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Volkswagen repair costs

Hi, I am fifteen and we are looking for used cars for my first car. I am really interested in the Volkswagen Beetles and we were wondering how often they need repair? And how expensive repairs get.


Beetles are worse than average, with lots of engine and fuel system problems. I wouldn’t recommend them. You might get a Consumer Reports car buyers guide for lots of good information. Also make sure you get a car that does well as far as safety goes, here’s one site that rates all cars:

edit - I assumed you’re talking about the ‘New Beetle’, not the original air-cooled Beetle. Those are not to be considered at all for a teen (or most others).

Some people have actually recommended cars like used Crown Victorias, or their alter egos, which were well maintained by older owners. They take more gas, but your first wreck is less likely to hurt you. They are allegedly easy and reasonably cheap to fix in most cases.

Assuming you’re talking about the “New Beetle,” they need repairs often and the repairs are expensive.

If you’re talking about the original Beetle, forget about it. They’re not fit for use as daily transportation on modern highways.

A new one with a warranty is the only one to consider IMHO, same with Audi.

If you’re talking about the original Beetle, forget about it. They’re not fit for use as daily transportation on modern highways.

Most of the “modern highways” were there when the Beetle was current, and speed limits were higher. I know a guy who drove a 1965 unrestored Beetle from LA to New York in 2001 with no mechanical problems. He got it for free and paid $500 for minor repairs in the months before the trip.

The problem with the real Beetles is one in good shape is going to cost you. It’s a great car but probably not a good first car.

While most of the modern highways were indeed here when the original Beetle was current, the fact remains that the car is based on 1930s-era technology.

Those little VWs did not accelerate at an acceptable rate when they were new, and the passage of several decades has surely not made them swifter. They were designed before the advent of high-strength steel, collapsible steering columns, and crumple zones, hence they fare very poorly in a collision–with bad outcomes for the passengers. Their brakes are poor by comparison with almost all modern vehicles. Even their handling is sub-par in comparison with almost any car manufactured in the past couple of decades. In fact, even their gas mileage pales by comparison with modern economy cars.

While I would like McParadise to clarify his statement, I believe that he was referring mainly to the VW Beetle’s incredibly slow acceleration, marginal brakes, and its total lack of modern safery features.

All true, ish, but still sounds like the Charlie Brown school teacher (wah wah wah wah) to someone who likes the car. My VW accelerated quite acceptably.

It accelerated quite acceptably?
As compared to what–an ox cart?

I owned a Karmann Ghia, and while I did have fun driving the car for a few years, the reality was that accelerating onto an interstate highway was a true white-knuckle experience.

I’m sure at 15 she’s not looking for a 60’s era bug, but I had a 59 so here’s my take on them. Acceleration was not bad if you ran it through the gears properly but on the highway, it was on the floor all the time. Slow going up hills, fast going down hills. The best mileage I’d ever get witht he 36 hp engine was about 26 mpg. Not very good by today’s standards. The biggest thing with me was that unless you put points in every 2000 miles, it would all of a sudden just leave you stranded. 2000 miles wasn’t much when commuting 200 miles one way to school. Left me high and dry more than once. Agree on the safety features. Mine got T-boned and totaled and my next car was a wide, heavy, 59 Pontiac with seat belts.

I loooooove my 2001 diesel VW Beetle and have had no problems in over 150K miles.That said, I think I am lucky in that respect. I get around 45mpg on average. It is a turbo diesel so acceleration is no problem, it’s quite zippy for a 1.9L engine. I think diesels are the way to go, but they hold their value well, so even a used one will be more expensive than say a Honda Civic or something.

how often they need repaired usually depends on how well the previous owner took care of it. It’ll cost more to repair than a Civic or Focus would for the same problem.

I don’t have a problem with old or new Beetles. Much depends on how it was taken care of and while the older Beetles are more maintenance intensive (valve checks every 6k miles, etc) it’s also true that maintenance on these cars is cheap and bone simple.

Some neighbors of my bought a used 2000 model back in '02 I think it was and the wife (a nurse) commutes 50 miles a day with it to her job not counting her other driving. She still drives it daily and her husband (policeman somewhat mechanically inclined) has had to do nothing more than routine maintenance and normal wear and tear items.

If the OP wants an older air-cooler Beetle then they should try to get an '73 or '74 model. These were Super Beetles, more powerful engine, McPherson strut suspension, and no fuel injection. They will clip along at 70 MPH all day long and hold the road well. The '75 and up do likewise but the AFC fuel injection complicates matters and also makes service more difficult, especially if A/C is involved.

Old Beetle (1970): Not bad, I had one for 250,000+ miles. When the speed limit went to 70 mph it had to work a little to keep up, but it did keep up. With the older (1963) keeping up was a bit of a problem. Of course if you want to compare it to my 750cc engine on my Sunbeam Imp, it had a hard time keeping at the speed limit going down hill. However I loved all those cars.

Each had it’s good and bad points. It seems to day that most all cars are much the same.