really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
4,500 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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1998 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #10

Feb 171998

Beetle 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,000 miles


My 1998 bug has burned approx. 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles, dealership reported this as normal? don't think so. I have also replaced the headlights every six months until the switch on the emergency brake for the daytime runnings lamps broke. I open the car door (still in warranty) and the handle fell off in my hands. Fog light had moisture in it, now both have fallen out. Both door hinges broke. You cannot open doors and shut them, I had to climb in and out of the windows to get into the car. The trunk latch had to be repaired, it wouldn't open. The gas latch is broken and doesn't hinge, the glove box hinges don't work, the compartment above the clock doesn't hinge properly. The radio turns itself off, the temp read out in the car fades in and out, something on the transmission broke and I only had 2nd and 3rd gear, I have replaced the oxygen sensors twice, my air bag light is on, I have been told I need a new seat to correct this, even though it is due the the electrical problems every bug seems to have. Hub cap has fallen off several times. I have lost antifreeze, but no one seems to be able to find out where II's going. I'm sure there is more, but this car constantly has so many things wrong with it, I can't keep up anymore. Unfortunately the dealerships are the only people who can't seem to see all the cronic problems with this vehicle.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jul 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I bought a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle from torrance Nissan on 5 January, 2003: Since the date of purchase, this car had been overheating off and on. I returned it to the dealership but was informed that it was nothing to worry about." They went as far as taking it to a VW service rep on 5 and 6 January, 2003 for confirmation. I found out later that VW has no record of ever servicing or even seeing the VW until 1 April, 2003! during the months of February and March, 2003 I still experienced the vehicle overheating and each time I called amir, I would follow up with a visit to torrance Nissan. Their replies were always the same, they could not find a problem for the overheating" there were many times I told the dealership that I no longer wanted this car and even submitted it in writing on 15 April, 2003. On 1 April, 2003 I took the Beetle to Volkswagen myself and had it fixed, but the water pump broke again and was replaced on 4-9-03. Three days later, the car was getting hot. I told both Volkswagen and torrance Nissan that I no longer want this car! I have proof of all the repairs performed and still it overheats! on 12 April, 2003 I took the car once more to Volkswagen to thoroughly check it out and they called their technical support. A few days later they found a cracked head on the engine block. To top it off, I had a car accident on 28 April, 2003 on my way to work and had to be towed to the long beach Honda body shop. Later that night the car caught fire and was burned down with 3 other cars in the body shop. Before the car caught fire, I was in process of a valid claim under the lemon law & magnuson-moss warranty act with the adam krohn of the consume law center. Issues: Rental car $1,607.78 (my insurance only covered $600, my insurance covered only actual value of $10,788.31; leaving me with a balance of $1,043 out-of-pocket. Which my insurance informs me make a claim against the body shop for difference on balance and $ $1007.78 of the car rental.

- Sanperdo, CA, USA

problem #8

Oct 182000

Beetle 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The vehicle has experienced serious malfunctions, which made it totally unsafe and unreliable. Ak **dimsii IVOQ entry posted after 12/12/02 cut-over to artemis*739197

- Bland, MO, USA

problem #7

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

problem #6

Dec 201999


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle stalls out and engine completely shuts down, also engine check light illuminates.

- Cuyahoga Fall, OH, USA

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problem #5

Apr 102000

Beetle Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Ongoing problem with engine check light keep coming on. This has occurred on nine occasions, and vehicle stalled out while traveling at 40 mph or more on two occasions. Dealer unable to locate cause. Consumer states other beetle vehicles have been recalled, however she has not received any recall notification.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #4

Nov 012000

Beetle Diesel

  • miles


Complete failure of unit. Seems to be a very comman problem in new VW's. no safety defect listed.

- Benbrook, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 012000


  • miles
Multiple problems with car since purchase.

- East Greenwich, RI, USA

problem #2

Jul 212000


  • miles
This vehicle has been nothing but problems from the start. When the vehicle was purchased about three weeks afterwards, if you hit a bump the hubcaps would come flying off. This would happen going at the speed of 25mph. I've taken it back to the dealer for service. They said that was a problem with the new models. They replaced the hubcaps, but the problem would continuously happen. Finally I took it back again for service and demanded that this problem be fixed. So far they are all changed and it hasn't occured again. Between these problems a total of 5 hubcaps have been replaced. The other problems, are the steering wheel would knock and make loud noises. The first time it was brought in, I was told that there was nothing wrong with the car, and that the car was classified as safe. It started happening again, and they looked and said it was a "defect" in that years model. So they replaced it, "because my car was still under guarantee". this problem has started all over again, I took it in for service just recently and they said it's because of the damp weather we've been having. Just yesterday I brought the car in for turning off on the middle of the highway. The service center was not helpful. They would not give me a loaner and would not even give me a ride home or work because I worked in the bronx. My car is still not ready, and the comment was when I called if my car would be ready today was, "well you could take it back the way you brought it in." Great customer service. I've have been very unhappy with the car and the service center. I was told that this problem was nothing that I had caused, it is again another "defect" and it will be replaced free of charge only because I'm still under warranty until 8/27/00. He said I was lucky it happend now than later. But, explain something to me, if it is what they call a "defect" aren't they supposed to fix it anyway?

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 131998


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The malfunction indicator lamp "mil" comes on all the time and stays on. Vehicle has been to dealership seven times. He hasn't solved the problem. The yellow light came on and went out several times at different mileage. The dealer kept telling the customer it is okey to drive it. But the customer does not feel safe.

- W Rutland, VT, USA

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