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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this is the right place to post this...

My car, a 2000 VW Beetle, has been sitting in the garage for nearly 3 weeks. I have been driving my boyfriend's car in the meantime (he was in China on business). I live in Minnesota and during those 3 weeks, it got slightly cold, about high 20s, and now it's about in the 60s and 70s. I tried to start my car today and it wouldn't start. When I turn the key, it doesn't crank, doesn't make a clicking noise. The lights flicker, windows and radio work, but I can't start the car. I ended up pushing it out of the garage into the driveway. I checked and there is sufficient oil and antifreeze. I also noted that it might be out of gas. When I turn the key and the lights flicker, the gas needle stays on zero. Could this just be an issue of it being out of gas or the battery gone bad? I'm concerned it might be something more expensive that I can't afford to fix. Again, this is a 2000 VW Beetle with nearly 250,000 on it. I've had numerous repairs done to it over the past years. If anyone has any suggestions, they are much appreciated. Thanks!

Jackie
 

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The battery sounds like it is completely drained.

You can have it charged and checked out, it may need to be replaced if it is old, but you should also try and find out what drained the battery during that time.

If you have any aftermarket addons they may be drawing power, or maybe you forgot a light on inside the car, or you may have the Monsoon sound system which was known to have a parasitic power draw that drained the battery if left to sit for a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I appreciate you taking the time to read and reply. I checked all of the lights and power supplies and they were turned off (radio, lights). How could I tell if my sound system is the Monsoon one? Is having the car just sit for about 3 weeks without running not enough to drain the battery, especially if the temperature is fluctuating?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay wow...I'm an idiot. I went back out and tried to see if I could see Monsoon on anything, nothing came up, even when I turned the radio off and then back on. But I did notice the driver's side seat warmer was up on 5. Can that cause the battery to drain even when the car is not running? Also, I had it unlocked the 3 weeks it was sitting in the garage.
 

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Ah, unlocked. I think I've read that some folks had issues with power draw when they left their car unlocked, sometimes draining out the battery in just a couple days.

Monsoon would say right on the radio, if it is an old tape deck style I think on the tape door.

To find out what was draining your power you'd need to do a number of electrical tests. I think if you search here you may find some more information, I have never done it so don't know the details.
 

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How old is your battery? If it was already near the end of its life, cold temperatures won't help it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Janitz: Well, I've determined I do not have the Monsoon stereo system. I will look into other posts for the unlocked draining issue. Thanks for your help!

Smileybug: I believe the battery is a little over two years old.
 

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I'd say that draining the battery after sitting 3 weeks could be normal. There is always some parasitic draw and if your battery is a couple of years old its capacity may be down enough that it wouldn't start the car after 3 weeks. I would charge the battery or jump start the car and see how the battery does. Chances are it will be OK, at least until next winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE: My boyfriend and I tried to jump start it about four times. No success. He had me roll down the window so I could hear him to try turning the car over. Then the window wouldn't roll up or down at all. So he hooked our cars up again and I turned the key (not fully on) and rolled up the window. It wasn't sluggish going up at all like before.

I have called a mechanic in town and they said they are sending over a tow truck (which should have been here 2 hours ago) to pick up my car to tow to their facility.

It's going to cost me about $75-80 for the tow and then $52 for the diagnostic testing + whatever amount to fix what is wrong...

When I find out what is wrong with it, I'll post another update. I appreciate everyone's opinions and thoughts on what is wrong. Fortunately, I do not have a job right now, just moved to Minnesota. But not having a job is eating away at my savings and not having a car will make it more difficult to go into the twin cities for job interviews. Ugh...
 

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When they do tow it, ask them to put front and back on wheels. These cars are quite low and with only the front or back up you can pretty easily hit something if you don't elevate at front and back.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for that advice! Unfortunately, I do not know if they are going to tow or put it on a flatbed. Hopefully they come soon, we have to go grocery shopping and my boyfriend needs to get out of the garage for work tomorrow. I'm blocking him right now..
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Okay...where do I begin...

Mechanic determined it was the battery and it was failing a "low test"? (car terms are foreign to me :p) Price for all of this was going to cost me about $393.00 (85 for tow, 52 for diagnostic testing, 65 for relearning?, and 140 for new battery + parts and supply charges?). I called my boyfriend and my dad and spoke with both concerning this. My dad said that my car does not need a relearn so they're trying to get me to pay more money. I called Sears where we had our last battery at and a trusted auto mechanic in my home town who has services my car and both said my car does not need a relearn test.

I called this place back and told them that I didn't want it. He said that with VW, after you drive them a few miles, they stop working if you don't have it relearn. But Sears and my hometown mechanic have both assured me that taking a dead battery out, putting a new battery in, and then just driving a ways, my car will automatically relearn on its own.

I get a call later from where my car is at, and they tell me that the house that secures my battery is broken and it needs to be fixed.... I called my mom and spoke with her, and she suggested I pay them to secure the battery because it could be very dangerous if it becomes unlodged or rattles in the car. So I call the place back and tell them to go ahead and do it, I ask for a new price and am told $355. I asked if that was after they took the relearn test off. He said they went ahead and did it but are not charging me for it because I don't feel it needs to be done.

Then I get another call later on and he goes down a list of everything that is wrong with my beetle...

1. Accessory belt is worn and needs immediate attention
2. Brake calipers are worn
3. Brake fluid is bad
4. Engine/cabin air filter bad
5. Power steering fluid bad
6. Replace coolant
7. Right side drive axel worn down
8. Tires need aligning
9. Left front brake pad is worn

I seriously feel like they are trying to "nickel and dime" me. My car has been through a lot!


It is a 2000 GLS, with nearly 250,000 miles. It has had ...

1. a new clutch installed (November 2009)
2. two water pumps/timing belt replacements (last one was October 17, 2011 and then in 2005)
3. brake cable replaced for emergency brake (December 2012)
4. Coolant has leaked quite a lot over the years but we finally got it fixed by removing and replacing the heater core hoses (where it was leaking, in May 2012)
5. New crank sensor (July 2012)
6. New drain plug seal (October 2012)

I also haven't noticed any braking issues either. And when I drive it again, it's going to feel really awkward, I've been driving my boyfriend's Jetta TDI Sportwagen the past 3 weeks. It's going to feel like it's falling apart. The suspensions are shot to hell but I've gotten used to the bumpiness. My hometown mechanic back in Illinois said that my suspensions are fine, only get them replaced if I have an issue with the bumpiness.

I apologize, that was quite a lot of information.
The check engine light comes on a lot and my dad has always told me to take it and find out what it is as they are pretty sensitive. Nothing serious. My oil was leaking but I got a new drain plug seal last October.

I love my car but it is honestly only worth $1500-2000. I have been driving it since 2001. I can't sink a lot of money into this car and I don't even have a job yet from moving up here to Minnesota. I have pretty much decided to take my car elsewhere if something happens. They got such great reviews online, I'm just surprised. My boyfriend and dad said this is outrageous. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I'm picking my car up tonight around 5:30-6.
 

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The belt that is worn should have been replaced with the timing belt when it was done in 2011, how many miles since then? Likely should just wait for the timing belt to be done again.

I'm not sure how calipers can get worn, I guess they can as all parts that move wear out. Just odd.

Brake fluid should be replaced after a certain amount of time/miles as moisture gets in and reduces performance. This is something a person with a bit of time and a garage at home could replace themselves.

Air filters are replaceable by the owner, don't pay someone for an hour of labor for that. Cabin filter is annoying but doable in 20 minutes.

PS fluid I guess is old and possibly contaminated. This is not super easy, but not really super hard to replace either.

Coolant, I cannot imagine you need to replace this. This has to be replaced with the timing belt as you also get the water pump done at that time right? So your coolant is 2 years old.

How did they determine the drive axle was worn down?

Wheel alignment may be needed, your steering hardware is pretty old. This should be done when you rotate your tires as part of routine maintenance.

Bake pads may need to be replaced, they don't squeal bad until it is too late.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay, I have my car back and it feels odd to me, but I think that's just because I haven't driven it in 3 weeks. My boyfriend took it and me for a test drive and he says everything feels the same, so I'm happy there.

He also made a list of what we need to do this summer to keep my car running smoothly.

1. He plans on changing the coolant ourselves. Says that's easy to do, we do have a garage.
2. I'm going to do some research on costs around town to fix the power steering and the brake fluid.
3. He's not concerned about my brake pads, will look into them in a few months or so.
4. I'm going to do some research on the fuel filter prices around town as well as talk to my dad later about the right rear calipers.
5. We plan on having tires rotated come June.

My boyfriend has replaced my air filter before so I'm not concerned about that.

This is what the invoice states:

Diagnose no start, no crank. Can hear a clicking noise.
Starting/charging system test. Technician tested, starter, alternator and battery. Technician found that alternator and starter are all ok at this point in time. Found that battery is dead and failing load test after charge suggest to first remove and replace battery and recheck.
Removed and replaced battery and recheck and all okay at this point in time.
Remove and replace battery and clean battery terminals due to battery failing.
Relearn throttle body assembly after the battery has been replaced.
Technician notes: The plastic cover above the battery has several broken pieces to it and the battery hold down bolt and bracket were missing before we replaced the battery. Engine and cabin air filters are dirty and need replacement. Serpentine belt is worn and needs replacement. Right front outer tie rod boot is torn. Power steering is discolored and needs replacement. Induction system is due by mileage. Brake fluid has very high moisture content and needs to be flushed. Timing belt is due by mileage. Left front inner brake pad looks low on life remaining and the right rear brake caliper is leaking. We recommend performing a brake inspection. Engine has oil leaks recommend adding oil dye and degreasing the engine. Right side drive axle has been rubbing on the shield above it and has worn the axle.

God, that was a mouthful...or actually fingerful since I typed it out...haha!

I honestly don't know how many miles I have driven since having the timing belt last changed. Can't be more than 25,000 miles.

As far as the drive axel, I have no idea. I think he said by looking at it. That is something I can talk to my dad about later too along with the calipers.

How much do brake pads typically cost to replace?

Again, sorry for all of the information. Trying not to leave anything important out incase someone else has an issue similar to mine and needs help.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to call around and get some rough estimates on parts and labor costs at various other places here in town. I'm not really sure I should take my car back to this place. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, I took my car in to get a second opinion and they were very nice and the look over was free. He said the only thing he recommends right now is to get the right lower ball joint replaced because it looks very worn/cracked (I think is what he said) at a price of $140 (includes part/labor costs/tax). Both my dad and boyfriend feel this is a reasonable price and told me to keep an eye on the steering. I haven't noticed anything yet, but now that he pointed out the ball joint, I will keep an eye on my steering and will be getting it replaced in the next month.
 
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