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Volkswagen Beetle Body Work Problems



  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 457
    Just for the record:

    My wifes car is a 2002 New Beetle (hardtop) with the 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder engine. My wife loves the car (which we've had for 3.5 years) and we haven't had any problems with the car other than a sensor replacement that was covered under warranty. I assumed that the engine and layout is the same for the hardtop as the convertible. On our Model year (2002) Torx bits definitely fit the fasteners of the rock shield. I don't remember exactly which size bit fit the fastener. I just rotate through the Torx bits till I find the one that fits snug.

    As for oil, the Local VW dealer uses (easily obtained) 10-40W oil in their oil changes so thats what we use. But we live in Southern California where it's relatively warm all year. If you live in a colder climate then you may need to stick with the 5-40W oil. Your price of $14 for 5 gallons is almost $3 a quart. That is outrageous ! I just got a case of Exxon oil at Pep-boys on sale for 59 cents a quart. I buy the oil filters on sale for $2.50 so the total cost of a VW Beetle oil change is $5.45 (plus tax). That beats the dealer cost of $66 or so.

    In terms of getting the car off the ground. I bought a floor jack years ago which I use whenever I do an oil change (on any of my cars - VW or otherwise). Make sure you either put jack-stands or wheel ramps under the front wheels for safety and block the back wheels. If you buy a floor jack spend a little more to buy the bigger size one - you won't regret it. Floor jacks also make it a breeze to rotate tires and do other repairs (on any car).

    As an aside I have yet to figure out how to drive up the wheel ramps as they temp to move forward when you try this. My experience is that I can jack the car up with the floor jack and put the wheel ramps under the front wheels. Then when I'm done I just back down the ramp.

    As another aside, The oil filter on the New Beetle is placed relatively high to access from beneath the car. If you were to invest in an Oil-filter wide-grip long handle pliers (ie oil filter pliers) that may come in very handy. Alternately threr are oil filter sockets that fit on the back-end of the oil filter that would work with the socket and a ratchet extension or two.
  • impe1595impe1595 Posts: 8
    I got the oil changed today at a local oil change shop. It was $23.48 including their oil (Castrol 5W-30), and their filter.

    I went ahead and used their oil because the 5W-40 that I bought yesterday after running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and which I thought was a 5 quart container when it was actually a 4 quart container, would have left me about a half quart low, (at this point, I think my brain is about a half quart low! and if my wife finds out about my little mistake re. the volume of oil in the container, it will turn into some kind of Italian joke, I just know it!).

    The guy down in the pit confirmed that the fasteners are torx, and that the shield is steel and fairly substantial, (his exact words were "real theeek".

    As I think more about the oil situation, I am going to say the heck with the owner's manual. After all, the 2.0 gas engine is ancient and probably goes back to before the formulation of 5W-40. The recommended oil for my Highlander is 5W-30 and with 85K miles on it, still runs like the day I bought it.

    And as for access to the underside of the car, I think that I will add a couple pieces of 2x8 to home made ramps.

    I must be getting old because 5 years ago I would have dove into the oil change with not a worry in my mind. Now I guess I will have to work up to it.

    One last thing - at the oil change place, the two young girls next in line got out of their car and drooled over my NBC for the better part of ten minutes. I wonder if they would have gotten so excited over a Solara? Probably not.

    Thanks for your helpful info.

  • I love my 2003 beetle convertible and i've already put 30,000 miles on it but I have had some problems. My newest problem and my worst one is I use to get 360 miles to my tank but lately I get less and less. This last time I filled up I only got 220 miles to my tank. The dealership said there is nothing wrong with it from their test but I say their is. But they said they cant do anything. I use premium gas every time and I get my oil changed every 3,000 miles. Has anyone had this problem or have any idea how to fix it? Cause i cant afford gas much longer.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Do you have the 2.0 or 1.8t engine? The 2.0 does not require premium. The 1.8t does or at least they highly recommend it.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 457
    Lots of things can cause poor gas milage.

    If the dealer couldn't find anything wrong then the forum posters sure can't find something.

    A simple check - Check the air filter - a clogged one will cause the car to burn too rich.
  • 87cab87cab Posts: 2
    I am thinking of finally retiring my trusty '87 Cabriolet and would appreciate advice about which new (used) beetles to steer clear of and which might be good choices. Thanks.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Get some Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (available at Wal-mart) for something like $6 a bottle. Pour a bottle of this into your nearly empty gas tank and top off with about 8 gallons of gas. Run the tank almost dry. Get another bottle and repeat. Another alternative: have the injectors professionally cleaned by your VW dealer. They do not remove them - taher they run a can of injector cleaner through the system.

    It is possible that you used some contaminated fuel. Try another gas station, preferably another brand. BP/Amoco premium gas does wonders for my car. Above all, use only brand name fuel! you have no idea what additives some cheaop places may use.
  • I have a 1.8 engine. I always use Mobil or Exxon gas cause I have a gas card. And I already changed my air filter and I changed where I get my gas too. So I think I will try the Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner. Thanks alot for your help. I'll keep you posted on how it works out. If any one gets any more ideas please post them.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    You may be interested in this: Several years ago BMW was investigating performance complaints with their vehicles in Texas. They concluded that it was Exxon gasoline formulation that was causing the problems. This may have been only local phenomenone but it only reinforces what I sadi in my previous post: some gasoline additives can greatly affect your car's performance.
  • dougmgdougmg Posts: 13
    Tomorrow I am picking up a used 2004 1.8T 5sp. Excited about the car. Light Blue w/ black leather and cold weather package. 7500 miles for $20,500. A decent price I think. I loved the Mini but felt it was way too small. Like a go-cart. The Beetle is definitely a compromise for me. Excited all the same to get it.

    Question: Are the 2004 models showing any better reliability then the 2003's???
  • There is a recall on the 2003 NBC. In October 2004, last time I could put the top down, as I was bringing it back up the top motor started "lugging" and the top wouldn't go up. Finally, something gave way and the top came up. A cable holding the liner down had snapped. I kind of forgot about it as the weather turned (I'm in Wisconsin) so didn't make an appointment until December. During that time I received a letter from VW stating there was a recall on a cable clip and it was purely aesthetic - I had until July 2005 to get it replaced. I took my car in and 2 hours later the service manager called to say that my top wouldn't retract all the way on the side where the cable broke. After he accused me of doing everything from driving at a high rate of speed with the top 1/2 down to opening the top while going through a carwash I demanded he take the car out of his shop and I'd come look at it myself.

    Long story short, the frame is bent and the top won't retract. The dealership states it's not a manufacturing flaw that it's something I did to my car (we paid $23k cash and drove it off the lot in April 2003) and I'd have to pay all repair costs. VW still hasn't called me back and the mystery dealer representative never showed up to look at it.

    Hope this gets cleared up before the sun comes out!
  • cappy4103cappy4103 Posts: 48
    Sorry to see all the fun loving Beetle owners out there having issues with a lot of their cars. I was surprised to read that Consumer Reports gave this car a "worse than average" in predicted reliablity, but after reading these posts, I can see why. I specifically waited for the convertible version of this car to come out and we are ready to make our purchase. Having a 2005 Sienna minivan, this next purchase is going to be a "fun" car. We were strongly leaning to the NBC GL which has a MSRP of $21,900 I believe. At this point, until VW can either get their quality control tightened up, or work on their people skills with customers, we are now leaning towards buying the Toyota Solara ragtop to the tune of almost $6,000 more. Wish you all luck and happy motoring!
  • sjbrodysjbrody Posts: 39
    You will not be unhappy with the Solara. We love ours. It is well worth the extra $.
  • ">I have owned three new Beetles since they brought them back and I have loved them all. I now own a 2005 Turbo Sport Convertible and I LOVE it. It a blast to throw into the sport mode and just tear up the road. It is an automatic with the manual (I think triponic is what it is called). I love the control it gives me with the upshifting and downshifting. I have shocked many of people with the amount of take off the car has. I plan on enjoying the car for some time, and am sure to continue to buy them as they keep upgrading the engine packages.
  • beesiebeesie Posts: 1
    That's a bummer. My 2004 New Beetle 2.0 Convertible is a really nice little car. I enjoy driving it. I did test a new Turbo before buying the 2.0 and my husband and I decided the 2.0 GLS was a better deal. It is his understanding that the Turbos have more problems and wear out sooner than the 2.0.

    We have owned several VWs, including a Cabriolet and 2 Jettas. The only complaint I have about my 2004 Convertible is the cigarette lighter thing on the back bottom of the center console (right in front of the foot room for the center of the back seat) is broken and won't stay closed. The former owner said he had it replaced once and it broke again. I've got it taped shut (for the safety of my 2 granddaughters) until I can get it fixed at the dealership. Has anyone else had that problem?
  • kbeekbee Posts: 1
    babyblue, I was also noticing the gas mileage issue with my 2004 1.8T 5 speed convertible beetle had the care tested a couple of times with no recognized issue from the computers. Every week it was going down regardless of the fact that I have been having the oil and filter changed on schedule.

    Last week the check engine light came on the day I filled the tank. My service guy recommended that I double check the tightness of the gas cap (I did). The light went off until yesterday. Yesterday I suddenly experience a loss of gas flow of some sort. The poor care was choking to get gas. Considering I only have 16k miles in almost two years of driving, it is quite distressing.

    This morning the car would only move in reverse, for some reason it can no longer get gas going forward. I have to say Volkswagen Roadside assistance is great as they had someone out here to take it to the dealership in under an hour.

    I love this car and thank goodness my dealership is great, I just don't want to get in the habit of visiting them too often.

    I will let you know what they find out just in case yours is headed down the same path.

  • ekrobekrob Posts: 4
    Does anyone know of a bike rack for the New Beetle convertible?
  • cdlinzcdlinz Posts: 5
    i was a freshman in college in '87, and would have almost killed to be driving a cabriolet then. lucky you. glad it has been trusty. i curse the fact that i spent my twenties driving with a hard top. bought a miata at 29, bypassing the 'cabrio'. but last year decided i needed more safety and a backseat. i still marvel when i see old cabriolets on the road. what a great car. i'm now in the nbc, 1.8t manual. i was hesitant to buy it due to all the bugs in the cars from that assembly plant (puebla,mexico) but must say it has been very reliable to date (10k miles). it may lack the charm and originality of your '87, but more than makes up for it with power and modern conveniences (full complement of airbags, traction control, abs, heated seats, power top, LOUD stereo, quiet, smooth). despite the quality control issues, vw really went the extra mile with the engineering and conveniences. there is nothing like it available at the same price.
  • jimmypjimmyp Posts: 1
    I just tried to get the rock shield off of my 2004 New Beetle convertible, and there are 4 additional bolts that do not come off with a torx bit. Anyone removed these?
  • scott76scott76 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....
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222
    Scott, you might want to ask the people in the Aftermarket Sound Systems and OEM Upgrades forum.


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  • yccmjyccmj Posts: 1

    I am also interested in a bike rack for a NBC with parktronic,
    can anybody give advice?
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222
    Welcome, yccmj. The members in the Roof Racks, Bike Racks, and Cargo Carriers Forum might be able to answer your question.



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  • dougmgdougmg Posts: 13
    I recently bought a used 1.8T convertable shorty after testing the turbo S hardtop. I found a huge difference in the handling. I loved the turbo S. I find my 1.8T to be very sloppy around the curves, lots of screeching tires. Does anyone know the difference between the suspensions of these two cars? Would upgrading the convertable void the warrenty? Is it the tires?
  • dmbeckerdmbecker Posts: 2
    Go to and look for the P-shooter bike rack for your NBC. I bought one just about a year ago for my (then) new convertible. Installation is relatively easy if you're handy, and Mr. Bird was available by phone to answer a few questions. Overall, I'm pleased with the installation. When the rack is off, the mounting sleeves are about the same size and location as the pea-shooter exhausts on the original Beetle. Kind of a cute touch. My only complaint is that the galvanized coating on the main rack assembly is thin and the rack is showing signs of rust. In fact, I was about to call and complain when I saw your posting. This guy is a dedicated Beetle nut and a good inventor, and my guess is that he's probably already come up with a new coating to solve the problem. As far as I know, the only other alternative is to have a trailer hitch installed and then buy a Thule rack. This is by far a heavier and less esthetically pleasing alternative. Good luck.
  • Well I tried the fuel injector cleaning for 2 fills up and it worked i got like 300 miles to my tank, but when i stopped using it it started going down again. So now if i want to get good gas mileage i have to use fuel injector cleaning every time. It is cheaper but also a pain. Kbee i would love to hear what happened with your car because even thought the VW tests say its fine it is obviously not and i dont feel like going to pep boys every week for the rest of the time i have this car.
  • uni4mluvruni4mluvr Posts: 1
    I actually got onto this site to see if anyone else has had problems with their driver's side window shattering. I got a recall notice in the mail about the windows and went to the dealership to get them replaced. I'm not sure that they reset them right because yesterday as I was rolling down the window, it shattered into the car and into the door. I took it into the shop today, so let's hope it's out tomorrow.
    But now what I am wanting to say after reading so many negative comments is that I LOVE MY BUG! This is the first problem that I have had with mine, and I've had it since September 2003. It's an automatic 2.0 2003 convertible, a black beauty with tan leather interior. I don't have complaints at all about it. I get all the smiles and looks in the world while driving it top down. It's the absolute perfect drive-in car, top down, seats reclined, wonderful Monsoon surround sound. This site has just made me realize how much I do love my car!! I've driven it 23000 miles and can't wait for the next 25000! Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, but I've been impressed by my whole VW experience. :shades:
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter with a national newspaper would like to speak with professional women who for the first time are buying a fun car or truck they have been longing to own but were not able to buy before because it wasn’t practical. This vehicle purchase is a splurge. The reporter would like to speak with first time buyers of full-size trucks, convertibles, Miatas, Porsches or Jaguars. If you fit what the reporter is looking for, please email a brief description with contact information to Kirsten Holguin at as soon as possible.


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  • ladylealadylea Posts: 1
    "and the wind blocker, (which I will probably never use). "

    Goodness - what I would give for one that was not over £150 - you selling it?

    I have had my NBC since xmas 2004 - its a 2L - and have done 9000 miles in it (by June) - 8000 of those have been with the roof down!

    Only got 2 issues - my flowers keep blowing away, and the handle to pull the seat forward on the passenger site fell off!

    I love my bug ... I smile every time i get in it
  • I bought a brand new 2004 Beetle Convertible and was so excited, drove it 10 miles and the check engine light came on. Took it back immediately and was told it would take a few days to service it. Mind you I had just given them a check for $24,000. They gave me a used MAZDA mini van to drive. Had to replace the fuel pump as the gas gage would not register full when filled up. I have had 3 fuel pumps so far in first year of owning the car. From day one there were strange crackling noises coming from underneath the car. Anytime I asked the service people about it, I was told it was a normal VW sound. When I put my car in reverse it squeals loudly, also told this is a normal VW sound. My car has been in service now for the entire week, after I finally insisted that these are not normal sounds. I called and spoke with VW of America yesterday and asked if these were normal VW sounds and was informed NO. This is such a shame as I love this little car, it is fun to drive. But when a car starts controlling your free time (spending too much time at the dealership), it is just not worth it.
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