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Hey there,

I am a college student looking to buy a used beetle. I am looking to buy a 2004-2006 bug with approx. 12 000 miles/per year on it, and will be driving it for about 5 years. As a student I am looking to keep my costs down, and would appreciate advice on what to look for on the car, things to get and not to get in order to keep operating costs low. In your response, please list your experience with beetles. Thank you very much!

Hailey
 

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Gosh, don't know which models would be the best bet by year of car, but from reading on here extensively, I get the idea that it's best to stay away from the automatic transmission at all costs! You're probably gonna have to do some searching on your own to find your answer.
 

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Wow, I had the distinct feeling that Hailey was really looking to find out which NB would be the best car to buy to save money, that would be reliable and since she has to make it last for 5 years a GOOD car is the most important thing. Does anybody know THAT info? Probably consmetics would be secondary in importance. :rolleyes:
 

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A NB should not be in your immediate future!

Either an old, restored VW air-cooled (experience with ownership of three), if your looking for a "novelty" car, or a Toyota, Honda, Hyundai (all good, dependable, low operating cost, fuel efficient vehicles). NB, (experience with ownership of three) is a poor choice for a college student on a limited budget (experience as father of one). You might be fine if you were to buy a new one, but one with, in excess of 80k miles, change your thought pattern!

I'm sure this will piss off a lot of my friends here on the Org, but this is simply sound "fatherly" advice.

M.
 

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I totaly agree with M. My first car was a 1964 air cooled, cheap dependible, and a easy DIY car. The NB is a totaly differnt insect. Strict adherance to maintanance is a must and is not cheap esp. if you can not do it yourself. But, if you got to have one I recomend a 2.0L with a manual shift. The less options the better. The 2.0L is a tough proven power plant. The 1.8L turbo is to quirky for my taste.
 

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I have a couple of frends with turbos and they have both have had thier problems , over heating,boost problems, even higher maintance fees.I dont know maybe it is the way they drive them , so, I just stayed away from them.
 

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As long as you get a manual trans, you should be good to go. Other than the crappy autos there is not much that goes wrong with these cars than any other car of the same vintage.

Whatever car you get, budget to have the timing belt changed right away so you have a fresh and dependable starting point. Make sure that the water pump and anything else in the path of the TB get changed too. This applies to the 2.0, 1.8T, and 1.9 TDI models. The 5 cylinder 2.5 has a timing chain.

Sent from my DROID2
 

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As long as you get a manual trans, you should be good to go. Other than the crappy autos there is not much that goes wrong with these cars than any other car of the same vintage.

Whatever car you get, budget to have the timing belt changed right away so you have a fresh and dependable starting point. Make sure that the water pump and anything else in the path of the TB get changed too. This applies to the 2.0, 1.8T, and 1.9 TDI models. The 5 cylinder 2.5 has a timing chain.

Sent from my DROID2
Well, ther you go, the TB & WP thing sets it apart from the others mentioned by at least $700, not doing it is not an option. :rolleyes: And then lets, see, special G12 coolant, battery top fuse block that melts, door control module problems, remote problems, VW cert oil for oil changes, low ground clearance problems, "soft touch" coating on interior trim, POS paint (but not unique to VW), what have I missed?

M.
 

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I will say that my NB was a great college car! I got it in '05 before I left for college with 54k on it (so the car was 6 years old) and used it exclusively for the 3 1/2 years of undergrad (it was usually parked but I did visit family and the BF a lot so it got weekend drive time). I had door lock problems but that was it. Paint is still in great shape, even at 12 years old. Oil changes really aren't a pain. Just take it somewhere that will let you use your own oil and buy it up at Autozone when its on sale (plenty of oils that meet the VW spec. I run Castrol Syntec for example). I took a summer and had the TB/WP job done at 77k. Also, if its the 2.0L, the job is much cheaper at an independent shop. I only paid $450 for my job (also included the serp belt, an oil change, and an air filter).

I have to agree on the 5-speed though. If you have to have an auto, I'd go with a different car brand right now. But any car requires regular maintenance so make sure you allot for that. And as others have said, any used car will have potential problems, no matter the brand. Its all about doing your homework and research before buying.

If you are looking for cheap and reliable, the 2.0L engine paired with the 5-speed is pretty darn rock solid. That's what I have in my car and have had zero issues with the engine or trans (other than a broken shift linkage carrier that was made of crappy plastic, but also easy and cheap to fix). At 12 years old, the interior isn't so great, but that's the case with any mk4 VW. The 2.5L seems to be pretty sturdy too. If you are purely looking for cheap and reliable, something without a turbo is a good bet. The TDI gets good fuel economy, but if you aren't driving it much on the highway or much at all, its not going to be worth it. You won't recoup the premium you'll pay to have that engine.
 
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