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Volkswagen Beetle Maintenance and Repair



  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    She loved the car but it had problems:

    The battery would drain quickly and car wouldn't start...dealer never fixed problem, it wasn't a "short"...just a bad battery and the dealer couldn't figure it out.

    The car's interior had a strong smell of gear oil and we never could find out why.

    The rear hatch stopped opening from the remote.

    The AC compresser broke right after the bumper to bumper warranty expired.

    I don't think mom will by VW again..

    Turns out a neighbor of mine has the Sport version Beetle...and she reported numerous problems as well.
  • icrmanicrman Member Posts: 23
    Yeah when VW anounced the "return of the Beetle" was my brother and I excited.
    Then sudden disappointment. Liquid cooled engine, in front. And a whopping price tag. The good beetle was still made in mexico, but dare them get to do the NAFTA thing. It was tabboo to try to import one to the US. Those old VW's where a well designed vehicle, easy to work on and inexpensive. But seems everyone is happy if they can spend alot of money for the same old pressed sheet steel, that is spot welded into a car.
    The true "New beetle" at the time was the GEO Metro, but naaa everyone wants all these fancy conveniences in a car, but then they complain about all the problems. My car never breaks down.
    And I get 40 plus miles a gallon.
  • carencaren Member Posts: 1
    Reesa: I have a 2003 bug convertible. About a year ago,while slowing down for a red light, I thought I ran over a log. Then, the "lock-up" happened again and again, finally twice this week. I have an appt to get it checked, other than that I also love my bug. But since this is happening more often (and I once had a ford with a bad transmission), I'm a little nervous about it.
  • buggedinwibuggedinwi Member Posts: 1
    Where can I find replacement headlight locking (non-)system (that inexcusably and irresponsibly cheap plastic method of locking/releasing the headlight assembly) for my 2003 New Beetle?
    My dealer is 50 miles away--and, besides, shouldn't any vehicle owner be able to do simple maintenance like changing the headlight bulb?--so I, of course, broke the plastic handle and now can't change my bulb. What's the part number and where can I obtain a replacement?
  • p100p100 Member Posts: 1,116
    Try local junkyards. BTW, the reason why VW uses ""inexcusably and irresposibly cheap" parts produced all over the thrid world in their cars is that you people keep buying their crappy cars and paying a lot of money for them. And VW laughs all the way to the bank.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Member Posts: 690
    Gee, that probably explains why my 3 "crappy" VWs (ranging from 20K miles to 134K miles) haven't had any major problems at all.

    Or is it because a lot of car buyers in their quest to be the "first kid on the block" to have the latest and greatest - buy cars that are in their first year of production, and complain when things go wrong. Of course things will go wrong in the first couple of production years - most automotive manufacturers are counting on the buying public to be their "beta testers" to work out the bugs. I don't care if you drive a VW, Honda, Toyota, lawn tractor, whatever - ALL vehicles have some bugs the first couple of production years. Don't take my word for it - just check out the forums from the other manufacturers and you will see a recurring theme.

    My secret - I buy my vehicles near the end of the production cycle (after the bugs have been worked out).
  • nate9nate9 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a 99 New Beetle for my wife about 3 years ago at 18K miles. It is now about to hit 70K. Between 40K and now I have had the following parts go bad (all fixed at the dealership):

    window regulator
    window switch
    o2 sensor
    mass air flow sensor
    water pump
    two batteries
    trunk latch
    oil pan gasket
    valve cover gasket
    coolant pump
    coolant flange
    thermostat and o-ring
    fuel pump relay

    Currently I am waiting for the dealer to finish fixing a leaking vacuum hose. For the cynics, most items on the list occurred and were fixed independently of the other items (i.e. this car has been in the shop about a dozen times since I have owned it). Total repair costs (including two tow bills and about $300 to replace the timing and serpentine belts) are running around $2800. There's already enough icing on the cake, but why stop there:

    -a roommate cross-jumped the car when I was having my first battery problem and fried my instrument cluster. Dealer said $500 to replace. Dealer explicitly said "not likely to be a fuse". Took the car home, found the fuse, and replaced for $1. First encounter with dealer...

    -inside panels scratch easily and layers just peel off. Steering wheel paint or whatever it is slowly rubs off under normal use.

    -dealer keeps car overnight routinely (though not today, thank God). Here's the extreme: car towed in Monday night, alternator replaced, car picked up Friday at noon.

    -my reliable car is a 90 Corolla with 150K miles.

    Let me now change topic and take the opportunity to apologize in advance to the person who buys this bug, and from what I understand from consumer reports, any New Beetle.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    Any thoughts on getting rid of the car? :lemon:
  • drdbrowndrdbrown Member Posts: 1
    The service rep told me that my new automatic Beetle needs to be "warmed up" before putting it in drive. I thought that went out with the horse and buggy. My symptom is an occasional jerky start if it is put in drive directly after a cold start (Cold? I live in San Diego so we are talking about 60 degrees being cold!)

    The Rep said something about a "Cold Safety Neutral Switch" that prevents the car from moving until it is warm. He seemed to be aware of the hesitation problem but I wonder if he is just blowing warm air up my leg. Any ideas out there?

  • df2df2 Member Posts: 1
    I've herd a lot of horror stories about the new beetle realibility in 1999 throuth 2000 modles. Have these problems been over come in the newer models?
  • toadytoady Member Posts: 1
    I am restoring a 1973 beetle and we are experiencing issues with once we have taken off, it will either hesitate like it is starving for fuel or it will just plain stall and it smells inside the car like fuel. We were told that by the person we purchased it from, that it sat for so long that we needed to run premium fuel through the tank, so we filled it up and have been running it through, it doesn't seem to be getting any better, I have been researching on troubleshooting, and I think it is the fuel pump and/or the fuel tank has contamination, does anyone have any experience or thoughts? I am new to this forum thing, so please bear with me.
  • vwnmdvwnmd Member Posts: 1
    I am having a problem with that pesky check engine light on my 1999 GLS Beetle. I thought it was my oil being low and overfilled my engine oil. I immediately took it for an oil change to drain all of the oil and fill it to the proper level. The dealer was able to tell me that there is a seperate engine oil light. He also said before that a loose gas cap or oxygen sensor could also be the culprit of causing the little to be on. Neither was the case. Can anyone share their experiences with the CHECK ENGINE light and what the service people said in your instance?
  • p100p100 Member Posts: 1,116
    the tank is probably full of crud and warnish from chemically degraded old gas. You need to remove the tank and have it professionally cleaned or replaced. Maybe the same for fuel lines.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    My wife's 2002 GL Beetle had the check engine light come on. Took it to the dealer and had it fixed under warranty. It was an engine sensor gone bad (Cam position sensor ?? I can't exactly remember).

    The check engine light comes on for a variety of emissions related conditions. Usually when the emissions are high there is something wrong. It probably is worth checking the oil and the gas cap however you'll need a pro to look at your car to determine what is really wrong. Don't go replacing parts and sensors willy-nilly or you'll spend alot of money and probably not fix your car.
  • beetlebummedbeetlebummed Member Posts: 2
    I purchased a new TDI Beetle in 2001 and have had nothing but problems. At 2000km it began leaking oil and by the time I noticed, it was almost empty. I had it towed to the VW garage where they told me "the head gasket must have been installed incorrectly when they made it". It was covered by warranty but it was a $2000 job. Then the instrument panel went...twice over the next year. As well as various other plugs and switches. Luckily that was all covered by warranty. In year 3 the brake booster went (not covered by warranty-$650 bill). The signal light switch has gone 3 times. The driver side door sensor went at about 25km. Glow plugs and bus bar are being replaced at the moment for $250. I think I've been to the dealership over 15 times and every time I get the same "oh that's weird, those things never go so early!!". But yet VW is not willing to do anything about it, even after the service workers admit that it must have been a faulty part to begin with. I think I've figured out that as long as one thing is wrong with the car it will stay that way, but as soon as I get something fixed, something else goes wrong.

    I love the look of the car and the great fuel economy but I just can't afford the upkeep anymore. It's got less than 65,000km too! I'm sorry to say that my previous car, a Geo Metro was built much better than this hunk. I will never buy a VW again.
  • beetlebummedbeetlebummed Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know if its possible to reset the check engine light or does a dealer have to do that? One of my glow plugs went and I was going to fix it myself but the shop told me there is no way to reset the light so they have to do it...is that true?
  • cyberpatrol20cyberpatrol20 Member Posts: 1
    I am having sort of the same problem. My coolant light keeps coming on red, and I took it to get looked at, and they told me that there is a tiny leak in the plastic part of the reservoir that the hose connects to, right along the line of the hose. They told me that the light was coming on because I was losing pressure in the reservoir due to the leak, and that it needs to be replaced. When I opened up the reservoir, the thing was about empty. They did not want to top it off because they said that it will overflow and make it worse. What I am concerned about is that if I don't get it fixed, that it may lead to other problems internally. Should I be concerned? Is there anything that I can do to sort of rig it until I can get the part and have someone put it in, and how hard is it TO put in? Is it wiser to go to the dealer (of whom wants to keep my car all day, charge me 90.00/hr, and it's only going to take 1 1/2- 2 hrs.)? HELP!!! My car is sick!!! :cry:
  • beetlebum05beetlebum05 Member Posts: 2
    i have a 98 beetle which i got used a little over a year ago. since, ive had the back brake rotors replaced, the o2 sensor replaced, the driver side window has become stuck and will not go down, and the engine check light has not gone off for more than one straight week. the car hit 100,000 miles last week, and with it came some more issues. the stereo buttons will not press down, so its am radio or nothing. even before, the cd player produced a scratchy, static sound from the right front speaker. last fall the car got stuck in park often (its automatic), and even though i got it fixed, its doing it again. i still need to get the window fixed, get the oil changed, and get a 100,000 mile tune-up. is the cost worth it or should i trade in the car? and if i should fix it, any suggestions? please, help quick.
  • beetlebum05beetlebum05 Member Posts: 2
    and in case it matters, its a 2.0L gas engine
  • pleunpleun Member Posts: 1
    Hi Bluboy, I have a 98 Beetle that is doing the same thing yours was at the time of your post. Did you ever get the problem figured out? I thought with mine it was the fuel injectors getting clogged up,I added some Prestone fuel injector cleaner, and the car ran perfect for 8 days, then went back to having the hesitation at accelerating and downshifting. I have noticed though, that the car seems to run fine when its not fully warmed up, when I go home from work, it starts to act up just before I arrive home. i have been told it might be the MAF, but not sure on that one. Can the MAF work fine until it gets warmed up? Let me know if you solved your Beetle problem. Thanks
  • carcrazy1972carcrazy1972 Member Posts: 1
    My son has just encountered another issue with his 2000 VW Beetle 1.8T Auto.
    The drivers side head lamp low beam and daytime time lamps are no longer working. High beam works fine. Is it possible to replace the bulb without having to go down to the dealer and pay 1hour labor @ $90/hr plus retail cost of part?
    Please let me know if anyone has been able to preform this repair without getting the dealer involved. Thanks!
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Well i am certainly not the expert on this matter. I don't have the manual in front of me but if I recall EPC was a diagnostic code for the 'Engine Performance Computer' or something like that.

    My wife's car had the EPC light come on. We took it in under warranty and they replaced one of the sensors. It may have been the throttle position sensor (crankshaft position sensor ???). Anyway the EPC just lights up when any engine performance diagnostic code gets set by the computer. Therefore the EPC light isn't one specific cause. There could be a variety of reasons that the EPC light came on.
  • hopkinshopkins Member Posts: 4
    Is the noise from the engine on a NB 1.8T mostly from the turbo.?
  • hopkinshopkins Member Posts: 4
    Before purchasing a '00 VW NB 1.8T, my local VW dealer checked out the vehicle because of what I considered to be excessive engine noise. The dealer gave the Beetle a clean bill of health and attributed the noise to the turbo.
    Is is just me, or do other owners have the same noise compliant?
    I would any appreciate comments.
    Thank you,
  • hopkinshopkins Member Posts: 4
    Yes, is is possible to replace the low beam/running lamps with out too much trouble.
    You first need to pull up the lever under the hood to release the headlamp clamp.
    The entire headlamp assembly can then be withdrawn through the front of the car and the bulb replaced. You will also need to remove the air filter box on the drivers side.It takes a little patience, buy its not that difficult.
  • truck3truck3 Member Posts: 1
    Can anyone out there help me I have a 2001 VW Beetle 2.0 eng. The check engine light came on about a day after my daughter had gased up. I had her check the gas cap to make sure it clicked the light went out about a day later then came back on the day after that. I brought the car to AutoZone to get scanned & have code cleared. The code was P1296 I beleive unfortunatly I am not sure it could of been P1276 although most likely it was P1296 Can anyone tell me what these codes are and guide me where to look for a problem.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    OBDII (On Board DIagnostics version 2) Is a government-mandated set of common codes that ALL vehcicles must use.

    You may look up the OBDII codes for yourself. Here are some links;

  • hoganbhoganb Member Posts: 1
    Is it possible to disable the drl on a 2005 beetle.
  • cher48cher48 Member Posts: 3
    Hi there! I agree with you...I love to drive my 2000 new beetle....but I have also had the check engine light on like 13 times since I purchased it second hand last sept....when they hook up their computer to the bug,...it says system too rich.....I take it in...and they say it is fixed....and last week I said one more time and I will look for another car......just wondering if you are having the same problem,,,, also my water pump went, as well as my fuel pump relay, and also another leak somewhere where they said that It was fixed.....it is a fun car to drive and had only 32,000 km on it when I bought it, and at 35,000 had the water pump relaced....I have warranty on it till next sept, but I don't have time to take it in every week..... :confuse:
  • scott76scott76 Member Posts: 4
    Can anyone help me....I installed a "OEM" Audiovox 6 disc changer bought off Ebay in my wife's '03 GLS Convertible, (My Dealer wanted $900 for the armrest changer). I did not want to use a universal changer with a FM modulator as I wanted to use the factory changer controls on the head unit. The changer came with the correct adapter and my factory head unit works it perfectly. The converter hooks up in the center console, and I installed the changer in the trunk, originally under the parcel shelf, and now with velco to the carpet.

    The unit skips very badly, it seems to be much better if the volume is turned up, and rarely skips, no matter what the road surface?? At normal volume levels it will skip on any moderate road bump. ti does nto catch back up in the song, and I have to clear it by going back out of CD mode for about a minute. Does that make any sense? Has anyone had any luck with non factory changers using the factory in dash unit's controls? Is there soemthing I am doing wrong? I have returned the changer and adapter to the vendor, both were returned as said to have tested "OK". Any ideas are welcome....
  • spektrespektre Member Posts: 80
    Beetlebummed - what sort of problems were you having with the brake booster? What symptoms did it exhibit? I think mine may be going on my just-purchased 2002 CPO NB Tdi.

    Also, you can reset the check engine light with a Vag-com cable and a laptop. There are tons of other things you can do, too, with this setup. Search the web for Vag-com...
  • spektrespektre Member Posts: 80
    The simplest way to disable the DRLs on your NB is by replacing the US-spec headlight switch with a "Euro-switch." You can find these for sale at most VW enthusiast websites. They will work on almost any newer VW, too.
  • natenj1971natenj1971 Member Posts: 174
    I found a leftover 2004 (apparently WAY leftover) beetle at a dealer and I think I could turn it into a good deal BUT I've been reading this forum and I'm really concerned.

    So have all the bugs been worked out? Should I even bother trying to negotiate for this car? (it's a 2004 GLS with auto/115 hp)leater etc

    Thanks to all you owners who respond.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Well Beetles are getting better as the years roll on. However they aren't or never will be up to Toyota or Honda standards.

    Buying last years model only makes sense if you are going to keep the car for 6,7 years or so. If you aren't going to keep it that long then it will never make sense as the trade in will be a year behind in trade value.
  • natenj1971natenj1971 Member Posts: 174
    I agree about not buying a leftover 2004 when the 2006 are coming out. But it's the only thing they have on the lot. I figure if I can get a great deal on it maybe I'll do it. I don't think they want to deal though so have to wait and see.

    Thanks for your feedback about the "getting better but not quite toyota" I usually get board with a car after 4 years anyway.
  • spektrespektre Member Posts: 80
    On my 4th VW product now - I get bored much sooner than 4 years. The problems with the cars aren't that bad, it's the absolutely horrendous dealer service network that makes it that much worse. VW's refusal to acknowledge widespread problems like the coil packs, the window regulators, and relay 119 (?) really don't help matters either. They come around once there is enough outcry, but until then, it's painful

    If you can find a good dealer service area, you're very lucky. If not, any problem you do have will be that much worse.

    I love VWs, and am looking forward to them bringing more of their TDI technology to this side of the pond - but I've yet to find a dealer service dept. that can even hold a candle to the better service depts out there, eg. Lexus, Infiniti, etc.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Just so you are clear on what I mean't by resale problems with last years model. Lets just say that you did buy that 2004 Beetle and trade it in 3 years later ( as opposed to buying a 2005).

    As an example just look up and compare Beetle resale values for 2001 and 2002 model years each with say 45000 miles. Since the resale value of the 2001 is much lower than the 2002 model you take a loss when you trade.

    So that discount on the 2004 isn't so great when you consider that much of that discount is lost on trade in.

    If you keep the car longer, say over 7 years or so then the year older car discount at trade in isn't so different. So the rule of thumb is, Only buy last years leftover cars if you are going to keep the car a relatively long time.
  • marionscmarionsc Member Posts: 1
    Radio is stuck on 93.1 fm ,,,,Cd player will not play and cannot change to another fm or am radio station???????Had car for 1 yr. and has never did this..Any help appreciated. :
  • 99btl99btl Member Posts: 1
    Hello ,
    I am new to the forum but have owned my 99 Beetle for going on 4 years now.I really love to drive it but it does not shift good when it is cold.Sometimes it hesitates when I start to go doesn't seem to want to go into gear. We have always maintained it very well.IIt has about 70,000 on it now.It did have an issue with the battery.Got a bad battery and when the car went dead had to reprogram everything.So if your battery goes dead better change it asap. Had trouble with the brake locking thing in it once ( I guess it was a safety device in case it got put into a gear.)I need to know what is making a noise when I start it up it sounds like a fan and it goes away after it gets warm.Has anyone had any of these similar problems?Any info welcomed.....
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Well I can think of worse things than being stuck on 93.1, What it you were stuck on 98.7 (The horror, The horror).

    If your car is under warranty then the dealer will fix it free. Otherwise maybe you could get an aftermarket CD player at Circuit City or somewhere. I got one (a Kenwood Unit) for my other car last year. the total cost installed withe the wire harness was around $150.
  • pxlchk1pxlchk1 Member Posts: 2
    I went to get my emissions test done today, for reasons not very much in my control, I was only able to go for the test today and my cut off is the 20th. What a jam.

    The car failed due to these two messages that came back from the computer:
    P0134 HO2S Circuit Insufficient Activity Bank 1 Sensor 1
    Mass Air Flow Sensor Circuit Low Frequency

    I *have* to get these two things fixed. The state will suspend my license if the car doesn't pass emissions by the deadline.

    Please someone tell me that this isn't a big deal, is inexpensive to fix, quickly done, and not to worry.

    Thanks for the input!
  • pxlchk1pxlchk1 Member Posts: 2
    This might be a dumb response, but have you tried disconnecting the battery, then re-entering the security code, thus resetting the radio?

  • daisybubdaisybub Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 limited edition 1.8T with less than 9000 miles on it and the red temperature light keeps coming on while I am driving. Has anyone had this problem, and if so did they find out what it was. I have had my car to the dealer 3 times this month and they have it right now driving it around waiting for it to come on. (which it hasn't yet, of course). I have waited 15 years to have a bug and I promised it to my daughter when she turns 16, so I don't want to trade it in.... But, my husband made me promise to get rid of it if it started to act up because he heard some horrible lemon stories form a coworker who owned a 99. Anyone have any ideas? :confuse:
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    During those 3 dealer visits, what have they replace or attempted to fix?
  • daisybubdaisybub Member Posts: 2
    not a thing they can't seem to find a thing wrong with it and of course it won't come on for them. They had it for 4 days this time. I think they think I'm nuts.
  • sunchild71sunchild71 Member Posts: 1
    I thought I had closed my sunroof completely last night and went to a base ball game. During the game, it started to pour and I was there a good 5 hrs in rain. My seats got wet and I took the advise of a coworker. BIG MISTAKE, you see, I live in FL and the sun basically cooked the leather. What can I do :cry::cry:
  • joshua4joshua4 Member Posts: 2
    I am now having the very same problems. I have a 99 beetle with 40,000 miles on it, and it is sticking in park. Please let me know what you found out. I am thinking it is two different things the fan noise and also the safety feature that makes it stick in park either a computer malfunction or a spring/sensor connected to the brake. Let me know if/how you repaired it or what was wrong. Thank you.....
  • joshua4joshua4 Member Posts: 2
    I am having the same problem. If you found out what the problem was, please let me know. Thank you....
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    What was the advise of your co-worker? So, your heated seats don't work anymore?
  • maggiedmaggied Member Posts: 1
    RUN Away!! I have a 99 Bug, the coolant light kept coming on. The dealer replaced, fixed ect for 987.00 3 weeks later, my engine blew. They would not cover anything on the cost of a rebuilt engine @$3200. 4 months later & guess what... YEP the coolant light is on!!

    What the heck is wrong with this car? :mad:
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