CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2000 VW Beetle Purchase

My sister is in need of a dependable, less than 5K car to purchase. We looked at a 2000 VW Beetle today with 127K miles on it. It is a GLS with manual transmission and seems to be in very good shape. I am wondering if anyone has knowledge of mechanical issues with the make, model and year? The dealer said the timing belt was just replaced. Any suggestions on other cars less than 5K? Thanks!

@gatormin stay away from that car.

VWs have dismal reliability records. Just check consumer reports or the other rating agencies.
That car is already on the downslope, as it has 127K.
A Toyota or Honda with that mileage wouldn’t be so worrisome, though.
Log onto Consumer Reports and look at the used car advice. They have a section that lists good used cars in different price ranges.

How about a small truck with a 4 banger and a stick? I’m thinking of Ranger or S10, because it has to be inexpensive.

Suggest first to see if you can find a Honda Civic or Toyota Echo or Corolla in your price range. The Ford Crown Vic as a used car seems to get good marks in this forum too.

I’m a mechanic, and my input is purely anecdotal and I have no hard data to back up my observations. A 2000 Beetle will never be a reliable car. There are too many non-maintainable items that seem to break. I’ve sure replaced a lot of window mechanisms, door handles, electrical switches and relays, and engine related sensors, solenoids, etc. All cars have pattern failures, but my experience is that Beetles have more of them.

the point is its a stick shift something vw does well but the car does a hve its shaire of problems mostly electricel what i’m trying to say is buyer beware have it checked out by someone that knows vws

Here’s what Intelefix has to say:

“Occasional problems on this vehicle are failures of the Timing Belt, Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor, the Intake Manifold Air Induction Passages (1.9L diesel engine only), the Water Pump and the Engine Vacuum Hoses.”

You can read about it here: http://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/new-beetle/2000/reliability.html?style=&sub=hatchback

The car is 13 years old. Anything you look at that is this old can be termed unreliable. More important is how well it has been maintained. If the dealer has all the maintenance and repair paperwork, it may be worth a shot. Even if the paperwork is not there, a prepurchase inspection can tell you if the car has any unseen flaws that should eliminate it from consideration. And I mean an inspection, at your expense, done by a different shop.

I can only tell you that my personal experience (2002 NB) has been a very good car for me. I bought it new and have had very little problems. However I tend to maintain my cars better than most people.

@ jtsanders

that’s a cheap price in that link for timing belt replacement. 49.00 parts 175.00 labor seems like a great deal

are these engines easy access for this belt?

If you had said a 2000 VW with auto transmission, I’d say no way. But with a manual transmission you are dodging one of the major problems with VW’s. Their auto transmissions have a high failure rate, often need replacing before they reach even 100K miles and these repairs are expensive, like $3000.

With a manual transmission I’d have a mechanic check the car over, and if it gets a good review I’d consider it. Don’t expect a trouble free car. It is a VW (electrical issues are common, often with the radio, and power accessories) and it is 12 years old. You might want to price out a “clutch replacement job”. At 127K miles and driver’s unknown a clutch could be ready to fail and need replacement.

1 Like

“The dealer said the timing belt was just replaced”. Who is the dealer? Is it a new car dealer or an independent used car dealer? In the case of the timing belt, I would ask to see the invoice that the belt was actually replaced and when it was replaced.
What kind of driving will your sister be doing? I know two people who purchased the VW NewBeetle of about this vintage as new cars. One has had very little problems and still owns the car and one had so many problems she traded the car after a few years. I live in a university town in the midwest and the local VW agency is out of business. When this agency opened in the early 1960s the agency was more profitable than having a license to steal gold at Fort Knox. However, from the 1970s to the present, the VWs became less reliable and hence less popular.
Now in a car that is 13 years old the make is not as important as how well the car was maintained. The present Consumer Reports doesn’t include cars this old. The 2000 VW NewBeetle did not have a very good reliability record its first five years, but perhaps in the one you are examining the problems have been repaired. If you can find the service records for the car, this would help in making a decision.
At any rate, do your homework on price and certainly have a mechanic check the carf over. Also, if this is an independent used car dealer, find out how long the dealer has been in business at is present location. In other words, check out the dealer as carefully as you check out the car.

According to Consumer Reports they’re ‘much worse than average’ with lots of trouble areas besides transmissions. This was the period where VW/Audi had lots of issues with ignition coils, among other things. I’d try to better my odds with a more-reliable car.

I would also stay away from Toyota Corollas from the years 2000 up to possibly 2004. These engine can be big time oil burners. The early production all aluminum 1ZZ-FE engine had Issues. Its unclear if some late modal 98-99 cars may of had the engine as well, but check the engine first, and avoid these to if found to have the 1ZZ-FE engine in it.

@americar the 1998 and 1999 Corollas also had that engine

1 Like