Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Should I replace my much-loved beetle with another?

I have a beautiful 2006 convertible bug that I need to trade in due to a low oil situation (long story). I love this car. It is beautiful, drives like a dream and everyone who knows me agrees that it is “me”. The problem is that it is very expensive to maintain and not very reliable. This drives my husband crazy but since he loves me and wants me to be happy he would agree to me buying another one. I don’t want to be foolish and throw good money after bad as I am somewhat practical. Did I mention that I really love this car? I spend 1-2 hours a week just cleaning it…

Logically, one should get a more reliable car.

However, being basically frugal, it was hard for me to learn that least costly is not always the way to go.

As much as you love this car, it is not an issue of, it costs more to keep running. It is a question of DO YOU HAVE THE MONEY TO KEEP IT RUNNING SAFELY. If you do, then that is the way to go.

People will spend thousands on a special trip somewhere, and be glad they did. But, they will moan about the same amount of money for a car they have driven for years.

My view is different, though. If you love this car, and can afford to deal with the lack of Honda/Toyota reliability, why not fix this one? Sounds like it needs a motor, right? Much cheaper than a new car. Logically, it might not be the way to go, but we have established that this is not a case of pure logic.

You might well get a new New Beetle, and for some reason just not bond to it.

Having the money, and being safe, are important issues here. Don’t fix it if for any reason you will be unsafe with it.

I worked with a man whose first wife had an old Mustang. She worshiped that car, and called it Horsey. He’d tease her in a blizzard about Horsey being cold, and she’d take a quilt and run out in the parking lot, and put the quilt on Horsey.

It got wrecked twice, totaled out, and she bought it back, and added the money, a considerable amount, for a complete rebuild. Finally, I think it got cut in half or something, and she rented a storage shed, and stored the mangled hulk in there.

Compared to that, a new motor for your beloved car is minor.

First, I’d like the details of the low oil situation. Second, in talking to a lot of people who own them, I have concluded that VWs have a tendency to be unreliable and VERY expensive to repair/maintain, and I think that it is inexcusable in this day and age. If German engineering is so great, they should be able to design something that is more trouble-free than a lot of VWs are.

I absolutely agree, Clutch. I would never recommend to any one to buy a VW. The only reason I suggested it should be fixed is because I well know how people become attached to their cars, beyond reason and logic. That is, I have responded to her views, not inserted mine.

Will you bein the same situation a few years from now. I guess the question is; how much extra are you willing to pay for an unreliable vehicle because you love it. It won’t love you back and it’s reliability is suspect. You are IMO throwing good money after bad, but what the heck. It’s between you and your husband at this point we loose a lot more money in the stock market than people loose in buying an unreliable car. It’s really not that big a deal and if you can afford it, do what makes you happy.

low oil details…

Apparently, it does not love you back! As others have said, you can keep it running by fixing or replacing the engine, and then really love it by memorizing the maintenance manual, Plus all the other additional recommendations this panel will have for you, especially on oil changes. At least the car has a good body, and nice upholstery.

Agree that your car has more “personality” than a Corolla and you are attached to this one. It’s also true that fixing the car, really caring for it mechanically and keeping it another 8 years will cost less overall than buying a new car and absorbing all that depreciation again. Cars are like faithful spouses; the good ones may not be perfect, but one overlooks a few imperfections!

A friend of mine, an automotive engineer, has a late 60s Mercedes 450SL coupe. He agrees that it’s expensive to keep up and less reliable than a $13,000 Toyota Yaris, but it has “personality” and he’s keeping it till it falls apart.

I was leaving work a few days ago when the oil light came on and I immediately turned the car off and pulled into a spot as I’ve always been told not to drive with the oil light on. I took my husband’s car home and he and a coworker bought oil to put in the car. There was hardly any oil in the car- the dipstick didn’t even register any oil after 2 quarts. They put an additional 1 1/2 quarts in and it finally registered. My husband drove the car home that night with no problems but in communicating with the guys here in the car talk community I realize that I have probably done lasting damage to it. I know that you will want to know that it was making a sound before the oil light came on. It only lasted for a few minutes after starting the car and you could only hear it in 1st and 2nd gear. I didn’t link this sound to low oil until after the oil light came on. Since then, I have taken it to the garage and the guys there said they didn’t see any metal bits in the stuff they drained or the filter. I’m told that is a good thing although they said the oil that was in there was very dirty. 3-1/2 quarts of which was new.

I don’t mean to sound irrational about this car. It is the beetle convertible that I love and I would be just as happy with another. There is no other car out there that I identify myself with and if I can’t have another bug then I don’t really care what I buy. We can afford the repairs and maintainence but they are rather irritating.

Buy another beetle and develop the habit of checking the oil. Then you won’t have another “low oil” situation.

If you can spend an hour or two each week cleaning the car you can spend 30 seconds checking the oil.

Although why you’d want another unreliable car that burns oil is beyond me. “Practical?” I think not.

I never understood that logic.

Sister-in-Law owned a 90’s Taurus…nothing but problems…after 4 years she traded it in for another Taurus…again nothing but problems…Between the two she spent THOUSANDS just to keep them running.

Then a few years ago she bought a Corolla…hasn’t spent one dime into any repairs.

If a specific brand of vehicle is giving you so much problems…then why buy another one???

Ouch! I said I was “somewhat practical” not that I wear flat ugly shoes all the time! I guess I’m just looking for someone to say “Go ahead and buy another one, it’ll be fine!” when the reality is that if I want a reliable car, the bug isn’t it. So I guess I have my answer- if I want to pay the price to drive the bug then that’s what I’ll have to do. Pay and pay and pay…

If the VW convertible is “you”, then go for the repair. The car that I was told was “me” was a GM diesel from the late 1970’s–these cars made a big stink, a lot of noise, and didn’t move very fast. Since these old diesels were troublesome, I didn’t buy a car that was “me”.

How do you use the car? Is it used for pleasure or do you need it to commute to work? If you can live with a car that is less reliable and have the money to keep it repaired, then maybe you should do this.

One doesn’t have to be practical on everything. I inherited a gold Swiss Chronograph watch 50 years ago. When it quit running, I put it away and bought two cheap Timex watches. I would wear one watch and when it quit working, I would get out the other watch and send the first one back to Timex. For less than $10, it would come back reconditioned. I would put it away until the second watch quit running, then send the second watch in and get out the first watch. Just recently, I tracked down a watchmaker who rebuild the Chronograph. Was it worth the money (about $300)? No. Does it keep as accurate time as the $5 watch I bought at Big Lots? No. Am I glad that I fixed it up so I can wear it occasionally? Definitely yes. There is nothing wrong with having a few things in life that you like if you can afford them.

Beyond the low oil situation (I’m up to speed on that) what are the other problems that have made this car so unreliable and expensive to maintain? It is a 2006 and not that far off warranty.

I’d say, keep it for awhile and see how the engine runs. 2nd option, is trade it in. The question is if one VW convertible has been so unreliable and expensive to own, why get another? My '04 T’bird convertible is just fine for me and I do put up with some extra maintenance costs. But if it was “unreliable” I’d just let it go.

I really don’t think a new VW Convertible should be that expensive to own and maintain. Now when the bug is 10 years old and up, then it definately is going to be expensive.

“Go ahead and buy another one, it’ll be fine!”

Even the worst of cars are no where near as expensive to maintain as years ago. It’s not like it’s a Yugo or anything. Go for it !

Try out a Scion tC and see if you can’t fall in love with a Corolla based car. We had 3 Corollas that averaged 12 years and 200K miles with the worst repair being an alternator replacement…but they were BORING. Niece has tC and loves it. Maybe you might and have the best of both worlds.

Just for the halibut, change the oil and make sure it is filled to the proper level, then use it as you normally do, but check the oil every couple days and see how much it uses. If you shut it down quickly after the oil light came on it might not be damaged too badly.

my wife have a 2004 mellow yellow convertible! she had a 1971 super beetle with auto stick a few years back and said she wanted another beetle, so that’s what she have now. it is not a turbo with an auto trans. VW do have some reliability issues! SRS air bag light on due to bad driver seat sensor for the third time. poor coolant performance from a broken plastic water pump. the driver side window switch inop. recurring problem with the socket for the front turn signal lamps. she loves her bug!! thank goodness her husband is a mechanic. it’s up to you and your husband to decide on getting a new one or go ahead and replacing the engine. just remember to check the oil more frequently, especially if it have turbo!

Wow! We have some of the same problems with our beetles. The air bag light is on in my bug as a result of the driver seat belt sensor which my mechanic wants over $400 to replace. The back driver window is tricky- it doesn’t want to go up once you put it down. If you pull up on the window while pushing the up button it will go up, so I haven’t had this fixed yet. The overall sense of reliability that I have with this car comes probably from the fact that the transmission had to be replaced at about 30,000 miles. Luckily it was covered under warranty, but it does make you wonder… I’ve also had the boot (not sure if this is correct) replaced and the roters (spelling?). My husband drives a Toyota Camery that has never had any issues so maybe this all just seems like a lot compared to his experience with a car.

Maybe part of the charm of your VW Beetle is all the problems and idiosynchrosies. I’ve always wanted a Mazda Miata, but my wife says that the Mazda Miatas are for wimps because they have such a good repair record. She tells me that I should get the MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite (same car) from the 1960s. She says that real men aren’t afraid to have to get out and push their MGs off the road and spend their weekends getting the MG to run so that it will keep going through Tuesday. What is the fun in having a car if things don’t go wrong?

If cars didn’t have problems, this board wouldn’t exist. If cars didn’t break down they would be boring like refrigerators. Is there a Refrigerator Talk bulletin board?

vw cars do have there share of problems. do you have a second choice of cars to chose from if you are shopping for a new car? hummmm porsche,m benz… good luck!