My VW lemon

Hello gentlemen!!! I have a 99 VW beetle (standard trannie) that has turned into a lemon. I have had my heater go out, my turn signal break off, 1 headlight, 1 tail light and a slur of other things to happen in the last month. Needless to say, I will be investing alot of money on this car next year. However, a quirky little thing happened. We just had a ice/snow mix here in Oklahoma and before that my parking break was working pretty well…afterwards however, it appears as though I have complete and total parking brake failure. There are times when i stop the vehicle, engage the parking brake but it is loser than it was before, very easy to pull up with little to no resistance at all and after I let off the regular brake, it sloooooowly rolls. But then there are other times when it will not roll and be set. This morning is a prime example as I got out of the car and leaned against it to get something out of the back seat, it began rolling away. What do I need to do? Is this something that is an easy at home fix?? Thanks guys! You are AWESOME!

You may need to adjust the parking brake cable, or reattach it if it has come loose somewhere. Perhaps the cable is still frozen, and not releasing all the way. This happens often in cold, icy conditions.

Can you park the car in a warm garage long enough for any ice to melt? This may help.

You’re supposed to put the transmission in gear when the vehicle is parked. Then it won’t roll away, even if the parking brake is not fully set.

To Mcparadise’s good advice, I would like to add that having a headlight and a tail light burn out do not constitute evidence of a car being a “lemon”.

That being said, VWs of that era are not exactly the most reliable of vehicles, particularly when it comes to phantom electronic problems and unusual things like frequently broken window regulators. As to the lack of a heater, I would suggest that you have your mechanic look into this matter, because this could indicate other problems in the car’s cooling system, and that could potentially lead to big-ticket repair costs.

My theory is that when something froze, like the parking brake cable or the pads, you did some driving with the rear brakes applied. That led to some serious wear to those pads, but lucklily, the cold weather prevented your brake fluid from boiling. The combined effect of that and nine years of stretching your parking brake cable have left the rear brakes out of adjustment. You could try adjusting the rear brakes and/or adjusting the parking brake cable.

Oh, and mcparadise is right. Put it in gear for extra insurance even if the parking brake works.

Since you are in Oklahoma, you might be near one of our clubs, where other VW folks could help you out. Our club site is:

I’d guess your heater problem (since it just “went out”) is electrical. Most likely the motor bearings are shot, causing the fuse to blow, and stop working altogether. If it works on high, but nothing else, then its most likely the fan switch.

Headlights and tail lights are light bulbs, they burn out (they did last about 10 years :slight_smile:

As to the rear e-brakes, its possible that one of the cables came loose at the caliper or snapped, reducing the braking force by half. It’s also possible that the rear pads are very worn, and just cannot do their job, which you will hardly notice in normal driving as the fronts do almost all of the work.

Good luck - it doesn’t sound much like a lemon to me.

For one, turn your wheels toward the curb when you park. Have the rear brakes adjusted or replace (because of wear) and / or have the parking brake cable adjusted.