1998 Volkswagen Beetle 1.7 turbo diesel from North America


Cheap on gas, but repairs more than compensate


I bought a diesel beetle, thinking that I would save money on fuel costs and have a high degree of reliability. (Diesel engines are supposed to last forever, aren't they?)

I have had a lot of expensive trouble with this car, for stupid reasons. I can't complain about the engine or drive train, but all the "extras" breaking down are driving me crazy.

First the rear hatch wouldn't close. It cost me around $150 to get repaired.

A few months later the driver side window wouldn't go up. That cost almost $450 to fix.

The air conditioning doesn't work. I have a quote of over $800 to fix it.

The engine light is on. When I took it to the dealer to have it checked, I was told that it could be on for many reasons. The scan reported "glow plugs", but the dealer said that since it was running I might as well ignore the light, because finding the problem (probably a ground fault), could be expensive. So I've driven with the engine light on for over a year.

Most recently, the low-beam headlights just stopped working. I went to a dealearship to ask whether this was a common problem. They said that they had seen it before, and the most likely cause was that both lights burned out. Seemed unlikely to me. Nevertheless, I bought a couple new headlights (almost $20) and installed them myself. (Dealer said it was a tough job and would take about an hour- it takes around 10 minutes.) Of course the lights don't work. I suspect there's a problem with the switch tied in with the emergency brake.

General Comments:

I grew up in a GM/Ford household. We NEVER had problems with our cars. We'd just change the oil, add gas, and they'd go. I was expecting this of my Volkswagen, but I was wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st September, 2003

1998 Volkswagen Beetle from North America


Cute on the outside, but ugly on the inside


Engine light has come on so many times I stopped taking it in for service.

Left headlight would burn out repeatedly.

Unable to have car moved out of park, had to have car towed to dealership.

Radio stopped working had to have replaced.

Odometer doesn't read accurately it will give me symbols in place of numbers or the numbers will disappear completely.

Replaced serpentine belt and spark plugs at about 36,0000 miles.

A/C stopped working and smelled very bad. This was very expensive to fix and happened after my warranty expired.

Window switches fell off on driver side.

Both passenger and driver side window regulators had to be replaced because the window would not go back up.

Gas tank lid became locked and is now broken.

Alarm randomly goes off and doors will not lock.

Window panels are cheap and peeling.

General Comments:

This car has been nothing, but a disappointment. This is so far the biggest mistake I have ever made in regards to a purchase. I regret my decision to buy a Volkswagen because it is a total money pit and very unreliable. I joke with my friends that it is just a matter of time before something else goes wrong. Too bad I signed a lease because I owe more than it's worth. This is a mistake I will never make again. No more Volkswagens for me!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th September, 2003

1998 Volkswagen Beetle from North America


A lovable import


I love my Beetle and hate to see what might be happening to it! I bought the car from Car Max. Bizarre things began happening to my car within months. The big stuff didn't start happening until 01/01 -- at the end of the traditional warranty period.

2000: The left front tire mud flap comes loose and wraps around the tire -- melting quickly. I had to get 2 co-workers to tear the flap off.

Power window switch is out and must be replaced -- twice within 8 months (3 months being winter).

Hatchback latch will not release because it has warped and has to be replaced.

Car stuck in park 2 separate occasions, had to rock the car back and forth several times to release.

Hood release falls on my foot while I am driving out of the dealer after the previous repair. I am charged for the repair $40! 2 weeks later the hood release lever falls off, but I am not charged for the repair. (FYI -- the hood release lever still falls off to this date. Just 7/03 my mechanic boyfriend could not get the hood to release. It took a lot of searching for the "right spot" until it finally opened.)


Window switch replaced 2 times.

Temperature gage indicates the car is overheating when it is not.

A/C blows freon into the car through the vents.

Battery dies.


Window switch replaced 2 times (FYI $30 per switch with labor)

Temperature gage goes off whenever stuck in heavy traffic on hot days.

Both light bulbs need to be replaced.

Brakes and rotors replaced -- 2 shops refused to do anything except a full replacement of the rotors ($600)

Gas tank won't open (4 times) -- have to flip the switch 5 or 6 times to release.


Fuel line (cheap fix -- Texxron & 93 octane -- for now)

A/C compressor is going out.

General Comments:

Overall, a pretty good car, but one of the worst dealers for customer service that I have ever dealt with.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd July, 2003