@002 vw beetle with multiple problems

I have an 02 beetle that i just bought a week ago. On the drive home I started to lose power but it worked ok the rest of the way home. I have my room mate drive me to and from work since I didn’t have insurance that day. I get home that night to check the headlights. When I started the car the whole thing shook like an earthquake and the check engine light came on. I had a mechanic come out and he says I need a new coolant temperature sensor. so I got that replaced but then i go to fill up my gas and it starts to do the thing mentioned above. I got to the traffic light and my battery light and check engine light comes on. this time though the car doesn’t go. so I turn it off and try to turn it on again but only the lights on my dashboard came on. so I get out push the car forward and back, then it starts fine, without any of the lights on. from there on the car started working fine. I unfortunately know very little about cars, so if anyone can help me figure it out or want to just take the car off my hands i would greatly appreciate it.

I’m not a mechanic so take that for what it’s worth. I think you found out why it was for sale. You likely do have multiple issues so start with the basics. You need a full make up physical including a compression test just to rule out major engine problems. When the engine light goes on, that means a trouble code has been set. You need to know what that code is for any help here. The guy that sold you the temp sensor should have told you.

At any rate I’d start with making sure the battery is good and the alternator. Freshen up and tighten all of the positive and negative battery cable connections. I would even clean and check all of the various computer and electronic connections and look for water intrusion. Was it a flood car? When the code comes back you’ll have another place to start.


The poster knows nothing about cars, Bing…

Either find a good mechanic or put up for sale but be honest about the problems.

Have your next car checked out by your mechanic BEFORE you buy it.


Good ideas above. It sounds like the engine is severely misfiring sometimes, and for some reason, other times it’s running ok. hmmm … these symptoms not very consistent w/ ECT sensor problem, but faulty ECT sensor could contribute.

The main clue appears to be – I’m making some assumptions here, correct me if I’m wrong – that engine did the shaking thing in an intersection, then stalled, next you tried to start the engine by putting the key in the “start” position, but the engine wouldn’t crank. so then you got out & pushed the car, and it started, then no engine warning lights and engine ran perfectly.

So focusing on the last part, engine runs perfectly, that’s good news, means whatever is wrong is intermittent, so should be repairable. I think the first thing to do is for your shop to rule out the battery and alternator as a possible cause. A battery/alternator system test is a common thing done at shops, usually relatively inexpensive.

As part of that, ask shop to read all the diagnostic codes stored in the drivetrain computer. If you post them here, you’ll get some more ideas.

If you simply want a more reliable car, might be better to trade this one in on a Corolla, Civic, or Mazda 3. Always good idea to obtain a pre-purchase inspection done by your own mechanic when buying used cars. $100 or so, money well spent.

Ive narrowed it down to either the alternator or the fuel filter since if either of those are bad it can cause the car to stall. But the shaking happened separately from the car stalling. I have a mechanic coming mo day to look at the battery and alternator. Ill try to see if he could scan the codes while hes there.

There’s other things in the engine compartment that could cause the engine to stall, but checking the alternator first, and obtaining the diagnostic codes makes a lot of sense. Unlikely to be the fuel filter imo. Clogged fuel filter symptom typically is engine runs ok at lower speeds, around town driving, but balks when going faster, accelerating, or uphill.