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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I just got my license and I'm looking for a car. I read that Beetle's are great first cars and I've been in love with them for ever. I really want one but my family is trying to discourage me. Basically what they're saying is that they are cute, but won't last long because I'll be buying a used one. Also that they'll be no good in the snow, I live in PA.

I still really want one though. So I have some questions for you experts.

I was looking at this one on craiglist: Volkswagen Beetle - 1998 (Black)

It's a 1998 for $2,400 and it has 141,xxx miles.
Is that too many? How many miles should I be looking for on a used bug?
How long do they last?

I have zero knowledge of anything so I need like a buyers guide or something, anything that you think I should know before I purchase one.

(Sorry if this is in the wrong place, first time being here)
 

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Apprentice Org-aholic!
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Welcome to the Org, glad you want to see yourself in a Beetle. Your parents arent to far from the truth. Sadly. This '98 may need almost 2000+ coming up in its life.
Reasons:
1) 141k on a VW is not a lot. She is just getting broken in. That said, she does need some engine work. The if the Timing Belt/Water pump/tensioner hasnt been replaced, she is on borrowed time.
2) It is a first generation auto. These transmissions have a high failure rate.

However, these round beauties are surprisingly great in the snow -I live in MinneSNOWta!
This one looks to be in VERY good shape, and well loved.
The 2.0 is a fairly reliable engine, though tends to be a tad under powered.

Before I bought my N00ber, I was told to look for a 2002+. I have had good luck with mine, aside from a nonstart issue(annoyingly simple fix!)

Never know, you may have very good luck with her. Make sure you ask them about the timing belt and water pump, and take it for a thorough test drive to test the shifting.

Best of luck! :)
 

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Welcome to the great and wonderful ORG! Many fantastic cars, people and answers lurk in this great land. If you haven't done so already, take time to fill in your profile and post a few photos so we can ORGle them!!
 

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T.O.D.7 Will U be there?
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Hey there!
WELCOME :D
Adopting a used new beetle is a GREAT CHOICE indeed. The 98 was the first reintroduction year so I would tend to shy away from 98's . Also knowing what I've learned over the past few years of new beetle ownership I would suggest you go with a MANUAL TRANSMISSION (have a friend teach you in an empty mall parking lot) its NOT hard to learn if you don't know already. Manual transmissions get better gas mileage too. TDI (the diesel versions) get EVEN BETTER mpg but,they cost more to buy. Older cars are far cheaper to insure too.Any used car you buy will require (piece of mind) initial maintanace IF there is no documentation available of maintanace records. Oil changes,timing belt/water pump replacement,repairs etc,. ARE YOU A SMOKER?? If not MAKE SURE the car is too. Getting that smell out is next to impossible! It will be infused in EVERY FABRIC in the interior/headliner,air vent system and all surfaces.

Be sure to take another new beetle owner or a mechanic with you if at all possible when you go look to test drive a car and ask the seller if you can have the car looked over at a repair shop BEFORE you buy.

That car in the Craigslist ad has New Jersey plates on it and appears to be parked in front of a public housing project....with that said THAT CAR my have had a harder than average life.

A new beetle is a GREAT car but,it's best to be patient and wait for the RIGHT one to come your way.
:)
 

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Worry less, drive more
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Like was already said, get a manual. It's worth learning to drive one instead of dealing with the headache of an auto. Plus it's more fun, better mileage and you have more control of the car.

Find a VW mechanic in your area who knows what he's doing. Pay him to inspect any Beetles you are seriously considering. Avoid dealers for maintenance. My VW mechanic is a huge blessing. He's saved me thousands and I KNOW my car is in good hands when I leave it with him.

Beetles are great in the snow if you have a good set of all seasons or snow tires. Actually, that's true of almost all cars. Put on 4 decent tires and you're fine, unless you drive on very rough roads or on steep hills in the winter. Of course it helps if you already know how to drive in the snow and ice.

Good luck!
 

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BEAR
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Manual trans is the best choice to make in a early New Beetle. There are days I wish I had gone in that direction myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everybody, unfortunately I think I'll have to go with an automatic transmission if I want a Bug. Because I am newly licensed, my family doesn't want me to learn how to drive manual, while also getting used to the road. I think that's kind of stupid but whatever.

So automatic transmissions don't last very long, but since it's my first car and it'll probably be cheap get dinged up anyways, my mom thinks that if it lasts at least a year, it'll be worth it.

With that being said I'll most likely buy one of of a lot then as opposed to a person because then at least I'll have a warranty. Now I just have to find one!
 

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Thanks everybody, unfortunately I think I'll have to go with an automatic transmission if I want a Bug. Because I am newly licensed, my family doesn't want me to learn how to drive manual, while also getting used to the road. I think that's kind of stupid but whatever.

So automatic transmissions don't last very long, but since it's my first car and it'll probably be cheap get dinged up anyways, my mom thinks that if it lasts at least a year, it'll be worth it.

With that being said I'll most likely buy one of of a lot then as opposed to a person because then at least I'll have a warranty. Now I just have to find one!
If you can't get a manual, try and find out if the transmission fluid has been changed. Also ask about the timing belt, water pump, make sure the coolant is pink, not green. I would look under the oil cap and look for white sludge, then look at the oil on the dipstick, and make sure it idles around 800-900 rpm at idle. I looked at a couple bugs at a dealership and it idled really low(500 RPM) and had tons of white sludge under the oil cap. I have a 1999 my aunt had since 80,000 miles. It now has 150,000 and haven't really had any major issues, good luck!

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Hi and welcome! Good luck in your NB hunt. If there is one thing I have learned..it's patience. We bought our daughter one a month ago and let me tell you it is hard to keep a teenager patient and understand you really have to wait for the right one to come along, not just "any one". I've seen some with low miles that have been used and abused and some with a bit higher miles that have been well maintained. It's very hard to have patience when you just want one but you also don't want to buy "the money pit". Almost all used cars are going to need some TLC (we've already replaced 2 sensors and have few more things to do) but you certainly don't want to buy and then have a major issue. I think everyone has given sound advice. And don't worry my daughter is the same way, she wanted an automatic. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have decided that I'm going to be patient, I'm going to get a different type of car to drive, while I stay on the hunt for the perfect Beetle, one that will last long enough to be loved! When I find one I'll just trade my car in :) In the mean time I will learn all that I can from this forum while I search!
 

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Worry less, drive more
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You are very wise to do that. A cheap bug is just going to cause you grief - more money and time for repairs! The right bug will come along and it will follow you home. :D
 

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Senior Member Sponsor
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Hi Dani,

Keep your hopes up! You need to learn on a manual shift and you'll never be stranded by a car.

Plus, New beetles have a forgiving clutch system, easy to get use to.

Keep your Bug dreams alive, you can handle a manual!;)
 

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T.O.D.7 Will U be there?
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Yes,you CAN handle a manual car. I learned to drive a manual when I was 14yrs old. It's really not a big deal. Usually it's the people who don't know how to drive one that discourage others from learning. Driving a manual car becomes COMPLETELY second nature after you learn and you will be surprised how fast you catch on. That big empty Mall parking lot is the way to go ;). Next time you are in a car with someone who is driving a manual transmission car be VERY observant as to WHAT they do and WHEN they do it. Ask questions and LISTEN/THINK about the answer you are given. Understanding HOW a manual car works is 80% of learning how to drive one. Manual cars are waaaay more FUN to drive for sure!

Now with ALL THAT SAID :D

Your new beetle WILL find you and when it does......maybe you will have learned how to drive a manual and trade that first car in for your dream new beetle. Nothing is better than an AWESOME ROUND CAR you can decorate,personalize,give it a NAME,get an authentic vw birth certificate and make It your very own. :p

Be sure to click the links in my signature (at the bottom) line to see just how much FUN you can have in a new beetle!! Woo Hoo!

Good luck in your search and keep us posted with updates on your driving adventures too :rolleyes:

Sandi in Tennessee

Here is a little video to keep you motivated in your new beetle search.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HH5nG3NQLNs
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank for all of the advice, I have another question though. When you were searching for a Beetle, did you run into a lot of negative opinions?

Yesterday, I was on the hunt for a car, any car, and all of the Salesmen I talked really were against Beetles. I keep hearing how unreliable they are, the parts are hard to find, the transmissions go fast. And on guy even said the visibility was poor.

I'm super stubborn so even hearing all that I kind of still want one eventually . I'm just thinking to myself most people with Bug have had them for years and they obviously like them. It's so strange that the opinions are either black or white no grey at all!

I'm trying to figure out if there is some type of bias or what exactly is going on here.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I had a New Beetle for 6 1/2 years and I loved every second of it. But not owning one now, I definitely can see some of why people say what they do. Visibility really isn't all that great. You'll need to check blind spots all the time (though you really should anyway). They are also VWs, which aren't the most reliable cars out there. They need to have maintenance kept up with and done properly. So if you don't have a lot of extra money for repairs, I would probably hold off on getting one for now. The automatic transmissions do go out more often than not. And they aren't cheap to repair/replace. Another reason to go with a manual transmission.

My Beetle was my first car and it served me very well. But I kept up with maintenance and had a really great mechanic. I also had a 2.0 with a 5-speed manual, which is about the most bulletproof combination you could get. Couple that with a GL trim car (no fog lights, no sunroof, no cruise, manual windows, etc.) there was also far less to go wrong with it.
 

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Worry less, drive more
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Beetles seem to have a lot of parts that fail, minor ones like the interior door pull and major ones like automatic transmissions. Fortunately the minor cosmetic issues are fixable and you may be able to do them yourself. My car has been fairly reliable. The biggest repair was done under warranty (new turbo, 47k miles).

1. Buy new or with a known history of maintenance by a VW mechanic.
2. Avoid problem Beetles.
3. Take it to a VW mechanic for future maintenance.
4. Keep a minimum of cash for repairs. Mine is $1000.

I'm glad I didn't read Consumer Reports before I bought Daisy! Their newest car issue even admits that the most reliable cars are usually not the most fun to drive. I feel like the Beetle is quite reliable when treated right and it's a blast to drive.
 

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T.O.D.7 Will U be there?
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I love my Chelsea.
Yes, she's 14 yrs old and in the three years I've owned her the only major thing she has needed is an UPDATED valve body (that's a component in the transmission). $400 but after all she does have just over 200,000 miles on her! I love her dearly and never plan to sell her. I like older cars. I have a few different cars and trucks with the oldest being a 73 manual beetle named 'Miles' and the newest being a 2000 automatic vw new beetle 'Chelsea'. Out of ALL my vehicles my beetles are the MOST FUN TO DRIVE for sure!!! I might buy a third beetle (TDI Diesel manual) but, I will never get rid of my other two beetles.
:p
 
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