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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,901 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #12

Sep 012010

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles


The vehicle air conditioning stopped working in 9/2010. After paying for repair of the ac system it still did not work and the mechanic stated that the problem was in the wiring and would have to be repaired by the dealer. Recently, 4/2012, the gas pedal has started to fluctuate on its own while driving the vehicle. When this happens the car must be pulled over and turned off for to reset the electrical system and then started again to control the problem. However the problem continues to occur at frequent intervals. I contacted VW after reading about the recalls concerning electrical wiring caused by a wire connection too close to the battery tray (recall id # 11675 - electrical system:wiring:front underhood) they told me the VIN number of the vehicle was not eligible for the recall even though the recall was in the same 1998 model year. I told them we are having the exact same problems as stated in the recall. The car is now unsafe to drive and we are left to diy on this one. Is there any resoltion that can be achieved here? it seems it should absolutely be recalled/repaired by VW.

- Felton, CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 122007

Beetle 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,815 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle. The vehicle had ex the same failure as indicated in recall # 98V100000. The contact stated that the vehicle began to overheat after the engine ran for five minutes. The vehicle was brought to the dealer, savage Kia, and the cause was diagnosed as wiring failure. The dealer remedied the failure. On April 12, 2007, the contact drove the vehicle for three miles at 45 mph and the vehicle overheated once more. The check engine indicator light also illuminated. The vehicle was returned to the dealer, who stated that the electrical wires were too close to the battery. This failure could cause the wires to heat and short out, preventing the fans from operating. The contact called the manufacturer, and was told that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The current and failure mileages were 75,000. Updated 05/21/07.

- Reading , PA, USA

problem #10

Dec 022003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 95,000 miles
1998 Volkswagen New beetle severely overheated, checking out cause found the fuse box on top of the battery housing had melted. This could have caused a major fire in the engine compartment! vwoa refuses to acknowledge there is a problem althought internet surveys show 26% failure in New beetles. Placement of the fuse box on the battery housing does not sound like a very safe idea!

- Walnut Ridge, AR, USA

problem #9

Apr 282003


  • 40,000 miles


The vehicle experienced symptoms of recall 98V-100000 which was related to the vehicles electrical wiring under the hood. The consumers vehicle was not included in the recall due to VIN.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #8

Mar 132003

Beetle 4-cyl

  • miles
The vehicle experienced the same problem regarding the electrical system as stated in recall#98V100000, however the vehicle identification number was not included in the recall.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 182002

Beetle Diesel

  • miles
Plastic part on orig. Harness melted on both front headlamps. The part was changed to eliminate the plastic but no recall was initiated. I have had no problems since the redesign of the part.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 152000


  • miles


The VW dealership repaired this electrical problem caused by the engine fan control box which also burned wires in the engine harness the dealership only repaired what they considered necessary. I was driving 12/14/00, during the rain and stopped the vehicle and the windshield wipers, signal lights, air condition, fan control for heat, etc., and the ememergency brake light remained on without being pulled up. I do not know what else may have not been working in the vehicle during the rain. I paid almost $700 tp have this electrical problem fixed after only owning the car for only 4 months. Could someone please assist me in finding out repair information before I invest any more $$$ into this vehicle?

- Richmond, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 102000


  • miles
I am stuck paying $650 in repairs for something I think the VW or my extended warranty should cover. No safety defect listed.

- Richmond, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 092000


  • miles
I have had my car for a little over a year now and this is the problems I have had... the lights keep going out on me.. always the left one first then the right follows... leaving me with only the brights... dealership has fixed them maybe three times now... and now they work when they want to.. leaving me only my bright lights... dealership explained to me that the electrical was not done properly and said could be fixed at a price of 350.00... no way.. I should have to pay that when he said they were made with a defect... the second thing gone wrong was my battery... the first time.. it just gave a loud pop and everything died... dealership fixed it and.. the second time the battery went out it gave another loud pop but this time the acid from the battery exploded out of the battery and onto the driveway...the dealership fixed it.. the third time the fuses needed to be changed that are on the battery...the cooling system stopped working as well which caused the car to over heat... they fixed it and my water pump... a month later.. the cooling system failed again... had to take it back to fixed a second time.... the switches on the left door that control the windows are broken and this is the second time.. the first time they fixed it.. now they wont even fix it.. they claim its not on my warranty and want me to pay $400 to have it fixed... when warranty covered it the first time... and now my right window dont want to go up... dealership again claims warranty wont cover it... when my insurance agent says it will... dealership refuses to fix it.. want me to pay $600 to have it fix... now the dealership says my left window wont go up... so now I have two windows that wont go in a brief summary.. my headlights failed four maybe five times.... my cooling system twice... my water pump once... my window switches twice.... my battery twice... and the dealership does not help matters any either... please get back to me on this...thank you.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 262000

(reported on)


  • miles
No summary listed for abov evehicle.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 302000

Beetle Diesel

  • miles
A vital wiring harness has failed and possibly burned up causing the car to die in the middle of major expressway. Volkswagon claims that the part will take three months to get if special ordered from the manufacturer in germany and will cost thousands of dollars to replace. Volkswagon claims that replacing this harness may not correct the problem entirely. In October of 1999, volkswagon replaced an electrical part associated with the diesel fuel glow plug assembly fourteen months after purchase. Volkswagon replaced the battery in may of 2000 and has replaced 5 headlamps in two years. This vehicle has experienced major electrical problems since purchase.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #1

Jul 011999


  • miles
Dealer refuses to schedule prompt repair for current headlight failure (request 5-10 days); current headlight failure includes permanent failure of left headlight and intermittent failure of both headlights; consumer reports reports 1998 new Beetle as "used car to avoid" (April 2000issue, P. 75); new Beetle website conducted survey of owners of 1998 model - 55 percent report trouble with the car, 90 percent of which is electrical; a recall was issued for 1998 Beetles manufactured in first half of 1998 because of faulty wiring that could cause fire in engine compartment (we were not notified of a recall); there are many complaints of Beetle owners regarding VW consumer service; we have received substandard service from our dealer, including one repair on a failed headlight that was not performed as stated, forcing us to return the car.

- Austin, TX, USA

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