Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Volkswagen Beetle accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #6

Dec 122007

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 54,000 miles


1998 VW new Beetle: Both door locks failed. At first only driver door with fob. Progressed to not being able to lock either door with fob or key. VW dealer in alexandria, va said problem could have deteriorated further to the alarm system and be unable to start the car. Repair cost $850.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #5

Aug 012007

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles
Since I purchased my Beetle in 2001, it has been an ongoing money drain. In 6 yrs. I have replaced the manual transmission twice, had the brakes worked on a number of times, been unable to open the gas "door" on the car w/ the gas cap latch, had to replace the hood opening latch, had repeated electrical failures, problems w/ front & rear light wiring, had door locks/alarm fail & subsequently had my laptop stolen from the car, the radio has not worked for 1+ year, & it's cover panel is loose & falling back into the dash, the rear-view mirror switches have failed, the power window switches have had to be replaced, the drivers side door fell off (!) of its top hinge when the hinge broke while opening the door normally at a gas station, the air compressor has failed many times, the A/C is currently not working, the drivers side door lock fell out of the handle(!!!!), the catalytic converter has been replaced twice, & the list goes on. Currently I have not been driving the car for several wks B/C though only a week or two out of the shop, again it is having transmission problems. I am at my wits end with this car & having recently graduated from college, am not in the greatest position to have to buy a new car. Moreover, I am so displeased w/ the car that I would literally feel guilty about trading it in to be sold to some other unsuspecting person. VW should be so ashamed of themselves, & should be reimbursing owners of the 1998 Beetle in full for all of the strife & trouble that they have caused. In fact, after writing this & realizing how many problems this car has had, I may try to take legal action - this is totally unacceptable! finally, our local VW dealer is terrible, keeping my car for wks. Longer than expected, one time leaving a candy bar stuck to my passenger side seat!!!, and acting like they could care less about the poor quality of their products & labor.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #4

Sep 262005

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 52,000 miles
The lock mechanism on the passenger side door of my 1998 Beetle just fell out without warning. I discovered that it was missing and went to a repair shop to get it replaced, only to learn the this is a common problem with Beetles because the lock is held in by only one tiny screw. This defect will cost me $350 to repair, in a car that has only 50,000 miles on it. I also recently had to replace a fuse that powered the radiator fan because there is no early warning system in the car to indicate that the fan is not working. I was only aware there was a problem when the check-engine light came on, by which time there could have been extensive damage to the radiator. The fuse itself had gotten so hot it had virtually melted. This problem cost me nearly $370 to fix. The mechanic noted that he had seen this happen with Beetles several times because there is no temperature indicator on the dash -- you have no idea there is a problem until the check-engine light comes on.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #3

Apr 242002

(reported on)


  • miles


Lock cylinder on door came off. Dealer contacted.

- Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #2

May 012001


  • miles
Car overheats routinely. Initially in for repair on 1/25/01 when dealer claimed to have replaced the water pump and thermostat. Since then, car has overheated on three occasions, and water leakage has been observed. Dealer says they can not replicate the issue. Driver's side door does not lock and unlock reliably, forcing me to enter and exit car through passenger door. Reported to dealer three times (initially 5/31/00). One time dealer lubricated lock; currently they say they can not replicate the issue and will not fix. After water pump repair in 1/01, car exhibited a whining noise and power steering stiffness at low rpms -- likely due to improper workmanship during that repair. Dealer claims power steering fluid was low, and has been "topped off" to alleviate problem. However, I recently had rountine maintenance at another establishment just 4 days prior to taking into shop; during that service, power steering fluids were indicated as "ok." Oil consumption is excessive. Despite repeated reports to VW (initially 5/00), have received no resoluion or investigation into this issue. Through research, I have learned that this is a common Beetle problem, and some Beetle owners are receiving new engines or valve stem repairs to remedy. Transmission jerks severly when shifting from reverse to drive. Initially reported 9/29/98 at 9596 miles and not addressed by dealer. Recurring problems with headlight sealant leakage and water getting into headlight assembly, causing headlights to be unreliable and potential electrical/fire hazard. Have researched VW and learned during initial Beetle production in puebla, Mexico, they experience an abominal 40% defect rate. From research into other consumer issues with 1998 Beetles, I am certain that VW passed these defective vehicles on to consumers. Please contact me for further details. I have also experienced window reglator failures, dead battery, interior pieces falling apart and other issues. Thank you!

- Herndon, VA, USA

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problem #1

Aug 011998


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Passenger door lock failed.

- Redlands, CA, USA

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