Volkswagen Beetles suck. Hard. And Bite.

To anyone who is thinking of getting a VW "new" Beetle: read this entire thread:

And then run the fucking other way. My next car is going to be a 2009 Honda Civic (stick shift). I declare it thus. THOSE are good cars. Hondas, that is. Get a Honda. Don't get a Beetle.

Since I can remember, I always wanted a Beetle. Always. Long before the new ones came out in 1998, I wanted a Beetle. And the obsession only got worse. Hell, look my blogs NAMED "Sliver Beetle." I've got little remote-controlled beetles on top of my fridge. I've got a painting of a beetle in my hallway. My dorm room was COVERED in pictures of beetles from mafgazines and brocures I stole from the dealership. I've even got beetle pictures in my cube at work. Oh and all 3 of my monitors (personal and work) have beetle backgrounds. So this is not someone who is likely to speak badly about the car and I'm telling you to RUN.

They're shit. I can't even GO into all the damn problems with them. I've had more grief from this car in the past three years than should even be possible. Here's the problems that exist at the current moment (Not including all the repairs I've done on the thing over the years):

+ Need a new driver-side taillight assembly.

+ Need a bulb in the passenger-side fog light (but you can not access it without removing a ton of stuff from the engine compartment)

+ Nothing on the drivers side door works. This includes
----Window switches
----Door locks
----Trunk release

+ NOTHING on the dash works. This includes:
----Fuel gauge
----Warning lights
----Lights on review mirror

+ The fuse box on top of the battery compartment is melted.

+ There are leaks in the air-conditioning hoses and the coolant system.

+ Remote unlock just doesn't work. Even though I bought a brand new key from the dealership only 2 years ago. I paid $250 just for the damn key. And yes, I've replaced the damn battery.

There's other shit that I try to ignore -- but I hit the main problems.

Thursday I had to replace a battery that was ONLY 1 year old. And to replace the battery, you have to remove the power steering fluid reservoir from the engine compartment before you can get the battery out. Yes, I'm serious.

And the openers manual isn't worth shit. It doesn't even tell you how to do something simple like replace the break light bulb. It tells you to go to the dealership -- where they will rip you off BIG TIME.

Don't buy one of these pieces of shit. If you buy one of these after reading this, you deserve what you get.

I cant wait till I can get a damn Civic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an Idiot with a capital I. With no due respect to your or your car - it sounds like you got a hold of a high-mileage nightmare that was never properly maintained. You should have had it inspected before purchasing it, and certainly tried to return it or sell it when the trouble became overwhelming.
I've had 2 Beetles, a 2000 and a 2003. The 2000 saved my bacon in a roll-over crash on the freeway. Until that day when a jack-ass in a Honda Ridgeline swerved into me, the car had the usual run of burned out bulbs, worn-out tires, a dean battery (original by the way), belts, etc.
The only crappy thing about ALL VWs is the plastic water pumps they like to use. Mine shattered about 3 months before the wreck and cost $800 for the dealer to replace.
As for the fog light bulbs, you park the car on ramps or jack it up a bit and reach under the nose to change the bulb. It takes 5 minutes tops. You don't even need to open the hood to change them.
I can't believe you didn't shop for a key. My 2003 was missing a remote key and I got a new OEM key on eBay for less than $40. My dealer cut it for free and I programmed the car for it. The instructions on easy to find, just google it.
Two years ago, I changed the battery in the 2000. It was the original battery. It isn't any more difficult than changing the battery in any other car. There is a fuse holder on the top of the battery box. It comes off easily.
Tail lights and front corner lights - super easy. The tail light bucket is held in with a nut inside the trunk behind a cover. Loosen that, then use a smooth-bladed slotted screwdriver to pop the retaining clip loose. It is aligned with the body seam between the bumper and fender. Just slide the blade in until it pops the spring loose, then jiggle the bucket out.
The front corner bulbs are just like the fogs, but you have to reach a little further to get to them. Make sure to use the correct bulbs (as you would with any car). My '03 had some cheapo Chinese things that weren't the correct rating and made the flasher go nuts.
I'd love to go on, but this is like all the other MAC vs PC, PC vs Linux, XBox vs Wii, PS3 vs XBox, Raiders vs 49ers, Harley vs Indian, and Jap vs Kraut vs American car BS strewn across the internet.
My point is simple, not every product is perfect for every person. And some items will turn out to be lemons. You have to be a smarter consumer and end user.
And having an ounce of common sense helps, too.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my 98 Beetle TDI for 9 years and I'm satisfied. It now has 126,000 km and I've just done all the normal preventitive maintenance. That being said normal maintenance is expensive. Timing belt and water pump, fuel system cleaning, power steering flush, brake system flush. I also had some problems with the glow plug harness. It looks like a toy but it's a solid vehicle and is a great highway car. Dealer is expensive at 110.00/hr for repairs. I might just buy that 1967 Chevelle and fix it myself or there are local mechanics that will do it for 35/hr.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the original poster, these are pieces of shit. Do your research and you will find that most of the problems noted are all very well documented common problems - water pumps, window motors, melted fuse boxes all of which I have encountered on my daughter's car which I religiously maintain. We also had to replace a catalytic converter (under a warranty extension that they don't tell you about until it fails).

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you have said. It was hard for my wife to give up on her beetle too but it was costing almost as much in repairs as the monthly payment. She was afraid it was going to break down all the time. The battery would drain if left to sit for more than a day. You shouldn't need to change a waterpump and timing belt at 60,000 miles. The DBW system is crappy.
The headlight bulbs burn out quickly and the manual won't tell you how to change them. Thank god for the internet.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Total IDIOT - very few people seem to know that the only years of the New Beetle which were manufactured in Germany were the original model year (98) and 99. After that all Beetles were assembled in Mexico. I have had my 98 silver Beetle for 6 years and it is a workhorse with no issues except routine maintenance and if you are dumb enough to go to a dealer for this, then you deserve to pay whatever they charge you. The only big ticket item I've ever had was replacing the timing belt - and this was not because there was ANY problem with the car, it was purely preventative and my local mechanic did it for $620 vs. the dealership quote of $900 - $1000.
I have also replaced all bulbs at one time or another, it's very easy and usually doesn't even need any tools! You really must be a moron.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm one of the morons.
2001 Beetle Gas Turbo. Purchased new. Car still has under 48,000 miles. Assembled in Mexico.

Non-drive train issues: The interior has fallen apart. The interior hard plastic parts simply fall off or crack. This includes the A/C vents, the covers over the seat adjustments, the covers on the seat belts, the safety reflectors on the interior doors. The leather seat material is good quality. Otherwise, the headliner, and the vinyl door panel covers peeled off. Also, the plastic door pull on the passenger side snapped off. Called the dealer to buy a new handle and was told the door handle was an integral part of the door panel and the part was about $400 without labor. Found one in a bone yard for $100. It was the only one in Houston. Top of panel is color-keyed to car exterior, so it had to be repainted. Also had the vinyl door panels and headliner replaced 6 months ago. Panels are coming loose again. The side air bag light came on. I checked this out on the internet and discovered that there are two tiny wires on the seatbelt buckle that break from the seatbelt tugging on the mount. It can't be spliced because of the resistence tolerance in the wire. Replaeement of the part and resetting the airbag light was $475. Drivers side window motor and regulator failed, dropping the window inside the door. Passenger door lock locks and unlocks itself constantly while car is in motion.

Mechanical issues: At about 20,000 miles, the dipstick tube broke off while checking the oil.

Powertrain issues: At 40,000 miles, the plastic waterpump failed at 60 mph. Car has no temp gauge and idiot light didn't come on - a high-performance car with no gauges; go figure. Timing belt broke. Towed to dealer. Dealer said the engine was sludged so powertrain warranty was void. Said it wasn't heat damaged, but said sludge messed up the head and caused belt to break. I appealed and provided service records. They still declined to fix it. Meanwhile, I researched this on the internet and found hundred of complaints from other owners of VWs with gas turbo engines. All had the same experience regarding warranty. Gave up on VW after a year. I had a reputable shop repair it. Ended up replacing head, oilpump, pulleys, and virtually everything else I could think of while I had it apart. $4500 - Half of what dealer would have tagged me. I started using Mobil One 15,000 mile oil since then, but I change it every 4,000 miles. That was 18 months ago. Since then, I've driven the car only as a second car, and have put about 8,000 miles on it. I've had no more engine problems. The check engine light comes on all the time, however. When I need to get it inspected, I reset it and drive it 250 miles before it comes back on, shortly after it passes inspection. Right now, it's draining the battery after six hours and I'm trying to trace the short, but so far, no luck. I've replaced the battery twice, just to make sure, and it's not the battery. I'm thinking the battery box is bad. Expensive to replace. I've got a 1999 Miata and a 2001 Honda Accord. I drive them instead whenever possible. The Miata has 250,000 miles and is still a wonderful car. The Honda has 150K and still runs perfectly. I think about selling the VW from time to time, but I can't bring myself to be that much of a prick to pass this on to another "moron" who is captivated by the looks of the car. In conclusion: I know that some people have had good luck with these - mostly those who bough the 2.0 and the TDI. However, if you research this, you'll find that there are many thousands of very unhappy owners who have been bankrupted by these cars.

1:08 AM  
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12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2005 Beetle - 34,500 miles - $1100 rear window; $500 front end(struts) replace; $1000 front drivers side window; $1200 to replace the gravel shield on the bottom of the car; convertible top falling apart already! Battery? don't even think of replacing it yourself! Lights...any of them, don't go there either! All in all, one nasty piece of shit! NEVER BUY ONE! Take it from us suckers who got screwed by those "German Engineers" on drugs!

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the creator of this post. I have worked and wasted so much time trying to track down some of the problems with my sister's Beetle. I know now I am the dip shit because I should have went fishing instead of ever opening the first door, hatch, or hood on that POS.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

call me an idiot with all caps too then cause the beetle I got has all these and more, not the least of which is that it starts for but a second then shuts right off. I took it to the dealrer and paid to have it diagnosed and they could not do it, so? I towed it back home again. yes, 2 tows. what a true piece of junk I say.

6:11 PM  
Blogger 1999vwluvavwluva said...

Bulbs are easy to replace, I have never had to take the power steering reservoir to replace my battery. My aunt got a 1999 New Beetle GL in 2007 for $6,000 with 87,000 miles. Great car, she drove it at least two hours a day from work and back. The car now has 143,000 miles. She gave the car to me after a mechanic gave up on it and said take it to the junkyard or try a $1200 ECU. He was wrong. And after a summer we figured out that it was the crankshaft position sensor($15) and the car needed the throttle body aligned. Just towed the car in today, will get it aligned for $45. Then it will be ready for another 300,000 miles. Excited! :-)

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm somewhere in the middle. I always pull the bolt holding the P/S reservoir so it will tip out of the way when I pull the battery.
Our 98 was so-so, that plastic water manifold cracked and I overheated it a few times before finally fixing it. It had trans sensor issues that I never resolved. It died in a crash and we have an 04 now. Both with 2.0 motors and automatics. current one has battery drain problem. Still figuring that one out.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I am the lucky one
I have a 1999 New Beetle Herbie Edition 2.0 5 speed that has 93211 miles on it and the only thing I will be doing to it soon is the timing belt,water pump and timing belt tensioner
International parts has the kit for $125.00 and only takes 2 hrs to do, I have done the bugs before.
1 02 sensor replaced.
1 battery.
If you guys check around you can get a water pump with the metal impeller instead of plastic.
Had to replace 1 headlight bulb and the lower valance and fog lights due to hitting a big brick in the road.
No broken interior parts and no wiring gremlins.
I do all my own preventive maintenance and it is garage kept and has never seen snow.
This is my 2nd bug,the first one was a 1998 and got caught in a hail storm and was destroyed it had 237987 miles, total of 3 timing belt setups 2 batteries and 1 alternator,no broken interior parts except 1 inside door handle got from pull a part indy and replaced just the handle.
The 1999 bug runs great and handles like a dream and fun to drive and I'm 52 yrs old.
Not all bugs are made equal some are a little quirky

1:13 AM  
Blogger Amanda Zubke said...

How many of these people had turbocharged? Everyone knows that the 1.8T has a lot of issues. Only complaint I have is the price of parts. If you know a mechanic it's not that expensive to put parts in.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VW Sucker,
I bought my daughter a 1999 ( made in Germany) and I'm having the same problems everyone here are having. Second Worst decision I've ever made with the purchase of cars. First was a VW rabbit GTI, no mechanic could fix my problem of stalling out (even dears hip could not fix it), it was my first car in high school and I swore I would never buy another VW again "but it looks so cute" my daughter says and sure enough I prayed the this Germany engineered car would live to some of the German engineering hype, well here I am posting, which I never do, but yes stay away from any cheap German made car!!!!!!!
The Sucker

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the stealership sold my mom a lemon, right from the start it had two ridiculous problems: the hatch door latch works every other time, you have to hit the key button at least twice to open the hatch, frustrating. they never fixed it, you can see the strike plate is cracked now, from years of hitting wrong. the driver's side window buttons were switched, the front button controlled the passenger side. what? they fixed that. oh let's see, where do I start? the headlight lamps that the local mechanic said "I don't know how to replace them, you'll need to go to the dealer." NEVER heard that before. A/C vent damper button broke, they fixed that. Back up light I will never replace, because I returned the Haynes book to the library, and forgot to copy that page. The snot that drips down from the driver's side rear light assembly, stories about migrating coolant in the wires both vex and entertain. I checked the coolant level switch, no migrating coolant, oh happy day. Now the classic: the disintegrating plastic oil dipstick tube, oh thank you VW for putting all that plastic on the engine so it breaks and ruins the car. Rationale? It costs less to replace a plastic part, than a metal one. Parts guy said that, not kidding. The plastic coolant manifold, got lucky there and only had to replace the bleeder plug, cost $50 at an honest mechanic, but the oil change A-holes I go to rubbing hands, had me penciled in for a complete removal, he tried to hoodwink me, but I already knew about it, because i looked at it. And now for this week's issue: the driver front seat has broken the bracket right off the chassis, just snapped it right off, the seat tottles and pitches. I'm looking for some angle iron to bolt it down. THE CHASSIS!!! That should NEVER fail. The secondary air pump brackets are broken. Oh, this is funny, get this: ALL three of the plastic engine splash guards are off, they disintegrated one by one, and fell off. Glove-compartment latch broken, I press down both sides with my finger to open, you do that too? Isn't that funny, how cute. I'm tired of typing, now the creme-de-la-creme: THE CRAYON SMELL. Oh VW, you guys are so totally fucked, I bet you pull the wings off flies and whisper about how great adolf hitler was. the crayon smell, how many posts are there in cyber space devoted to the VW crayon smell? i don't know, I lost count.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

our brand new beetle convertible had issues with the seal around the back window. Just after the warranty, the dealer said we had to eat the repair costs. They promised it would resolve the issue, because they had a new vendor. So...... They knew about the issue with mine and others. Shame on VW for not making it right at no cost :(

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 2000 1.8 turbo piece of crap that I bought for my daughter about 6 years ago. the list is a mile long of all the issues its had and is having. It eats ignition coils was one of the biggest issues. Its a known issue and there may have been a lawsuit against VW about it. the door locks and trunk locks go bad, the smog pump / combi valves go bad , the headlights constantly go out, check engine light rarely stays off, vacuum leaks all the time , all sorts of little gremlins that pop up here and there that cause it to rough idle. spark plugs go bad on it. valve cover gaskets go bad and leak oil to the plugs. if your thinking about buying one I wouls not recomend it or I have one for sale !

5:21 PM  

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