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Volkswagen Beetle Maintenance and Repair



  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    For all of those who are willing to pay $ 28k to 30K for a new Beetle convertible, consider this:

    You can get a new 03 Mustang Cobra convertible with a 390 HP supercharged V8 and 6 speed for $ 35 K even. There is a $ 1500 rebate on it and some dealers are discounting the left-over 03s to the invoice price minus the rebate. The 35K sale price includes the $ 1000 gas guzzler tax. So the price is actually $ 34K.

    Just some food for thought. The Cobra's transmission is built in Mexico, but the engine is hand assembled by a two man team in the US, so this should be the best part of the car. I guess what I am trying to say is that the new Beetle convertible price is absolutely outrageous for a small, shoddily assembled, Mexican built subcompact.
    Try to find a new German car with a 390 HP engine for $ 35K! They will laugh at you.

    And Cobra's resale value will definitely be far better than that of the Beetle, not to mention the fun factor.
  • I bought my 16 year old an 04 Convert. Beetle. Brand new car, less than 1400 miles on it. Air bag sensor light comes on. Leave it at local dealership to be fixed on Dec. 29, 2003. Today is Jan. 15, 2004. They still have not fixed the car....Part is not available. Just a few minutes ago I get a call from the dealer...all that needed to be done was a code entered and clear the problem up. I have been without her car for 18 days, and all they had to do was enter a code. Please don't get yourself into a car like this one! I understand malfunctions happen, but after paying $30,000.00 for a car, Volkswagen is supposed to care about it's customers. They believe it's ok we were out of the car for that long because they rented us a CHEAP car to drive. A car that the 16 year old can not drive because of lease laws. That's alot of help to us huh! The only reason the car was fixed today is because we caught the dealer who sold us the car lying about having other convert. bugs on his lot. We forced him to take one off a car on his lot and he could sit and wait on the replacement part. ALL OF THE SUDDEN, THEY DON'T NEED TO REPLACE THE PART AT ALL, BUT INSTEAD JUST ENTER A CODE? Please protect yourself by not BUYING a problem.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Remember that when you buy a Volkswagen, you do not get Mercedes Benz customer treatment, even if the price you pay for the vehicle is the same as you would pay for a small Benz. In fact, our local MB dealership offered a new 03 C320 coupe with a 6 cyl engine and 6 speed manual for less than 29 K. (A lot better car than VW Beetle convertible in my opinion).
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    My wife and I are thinking to purchase a good used economy car. It will mainly be that '2nd car'
    that sits in the garage until it's needed! Reliable, and good on gas. Standard trans. (maybe
    auto). Price range, year 2000 or 2001.
    Never owned a VW, just sold a Mercedes SLK!!!!
    What problem areas should I look for or are there
    any with this model? Do I want a diesel?
    I do all the work I can on my vehicles, so minor
    maintance is ok.
    I'm a Toyota/Honda fan, do I WANT a VW beetle?

  • Hi I have 03 GLX 1.8T auto and I'm getting terrible mileage. I had 01 GLX 1.8T manual and I would average 360 miles to a tank of gas with my 03 auto I'm getting 265 or less. And I'm driving slower! When I took the car in for my 5000 mile service they told me I would have to wait until I reached 15,000 to 20,000 miles before the carburator breaks itself in. The engine noise is crazy it's almost like having a diesel. Has anyone had mushy brake pedal travel? My 01 made me feel I could stop on a dime if I needed too. But with this 03 Beetle I dare not take the chance. Is there anyone with an 03 GLX 1.8T auto experiencing simular problems?

  • I would definitely take your vehicle to a new dealer. No vehicle made today has a carburetor. Maybe he meant that after the "break-in" period you would get better MPG, but there is no carburetor on you vehicle. It's fuel injected. Also, I would have another dealer look at your brakes. There is no reason that there is excess travel in the pedal since the car is so new. Sounds like the system needs to be bled.

  • My 99 2.0L has fluctuations in the acceleration.
    While on the freeway at around 80miles/hour, for about 1.5 - 2 secs, I feel a sudden loss of power after which the car kicks back in gear and I can
    feel the engine as if it chokes and comes back to normal. No warning lights, or anything.

    Same thing while I upshift to the 2nd. I cannot figure it out for the life of me. How do you diagnose such a problem? What do you do, go to the dealer and be open to charges of all sorts while they figure out what is wrong?

    Please guys, if any ideas, give me a hint. It doesn't sound like a coil problem neither does it sound like a spark plug issue. Fuel pump filter?
    Fuel itself?(tried premium, no change!)
    Any guess?
  • This is a question from someone who has never owned a VW. I heard a Beetle owner say that if he disconnects the battery, the computer loses its settings and must be reset by the dealer. I thought a battery disconnect would leave the computer in its default(factory) state. But a Golf owner confirmed the amnesia, saying his car goes into limp-in mode. Is this all true?
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    I have an Oldsmobile Alero and I know that if my battery dies or is disconnected, everything is still retained in the PCM (powertrain control module) and there is no need to make a trip to the dealer. However, Veedubs are pretty weird with electrical stuff, so I would contact your dealer or a VW mechanic in your area to confirm this. I would also ask on other VW boards like the Jetta board. It's pretty lively over there and there also many knowledgeable people there.

  • spiaggiaspiaggia Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2003 BEETLE GLX turbo convertible in late August 2003- first time I put convertible roof down it would not go up! In shop 10 days because they could not figure out the problem, had to get part, etc. etc. Rather timid about putting roof down again until today 4/18/04...Guess what? IT WILL NOT GO UP!!!!
    Had a 1966 bug back in the day..sunroof was manual...everything worked much for electricity and progress.. HAS ANYONE ELSE EXPERIENCED THIS CRAP!!!!
  • umpireumpire Posts: 12
    I just traded my 2000 NB GLS for a Toyota Avalon.

    I had nothing but problems with my Beetle. Three O2 sensors, five window switches, a hatchback that refused to open on the first try, AC compressor/ and a driver's side window motor that failed (and controlled the door locks and side mirrors) later, I couldn't take it anymore.

    My MPG's went from 33 to 25 after the third O2 sensor was installed.

    Though the car was fun to drive, I am glad to be rid of it and sincerely hope the buzz I read about Toyota quality is correct.
  • ibabugibabug Posts: 1
    Car has been in the shop three times totalling 4 weeks without car (they did give rental) I did buy a new car didn't I. This time the radio (replaced once before) drained the battery. Taken 8 days so far-no radio insight although they keep saying they found it. What are my options????? HELP I hope I didn;t make a $28,000 mistake.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Personally I would not make a "$28,000 mistake" because I would never pay that much for this car.

    I am not a great fan of Ford products but one can buy a Mustang GT convertible for less than $30K and at least enjoy the power of a V8 and probably a lot better reliability than VW beetle.

    Factoring in how much the workers who make the Bettle earn, I think this car should be priced at $ 10K at most.
  • tshields1tshields1 Posts: 2
    Recently purchased a 2000 1.8 Turbo Beetle which I love! I would like to add a CD player but hate to get rid of the "cool VW" radio from the dealer.
    Where or ow can I mount a CD player?
    Thanks for your help!
  • Gerd Klauss, President
    Volkswagen of America, Inc.
    3499 West Hamlin Road
    Rochester Hills, Michigan

    Dear Mr Klauss,

    As the President of Volkswagen, I thought you might like to hear of my recent experience in purchasing a product from your company. It is a story from which not only you, but many others, can learn, and one which I am anxious to share.

    I spent many years admiring Volkswagen cars for both their styling and espoused reliability, before I could finally afford to purchase one after I completed graduate school in 2002. In 2003, I proudly purchased a second-hand 1999 New Beetle GL, 2.0L, with a manual transmission and 50540 on the odometer. I had the car service checked by a AAA technician prior to purchase, to make sure it was in good condition, and I drove away a relatively happy customer. I was given no warranty brochure and no information about the manufacturer's warranty at this time.

    As I rarely drove the car in the first month of ownership, I made my first journey in it when I moved from*** to ***. This is the last time I drove the car happily. My ten year admiration of Volkswagen began to dissipate one month into ownership. Immediately after the 350 mile drive, the 'check engine light' came on in my vehicle, and I lost power between gears. I spent the next four months and nearly $700 trying to fix this problem, including two visits to an extremely unreliable, unfriendly and not especially knowledgeable dealership (about whom I complained to VW USA).

    It was during the next couple of months (September--October 2003) that I discovered the excessive oil consumption of the car. I drove one thousand miles without checking the oil in the Beetle, and the level went so low it caused the engine to knock. VW claims in one of their technical service bulletins (1701) that this level of consumption (one quart per thousand miles) is normal. If so, may I suggest that oil gauges similar to petrol gauges be fitted into the instrument panel? Since this is a most unusual characteristic of an automobile, the ignorance of which could cause the destruction of the engine, I think the driver should have an easy way of knowing when a refill is needed (usually every 2-3 weeks), as with the petrol.

    In the new year, the Beetle suffered a spate of small problems. The battery died at 58K. Door handles and the finish on the parking brake wore. A cupholder broke off. The plastic grid at the front snapped. No one could fix the power mirrors which had never worked. However, this was a time of relative peace between me and the Beetle. Although I dreaded the return of the infamous check engine light , everything seemed to be fixed for the first time. I call this period, 'The Calm Before the Storm'.

    The storm blew in around June 2004, with 60000 miles on the odometer, to mark the anniversary of one year of unhappy ownership, I heard a noise upon releasing the clutch at start up. Taking the car to the shop, I was told to replace the starter motor. This cost me $500. I also had the car fully serviced, which cost me $600. The replacement of a blown tail light and a new windshield blade cost another $130.

    At this point, my family and friends began to beg me to sell the car. And at this point, I was afraid to pass on my problem to someone else. And would it were, but that's not the end of my story.

    Whilst on my way home from work (odometer 67000) at the end of July, I heard an awful scraping sound coming from the transmission. I feared the worst, and received it. The mechanic diagnosed an 'internal failure', very similar to the one I suffered when told my repair bill, to replace the entire transmission: $2900! One third of the purchase price of the car.

    It was at this point I called the customer service representatives at VW USA, and was informed that I was not covered under the 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. as I was not the car's original owner. I was however told that, due to recalls, I could have my Mass Air Flow Sensor replaced; my windows fixed if they fell into the door; and my complaint documented. And that was that. Mr Klaus, don't you think a warranty should stand behind a car, not an owner? I should very much like to know why, if VW have faith in their product, this policy is in effect.

    A week ago I collected my car from the mechanic. The clutch, they found out, was also 75% worn, and also needed replacement. The bill was nearly $3500. A day or so after I collected it, the lock system was mistiming, and a $1 door switch needed replacement. VW, however, only offers a whole new latch. This repair cost me $250.

    A year of VW ownership has cost me nearly $6000 (not including routine service, such as oil changes), as well as untold amounts of depression and inconvenience. It has sunk to me a level of debt I did not anticipate.

    Additionally, the car has spent over a month in total in repair shops, leaving me stranded. It is now for sale, despite my qualms of conscience over selling such a sour lemon to another unknowing human being.

    Mr Klaus, the one thing you should know, if you learn nothing else from my story, is that I am not alone. You can refer to websites such as,, and others: a short Google search brings up many such websites entirely devoted to problems with modern VWs. On these sites, you can, and you should, read about some of the misery, expense and inconvenience these cars have caused their unfortunate owners.

    To satisfy my own curiosity, and to sooth my misery with company, last night I looked through moderated discussion groups on other web sites:,, Consumer Reports. Each and every site had a long discussion regarding problems with VWs. For the two good reviews I read, I must have read 100 very bad ones. Included in these were some very negative comments about VW Customer Service and poor quality dealerships (corroborated by my own experience).

    The complaints myself and other owners have voiced are not minor problems. They are major issues, and they have a routine similarity: transmission and engine failure, fuse boxes melting, persistent check engine light, electrical fires, window collapses, and so on. These issues are not only excessively expensive to repair; they are also safety hazards.

    As I sure you know, modern companies are based on brand image. But perhaps you do not know that the current brand image of Volkwagen-- among the volks, anyhow, who actually drive the car-- is failure. We unhappy few have found to our misfortune that, due to the cost of repairs, a total lack of reliability, poor customer service, poor dealership service, and the refusal of Volkswagen to stand behind the car with their warranty (rather than use it as a buyer incentive), these cars have become one of the least attractive options on the market.

    The drivers Volkswagen advertised for are out there, telling their stories. I think you should listen.
  • In the summer of 2003, you had a life-long VW customer. Now, in the summer of 2004, I wouldn't buy a VW if you sold it to me for $1. That's correct: $1 US dollar. Not now, not ever. Nor will the friends, family and many colleagues who have witnessed my ordeals first- hand. Customer loyalty, I think you may find in future, is a matter of principle.

    Quite soon I should think that Volkswagen might be saying in a rather different sense: 'Drivers wanted'.

    Well, President Klauss, I very much hope you enjoyed my story. For I believe that very soon you will be reading it everywhere.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dissatisfied VW Owner
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Please let us know if you get a response. Sorry to hear about all your problems...
  • I have a 1999 New beetle that I bought new and I love the car. It runs well and it is so much fun to drive. The one complaint I have is that is has always had a funny musty smell coming from the vents when you first drive it on a warm day. Once I put the air on it will take a few minutes and then little by little it goes away only to come back when I get in the car and start out again. I called VW and they said to spray some stuff that was supposedly sold at the dealership into the vents. The dealership had no idea what I was talking about. I went to a different dealership and they had no suggestions. The car is kept outdoors all year long and since it happens in warm or especially hot weather I am thinking that it must have to do with pollen or something that gets into the vents. It doesn't happen with my other two cars, which are Hondas. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions as to how to rid the car of it? I've tried a million different air fresheners, nothing works. I'd love to get another Bug someday but I am afraid it will be another "stinker."
  • It sounds like you've got some mold/mildew growing in the vents. After running the AC for awhile, is there a puddle of water under the car? If not, the drain line could be plugged up which would trap the moisture in the vents which over time will start growing all sorts of nasty things. You'll need to clean out the drain and maybe spray some Lysol in the vents. Not sure if that's okay, but it probably wouldn't hurt.

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • I bought a 2004 New Bettle TDI. I went CHEEP and got the GL model.
    The console doesn't have an armrest or storage compartment.
    I was wondering if anyone knows of an after market one that is available. I seen one @ JC Whitney that might work.
    Can anyone help me??
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