really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,991 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 112008


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle. The contact was not the driver at the time of the incident. While driving approximately 55 mph on a snow covered road, the driver noticed an 18-wheeler heading towards the vehicle. The driver applied pressure to the brakes in order to avoid a crash. The brakes failed and the driver rear ended the preceding vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a body shop and an insurance agent informed the owner that the vehicle was destroyed. The dealer and the manufacturer were not notified. The VIN was unavailable. The current and failure mileages were 100,000.

- Rayne, LA, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Jun 262007

Beetle 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 89,957 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle. The plastic tube that extends from the vacuum pump to the vacuum brake booster is cracked and defective. The contact stated that without this piece, brake failure is likely to occur. As a result, he would have to depress the brake pedal very hard in order for them to work. The vehicle has not been driven since the failure occurred. The current and failure mileages were 89,957. The consumer stated plastic line replaced with 3/8" vacuum line. Updated 07/26/07

- Hillsborough, NH, USA

problem #2

Jul 302004


  • miles
1998 Beetle. After the vehicle was purchased it was driver 120 miles to the consumer's home. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop because the consumer heard a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The technician determined that eh vehicle's brakes and clutch were bad. The consumer contacted the dealer but the refused to provide any assistance.

- Seaville, NJ, USA

problem #1

Sep 132002

Beetle 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle caught on fire, possible engine failure, while driving the vehicles brake system failed and the driver had to use the emergency brake to stop vehicle. The head light malfunctioned and the vehicles is flling apart after one month of ownership. The dealer refused to fix it.

- Camden, NJ, USA

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