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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: 457
    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.
  • badbugbadbug Posts: 2
    My 2002 Turbo had this problem at 15k (new clutch was put in) and now again at 46k. It will not shift into reverse or 1st. The dealer keeps claiming it is a wear-n-tear issue and is not covered. I'm going to have an independent dealer fix it RIGHT this time and take them to court. I gave them plenty of chances to address the issue.

    Good Luck...
  • badbugbadbug Posts: 2
    I need a lawyer to represent me (Sammyair)? Clutch went at 15K. After a few weeks of arguing with VW corp. and being insulted by the local dealership - women don't know how to drive a stick. VW Corp had it replaced as a "good will" measure. Then when I went to pick it up it up, I got in, started it, pushed the clutch in and viola the clutch stuck to the floor. GM wasn't on site so I got the Sales Mgr to witness the event. Very sorry, no excuse we'll make it right. Once again, got a call to pick it up. The car stalled on me and then on the Service Mgr (Colonial VW in MA). After a test drive we figured out if you fed it gas it would run without stalling. I was told they might be able to adjust it. (It's hydraulic you can't adjust it after it's in!)

    Anyway, brought it home (it was "running") but the clutch caught at the very top and you had to gas the car to get it in motion. Should have dropped it back off immediately. Instead I reported it time after time to VW of America (Corp) and was given the run around.

    Now, 46k have gone by and the lease is almost up but guess what the clutch just gave out again. Won't shift into reverse and first gear same issue) although you can jam it in which is what the tow truck driver did to get it on the flatbed. I believe North Shore VW did as well because Al told me you could shift it but now I'm jumping ahead.

    Next, VW had in towed to North Shore VW. It was the closest dealer. I requested SEACOAST. So, again I'm told its wear-n-tear even though the car has a history of this same issue. Car is still at the dealer after 10 days of phone calls back-n-forth to Corp. Nothing they can do unless I have the transmission pulled. OK, what's the estimate for a car with a known reported problem - $1700+. I'm told once again that's it how you drive that determines the life of a clutch. It doesn't matter that I've driven a stick for 20 years. Including 2 old beetles, 2 rabbits, 1 new beetle, and now my current new beetle. Customer loyalty means nothing to the dealer (their independent of Corp with their own policies) or to Corp. It's too bad. I was willing to compromise. I asked them to OK the repair or take the car back and terminate the lease or to take the car back "as is" and I'd start another lease in a new vehicle. Anything, but the standard it's not our problem. (Sidebar, your not entitled to a log of the calls you've logged with the Corp office - it's for internal VW use only.)

    In my opinion a "leased" car should run for 3 years PERIOD. I should not have to pay a year's worth of payments to fix a bad clutch when it was never fixed right to begin with. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the ignition coil issues a week into the lease, repeated problems with the windows, it was just fixed last month at Atamian after it fell into the door in the middle of a rain storm. (Low and behold one month later the window still goes up and down as if it is possessed when you depress the one-touch feature).

    Step up to the plate VW!!!

    I will say kudos to SEACOAST in NH who fixed the first ignition coil problem. However, I'm not going to take a chance that they would do the right thing at the cost of a very expensive tow.

    The curve's may attract you but what's underneath is JUNK... It's not even worth a fling in the form of a lease.

  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 457
    well I can understand your frustration. Poor reliability is why VW has lost it's customer base and is losing money, Big Time, in the US. Do a search on this forum for VW clutch issues and you'll find many posts (eg. check out post 140 and some of the posts that follow).

    However having said that, It is my opinion that if VW is unwilling to fund your clutch issue that you will LOSE in court. Clutches, like brake linings, are a wear item and do indeed wear out. Since you are responsible for wear items, you are probably on the hook.

    The cost of replacement at $1700 may be the dealer rate but you can probably get it done for half that amount at an independent shop.

    Good luck, and please post back how this item gets resolved.
  • swamomswamom Posts: 1
    I am seeing Beetles everywhere! I am seriously considering trading and have been to a dealership and gotten great information regarding the car. I have been reading reviews and messages from several places and find that people either love their beetle or have absolutely nothing but problems. I am confused! Just needing some input from more happy beetle owners. Are you out there?
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 457
    Drive what you like !

    However be forewarned that a Beetle is not a Camry and you may have some issues. Some of the issues with Beetles can be very annoying and will drive you nuts.

    If you buy a new or a relatively new (used) Beetle then the quality seems to be somewhat better. Early years seemed to have many many issues. Also if you buy a convertible then some people have had issues with the convertible top and mechanism.

    My wife loves her 02 hardtop. She would drive no other car. We've only had 1 problem with the car (a sensor) that was fixed under warranty.

    My personal opinion is that the car is way way too expensive for what it is and that there are much better values out there. But what do I know - I'm a guy.

    Drive what you like !
  • Please can someone help me I am quite confused about a technical issue with my beetle. I just left the dealership because the airbag malfunction light came on, and when I looked in the book all it told me was to take it to the dealership ASAP. They told me my driver side seatbelt had a mechanism in it that was not operating, so my airbag will deploy if it is supposed to. It is going to be 600.00 to fix, and believe me this is not the first problem I have had with this vehicle.
    My question is has anyone heard of anything like this? Also I thought your airbags were supposed to deploy from impact, not some signal from the seatbelt? I mean what if you are not wearing a seatbelt? Any help would be appreciated.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 457
    The second generation airbags are smart (maybe too smart). They have two charges in them that make the airbag deploy faster if someone is not wearing their seatbelt and (somewhat) slower if they are.

    If you are wearing your seatbelt then, you have a much lower risk of getting killed by your own airbag (it really happens) when you hit a trashcan or something. Short drivers that need to sit close to the steering wheel were especially at risk with the old style (1-speed) airbags.

    So it sounds like the sensor that tells the airbag system that your seatbelt is engaged is not working properly. If that were me I'd probably get it fixed. You don't want to find out that your airbag doesn't work correctly when you are having a crash.

    Check around, maybe you can get an independent shop to do the work for much less money
  • :sick:

    Help Help, I have a 2000 newbeetle which starts momentarily and shuts off....over and over.

    From posts in this forum and others I glean that my immobilizer system is not recognizing my key, unfortunately I only have one key.

    If I purchase another key with embedded transponder and get it cut to match my existing key can I use it to reprogram my immoblizer system without dealership involvement and if so how? Or is my first trip to the dealership to have them reprogram the system for me and remove cash from my wallet.

    ** The dealership says I need to bring it to them and the procedures on the internet are for cloning remotes only - not the keys. Thoughts and opinions please.

  • dtandtan Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Beetle and after 2 months the airbag malfunction light also came on. The dealer had to "update" the system due to an old software version with the airbags. I would think that they would update the software before putting them on the lot to sell. I have had no problem with the airbag issue since. I have had the beetle in the shop now 5 times in the last 4 months!!! Not happy with my "new" purchase.
  • Had a friend who had the same problem with a Buick, for heaven's sake. Yes, they had to make a new key with a re-programed chip. Sorry.
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