removed? If "yes" then replace the gascap to fix the problem.
  • I have a 2002 Volkwagen Beetle TDI 1.9L.
    I purchased this car used 1.5 months ago. We had a fantastic mechanic look at it before we bought it, and he determined that the car was in excellent shape. The dealer had the car for a couple of months before selling it, and it had no problems other than that the CO2 sensor needed replacing. We did that 2 weeks ago, at which time another mechanic looked at the car and said it was in wonderful condition.
    The past owner saved the recall notices for the brake light switch, so I scheduled an appointment at Herzog-Meier today to get the switch replaced.
    I got to the dealer (with my 18 month old son in tow) and they told me it would take a 1/2 hour to replace the switch. It did. Then I got in the car and drove it away.
    As I was driving up the road, I noticed that the brake pedal had something unusual about it. At first, I got really scared and started to think that my brakes weren't working at all. The brake pedal felt a little bit tight, and when I would press it slightly, nothing would happen. However, when I applied a significant amount of pressure to the brake pedal, my car stopped abruptly. Something was really wrong.
    So, I started driving again and at about 25mph I shifted into 3rd gear. My car started lugging badly and then I reached a slight incline in the road. All of a sudden my car started decelerating. I pressed the gas pedal, but nothing happened. I shifted back into 2nd gear and the engine revved up and began accelerating again.
    Obviously something was wrong, and I felt positive that it had everything to do with the service that I had just recieved on my car. I turned around to drive it back to the dealer, but I had to keep my car in 2nd gear, as none of the other gears were working. After a few minutes, smoke started wafting out of the left-front side of the car. I was really unsure as to what was going on and didn't know if I should keep driving. It felt as if the emergency brake was on, but it wasn't. It smelled like burning rubber. I was really scared to have my baby in the car with me.
    All of a sudden, about 3 blocks away from the dealer, there was a loud "POP!" and my car lurched forward uncontrollably. Immediately afterward, I felt some sort of 'release' in the brake pedal. I pulled the car over. Even though smoke was still coming out of my car, it seemed like no more was being produced and so I merged back in with traffic. The brake pedal felt like it was back to normal, so I tried to shift the car into 3rd gear. It worked. Everything seemed fine. Even so, I pulled into the dealer and told them what happened.
    The mechanic told me that it could be that the new brake light switch was faulty, or that it had been installed incorrectly. He said that the smoke was definitely not from my clutch and so he could only assume that it was from the brakes. We both agreed that this must have to do with the service I had on the car, since there were no problems before I had the brake light switch "repaired."
    The mechanic installed a new brake light switch and drove the car in a small circle, telling me that everything looked fine. I then got in the car and began my 20 mile drive home. I drove a couple of miles until I got to the freeway and once I merged in, I cautiously put the car into 5th gear. Everything seemed very fine.
    After a few miles, I got off the freeway and began driving through downtown. I made it to within 3 miles of my house before more problems started. At this time, I would downshift, and as soon as I had the clutch pressed down and took the car out of gear, my car would lurch forward as if I were pressing on the brakes really hard. As soon as the car went back into gear, it would begin moving forward again...but it seemed stalled. Once again, it felt as if the parking brake were on. I tried putting my car in neutral and coasting to a stoplight. My car would not coast. It would stop as soon as I took it out of gear.
    I still kept heading for home, and within a mile of my house the same problem started to happen with 3rd gear. My car would start lugging at 20 miles an hour in 3rd, and then at 30 mph in 3rd. I tried shifting into 4th gear to check that it wasn't the gears, and 4th did the same thing. I had to finish my drive home in 2nd gear and when I made the turn to my house, the car stalled out. So, I barely got it parked in front of the house.
    I called the dealership and they are sending a tow truck to get my car tomorrow so they can check it out. I called Volkswagen and reported what happened so that I could try and figure out if it was a problem at the dealer or a problem with the switch. The woman I spoke to on the phone said that she couldn't get me any information but that they would call the dealer tomorrow and then call me back.
    I am very upset and saddened that I took my car in for a simple procedure that resulted in this. I feel like my son, and myself were put in a really dangerous situation...far more dangerous than if the brake lights had quit working. My car was stalling out and refused to coast on streets posted at 50mph.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I know that installing that brakelight switch is "trickey" and needs to be done correctly. It is very easy to do it wrong.

    That said - I would also expect a VW dealership to KNOW how to do it right and to check for dragging brakes when they get done.

    Coincadently, my daugher had an identical problem to yours when she had the brakelight switch replaced on her New Beetle. The brakes were dragging so badly that they started to smell. (This happened within 7 miles after leaving the dealership at about 35 MPH.)

    She called the dealership and they told her NOT to drive it and immedeately sent a towtruck and redid the brakelight switch properly.

    If you were driving at highway speeds, it is entirly possible that your brake pads or rotors have been damaged by the extreme heat.
    I can imagine that your brake rotors were glowing red-hot!

    If you ask them, they should feel abliged to remove the wheels and inspect the brakes for signs of heat damage.

    Also, the grease in the wheelbearings may have been "baked"... I would not be surprised if you have bearing problems within a couple years. (I have seen dragging brakes ruin the bearings)
  • My husband just went to pick up the car. They said that they installed the switch incorrectly AGAIN, and hopefully this time it is in there. (They drove it 10 miles and didn't notice anything.) They said that the plunger was fully extended and locked on the switch, which somehow drained the battery too, so the car has been sitting on a charger all day.
    I talked to the guy on the phone today...he didn't even apologize. He acted like it was routine to mess up on a job this badly. I am so disappointed.
    I just called and asked them about the brakes and the bearings and they said that there was no heat damage. Argg...I just don't trust them. We are going to take the car to our trusted mechanic (who I wish would have been able to do the install in the first place) next week, so thank you for the information so that I can ask him to specifically look at those things. I am just so upset about this. I really thought that this would be a simple thing and that I could trust for this to be done at the dealer.
  • I don't have keyless entry, but I have a 1999 VW Beetle and the doors won't open. I turn the key and it just spins around. This happened all of a sudden. Any resolution other than going to the dealer?
  • ch129ch129 Posts: 1
    My 99 beetle is automatic. But you can still feel the car change gears (which I think is normal). The problem with mine is that instead of just feeling a tiny shift/jolt once when it changes gears, I feel two in a row, like the car is having trouble. Then today when I got to the end of my street it sounded like my car was revving the engine, but I wasn’t pushing the gas. Then when I got going there was a huge jolt and a pop that actually made me fly forward in my seat. I have no idea what it could be. I drove right home and I'm scared to drive it anywhere. Does anyone know what this could be?? Sorry I can’t describe it any better...I know very little about cars.
  • So, I wrote a 2 page letter detailing all of my experiences, and the fact that I didn't get an apology and that I was told that the brake/rotors and wheelbearings were inspected but that I was pretty sure they weren't, etc... I sent this letter to the owner and the service manager at the dealership, as well as VWOA, the better business bureau, and to car talk. Here's the response I just got:

    "I have spoken to the technical engineer and learned that there is a very small but real possibility that some vehicles with a certain brake booster can exhibit your vehicle’s exact symptoms. When the switch is installed it can allow the booster push rod to come out of position. If this occurs it extends the length of the rod just enough to lightly apply the brakes after a short period of driving has occurred. When the last brake switch was installed it could have pushed the brake booster push rod back into proper position. However, the engineer feels that to eliminate this from happening in the future the brake booster should be replaced. Our Volkswagen Representative agrees and would like your brake booster replaced at no charge to you. I have already arraigned to have a brake booster held aside for you in our parts department.

    Although we are very busy I feel it would be best to accommodate your schedule and perform this repair at your earliest convenience. Please contact me personally via email or call my office @ 503-372-3165 so I can set up a time that is best for you.

    Now that I have that out of the way I would like to apologize for your inconvenience, loss of time and our apparent lack of attention for what must have been a very troubling experience. The technician that performed all the repairs and inspection is our best technicians for quality and has a near zero repeat repair rate. He has been with us for several years and has replaced an average of roughly five switches a day over the last couple months. I am telling you these things about this gentleman for one reason; I want you to feel very comfortable driving your car knowing that all the workmanship was of first rate quality.

    While your vehicle is here having the brake booster replaced I would like to offer re-inspecting your brakes, rotors and wheel hub and bearing assemblies to put you mind at rest. The wheel bearing as per the technical engineer could not be damaged by over heated brakes because they are designed to withstand temperatures well in excess of what brakes are capable of producing. The hubs and bearing need not be disassembled because if there was any damage the grease would have to be forced out past the seals and would be evident outside the hub.

    Rather than just offer a simple but sincere apology for your inconvenienced I would like to offer you a more substantial apology in the form of a free tire rotation and exterior car wash.

    Thank you for letting us know how you feel and allowing us the opportunity to possibly regain your trust and future business."

    So, I'm a little bit unsure as to what happened. VWOA was told by the dealership that these were faulty switches, and I was told by the mechanic that they were installed incorrectly. Now there is a whole 'nother twist to this situation: The Big Bad Booster!! What to do? What to do?
    Well, I just wrote him back and told him how nice this whole thing was and that I would love a new brake booster (ohhh...I hope I'm making the right decision here. gotta have some really big faith to go back to this place for another brake-related replacement. needless to say, i will not be bringing my child if i can help it.)
    Anyway, I figured that you are all super awesome and it would be a good idea to post this letter for opinions, as well as to swallow this whole experience and say that...hey, the dealer and VWOA are really trying here and I appreciate that, and lastly...what if someone else has this problem? Probably good to know about.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Thanks for sharing that with us. It is a well-written letter and a lot more than many VW dealerships would do. You must have gotten somones attention.

    Personally, I feel that offering you a "Free" brake booster seems almost like a bribe (and perhaps inviting more troubles especially since your current one has been touble-free for a long time thus far)

    Dont forget that the VW corperation will actually be paying for most of the "free" brake booster anyway. Dealerships LIKE to do this kind of work because it 'seems' free to the customers and they get paid anyway.

    Certainly the offer for a tire-rotation is nice... but most tire-places do this for FREE as long as you own the tires they sold you anyway. (some car dealerships even do this for free as long as you own the car you purchased from them) Rotating tires is done by the LEAST experienced person in the shop and takes about 10 minutes. (they are not even going to BALANCE the tires????...why bother?)

    So, in the end, it is nice that they apologized and offered somthing. Too bad it is not more like $50 or $100 off your next scheduled maintenance which would be somthing you could really use.

    I once owned a Honda Civic which I purchaed from one of the top Honda dealership in the country.... After experiencing the kind of red-carpet service from there, all other dealerships pale in comparison. (aka....Free state inspections for as long as I owned the car!) Even if they sensed that I was dis-satisfied, they would "make things right" and then some. (Free lunch at a nearby resturant while my car was in shop!)

    Currently, I drive PAST 2 VW dealerships to get to KINNEY MOTORS. Again, I selected KINNEY because of the service they provide. (Free loaner car while my car is in shop)
  • odudeodude Posts: 6
    I am a recent owner (4/2006) of a 2002 Beetle Turbo S, and I have been told by former Beetle owners and a VW mechanic that it is imperative to always wait for that blue light to turn off before you take off- especially for Beetle owners with the 1.8L Turbo. I always warm up the cars I have driven in the past, but you are correct in that the blue light turns on even on days that are far from cold (I live in south Texas). Regardless, it is always best to warm up your car, so I say dont engage into gears until it turns off.
    I have had recent problems with having to replace a brake light that went out (that was a b**ch to do myself) along with a front headlight cover that popped off (still searching for a replacement without having to buy the whole light assembly!). Yet more issues have surfaced.

    A couple days ago my check engine light went on, and the manual says I need to take it to a dealer. I have 57K miles on it, so would anyone know why this light went on or the best way for me to fix the problem without having to pay a VW mechanic.

    And to make things more exciting, yesterday the EPC light went on. It has turned off once I drive more than 10 miles, but has been on and off since then. Again, manual says to take it to VW dealership. Any advice on this one?

    Finally, if that was not enough, the light which indicates that the ESP is engaged (a VW extra for aggressive driving) turns on and off independently, and I cannot turn it off by pressing the ESP button. What does this mean, since it turns on when I am driving carefully/pensively? I thought it turned on only during fast aggressive driving or in harsh conditions.

    Any advice is appreciated and I was curious if all these lights turning on and off are legit or an electrical problem- something I have read here is a major problem with Beetles.
  • odudeodude Posts: 6
    My 2002 Turbo S had the same problem. Once I exited the car and pressed the lock button to lock the doors and engage the alarm, only the passenger door locked.

    My only remedy, other than cursing at the car, was to press the unlock a couple times, then press the lock button. Most of the time, the driver door would then lock. If that didnt work, for some odd reason, I would just lock and engange the alarm manually with the key, turning right until I hear the alarm beep. This way always ensured the driver's door locked.

    However, I now experience no problems with the doors locking using the keyless entry, but I have no clue if I did anything to resolve it or if this is just another sign of my erratic Beetle!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    no NO NO - Please do not idle any engine to warm it up. This is perhaps the WORST thing you can do to an internal combustion engine.

    An engine "wears" the most during the time while it is running but not yet at operationg temparture. This is because of the different expansion charactoristics of the various metals. Thus, it is important to get it up to temparture as quickly as possible without putting undue load on the engine.

    The quickest way to get engine up to temp. quickly is to DRIVE it. Just be gentle and do not accellerate quickly until the engine is warmed up.

    Other bad things that idling a cold engine can do are. (besides undue wear)
    *) Excessive blow-by can crud up the EGR.
    *) more engine-deposits (crud sticking to combustion chambers)
    *) Cold oil does not flow well.
    *) Takes longer to get heat into cabin.
    *) Waste fuel
    *) Bad for envrionment (more emmissions from cold engine)

    Please do not take my word for this... READ THE VW OWNERS MANUAL. It clearly states to DRIVE the car to warm up the engine.
  • odudeodude Posts: 6
    Thanks for the heads up. Every other car I have owned, which were not VWs, always preferred at startup to make sure that the engine was started and warmed before driving. My fault for not realizing that the mechanic who told me to warm up my engine and not drive until that light went off was actually a mechanic at the dealership I purchased the Beetle Turbo S (CARMAX).

    I am very appreciative that you corrected me and I am sure I am not the only owner who has been told about this incorrect way of starting the Beetle.

    You are correct about the manual indicating that idle engine warm up is not recommended. I know very few people who read their manuals with such attention, and though I read through the manual the first day I purchased it, I can see I missed a few things and will reread carefully the manual.
  • I have a 99 vw beetle 5 speed. Whenever i start off in first gear and second gear my car tries to go dead and sometimes completely does.. i dont know if it could be the clutch or fuel filter...if anyone has any idea let me know.
  • My 2002 Beetle's EPC light kept coming on, had it changed, and now, 4 months later, it's on again, and it's drained my battery. This I can tell you from lots of previous experience. Install the 'rear brake light switch' light yourself. It's only $11.00 at your local VW dealership and they will give you simple directions on how to install it. A woman can do it (I did). If you are in a jam, and you can't get out of park, do this all at once: slowly start the car with one hand, take the car out of park to reverse with the other hand while at the same time taking one foot off the brake onto the gas. It sounds like a lot, but you can do it, and it will save you in a jam. I have no idea what the dealership will charge you to install the brake switch, but at $11.00, you or someone good with their hands can do it!! If you have to get a battery, they are expensive. Do it before you need a battery. Hope this helps!!
  • zigzag2zigzag2 Posts: 1
    i have a 2001 beetle and i started my car and the malifunction indicator lamp (MIL) lighted up at the dashboard and it took me maybe 30 seconds to start up my car and at the same time noticed that the fuel gauge was way pass the full tank level. please advise on what to do. thanks
  • bfish2bfish2 Posts: 2
    My fuel filler door won't open on my 1999 beetle. It's been acting up for months, now it won't work at all. I've been told there is a manual release inside the trunk. Can anyone tell me where it is? What needs to be removed to get to it?
  • aaronr121aaronr121 Posts: 91
    Wow... I've been sitting on this recall notice for quite awhile. Is this a common occurence with this repair? If it is, I don't want the repair done.
  • aaronr121aaronr121 Posts: 91
    I think I saw it once or twice. I think it's underneath the carpet. Just take a look on the passenger side of the car and you'll find it.
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