really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,000 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 lights problems

lights problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #3

May 011998


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


In early may I had an accident with our 1998 VW Beetle which was caused by a defective part. The car was in drive, and I pushed down the brake petal. Then I changed gears to reverse and gently stepped on the gas pedal. The car lurched forward uncontrollably at an accelerated speed and hit a trailer at my place of work causing damage to both the Beetle and trailer. The car was brought in for servicing at vallejo Volkswagen (1401 sonoma blvd, vallejo ca) the previous Friday, so it was surprising that the car would malfunction so dangerously after having just been serviced. The car was brought back to vallejo Volkswagen Monday afternoon. The dealer told me that it sounded like this was due to a faulty brake lights switch and that they had seen this problem before. I left the car there overnight and they determined that the cause of the malfunction was indeed the faulty brake light switch. The part in question was subject to a recall and had apparently been replaced in my car in December of 2003. Vallejo Volkswagen disavowed any responsibility for the accident and attributed the malfunction to normal wear and tear of the break light switch. However, if this part is susceptible to breakdown due to normal wear and tare then it should be inspected when the car was serviced. Vallejo Volkswagen replaced the defective switch and had the audacity to charge me for doing so. Needless to say I am very unhappy with this situation and feel like both vallejo Volkswagen and Volkswagen are liable for the damage caused by the accident and are liable for placing me in such a dangerous and uncontrolled situation. Indeed, I am extremely relieved that the car hit the trailer, and god forbid not another human being which could have easily occurred had I been in a crowded parking lot. Addendum: I recently found out that as of May 30th 2006 there has been a recall of the recalled brake light switch.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 122000

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I"ve had multiple failures with my 1998 Beetle. The car was overheating--found out that the engine fuses were melted over the battery terminal. My reverse lights stopped working--no one has been able to correct that yet, my daytime running lights don't usually work, but sometimes will come on all by themselves. Got locked in my car twice. The alarm sometimes goes off for no reason. The car periodically doesn't start. Had it towed to VW twice for this. They could find no problems. Also, something in the car's electrical components is drowning the battery--have to buy a new battery every six months. I have replaced both windows once. I had the brake light switch replaced three times and was rear -ended once before VW finally did a recall on that part. I'm sure I have left something out--there is so much it's hard to remember. Bottom line--this car is a hazard on the road for the person driving and other motorists.

- Beverly Hills, FL, USA

problem #1

Dec 201999


  • miles
Faulty brake switch caused gear shifter to be difficult to move into gears/sticking.

- Columbia, MD, USA

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