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Problems with the new VW Beetle?



  • I've owned a 1999 TDI Beetle since April 1999, and beginning in Jan. 2000 (8500 miles) when traveling up inclines or in any situation requiring throttle for more than 15-20 seconds, there is a rapid loss of power. At highway speed, this means slowing to 45 mph in a 65 mph zone! In Jan., the problem occurred intermittenly, but has become progressively worse. The "check engine" light began to appear in Feb. I live in a mountainous area and have had it in the shop approx. 30 total days since Feb. No one can find the cause of the problem, not for lack of trying on the part of the service staff (replaced engine control module, sensors, etc). They really are trying. Any ideas as to possible causes? Per the dealer, they know of one other in the country doing this, but no known cause.
  • chezemchezem Posts: 2
    Just lazing around cleaning my garage today, and had to reach under the beetle to pick up a bolt I had dropped. Much to my surprise, the drip pan/splash guard was gone! The dealer that did my 5k service for me at 3,500 miles evidently was so concerned about the bottom line that they skipped quality service/did not have the time to do the job right. Sure VW of America gives out "free" service for the first 20k miles....I think this one will cost me about $50 in lost time. Let's re-define free here folks.

    I would rather let the monkeys at Jiffy Lube do it, if this is the quality of service a "trained technician" at the VW dealer provides.

    Will have to take the car in and wait for the dealer to re-install the part they removed to due the oil change. As an owner, should I have to "watch dog" the dealers service, or could I expect quality service?

    A Frustrated New Beetle Owner, Tim
  • I purchased a NB in Feb. and I am having brake problems. I haven't even had this car for 2 months. When I press the brakes the car makes a terrible screeching sound. I can't get in to VW for a week or so and they tell me the car is okay to drive. Anyway, I haven't had any other horrible problems yet car wise but I had a terrible dealership experience and will never purchase another VW again.

    The Dealer made a mistake in writing up my lease (so they tell me). I leased my vehicle for 39 months for 15,000 miles a year. The total miles allowed was like 48,750 in the contract. After having the car a month the dealer contacts me and my husband and states that we have to come in and re-sign the contract (not telling us why). So, I told the dealer I was not signing anything until he explained to us what was wrong with our current contract. He stated that they allowed us too many miles that the 15,000 only applied to a 36 month lease and that a 39 month lease only extended and lessened the car payments and did not extend the mileage. I told him that that was his problem and that he should have not the mistake. But he still persisted to make it look like we had to re-sign or they would take the car back. So, I told him he could talk to my attorney. Then he became nice. After long negotiations, they gave us $1,000 for the mistake and we re-sign reluctantly (I didn't feel like making this into a lawsuit). Anyway, those of you who plan on leasing a NB for anything over 36 months make sure the dealer explains the mileage to you and know exactly what you are suppose to get before you sign. Let me know if anyone else has had these problems with VW. Thanks
  • bluebug1bluebug1 Posts: 1
    I've got a 99 1.8ltr turbo..thankfully I've had no problems. I have experienced the dimming of the headlights, and was told it was the compressor from the AC kicking in.
    Anyone with any ideas on this?
  • emerckxemerckx Posts: 3
    Just had the 40,000 mile service performed on my
    99 New Beetle TDI. The service included a timing
    belt- and tensioner change.The bill was $ 928.90.

    If you're thinking about buying a 99 New Beetle TDI,
    be advised that VW calls for a timing belt- and
    tensioner change every 40,000 miles on that engine.
    This is probably true for the 00 models as well.

    Given the $ 1,200 extra I paid for the Diesel
    option when I bought the car, and diesel fuel in
    the US costing about the same as gasoline, it made
    absolutely no economic sense to buy a New Beetle

    I enjoyed driving the car very much. But I've
    advertised it for sale. I never thought I'd say
    this, but I can't afford to drive a Diesel.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    The 40k interval for Timing Belt change is a TDI thing.

    On the 1.8T it is 90k according to my manual.
  • emerckxemerckx Posts: 3
    The TDI timing belt will probably last way past 40 K miles. But the 1.9 liter TDI engine is an interference engine, i.e. pistons and valves will smash into one another with catastrophic results if the timing belt breaks. With VW's 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, it makes sense for VW to encourage TDI owners buy a new timing belt every 40 K miles. What I objected to was the steep bill for having that belt replaced, plus the fact that they had to have parts needed for that procedure air-freighted in. It took three days . . .

    Because such a large percentage of the bill was labor, I suspect that it's very difficult to service any Beetle engine. There's simply no room for a mechanic's hands to do what they have to do.
  • jcorraljcorral Posts: 1
    I have a new 2000 2.0 VW bug Gls automatic. The problem is the transmission takes 2- 4 seconds to engage in reverse. I took the car to my dealer and was told that the car has a fuzzy logic transmission and does not engage in reverse quickly. The problem is in parking on a hill or making a quick 3 point turn the car fails me and rolls forward. I drove a 2000 vw jetta and this was not a problem. My car goes from reverse to drive instantly, but from drive or park to reverse there is a 2-4 second delay. I am very dissatisfied and want to know if others have this problem or it this is really normal.

  • richsaprichsap Posts: 93
    Just a visitor to your VW forum. Regarding the transmission and the dealer's "fuzzy logic" response, I would suggest that you go to (another) dealership and ask to test drive the same model car as the one you own. If you have to be sneaky about it and their is only one VW dealer where you live, ask a friend to take the car for a test drive and see if the transmission does the same thing.

    I had a transmission "glitch" on my 2000 Hyundai, and by test driving a new car with the same specs, I was able to determine that I either I did not have a problem, or that ALL Hyundai cars suffer the same glitch. Saved me from waiting on the service department, and Hyundai a lot of paperwork, time and money.

    P.S. I've heard of "fuzzy logic" being used in a transmission in regards to the transmission/engine "adapting" to a driver's habits, but I don't think this would apply to this car, and especially to reverse gear.
  • dddoctordddoctor Posts: 1
    TALK ABOUT PROBLEMS. I wish we had never bought one. First the cruise control starting shorting out. They said a wire was crimped and they fixed it. Then the air conditioner went out. They said it was an EC control module and they replaced it. Then the AC went out again. This time they said they replaced the compressor. Then only sometimes when you turned on the AC the car would hum and shake, like you were in a Cessna Airplane. They replaced another part and the problem has not reoccurred. When we bought the car the dealer had already installed a spoiler. The rear hatch relocks half-way before you can get out of the car and open the hatch. It has been in the shop 7 or more time to have this fixed and it still only works right half the time. VW admits some fault and the area representative was willing to five us a cd player or make a car payment or extend our warranty for free. We are going to sell the car this month.
  • 1999 VW Yellow Beetle-awesome car, horrible reliability.

    Enter initial 5000 mile maintenance. One week later, trans is leaking oil.

    After getting that "fixed", a week later it appears that there is again an oil leak. Dealership fixed the leak, but now the trans is shifting hard. Very hard into gear. This is an automatic, mind you. Supposedly this is normal for the VW trans?

    Next, two weeks later, enter airbag light, whcih seems to be the most common problem appearing on this page. I too am a victim of this problem, which was quick and easy to repair.

    Now we have a problem with the driver's side power window. Will it ever end?

    All incidents, no more than two weeks apart begining only after one month of ownership and extending to current time, the beginning of the third month of ownership.

    Is it no wonder that VW only puts a two year warranty on their cars? Look at Toyota people-better warranty, more reliable cars. Too bad they aren't as stylish as the bug. But isn't getting places because your transportation was reliable enough to get you there less stylish than not getting there at all because all your free time is spent at the dealership?

  • tonyantonyan Posts: 10
    Post your problems in


    good luck
  • bugnutbugnut Posts: 1
    Just wanted to speak out that I have a '99 GLS NB with 26000 miles and have had no major problems with it. I have only had in for scheduled maintenance and had the fuel filler flap adjusted and the airbag reset while it was there. I was always a VW owner and will continue to be one. Right now I working on getting a Vapor Blue 1.8t.
  • sau1sau1 Posts: 10
    I bought a brand new VW Bug in 1973 when the bug was still the symbol of quality. Did not like it (too light) and sold it in two months. My brother bought a VW Golf in the eighties. Have nothing but problems. No one in our family bought any VW again in the nineties. There are so many fun and reliable cars in the market, why subject yourself to a brand that somehow just can't get the bugs out of their products???
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Had a '71 Super Beetle for about six years, bought used, maybe it was in '74. Loved it. Whenever it broke down (which was not all that infrequently) it cost me about $45 to get it fixed. Sometimes only $25. And AAA paid the tow. ;-)

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • ddbugddbug Posts: 1
    I'm planning to buy a new VW Beetle in Atlanta. Would appreciate if someone could help me by telling me tips to get a good deal with an indication of price to be paid. Also if some other things are to be kept in mind before making the purchase.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Hello ddbug, welcome to Town Hall!

    Actually, I think you'll find better information on purchasing this vehicle over in our Hatchbacks conference. Here are links to a couple of topics you'd probably like to take a look at:

    New Beetle News (Topic #179)

    New Beetle Prices Paid (Topic #225)

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • rysterryster Posts: 471

    I owned a '99 New Beetle GLS (2.0L gas w/auto transmission) and found that it also consumed oil at an alarming rate. Over 1 quart of oil between oil changes. I followed a 3,000 mile oil change schedule, not the long intervals recommended by VW.

    When I first bought the car and read the part in the manual about checking the oil level at every fuel fill-up, it seemed like they were being overly cautious. Well, it appears as though they were subtley warning the owner that these cars eat oil.

    Not quite sure what can be done if it is a common VW characteristic, which it appears it is.
  • lansharklanshark Posts: 2

    We have 2000 Turbo Beetle. At 4500 miles the clutch fried. Cost to replace? $1500+. I have owned a 74 Super Beetle, 83 GTI, 85 Jetta Diesel, and a 87 Jetta GLI. Numerous other cars with a manual transmission. I believe I have about 250000 miles on cars with sticks. The only clutch trouble I've ever had was a 1967 Corvair with a broken Clutch Cross Shaft. The dealer couldn't find a replacement so the re-welded it incorrectly and the clutch could not be adjusted properly.

    Other than that, I never had trouble with a clutch.

    The Beetle. My son was learning to drive a stick on it when it happened. He was in the car for a total of 30 minutes under the supervision of an adult driver. He never misused the clutch and was driving in a parking lot or a industrial park access road.

    Dealer and VW said it was abusive driving. I don't agree, but what can you do. I didn't buy the TDI I was looking at and after reading about the service I won't consider it.

    I think it is time for VW to sell cars in another country. I won't buy them any more.
This discussion has been closed.