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Volkswagen Beetle Body Work Problems



  • New seats: Dealer item

    Used seats: Junk Yard/ Salvage yard or find someone that you can trade seats with on their used VW
  • Tried the auto salvage yard route and no luck. Dealer wants a fortune for the seats.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    "There are no recalls on the 3003 New Beetle."

    How would you know?
  • Well smarty pants:

    I did some research. recalls are public information.

    You too can research recalls on your car at
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    It was a joke! How would you know if there are any recalls on a 3003 Beetle:. that's 1000 years in the future. You typed "3003" instead of "2003".
  • whatacarwhatacar Posts: 1
    I drove 18 different cars before deciding on my he VW convertible 1.8t. I was surprised at the agility, the acceleration if needed in a pinch, and the look of it. I have had it less than a year and it has already spent more time in the shop than all of my car put together that ive owned over the past 25years. Just tonight the airbag light came back on again. I have experienced the following problems over the past year:

    Airbag light malfunction 2X

    Top Misalignment 2X / wearing of top (going to upolster to see if it can be repaired if not new top will need to be ordered and Ive been advised a min of a 2months wait is usual and customary by the dealership

    Top latch has been replaced

    Moonsoon Stereo / Left front door rattles when music plays with too much bass

    Right side door misaligned and has scraped the paint off of the inside of the door. Will need to be realigned and painted next week

    Both windows "Lock Acutators" will need to be replaced next week. I have to roll the windows down to get out and use the key to roll them back up and lock the car.

    Chrome around the top in the back had to be replaced as it was defective.

    Although this was to be my dream car, and truly is exciting to drive, the time I spend with it at the dealership going back and forth, taking time off of work, waiting for VW of America to send a representative from SFO to NV, waiting for the VW dealership to send the report to VW of America, and aquiring permission to move forward with repairs, has become tiring. Owning this vehicle has created a feeling of insecurity in my life not having a vehicle I can rely on. At this time in the life having a reliable car is very imortant to me. I'm tiring of the high maintanace this car requires and unfortunately, and I may have to look for a new car, and it wont be a VW. Good luck to the NBC owners out there my experience has not been a positive one.

    A guy in N. NV
  • sjbrodysjbrody Posts: 39
    My wife and I were seriously considering buying a New Beetle Convertible as soon as the turbo became available 2 years ago. The dealer took our name and phone number and was to call us when he received one. Fortunately, he never called. After reading all the problems listed on this message board, we decided to wait and then to buy a 2005 Solara. We are VERY pleased with it--no problems and fun to drive.

    Cold New Hampshire driver
  • impe1595impe1595 Posts: 8
    Smart move buying the Solara. I have a 2001 Toyota Highlander that uses much the same drivetrain as that of your Solara and it has been rock solid for all 85,000 miles thus far. Everything about the Highlander has been great - it has never been in the shop except for two minor recalls. My total expenditures so far have been for one set of tires at approx. 58,000 miles, and oil changes which I do myself. At 90K miles I will get dealer service to change the timing belt and at that time it will also need some brake work - I expect the bill to be $600 to $800. but that is not bad considering that I will have spent next to nothing for the last 4 years.

    The point of this is that I also have a 2005 New Beetle Convertible with about 5K miles on it, and I do not have a lot of confidence in it based on what other owners have written. Although it has not yet given me any trouble, it has already become a bit of a pain in the neck as I discovered when I when to change the oil today. After getting down under, I have decided that I will not be able to change the oil myself, and I had to go to several places to find the recommended 5W-40 weight oil. Once I found the oil, the oil change garage would not do the change because of the position of the skid plate which apparently is in the way! I guess that I drive to the nearest VW dealer which is about 130 round trip miles away.

    I wanted the Solara Convertible but my wife said NO - she wanted the VW. Maybe she would like to try her hand at an oil change!

    OH WELL!

    Have fun with your Solara.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455

    That rock shield that you call a skid plate is not hard to take off. There are only about 3 fasteners on each side that come off easily. Once they are loose the rock shield/splash guard/skid plate slides back and comes off. I can probably get it off in 3 minutes or less. You will however need a Torx bit set which you can purchase at any auto-parts store. The Torx set will cost you around $8-10. How much did you pay to have your oil changed ??

    New Beetles may have problems, but getting the rock shield off is not one of the issues as to why you should buy a Solara.
  • impe1595impe1595 Posts: 8
    Thanks for your note. I posed my problem to the members of the new beetle org site and got several responses. On the other site there was some disagreement as to whether the fasteners are torx (which I have), or "triple-square" (which I have never heard of). It may be that they were torx on older cars but are now triple-square; I'll try my torx and let you know. What year is your NB and is it a convertible?

    Just off hand, do you know the size of the allen wrench that I will need? I have a bunch of those also, some of which are fairly large.

    I have not had the oil changed yet but I did find some 5W-40 which the owner manual recommends. It is Shell brand "Rotella" and it is a blend of synthetic and fossil bases. The description indicates that it is acceptable for Diesel engines so it should be fine for the 2.0 gas engine, and it was about $14 for the 5 quart container.

    I called it a skid plate but rock shield would be a better term as mine is already scratched up - I have a 1/4 mile driveway half of which is paved and half that is dirt and gravel and somewhat lumpy. My Beetle trips down the drive are at about 3 mph while dodging lumps and furrows.

    One last question - how do you get your Beetle high enough up to work under it. I have a couple of stacked 2x8 boards that I fashioned into ramps but they don't give me the clearance that I need for the VW.

    Again, tanks for the info.

  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455
    Just for the record:

    My wifes car is a 2002 New Beetle (hardtop) with the 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder engine. My wife loves the car (which we've had for 3.5 years) and we haven't had any problems with the car other than a sensor replacement that was covered under warranty. I assumed that the engine and layout is the same for the hardtop as the convertible. On our Model year (2002) Torx bits definitely fit the fasteners of the rock shield. I don't remember exactly which size bit fit the fastener. I just rotate through the Torx bits till I find the one that fits snug.

    As for oil, the Local VW dealer uses (easily obtained) 10-40W oil in their oil changes so thats what we use. But we live in Southern California where it's relatively warm all year. If you live in a colder climate then you may need to stick with the 5-40W oil. Your price of $14 for 5 gallons is almost $3 a quart. That is outrageous ! I just got a case of Exxon oil at Pep-boys on sale for 59 cents a quart. I buy the oil filters on sale for $2.50 so the total cost of a VW Beetle oil change is $5.45 (plus tax). That beats the dealer cost of $66 or so.

    In terms of getting the car off the ground. I bought a floor jack years ago which I use whenever I do an oil change (on any of my cars - VW or otherwise). Make sure you either put jack-stands or wheel ramps under the front wheels for safety and block the back wheels. If you buy a floor jack spend a little more to buy the bigger size one - you won't regret it. Floor jacks also make it a breeze to rotate tires and do other repairs (on any car).

    As an aside I have yet to figure out how to drive up the wheel ramps as they temp to move forward when you try this. My experience is that I can jack the car up with the floor jack and put the wheel ramps under the front wheels. Then when I'm done I just back down the ramp.

    As another aside, The oil filter on the New Beetle is placed relatively high to access from beneath the car. If you were to invest in an Oil-filter wide-grip long handle pliers (ie oil filter pliers) that may come in very handy. Alternately threr are oil filter sockets that fit on the back-end of the oil filter that would work with the socket and a ratchet extension or two.
  • impe1595impe1595 Posts: 8
    I got the oil changed today at a local oil change shop. It was $23.48 including their oil (Castrol 5W-30), and their filter.

    I went ahead and used their oil because the 5W-40 that I bought yesterday after running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and which I thought was a 5 quart container when it was actually a 4 quart container, would have left me about a half quart low, (at this point, I think my brain is about a half quart low! and if my wife finds out about my little mistake re. the volume of oil in the container, it will turn into some kind of Italian joke, I just know it!).

    The guy down in the pit confirmed that the fasteners are torx, and that the shield is steel and fairly substantial, (his exact words were "real theeek".

    As I think more about the oil situation, I am going to say the heck with the owner's manual. After all, the 2.0 gas engine is ancient and probably goes back to before the formulation of 5W-40. The recommended oil for my Highlander is 5W-30 and with 85K miles on it, still runs like the day I bought it.

    And as for access to the underside of the car, I think that I will add a couple pieces of 2x8 to home made ramps.

    I must be getting old because 5 years ago I would have dove into the oil change with not a worry in my mind. Now I guess I will have to work up to it.

    One last thing - at the oil change place, the two young girls next in line got out of their car and drooled over my NBC for the better part of ten minutes. I wonder if they would have gotten so excited over a Solara? Probably not.

    Thanks for your helpful info.

  • I love my 2003 beetle convertible and i've already put 30,000 miles on it but I have had some problems. My newest problem and my worst one is I use to get 360 miles to my tank but lately I get less and less. This last time I filled up I only got 220 miles to my tank. The dealership said there is nothing wrong with it from their test but I say their is. But they said they cant do anything. I use premium gas every time and I get my oil changed every 3,000 miles. Has anyone had this problem or have any idea how to fix it? Cause i cant afford gas much longer.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Do you have the 2.0 or 1.8t engine? The 2.0 does not require premium. The 1.8t does or at least they highly recommend it.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455
    Lots of things can cause poor gas milage.

    If the dealer couldn't find anything wrong then the forum posters sure can't find something.

    A simple check - Check the air filter - a clogged one will cause the car to burn too rich.
  • 87cab87cab Posts: 2
    I am thinking of finally retiring my trusty '87 Cabriolet and would appreciate advice about which new (used) beetles to steer clear of and which might be good choices. Thanks.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Get some Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (available at Wal-mart) for something like $6 a bottle. Pour a bottle of this into your nearly empty gas tank and top off with about 8 gallons of gas. Run the tank almost dry. Get another bottle and repeat. Another alternative: have the injectors professionally cleaned by your VW dealer. They do not remove them - taher they run a can of injector cleaner through the system.

    It is possible that you used some contaminated fuel. Try another gas station, preferably another brand. BP/Amoco premium gas does wonders for my car. Above all, use only brand name fuel! you have no idea what additives some cheaop places may use.
  • I have a 1.8 engine. I always use Mobil or Exxon gas cause I have a gas card. And I already changed my air filter and I changed where I get my gas too. So I think I will try the Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner. Thanks alot for your help. I'll keep you posted on how it works out. If any one gets any more ideas please post them.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    You may be interested in this: Several years ago BMW was investigating performance complaints with their vehicles in Texas. They concluded that it was Exxon gasoline formulation that was causing the problems. This may have been only local phenomenone but it only reinforces what I sadi in my previous post: some gasoline additives can greatly affect your car's performance.
  • dougmgdougmg Posts: 13
    Tomorrow I am picking up a used 2004 1.8T 5sp. Excited about the car. Light Blue w/ black leather and cold weather package. 7500 miles for $20,500. A decent price I think. I loved the Mini but felt it was way too small. Like a go-cart. The Beetle is definitely a compromise for me. Excited all the same to get it.

    Question: Are the 2004 models showing any better reliability then the 2003's???
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