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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I have just (last week) acquired a 2002 new beetle. It's my first beetle and I'm loving it but I'm having some problems:

When I was driving early one evening (day after I got it), I needed to put the headlights on so I did but the car started losing power until I turned them off again. I had the radio on plus the AC. I tried it several times until I worked out that if I took my foot off the accelerator, I could turn the lights on and it would be fine. (This has also happened when AC not on).

Next time I took the car out, the EPC light came on.

Since then, the EPC light has been coming on and off (and not nec. when headlights have been used).

The other night I was driving when I got flashed. I stopped the car and to my horror found out that I had no rear lights except the middle one on the boot. I also found out I had no brake lights when the lights were on. With the lights off, the brake lights were coming on (not immediately) and too dim in my opinion. The middle light is fine.

[hindsight: it did cross my mind to check my lights when I first got the car but I thought I should be able to trust the dealer (big time dealer) and esp. as they did a 'safety check' on the car before I got it]

Well I took it back to the dealer today and they said:
- they couldn't find anything wrong with the car and there was no error in the memory store
- they took it for a drive and tried the lights and didn't get the power drain issue
- the rear lights had blown.

I'm sure they said they had replaced the bulbs but stupid me didn't check them before I left, and guess what, tonight when I went to drive home I had no rear lights. I have used the rear fog light to make sure I was visible but again had no brake lights.

Obviously I'm pretty livid and will be ringing the dealer tomorrow but I wanted to know if anyone had had a similar experience? Perhaps a dodgy wire or two? I can't believe they couldn't find a problem. I'm sure they didn't believe me about the EPC light as it wasn't showing when I took the car in. (if it comes up again I'll be taking photos)

Also, (and I haven't checked the manual on this), if I have the door open, engine off, and apply the brakes, I get a lights on beep and the headlights come on! Surely that's not normal?

Thanks
From a loving-my-beetle-but-why-is-it-when-you-get-a-new-car-there's-always-something-wrong-with-it
noob to this forum ;D
 

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WOW. You do have an electrical gremlin. Something is not wired up right somewhere. My suggestions are:

1) Borrow or rent a video camera to capture these things.
VW Dealers absolutely suck. I had a coworker nearly snap her timing belt because the dealer never told her to replace it (Diesel, went 160k on the FACTORY BELT)... the car never saw any other service department. They are evil. Video evidence can be held up in court, and directly proves you have a legitimate problem.

2) If the brake held, door open-headlights turn on thing is consistant.. do this at the dealer. That will make them look into something.

3) Call Volkswagen of America (or Canada? I'm not sure where you're calling from!) and register the complaint. VW's customer service department has done a good job of resolving the problems with dealers not wanting to work with customers.

4) It could be the brake light switch, call VW and see if the recall was performed. They have a database that the dealer has to report what VIN # cars have had what recalls done (I believe, the dealer will have this information for sure).

5) Sacrafice a small chicken while wearing red pumps. (just kidding!)

The brake-headlights thing is so totally bizarre. Please keep us updated on what happens.
 

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oh also...

My 2002 had a brake light that would not come on when the headlights were on. It was my passenger side one. I had to take some needle-nose pliars and bend the prons in the connector socket a bit to make better contact. I had the dealer replace my socket once, that was a two month ordeal that was a real pain, and the new socket also did this.. hence my do it yourself fix.

Again, the door open, brake pressed, beeping and headlights coming on... that's so not normal!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I have decided to tie my husband to the back of my car with placards that say 'now braking'....just kidding ;)

FYI: I'm from the UK

I have taken some photos but filming it is a much better idea - I will have a go today and trying to capture all the faults.

I can't find out whether they replaced the back lights until tomorrow when the service department is open again, but I'm sure they must have 'cos I don't remember them saying I had to get new bulbs. Either way, if they didn't replace them that's bad, and if they did and they still don't work that's bad.

What really annoys me is that they have now let me drive off twice in what I would say is an unsafe car. They reckoned the bulbs could have gone after I had the car but I don't believe that and think it's just cr**p. I can't drive around at night now until this is fixed else I'll risk someone going into the back of me or getting pulled over.

Thanks for the support - I will keep you posted.
 

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jojo said:
Well I have decided to tie my husband to the back of my car with placards that say 'now braking'....just kidding ;)

FYI: I'm from the UK

I have taken some photos but filming it is a much better idea - I will have a go today and trying to capture all the faults.

I can't find out whether they replaced the back lights until tomorrow when the service department is open again, but I'm sure they must have 'cos I don't remember them saying I had to get new bulbs. Either way, if they didn't replace them that's bad, and if they did and they still don't work that's bad.

What really annoys me is that they have now let me drive off twice in what I would say is an unsafe car. They reckoned the bulbs could have gone after I had the car but I don't believe that and think it's just cr**p. I can't drive around at night now until this is fixed else I'll risk someone going into the back of me or getting pulled over.

Thanks for the support - I will keep you posted.
As suggested earlier, a no charge replacement for the brake light swich on the brake pedal was issued in the US. Perhaps that also applies to the UK. At any rate, any VW tech. that is qualified at all can isolate this electrical problem with only a Digital Multi-meter checking the circuits to brake light switch, the headlight on switch, the fuse and the rest of the circuits to the rear lamps. The continuity of the rear lamp sockets can also be checked this way. I would assume that corrosion and rust is a on going problem over there in the damp. The dealers scanner cannot find this fault, only basic auto mechanics logical use of a Digital multi-meter and persistance. Make your dealer perform. It could be something as simple as a corroded lamp socket, a faulty head light switch, a bad relay or a ground fault that shorts out this circuit and blows the lamps... Good Luck, JK
 

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jojo said:
Well I have decided to tie my husband to the back of my car with placards that say 'now braking'....just kidding ;)

FYI: I'm from the UK

I have taken some photos but filming it is a much better idea - I will have a go today and trying to capture all the faults.

I can't find out whether they replaced the back lights until tomorrow when the service department is open again, but I'm sure they must have 'cos I don't remember them saying I had to get new bulbs. Either way, if they didn't replace them that's bad, and if they did and they still don't work that's bad.

What really annoys me is that they have now let me drive off twice in what I would say is an unsafe car. They reckoned the bulbs could have gone after I had the car but I don't believe that and think it's just cr**p. I can't drive around at night now until this is fixed else I'll risk someone going into the back of me or getting pulled over.

Thanks for the support - I will keep you posted.
The dealers in the US are known to be crap :( I was hoping that was not the same in the UK (hi! sorry for thinking you were canadian!) ... TopGear sure loves the R32. As John said, make the dealer find the problem and take care of this. Put your foot down, and get VW HQ involved if necessary. If you do film it, and can digitize it, I'd like to see your footage!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I rang the dealer today and the lady I spoke to was so nice that I didn't have the heart to have a go! She has arranged for my car to go in on Wednesday, bought forward its service to Wednesday, made sure the bits I have on order will be in on Wednesday (a couple of parts), and arranged for a courtesy car.

I didn't get time to do a video shoot in the end though I have made sure to get a photo of the EPS light on in case they don't believe me this time.

I'm surprised the previous owner didn't get it looked at though maybe that's why she sold it. It does annoy me that they couldn't find a problem as though I'm making it up! They surely should have picked up a problem when they did their pre-sales check.

Until Wednesday....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi me again.

Well here's the saga continued:

I get up extra early this morning so I can drop my car off and pick up a courtesy car (polo, automatic - yuk). Sometime mid afternoon I get a text saying my car is ready so I call the nice lady to ask exactly what happened. She said that they replaced the brake light switch and two people have checked it and it's all working. Joy!

So I was supposed to pick up my car tomorrow but I was missing it so much and hating the polo so much that I raced there for just before they closed. They then tell me that the light bulb holder they had ordered and were supposed to be fitting as well and come in and was the wrong one. This means I have to take my car back - again. GGGggrrrr..

Well I finally get to my car, put the lights on and see they are indeed working, though the middle brake light which had up until now been the only light working with the headlights on, was now not working. Sigh. And after closing time...

So anyway, I lovingly drive my baby home and when I park up, I check the lights again. They still work. Then I hang out the door with my foot on the brake - and horror - the back light on the drivers side goes off, and the middle light comes on???!!!! I can't see what the other light is doing as I'm by myself but I think it's on and working with the brake. I then try the trick of turning off the engine and putting my foot on the brake. Now only the drivers side headlight comes on which indicates to me that they replaced one switch - DIDN'T check the car properly, and negelected the other switch. (I presume there are two switches?)

This means I'm going to have to ring them again and take it in again. I am quite tired and fed up now as this is a big inconvenience. I am thinking of lodging a complaint or at least threatening it. It's a shame because in all other respects, I LOVE MY BUG ;)

I will keep you updated as the saga continues....

(P.S. - thanks to the newbeetle.org forums I have learned loads already about beetles and especially brake light switches. Thanks)
 

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I had the exact same problem ( EPC light coming on when headlights were on the third brake light stayed on and no taillights when headlights were on) and and it was a combination of two different brands of taillight bulbs and loose sockets replace both sides with vw bulbs and examine the sockets the ground/sleeve was NOT making good contact with the base of the bulbs. I pried the sleeves in the sockets a tiny bit with a small screwdriver so they made a good tight fit with the bulb....that was year ago and no problems since. If you or your dealer needs more info Pm me and I will e-mail a picture of the process.

Dean
 

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jojo --

These are what I like to call "beetle experiences!"

Smile, because you know that in the end the car will be just fine ... just gotta work the gremlins out, first! I pray that you get all the components fixed on the next go around, and threatening to send a complaint works wonders.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Blue Thunder said:
I had the exact same problem ( EPC light coming on when headlights were on the third brake light stayed on and no taillights when headlights were on) and and it was a combination of two different brands of taillight bulbs and loose sockets replace both sides with vw bulbs and examine the sockets the ground/sleeve was NOT making good contact with the base of the bulbs. I pried the sleeves in the sockets a tiny bit with a small screwdriver so they made a good tight fit with the bulb....that was year ago and no problems since. If you or your dealer needs more info Pm me and I will e-mail a picture of the process.

Dean
Thanks for the info Dean.

Well the dealer has got new lightbulb holders on order but it would appear that replacing the brake light switch did make a big difference. I tested turning the lights on whilst driving with my foot on the accelerator and I din't get any power loss! I also notice that the AC light stays on even if I'm not blowing cold air (it went off when the temp was turned up). Never having had AC I just presumed that was normal but now I'm guessing it's not!

Haven't had an EPC light since either. Just hoping that when the other back light gets fixed I can get on with loving my beetle :D (see, I'm smiling kcfoxie!) I really, really love my bug and will have to go and gush in the other forums here specifically for gushing...!

Thanks guys
 

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There is a wierd grounding problem involving the brakelight circuit and if you have an automatic the solenoid that allows you to shift only when the brake is pressed is on continuosly when this happens too.
 

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Jo Jo, and the A/C light...

Sounds like your dealer is trying at least to service your car and keep you somewhat happy...

The A/C compressor will stay on as long as that A/C switch is pushed in, unless the outside temp. as measured by the ambient air temp. sensor is lower than 40 degrees F. At this and lower temps, this cut off switch attached to this ambient temp sensor protects the A/C system from damage that can occurr at this low a temp. When using the heater, use of the A/C compressor helps bring the moisture content down in the winter or colder damp months. It also defrosts the inside windows very quickly. A little VW oddness is that when the defrost position is used with the vent selector knob, the recirculate air mode is turned off and only fresh air comes in...
Continue to enjoy your car, and I hope that this brake light prob. is the only one you have..... JK
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again guys.

I have to laugh - have just got through a customer satisfaction survey to fill in regarding my experiences of buying my car...hee hee. Can't wait to fill that in ;)

Yes they are getting my problems sorted. The salesman was great, and the service people have been very helpful, it's just the mechanics that have let me down. A friend of my Dad's is a mechanic and normally I would go to him for all car stuff but the onus has been on the dealer as I just bought it. My Dad's friend would never have let me drive off without rear/brake lights and I just don't feel I can really trust these mechanics at the dealer.

(FYI - I have a manual and not an automatic).

When the AC wasn't coming on, the button was pressed in and the temp here has been above 40F, but since the brake light switch (or one of) was replaced, it's working properly now which is great.

I know that all cars will eventually have a problem, I'm just annoyed that mine was so simple yet so difficult to fix!

I LOVE my car :D
 
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