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Problems with the new VW Beetle?



  • 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: 565

    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.
  • kelswvukelswvu Posts: 1
    I am the owner of a '98 new beetle, and have had major problems. My computer needed to be replaced 2 weeks after buying the car. My electric window motor broke and the glass fell of the track in the middle of a hurricane. My backseat would not fold down. (luckily those were under warranty) Now that I've owned it for 2 years and have 30,000 miles, all of the freon leaked out of my AC but they can't find the leak, my glove compartment stays closed only when it wants to, my visor light above the passenger seat comes on at will and stays on if I'm not careful to check it before I get out of the car. And to top it all off, my battery blew up!! I love the car but I can't afford to make my payments plus all the repairs! I thought VW's were supposed to be reliable!!!
  • chuckc2chuckc2 Posts: 1
    I have a 99 GLS and because I dont drive the car much , the battery was discharged, after charging the battery I found the radio had to have a security code programmed in to it before it would work, I do not have the code as the car was bought used with 6000mi on it. The previous owner had removed the code from the radio card. Can anyone tell me how to obtain the code short of driving the 150 miles to the nearest VW Dealer?
  • rfrazier1rfrazier1 Posts: 1
    My wife recently crashed her 2000 1.8T. She says she was at a stop light, released the brake, and the car (an automatic) accelerated into the truck in front of her. At first I was sceptical, but after reading the various posts relating to electrical problems, I am thinking she may be right. Do these car actually use a fly by wire system for the accelerator? Has anyone else experienced similar problems?
  • bucki1bucki1 Posts: 2
    Hi, I have a 2000 VW Beetle. Here is my story on burning oil. One day my oil light flashed on as I turned the corner. Dummy me I did not check the oil. The next day the check engine light came on, I checked the oil. What a surprise, no oil on the dip stick. Now, it had been 5,000 miles, and I was due for an oil change. I took my car in. I was told that all of the beetles are burning oil. I was told something about a piston package?? being put in upside down and that is why oil burns. They did an oil change and an oil consumption test and told me to come back in 1000 miles for a check. Yesterday was the check up. I was told that the oil was normal. Well it looked low to me, but what do I know. I was advised that the dip stick only registers 2 quarts of oil and so when nothing is on the stick, there is still 2 1/2 quarts to 3 quarts in the car. Anyway, I was then told that eventually, VW would be offering me a new engine in the car or $2500 for the purchase of a new car. Now they are changing their story saying that the oil consumption problem is only in the 98 and 99 beetles and that they have yet to see the problem in the 2000. I was also told that VW says that it is normal for the car to burn oil for the first 10,000 to 15,000 miles. My car currently as about 12,000. At any rate, I hope this has made sense, and I would love to hear some feedback.
  • edwardh1edwardh1 Posts: 88
    they are at
    Just released
    vw new beetle is #123 of the models listed. Industry average is at position #90.
    So, worse than industry average in initial quality.
  • k273k273 Posts: 26
    My airbag light just came on, out of the blue. This is apparently a common problem on new NB right off the dealer's lot... but my NB is two-year old and has over 30000 miles on it, which means it's outside warranty.

    The dealer ran some diagnostic tests on the car and found out that the airbag CPU is fried, and needs to get replaced. The problem is that it costs over 600 bucks plus at least one hour of labor. Pretty steep!

    I'll try to check with VW if they can replace my airbag CPU without charge, and this being a pretty common problem on the NBs involving driver's safety, I'll also check if it can't be the subject of yet another recall on this car.

    Anyway folks, before your car goes outside warranty, try to see if you can't check on your costly aibag CPU's health. There's no telling when it will bail out on you.
  • I have a yellow y2k beetle, love it but only into it's third month problems already!! Ihad to have towed it wouldn't start, it needed a new relay switch that goes to fuel pump!! also air bag light on which new wires are being replaced as we speak!! I nick named her lemonade wonder why??? I hope this is the end, there are alot of bugs out there with no problems
  • zoefaezoefae Posts: 3
    my beetles battery keeps dyeing ! its only 3 months old !!! i have brought it in 3 times & they cant find whats wromg . i dont know what to do !!
    We have a '98 beetle that is mysteriously using oil ... not burning, not leaking. We noticed it at about 15M miles(about 5M miles since the last service) when the oil light came on. Investigation showed it was down 2 quarts. Dealer questioned whether we had changed the oil every 5M miles (which incidentally isn't recommended in the manual, nor is it covered in their "2 years maintenance" warranty). We brought it in and paid for an extra oil change. They recommended bringing it back every 1000 miles for them to record the fact that it was down. Upon rechecking, the technician said they were having problems with many of the Beetles/ and the 4 cylinder Golf/Jetta. Initially indicated it was due to the fact that the engine was designed for a 100% synthetic oil that's available only in Germany. Also suggested that the oil might be evaporating :O). Again recommended we bring it in every 1000 miles to record how far down it was going. After 1000 miles, the oil's down about 1/2 quart. Today's dealer story is that VW probably won't do anything about it if it's burning less than a quart/1000 miles!!, but we need to have a third check before they'll make a call.
  • gagengingagengin Posts: 1
    We love our New Beetle, however, the check engine light has been on more than off since we bought it in April 1998. Our local dealer could not seem to find the cause after several calls and visits. They would reset the light and send us on our way. Finally, after the warranty ran out, the dealer discovered that it was the Throttle Body Control and it would cost us approx $500 to fix. We have also had problems with the driver side door handle (repair in excess of $500), frequent oil changes (it burns oil), headlight replacement (cost over $100), poor radio performace (replaced under warranty with no improvement)and power window swithces falling off on both doors. We have 51,000 highway miles registered on this vehicle. We are selling it to cut our losses. Volkswagon would not hear about any of these problems because of the mileage. It is our misfortune that these problems were diagnosed after the warranty expired even though they occurred, were reported and/or showed signs well before 24,000 miles (i.e., during the first year of use. We are discouraged with Volkswagon Company. They Certainly contrast with how the Japanese do business - we are going to stick with Toyota, Honda etc.
  • k273k273 Posts: 26
    I posted a note in July concerning my airbag light coming on outside warranty, which was obviously a problem inherent to the car and not related to use or mileage. Well, I spoke to Volkswagen Customer service and they quickly agreed to cover the cost of parts and labor for replacing the airbag control unit (the $600 microchip).

    I can say I'm very satisfied with Volkswagen's after sale service. They stand by their product.

    I just hope that replacing the airbag control unit will solve the problem for good, as I read that it's wiring is being replaced on another car. I will keep you posted.

    As for the battery going down, my car would often require an extra turn of the ignition key to start up - and it's an easy 2.0L gas - until one day when it wouldn't start at all. This is when they found the original battery to be dead and replaced it (well under warranty). I haven't had any problems since and my worries the the car was leaking power turned out to be unfounded.
  • Wow guys are scaring me....I was thinking of buying one of these cars...but with all these problems I dont know if its a good idea : /
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Actually, this is one of the quieter topics in this conference!

    Please understand that since this is our Maintenance and Repair Conference, it is only natural that a topic here would be focused only on problems.

    Have you visited our Hatchback conference? Check out this link to one of the topics there for a more balanced perspective:

    New Beetle News (Topic #179)

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • mdrewmdrew Posts: 32
    Reading the last 20 or so posts of "New Beetle News" before coming here, it's as packed with serious problems as this topic. I was interested in the Beetle--liked the unique looks--but was scared off in part by the many horror stories reported in these forums (that was six months ago).
  • My wife and I were agreed on buying VW Bug yesterday after driving several. We decided on the TDI. Dealers did not, however, have in stock the color and interior and automatic options we want. While they are looking we read these "showstopping" complaints. Easy to see owners love the NB looks, feel and drive but hate the reliability and service that is part of the package. My question is does the TDI lose its oil just like the other VW NB motors seem to have a shared propensity to do? Need to know before the dealers call with a NB that fills our bill of particulars. No use getting high miles to the tank full of diesel fuel if one is getting low miles to the TOTAL fuel and oil bill.
    Thanks much for shared real world experiences.
  • I recently bought a 2001 beetle.. and i love it, however i was wondering if i'm not the only one who thinks the car rides too low to the ground. i was pulling out of my driveway yesterday and ran over some rocks.. which i didn't think would hurt the car, but when i got out.. there were some significant scratches, a problem that probably would not have happened if the car was higher. do any other beetle-owners experience similar problems?
  • I bought a TDI in June. Have not had any major problems. They had to replace the horns about two weeks ago (3500 miles). They did the 5000 mile service. No comments about oil. I think that the VW soft feel plastic is crap. The pull handles on the doors were all chipped up and the pieces on the arm rest were peeling. These are being replaced under warrenty.

    I would like the same answer as gozing2, is the TDI engine showing oil problems or is it just the gas engines?

    As far as riding to low. I can't comment. I replaced a Ford Aerostar with the beetle. Everything seems too low.
  • We've now had the third check of the oil-burning issue, and it was down again (it's burning about 1 qt/1000 miles). The dealer had the regional VW rep in, and they've agreed to replace the engine under warranty. The cause of the oil-burning is a "secret", but they say they've figured out the issue and we shouldn't have a problem with a new engine. The engine's been on order for the last three weeks, so we'll just keep checking the oil until it arrives. On an unrelated good news side, we're now getting much better mileage than we did for the first 10M miles ... 400 mostly highway miles on a tank! Maybe the oil's getting used for fuel :)
  • this weekend my son was driving down the road and the oil light went on. We drove out to where he was and put in two quarts of oil. It is interesting to read the letters reguarding this problem.
    However, a day later my son decided to see which would win a telephone pole or the beetle. Neigher one did too well. I don't think I am going to need to worry about the oil level in that car. Neither one of the passengers were hurt. That does say something about the VW BEETLE
  • Has anyone experienced a weird humming sound periodically upon acceleration? It sounds a little like a soft alto sax. No kidding!
This discussion has been closed.