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I have a 2004 VW beetle convertible and I love it, but the soft top just stop working and I was wanting to know if you could tell me what type of code reader I would need to buy so the reader could tell me what wrong. I am far from being a mechanic but don't mind getting my hands dirty to fix it. I am a woman and have worked with my Dad on cars but he passed away and now I don't have any one to help me.

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VCDS is pretty much the industry standard; for the independent VW repair industry. Check out this video, showing its use; to try to diagnose, a convertible top operation issue. A code reader is one thing but being able to read, view live data is even more helpful and can really help, diagnose problems.

This is the basic entry level consumer/enthusiast; level cable/software solution, they offer @ $199:

VCDS with HEX-V2 Enthusiast
SKU: VCHV2_Ent$199.00

The VCDS cable, requires the use of a windows based pc or portable device, like a tablet or subnotebook.

There are other options out there; Obdeleven, which runs on Android devices and many "VAG" cheap Chinese knockoff hand held scan tools. VCDS by Ross Tech: is a solid, mature solution; it is developed and supported in the USA (call in by phone and online support forums). This tool, is used all over the world; by professional VW techs, every day 24/7/365 and is continueally improved with free software updates, to keep you current with the latest VW's, any issues that come up. I have had it since 2007 and it still works today; it is the REAL deal and it is worth every penny. If you do, decide to sell it later; it will hold its value and these typically resell, for close to what you paid for it.

Lastly, most internet, support/technical info and videos on youtube; dealing with VW repairs, will show VCDS in use and so, that make using it even MORE beneficial, as you will be using the same scan tool. Using the same tool, the pro's use; elminates, any confusion and possible differences, that could be a barrier to fixing your VW and while, VCDS is not "magic" per se; it can help you diagnose/troubleshoot problems, as it is essentially clone of a VW factory level scan tool the 1552. The 1552, was supplied by VW to the factory trained techs at your local VW dealership and so, it has deep capabilities. The tool, can help you gain info and enable testing; which, can help you do a process of elimination and find the cause of problems.

Here is a online demo; of the tool and a downloadable user manual for VCDS:

You might check out some videos on youtube; showing the basics and a overview of VCDS by Ross Tech, how to use it, what its capabilities are:

VCDS review and comparisons; to other available VW scan tools:

NOTE: OBDeleven, is the other less expensive option, that is becoming popular these days to use:

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