Bugged out Volkswagen bug

My daughter just purchased a 99 Volkswagen beetle it has 130,000 mi. on it. She test drove it with no problems. It drove and ran like a car with 130,000 mi. on it. She got her driver’s license this morning and drove it for maybe 25 mi. it started to buck accelerating from a dead stop. It will only do this and drive or one of four gears. If I put in reverse it will not bluck. The computer has not set off any codes. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the engine is hot or cold. Do you guys have any suggestions for me.

Thanks Brian

Without good reliable information from the prior owner, you will need to find a good mechanic, preferable one who knows VW’s well.

Is this an automatic or manual transmission? Has anyone checked the transmission fluid (proper fill, color and smell?)

Yes. Trade in the car and don’t ever buy a Volkswagen again. This car has so many documented problems and more than a few serious recalls that I stopped looking.
One involves the ABS. Just accept that this car is a money-pit and move on.

New Beetles. They’re cute, aren’t they? That’s why young women buy them.

Unfortunately, New Beetles of this vintage, especially when they’ve accumulated some miles, can become, shall we say, troublesome.

“It drove and ran like a car with 130K miles on it.” What does that mean? Is that supposed to be good or bad? Some cars with 130K miles are still in pretty good shape, but others are near the end of their useful lives.

Please tell us whether this car has an automatic or a manual transmission.

I would not have bought this car in the first place, but that’s beside the point. Your daughter is likely to spend LOTS of money trying to keep this car on the road. This may be just the tip of the iceberg.

This is unlikely to be a reliable, inexpensive-to-own car. Your daughter needs to know the truth.

Newer Volkswagens tend to have major electrical problems especially with the ignition coils. That’s where I would start. Actually I’d send it back to Germany but I’m guessing that’s not an option. Try maybe putting a few more miles on it see if the check engine light turns on, that’s going to be the easiest way to find the problem. With OBDII something as simple as a lose/missing fuel cap turns the check engine light on, something this serious should eventually turn it on.