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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I bought my beetle in May, and while it’s a bit old it drives perfectly and I have so far had zero issues with the car itself... however, recently it’s developed a handful of slight issues and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to cars... so I need some help.
Firstly, the passenger door has started intermittently failing to unlock. Nothing I do works; pressing the fob over and over, trying to unlock with the key, manually pulling up the little thing inside the door... nothing. On the rare occasion it does actually unlock, the alarm goes off as soon as you actually open the door. It never had this problem until this week. Any ideas what’s causing this or what I can do to try and fix it?
Secondly, the passenger window will not move. The motor makes a whirring noise but nothing happens. I presume (from reading online) this is something to do with the motor which sounds expensive to fix. This is really the least of my problems.
Third, the boot doesn’t unlock. It works using the manual release inside the boot so I’ve made do by tying some string round that and pulling it through the car to open - works, but not ideal! I think I can fix this by simply replacing the latch but is there anything else it is likely to Be?

Really the main thing I’m worried about is the passenger door lock as I usually do have a passenger and I can’t imagine it’s safe in an accident to have no way for them to open the door! Plus they’d find it pretty hard to climb over the driver seat every day to get into the car!

Any help really would be appreciated as I am at a TOTAL loss! ?

15,839 Posts
Hey, welcome to the site; it sounds like you may have a number of issues, that are common problems, that plague these cars.

First of call, if you decide to work and repair these cars yourself, you might consider investing in a VW specific scan tool. These can range, from as cheap as $20 up to $200; depending on what you buy. These are pretty heavily computer controlled cars; so, having a scan tools, to read "trouble codes", will help you diagnose problems and clear codes, after the repairs, have been completed.

On the affordable side of things; a simple $20 code reader, like the
U281 VW scan tool, can be helpful and at that price, you can leave it in your glove box, use it when it is needed. The VS450, is a bit more @ $35 has a bigger screen but just is a basic code reader. Stepping up a bit; is the more VAG scanners that are in the $50+ and can do more things, reading "live data", which can help "see" information about the car, as it is running. An example, would be the VAG 401 and many others. Then, a more modern approach; would be OBDEleven, which is $50- $80; depending if you get a "pro" version of the software and it uses, a Android device, like your phone and lastly, the more expensive VCDS by Ross Tech, that uses a Windows based, PC to run it $200.

You can look at the VAG tools mentioned and OBDeleven on amazon here:


So, I don't mean to complicate things but even, the cheap VAG code reader in the $20-$35, can really make a BIG difference in diagnosing problems with these cars. Even, if you are new to working on cars; that trouble codes, that you find, can be posted on this site and this will "help us, help you", find out the problems with your car and this will allow us to help you repair your car intelligently. :)

As for the door lock issues and the alarm going off randomly. One of the top complaints we have around here; is problems associated with the door lock module, these can fail mechanically and the micro switches inside the module, fail, causing the car to get confused. The cars computer, doesn't know, if the door is lock/opened or closed and that is why, the alarm, can randomly go off, when it shouldn't.

This can be replaced but it does require the door to be disassembled and parts replaced. There can also be mechanical problems with the door tumbler/lock in the handle and the rod, that connects things to the door lock module. So, it can be a number of things but until you disassemble the door and check, it can be hard to know for sure. If you had access to a VW specific code reader; you could check for trouble codes, that would indicate, the door lock module is bad. A new door lock module from VW; is about $100 and then, there would be the cost of replacement or you could do it yourself.

Here is a "diy", showing the process and how to do the replacement, step by step:


If the key tumbler/lock is damaged or messed up; here is a diy, showing how to disassemble and replace things:


Now, for the window; not working correctly and just the "noise" being emitted from the door... Well, most likely, your window regulator is bad; this requires, replacement of the window regulator or just installing a "repair kit", which just replaces, the parts that normally fail, in the window regulator system. We always recommend buying genuine vw parts for these type of repairs; they cost about $70 for the repair kit and more, for a full window regulator assembly. You can call or go by, your local vw dealer with your VIN number, to order the replacement parts you need or to NOT commit to buying parts, as them for a "parts estimate" for the list of things you might end up needing. Most VW dealers, will typically; get you the parts the next day, if you order early enough in the day (many times, these parts will need to be special ordered).

If you are able to get the correct part number; you can also, look online for better prices but it might be helpful, to work with your local VW dealer. You WILL be buying more parts; as these old VW's need attention and new parts, to keep them on the road! ;)

For the window regulator repair; look at the above link to the door lock module repair and it goes over the regulator as well, as they BOTH has to be removed to fix the problems.

Hopefully, this gets you started on how to fix your problems but ultimately, you have to "dive in" and start fixing/working on things or pay a shop, to do them for you! Welcome, to the site and start a thread about your car problems, in the appropriate forum/area and we can go from there. Thanks! :)
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