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My wife's beetle is a 2001 with 92xxx miles. It started having issues (in early 2014) with starting up during any cold weather.

At first I thought it was just because the temp got under 0 at night--but previous winters were no issue. Then I considered watered down fuel freezing in the lines so we switched to premium thinking that would solve it. When it didn't, I thought it may be that the battery was dying out and went to get it checked. Both Advanced Auto Parts and my garage said that it had plenty of life left. However, her battery does die quite often. (This is weird as after I jumped the car, I took it to those two locations and was then told it was still healthy).

I'm at a loss. I'd rather not take it to the dealer until I've tried all other options as we're extremely tight on money.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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If your battery is dieing, you likely have a parasitic drain or its failing. Cold weather really does a number on batteries.
 

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You don't specifically state it but I assume that your starting problems are due to weak battery/slow cranking speed. There are 3 possible problems to look into:

1. The alternator is not charging the battery. Check the battery voltage about a minute after startup and it should be between 14 and 14.5 volts. If it is low it is most likely worn alternator brushes, which are much cheaper to replace than the whole alternator.

2. There is a parasitic drain on the battery that is discharging it to the point it won't start. See my DIY:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/60356-how-test-parasitic-drain-new-beetle.html

3. There is excess resistance in the cables between the battery and the starter. Check the condition of the connections at the battery posts. Also, if the battery voltage is above 10 during cranking and the cranking is slow, there is excess resistance somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I forgot to mention that this issue only happens in cold weather. It seems to start fine with warm weather. (This is what made it confusing to me.)

Could it be anything other than the battery and/or water freezing in the gas-line? I'll try out the DIY you linked and see if that's the issue, but it's weird that the beetles start up is so inconsistent.
 

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Are you using the correct winter weight oil that is recommended in the manual? Also, I believe these cars need full synthetic oil. Using a heavier weight non-synthetic oil could cause slower cranking (and wear and tear) in very cold weather.
 

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I run 20-50 petro oil and have no problem, even in sub-zero weather.

The OP doesn't state if the problem is slow cranking or just failure to start.

By the way, you're wasting money on higher octane fuel.
Higher octane does NOT mean the car will start or run better. High octane gasoline is widely misunderstood.
It's for high compression engines that are prone to detonation/pre-ignition, which was an issue with carburetors and old-style ignition systems. Modern technology normally incorporates knock sensor/computer engine management, which gets around the problems associated with octane requirements, unless the need for higher octane is stated in the owners' manual.

Our 2 liter four-bangers run just fine on 87 octane.
 

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87 octane

I run 20-50 petro oil and have no problem, even in sub-zero weather.

The OP doesn't state if the problem is slow cranking or just failure to start.

By the way, you're wasting money on higher octane fuel.
Higher octane does NOT mean the car will start or run better. High octane gasoline is widely misunderstood.
It's for high compression engines that are prone to detonation/pre-ignition, which was an issue with carburetors and old-style ignition systems. Modern technology normally incorporates knock sensor/computer engine management, which gets around the problems associated with octane requirements, unless the need for higher octane is stated in the owners' manual.

Our 2 liter four-bangers run just fine on 87 octane.
me too I've been running 87 octane since day one with no issues other than a little carbon buildup. I live in south Texas so I am not sure if ambient temperature makes a difference.
 
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