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Volkswagen Cabrio



  • my leather on the steering wheel is peeling? Has anyone else had that problem? The door handles are peeling also and have had those replaced twice. i have a 2001 blue cabrio.
    my paint chips easily. Has anyone else had this trouble with the paint?
  • i do not own a cabrio, but i read this message board frequently. yes, lots of folks have complained about the door handles and the chipping paint.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The difference between the standard Cabriolet and the Carat is easily seen on the outside as well as the inside. The Carat had standard 14" alloy wheels, a Wolfsburg emblem on the front quarter panels near the doors, a power roof, power windows, leather, and they usually came in what's called triple white (white paint, white leather, white top). As for reliability, VW was going through a rough time in the early 90s. The engine should be solid though as its the same exact engine that resides in my 84 GTI which has been flawlessly reliable even though it has over 200k. Just make sure it starts right up whether the engine is cold or hot. If it appears to have been taken care of mechanically and looks good, I say go for it. The Cabriolet is one neat convertible.
  • Hey all! First, thanks so much for all who have posted. I am seriously considering a cabrio and this discussion has helped point out some things to look for when purchasing (vinyl vs. cloth top, etc.)

    I live in Fairfield, CT. There is a Volkswagen dealership (Miller)just down the road from me, but a few trips there for info and from first impressions, Im not sure what kind of service I would get from them. (But really have no nput to go on) Anyone have any recommendations for mechanics or a good dealership in this area?

    Also, thinking about buying a cabrio on line - ebay. can get some good deals if your willing to travel and buy site unseen. But thats just it, buying sit unseen, car undriven. Anyone have any experience with this or know of anyone who has.

    Thanks again to everyone who posts. Im looking forward to buying this car as I think the love outweighs most problems.

    Take care -
  • Hi Carrie,
    I bought my '97 through the Excite classifieds. I asked the seller lots of questions via email and got financing ready before flying down to Arizona and driving the car back to Idaho. I got a great deal on the car (~$4000 under blue book) but it did have some mechanical problems that weren't disclosed to me before I bought it. I even had the seller take it to a mechanic for me to check the car out, but the seller chose the mechanic. I would still buy a car this way in a heartbeat, but make sure YOU pick a mechanic and have the seller take the car there. You might have to pay for an inspection but I would take that extra precaution if I had to do it over again. Also, you may want to do a Carfax lemon check. Research things to ask when buying a car and if possible, take someone with you that will know what to look for when you take a test drive. (I took a test drive in Arizona before buying it and figured if I found problems & decided not to buy the car, it would be a fun little trip anyway.) Good luck!
  • I have a friend with a new 2002 Cabrio and she has two problems. Her gas mileage sucks for a small 4 cylinder car. only about 300 miles for a full tank. is this right or should she have the engine checked? My saab is bigger, heavier and a turbo that gets 30mpg on the highway and has a 400+ mile range on a single tank.

    Second, does anyone know how to clean the tan colored headliner on the softtop. hers is covered with black soot from running with the top down and nothing seems to get it clean.

    thanks for any info or help you can provide.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I would assume your friend has an automatic. If so, the Cabrio is only rated at 23 city/29 highway. The fuel tank's max capacity is 13.7 gallons. Let's assume she used 12 gallons over 300 miles. That means she got about 25 mpg, within the range that it should get. There is no problem with her engine and this is the mileage she should be getting. Keep these things in mind: the engine needs time to fully break-in (mileage should improve around 10k), the Cabrio is geared low in order to deal with the low power which leads to decreased mileage, and the car is heavy considering how little power it has. All these things conspire against good fuel economy.

    I'm not sure what will clean black soot off of the tan headliner. Is she using the boot? That should keep the soot from coming in contact with the headliner. She should be using it anytime she is driving around more than a few miles with the top down.
  • I have a 02 Cab, that came with the factory radio cassette. I am in the process of installing a CD changer and have run into a ton of problems. I have solved almost all but now this is what I have. I bought a Panasonic CX DP610 changer & a Blitzsafe interface cord. I found the ground cord to be not grounded so I ran a different one. I now have power to the unit and all I get when I hit the CD button on the head unit is "CHK MAGAZIN" Anyone here have any ideas Thanks
  • Hi All,

    I have a 97 VW (silver) with a vinyl top. Lately the top has started feeling sticky and is also showing minor cracks.
    Also, I don't know from where but there is a smell coming out of the car. I have had it detailed twice and also I showed it to mechanics for any problems they seem to think there is nothing wrong (mechanically) with the car.

    Any body in same shoes?.

  • Scroll back and see messages #127 and # 135,you should also the senders earlier posts.
  • My wife had this problem with her 2001 Cabrio. I could get everything working except that I always got the damn CHK MAGAZINE message.

    Since I installed the changer on top of the platform where the first aid kit is supposed to go (driver side of the trunk), I had to move the ground wire and wiring harness from the passenger side to the driver. The wire is just held down with adhesive. I then duct-taped the wire to the floor (under the pad) and ran it up to the platform. I used industrial strength velcro to secure the changer. After two extremely humid and hot summers in PA, the changer has not moved once. The velcro acts a natural cushion so no skips. Lastly, I got my father-in-law to secure the ground wire in to the metal floor of the trunk with a sheet metal screw. That was the key. Once that wire was properly seated (I had tried to tape it to metal -- no go), the changer worked perfectly.

    Use the ground that's in the Cabrio and you should be in good shape.

  • Hi,

    There were few posts regarding 97 and 98 vinyl tops and their problems. Was there a class suit, recall or any settlement with VW regarding this?

    Thank you,

  • I would like to buy a cabrio but the volkswagon dealer in Melbourne, Fl has a poor reputation. Does anyone have a dealer and/or mechanic that they would recommend in the Melbourne/Orlando area?
    Thanks for any info

  • hbouhbou Posts: 13
    Does anyone have any further information regarding the class action suit against VW regarding the defective roofs on a number of cabrios built in the late 90s? I was under the impression that VW agreed to re-imburse owners who owned their vehicles less than 5 years 100% and 50% for those who owned them more than 5 years. VW was supposed to have sent out a mailing regarding this issue in early May. Any ideas?
  • kathyskathys Posts: 2
    I bought a used 2000 cabrio convertible with 31,000 miles last April. I wish I would have thought to look into this discussion group before I bought. I live on Hilton Head Island and I wanted a fun little inexpensive convertible. It has been fun when it works. I have always bought General Motors boring cars and never had any problems. My last one was a buick! I still have it my daughter drives it back and forth from college. I had no problems with the buick in the whole 8 years of ownership. I love driving the cabrio convertible but in the past 15 months 4 starters blew while I was driving shutting down the motor. My mechanic after the 4th such eposoid realized that I had a faulty ignition switch. I thought its problems were solved. Since then I've replaced the mechanism for the power windows, my seat warmers don't warm, my automatic top doesn't work. I replaced an engine fan. I had a problem with a brake light constantly blinking making shorting noises. It has been fixed. I thought its demons were fixed and I was happy for about a week. It is so much fun driving. I was having a ball tooting around the island. When again disaster struck, engine light came on. I couldn't handle it anymore. I went and bought a Toyota Prius. It is being delivered next Thursday. So I have my cabrio for a little while, I can still drive it the engine light came on becuase I overfilled the tank!! Once I used up the gas it went out. That over filled gas tank cost me $24000!!!Too late I already bought the Prius. But guess what now the brakes are squealing. I guess I made the right decision. But boy was my little white cabrio fun when it was working. I just can't take anymore.. After I first engine stall I called VW saying that I could have been killed when the eengine shut down. They could have cared less.I only put 10,000 miles on it in 15 months!! This is not normal. Thank you for allowing me to rant
  • imacman55imacman55 Posts: 2
    My daughter has a 2001 Cabrio that she loves with the exception of one problem that we have not been able to get corrected even after several trips to the dealer. He Cabrio is the base 2.0L with automatic. Every couple hundred miles, as she is driving along at any speed, the engine speed/power will just drop instantly to essentially idle (with dramatic change in speed of the car). After a couple of seconds this problem will clear, the engine speed will return and everything is fine until the next occurrence. As the problem is intermittent, tough for dealer to pin down. They did replace one of the engine sensor, but this did not fix the problem. Looking for any advice / experience from folks on the board.
  • bdennybdenny Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 VW Cabrio with power door locks. The power locks do not work when attempting to lock the doors from the inside using the power door lock buttons on the door. Likewise, the remote will activate and deactivate the alarm system but cannot lock or unlock the car. I checked the fuse box in hopes of it being something simple such as a blown fuse, but all the fuses were in good shape. Has anyone had a similar problem and/or advice on how to proceed from here?
  • Hello Everyone,
    I am looking to buy a Cabrio within the next couple of weeks. I would like to know if buying a manual or power is better. And what is considered low mileage for a VW. I am looking to buy anywhere from a 96 to a 2001 if the price is right and the mileage is right. I have been looking to buy one that has all the extras with power windows etc..... but now thinking that all that isn't important. Trying to make the right choice. Any thought would help. Thanks.
  • sbachsbach Posts: 2
    I have not had any problems with my 2001 Cabrio. I bought used - so you take your chances. I did have to replace the trans & clutch, but that was covered under the warranty. I am currently experiences problems with the power top. The fluid is very low, I refilled it not long ago. VW sent the directions and it was not too difficult. Has anyone else had problems with the fluid level in the power top?
  • blondejenblondejen Posts: 1
    I have been having some problems with the Brake Light and the ABS light on my 2001 Cabrio.
    The Brake light has been flashing all the time now when i drive, and it seems like when it flashes, it coincides with a type of rattling noise underneath the hood.
    The ABS light has also been coming on. It comes on when I sometimes start the car. When it comes on, the Air Conditioner, among other things, don't work. I only have to turn the car off, and restart it, and then its usually fine.

    Does anyone know what could be causing these problems?
  • AWESOME! I have been struggling for a week trying to install my cd changer on the right side of the trunk. I did what you said it works great! Thanks!
  • imacman55imacman55 Posts: 2
    Last week my daughter reported that the ABS light on her 2001 Cabrio was coming on intermittently -- she didn't say anything about a noise under the hood or the air conditioner not working. In searching the internet for other reports/solutions to this problem I did see a post on another board that indicated that some VWs had a problem with the ignition switch not fully returning to the right position after starting the car. Evidently, while the car runs, perhaps some accessories/features are affected. Maybe try wiggling the ignition switch when you experience the problem to see if it clears. If it does, it may need adjusted/replaced. I'm going to have a more detailed look at my daughters car, and maybe drive it a day or two myself to see if I can experience the problem and then try to see if I can relate it to the ignition switch.
  • gducharmegducharme Posts: 1

    I have a 92 5 speed cabrio and have the same problem. Change cables, spark plugs, rotor, distributor cap, air + gaz filters, mass air flow, etc. and I still have this engine skip at idle with a tendancy to die on me when the engine in cold and not to start at all when hot. Plus it skips at high revs. Mechanic is completely lost.

    Did you ever find a solution on your side?
  • gaworkgawork Posts: 1
    Hi all!

    I bought a 95 Cabrio about a month ago, and I love this car. It does of course have its "quirks" (aka problems). Was wondering if anyone had any advice for the following (other than the obvious take it to the mechanic!)

    1. My driver's side lock (auto lock, door lock, window raising and lowering) just stopped working last night. The key turns but doesn't unlock, arm/disarm the alarm, or raise and lower the windows. The passenger side door does still work, though its a bit of a pain to have to unlock the door every time from the other side of the car.

    2. Also the driver's side interior window switch works only intermittently. Sometimes its works fine, other times nothing. Usually after a while (before the key stopped working) I was able to make the window raise and lower with the key. New switch? or new motor?

    3. The a/c hasn't worked since I got the car (I knew this) but when I went to add freon, the compressor started turning (as it should) and cycling on and off, so I assume the problem isn't with the compressor. However, the air from the a/c is still warm. Any ideas?

    Thanks ya'll.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I would have the fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, or fuel pressure accumulator looked at. The fuel pump and fuel pressure accumulator will both cause hot starting problems. The fuel pressure regulator tends to cause stalling when cold. With the age of the vehicle, I would say the most likely culprit is a fuel pump not putting out the proper fuel pressure.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I will attempt to give some insight into your problems.

    1. Sounds like a switch has gone kaput in the door or maybe you just lucked out and a plug came loose. Either way, the door panel will have to come off and unless you can find a plug that has come undone, this is best left to the professionals.

    2. It's the power window switch or a loose connection. VW's are known for crappy electronics. The fact that it was working with the key means the motor is fine.

    3. More then likely you have some sort of leak in the system. The compressor can still be the source of the leak even though it is running. The compressor may also not be pumping properly.
  • Hello,

    I have a 95 VW Cabrio with an aftermarket alarm on it and I am having similar problems. After I unarm the car with the remote, get inside the car and start the engine, I cannot unlock the door locks with the power door lock button. Is this what you were describing? If it is, the VW dealership told me to take it back to the place where the alarm was installed and have them take a look at it. Right now I have it sitting at Best Buy trying to figure out what's wrong. One thing that could be the possibility (that I'm hoping it is and not something bigger) is that the factory alarm and aftermarket alarm are not communicating correctly or the factory alarm was not properly disabled.

    Hope I could help!
  • Hi there,

    My Girlfriend has a 2000 Cabrio and has the low fluid problem with the Convertible Top. I purchased the fluid and for some reason, I can't get the fluid to go into the reservoir. I have the top bolt out and there seems to be some sort of pressure preventing me from adding the fluid. Do you have the instructions from VW that you can post or e-mail to me?

    This has been such a pain - the top goes down but can't come back up.
  • sbachsbach Posts: 2

    You need a small oil can with a grip pump and hose to fill the reservoir. There's a 90 degree turn from the bolt hole to the reservoir. Once it's filled (should be just above minimum when the top is down - half to full when up) put the bolt back on - but don't tighten. Cycle the top up and down 3-4 times to remove any air bubbles in the lines, then tighten the bolt all the way.

    My top sometimes still gets stuck half way up - I just release the button, and tap it again - seems to work.

    What type of fluid are you putting in? It should be power steering fluid - that's what VW sold me. It's frustrating that instructions are not in the owners manual - but my local VW dealer was nice enough to fax me instructions from their repair manual.
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