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.
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