really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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.

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #1

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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