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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wanting to buy my first new beetle after enjoying a 1972 bug for a number of years.

Looking to spend about $7k and have found a suitable year 2000 model candidate with about 72k miles on the clock.

Can you give me some information about what to look for. What's expensive to fix? What are common problems? Would you buy another one? (probably a stupid question to ask on this forum.)

What are they like in snow? I live in New Hampshire.

Thanks in advance, and can't wait to join you all. :)
 

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180 Degrees out of faze
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841 Posts
Are you buying from a VW dealer? Is it a Certified used car?
Is there a warranty on the car?
Has the timing belt and water pump been changed? It is time for that.
Can you see all the repair records?
Ask the dealer for records of all recalls that were done. Any that still need to be done?
What shape are the tires in? All season, or winter tires? Consider getting a set of winter tires if these are all season tires.
All the little stuff like wiper blades, brakes, and lights.
Auto or 5 speed?
Expensive to fix? Almost anything on the car if taken to the dealer.
Some common problems are the MAF, timing belt changes, plastic impeller water pump, head lights, batteries, and trim.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
madjalapeno said:
Can you give me some information about what to look for. What's expensive to fix? What are common problems? Would you buy another one? (probably a stupid question to ask on this forum.)

What are they like in snow? I live in New Hampshire.

Thanks in advance, and can't wait to join you all. :)
my advice after buying a used one? do a carfax, get all service records and see what maintenance has been done. if there's a warranty, great, if not, see about finding one from a private seller.

$7K and 72,000 miles seems good. what model? GL? GLS? i bought mine for $7350 with 83K though it's needed some work, it's been a great car. i'd definitely do it again and may just drive one the rest of my life. :D

take the car out for a nice loooooooooooooong test drive. get it warmed up, take it on the interstate, listen to the engine, take it to a mechanic, if you can. do all your homework and you won't be disappointed.

some people will say the car will nickle and dime you to death, but any car can do that. the interior has a lot of cheap plastic parts, so you might want to look those over, too. some are cheap and easy to fix (door handles, for instance) and some are not. the more you know, the better.

above all, use this place as a resource. this place has saved me money, quieted my nerves and the people here are some of the best you'll ever meet.

as for how it does in the winter, no clue! i haven't had mine through a winter yet!

keep us posted! good luck!
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #4
Which would you go for?

Thanks Callisto9 and Hannaco for your advice. It was very useful.

We spent today hunting around, and have found 2 more possibles, so would appreciate peoples opinions on whether any these sound like a good buy.

We already have a Grand Cherokee gas guzzler as our main winter car, and a super charged Mazda Miata for summer top down fun, so this is going to be a commuter car mainly. As it's our third car we don't have too much money to spend on it.

These are the three options so far:

First we have a black 1998 GLS model, with 142k miles on the clock. It's seen better days visually, but it drives very nicely, there is no smoke on startup and has a full service history with a local VW dealer. The sticker price is $3720 and the carfax report checks out. But it is high mileage.

Then we have a white 1998 GLS model with 89k on the clock. The price is $6900, but the inside is tired, and various things are missing (like the cup holders, vase, logo on top of the gear stick) and the digital clock and radio are malfunctioning. The petrol cap does not open and the hood release needs fixing. There is a large water mark in the hoodlining and a small tear.

Finally we have a silver 2000 GL. The sticker price is $7900. The car looks very tidy - the inside of the spare wheel area was wet, but the dealer thought that was from where the car was (but then he's a car dealer). The car drives well, but there was some rumbling at low speeds - think it could be the tyres though. The only other issue was the airbag light was on but the dealer says they will fix that.

The silver and white cars are both at the same non VW dealer, and come with a 3 month 3000 mile limited warrenty. None have a factory certification and I'm not too sure about service histories for major items. All three are manual.

As reliability for this daily driver is a prime consideration, I think the silver is the best bet, but it's twice the price of the black one and money doesn't grow on trees (not round here anyway).

What would you do? Choose one of the above or carry on looking? Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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madjalapeno said:
What would you do? Choose one of the above or carry on looking? Thanks in advance for your help.
if time is not of the essence, wait until you are at least 80% happy about a car. i had to buy mine under a time crunch, but i got lucky. have you thought about buying from a private seller? it will save you $$$ and 3,000 warranty isn't very long. you have to do a bit more digging with a private seller, but i would trust them (generally) as much as a dealer. check your paper, local internet car sales, etc. i found my car on autotrader.com. also check cars.com and ebay - you never know.

as far as your three choices go, if you're not a detailed, anal-rententive clean freak like me, go with the one that's the most mechanically sound. on the one with the most miles, has the timing belt been done? depending on who you ask, it needs to be done between 60 - 100K and it's expensive. better to buy a used car that's already had it done.

you'll know the right choice when you find it. when i drove my beetle, i fell in love, but then again, i didn't have much time to shop around. if you have the time, take it and be patient and you'll make a smart choice.

oh, and to answer your question, based on the info given, i'd keep looking. ;)

here's one about 100 miles from you:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1999-VW-Beetle-GLS-30-MPG-Winter-Package-Sunroof_W0QQitemZ4587522566QQcategoryZ31876QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

or here:
http://www.cars.com/go/search/fs_search_results.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&searchType=21&cid=&dlid=&dgid=&amid=&cname=&zc=03885&makeid=48&modelid=1307&pageNumber=0&numResultsPerPage=50&largeNumResultsPerPage=0&sortorder=descending&sortfield=PRICE+descending&certifiedOnly=false&criteria=K-|E-|M-_48_|B-9000|D-_1307_|N-N|R-100|I-1|P-PRICE+descending|Q-descending|Z-03885&aff=national&aff=national
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #6
Originally Posted by callisto9
you'll know the right choice when you find it. when i drove my beetle, i fell in love, but then again, i didn't have much time to shop around. if you have the time, take it and be patient and you'll make a smart choice.

oh, and to answer your question, based on the info given, i'd keep looking.
Thanks for your advice Callisto9. Guess it's time to make some more phone calls. We're lucky that winter has nt arrived quite yet, and still have a few more weeks of looking.

I'll keep you updated.
 

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madjalapeno said:
hat are they like in snow? I live in New Hampshire.
I bought my NB while I was still living in MD near DC. This is my second VW (1st was a '97 Jetta), and both did wonderfully in the snow. I made my 35 mile drive to work in 2 1/2 feet of snow with no problems in the Jetta, and did the same drive in a 1 foot of snow last winter in the NB.
 

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a.k.a. porkchopzz4
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callisto9 said:
above all, use this place as a resource. this place has saved me money, quieted my nerves and the people here are some of the best you'll ever meet.
This is you with "quieted nerves"? :)


I would buy the black one. If the car looks to be well maintained then that car has another 100,000 miles in it easy. Plus, considering the price difference between the two (almost $5000, right?) - you can buy a lot of parts for $5K. Plus, for most people, 100,000 miles will take 7+ years to put on a car... surely you would be bored and want something different in 7 years?

Also, rumbling at low speeds on our cars is most likely wheel bearing assemblies - a common wear item. Don't let the dealership try to minimize what it might be.
 

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Go Sox!
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Based on the three choices you list and the information you've provided, I would seriously consider the black car. Here's my reasoning in no specific order of importance beyond the first point.

You mentioned that the car has 142k on it, but it includes a full service history and the maintenance was done at the VW dealer. This is incredibly important when evaluating a used car. Plus, you mentioned the CarFax checked out ok. Well, you know what maintenance has been performed and what hasn't. Most people never have the luxury of knowing. The car has already made it to 142k in 8 years, an average of about 18,000 miles per year. It is therefore most likely that lots of these miles are the highway variety. Has the oil been changed regularly? Has the timing belt and water pump been changed? Does it look like there has been lots of service visits to address oil consumption problems? These are the items I would look for above all others.

The $3720 price tag is about as low as you will find for a used New Beetle. Most of the cars found in this price range are priced this low for a reason. But in your case, it could be a matter of cosmetics. You can do quite a lot to freshen up the look of almost any car, depending on how much you want to invest. Most interiors can be brought back to life with elbow grease and a steam cleaner. The exterior may be more challenging, but if you are not looking for perfection, you can probably buff out a lot of small scratches and scuffs.

Assuming the car has been properly maintained, you can expect a 2.0 to last a whole lot longer. Test drive it and see how it holds the road and how it feels. Bring it to your mechanic and have him (or her) check it out. You can also find someone with a VAG-COM to check out the diagnostics and whatever history might be revealed there.

Assuming it isn't going to nickel and dime you to death, you are getting in at a very reasonable price point and you'll be saving enough money to go to about 10 Red Sox games in 2006. However, beyond price, the most important thing about buying any car is getting one you really like and you are going to enjoy. For many people, they won't buy a car or will be more inclined to buy a car based solely on the color. If you don't get some kind of warm and fuzzy feeling after driving it, it's not the right car you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
TommyK8 said:
you'll be saving enough money to go to about 10 Red Sox games in 2006.
All depends how they play next year and who they get rid of. :rant2:

Although the black one did drive nicely (probably the best of all 3) I think I'm going to carry on looking. I've managed to beat up / bargain the dealer with the silver one, and the price now is $6200. Think I can get him under $6k with a bit more work. Trouble is that cruise control and electric windows are quite useful.

I think the reason I started this post was to suggest a sticky message from some of the more knowledgeable members for us newbies would be very useful. I also use Miata.net, and they have some very good guides on their site for buying, maintaining and caring for Miata's. It's very useful having an online source for finding out fluid types / capacitys and common torque figures.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Success !

Well finally found the right one, and agreed on the sale.

It's an immaculate dark blue 2000 1.8T GLX with 102,000 miles on the clock.

Private sale from original owner, full service history done at his local dealer. The timing belt broke 9,000 miles ago, and everything was repaired under the original warranty.

Has a spare set of alloys with brand new snow tyres. Beige leather interior with heated seats. Going to pick it up from him next weekend when I have moved some money from the UK.

It's a bit more than I wanted to spend at $7350, but the car seemed to be in fantastic condition, drove nicely and has some extras. :D

Thanks for your help everyone, and hope to contribute more soon.
 

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a.k.a. porkchopzz4
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If I'm not mistaken, that is Batik Blue (one of my favorite colors!).

$7350 is still a great deal for a Turbo with Porsche twisties (although for that price, they must be fake twisties - but still!).

And, at least you know the timing belt is taken care of.

I think this is a good example of how dumb people are for paying $10K-12K for a Beetle from a car lot with similar age/mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Porkchop said:
I think this is a good example of how dumb people are for paying $10K-12K for a Beetle from a car lot with similar age/mileage.
I was going to do a 'how to buy', as I learnt a lot buying this one, and would like to pass on some useful tips. Judging by how many times this thread has been viewed I think other people might be interested too.
 
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