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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have to start this thread by saying I don't drive my 1999 Beetle as often as I should. She sits for at least three to five days between starting her up and driving. I know, I'm a bad Beetle owner. :( I've already replaced a battery in January this year, that most very likely died, from lack of driving her in the winter.

I drove her yesterday for about an hour around town with no problems. I went for coffee and smokes for my husband this morning and had no problems until I was on my way home only two minutes away from home and the battery light went on. It was raining this morning and cold (I had the wipers on, radio and lights), so I thought, maybe a connection was loose. My husband said that it might not be anything and that the bug just needs to be driven more.

So,I went to Mr. Lube about an hour and half later and had an oil change, etc. Then I went for a drive right afterwards with my husband to give the engine more exercise. Less than 10 minutes later, as I turned onto a side street, alarms started going off, all the warning lights on the dash turned on (including the temperature gauge that turned red then blue, the emergency brake light, the ABS, check engine light - everything). I thought my car was going to die right then and there, if not explode. (OK, maybe an over-exaggeration, but it scared me.)

We decided to try to get home ASAP, so I turned into a driveway and tried to turn around. I scraped the front part of my bug on a curb and later found out I nearly pulled the grill off. By then, all warning sounds stopped and the warning lights turned off, except the battery light, ABS light were on and the emergency brake light was flashing. My husband took over driving and drove to the freeway and drove for about 15 minutes going at 100km to 140 km/h. After about 10 minutes the battery light turned off, but the ABS light was on and the emergency brake light was still flashing.

We got home and turned the bug off, then restarted her and all the lights were off. We went inside then started her again about an hour later. This time, even with the emergency brake up, the emergency brake light wouldn't come on. I drove to a local mall about 10 minutes away, parked and put on the emergency brake and the emergency light came on.

Everything was fine on the 10 minute drive home. We plan to take her out on the freeway tomorrow for about 20 minutes again. Does anyone have any insight into this experience? Was it due to the battery? The whole thing really scared me. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We believe it's the alternator. I drove it on a freeway close to home today (Easter sunday), as I was entering the freeway, my airbag light came on, the speedometer stopped working so I had no idea how slow or fast I was going, the emergency brake light and ABS light went on. I was driving for about 3-5 minutes til I could find an exit, then the car started to slow down while I tried to give it more gas. Pulled over to the side of the road and turned her off. She wouldn't start up again. Called a tow truck and within 20 minutes, someone showed up. The guy said it was most very likely the alternator. After we towed her home, half an hour later, my husband went to see if she would start. She did, so he just repositioned her to fit more nicely in the parking spot. But, he didn't notice if the speedometer was working or not. Scary stuff, considering it was the first time I, myself, have driven her on a freeway. But, as a first experience, hasn't deterred me from trying again once she's fixed. :cool:
 

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5/23/10 <3
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You should be able to go to an auto parts store and they'll test the battery and alternator for you to let you know which one is failing.
 

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If you have a volt/ohm meter you can check it yourself. Open the hood and tilt the fuse block on top of the battery out of the way. Put your meter on volts DC and check the battery. Then start the car and while it's running check the battery again. Not running it should be 12+ volts and running it should be in the 13.5-14.2 range. If it doesn't change once it's running, then the alternator has shot craps.
 
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