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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's got 100,00 kilometres (60K miles), just got new battery, brakes (at the dealership: big $$), transmission new in '18. It's got HUGE sentimental value, so I don't mind spending $$ on it, but its presenting a lot of problems despite just spending a bunch of time being serviced at the dealership

Ongoing problem before and after recent sevicing is when it gets rained on overnight, it won't start. I drove to cottage yesterday: a couple hundred miles/kilometers and the battery's new so it shouldn't have had trouble starting/a drained battery.

But, once again it won't start and the pre-new-battery trick of spraying down the under-hood stuff with WD40 didn't work. I've got it hooked up to a battery charger and am waiting for roadside assistance.

The new battery (its housing?) isn't the same as the old one (I realized when I attached to charger). Pic attached fwiw.

I don't know ANYTHING about cars and am wondering if, much as I love it, I should just get rid of it as it's beyond my skillset to figure out what's up so it's way unreliable?

Am I missing something about the battery getting wet?

I could really use advice from some car-smart folks. Ty in advance.

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Can, you tell us; what year, model, engine and transmission, of the VW in question?

When, you say, "it won't start"; what specifically, is not happening? For example, is the battery voltage good or totally dead (?) and is the starter motor is spinning over but the engine won't fire up? There can be a wide range of possible reasons; a car won't start but turns over; typically, narrows down to ignition or fuel delivery issues. Is the immobilizer icon (key with outline of a beetle body); flashing, when trying to start and it starting, then dying?


If the voltage of the battery is a problem; you may need to have the charging system tested and if that is ok, a scan for trouble codes and confirming, the immobilizer, fuel pressure or ignition spark, is a issue.

For repairs, the VW dealership; will always, be the most expensive service provider but there maybe other VW repair shops, that could be cheaper. As a owner, you might want to invest in some tools; like a factory level scan tool and that way, you can possibly, diagnose or identify some problems, even if you have a shop repair things or you could try to do some repairs yourself or at least, you could intelligently discuss things, when you take or talk to service shops, etc.

Give us some more info; that basics of what the car is, history of recent problems and repairs, we can go from there. Thanks.

PS: if you have the 2.0L engine; we have seen, the ignition coil develop cracks and when, they get moisture/water on them from rain, can make the car hard to start. Based, upon what you have said; about rain and hard starting; this maybe, something to look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, Thanks for replying!

It's a 2.0, roadside said the battery is fine.

History is mostly city driving. I'm a basic little old lady who bikes/walks most of the time. I got the car new in 04, so have been the only owner.

Repairs: June '22: new battery (I was away all winter and car rarely driven), new front/rear brakes, new air filter, "tune up"
2017ish: new "California" transmission
Before that, repairs as needed and 2x yearly tuneups.


Dealership def. more $$ but easier to deal (ha) with than rando mechanics.

I'd returned it to dealership after repairs last month cause it was doing a weird stop/start/stall thing when driving in stop and go traffic. And while idling it would rev by itself. It did this again when I managed to get it started today.

Best described here: Stalling problem with Scanner Live View pic

I'm terrified of it stalling out in highway traffic.

I'm not opposed to learning more about fixing it, but that, also, seems intimidating and I'm really useless with mechanical things -- TMI, but the family member who looked after car stuff passed away and it's all I have left of them, but I never learned anything about it.

I think your PS may be salient here: I did just finally get the car to start. When I first posed it made the "starting" noise but the engine didn't't turn over. It may have been the rain....although it was doing that stalling thing as noted in thread above.

Thanks very much!!! People here are greatt!!!
 

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Well, if you have a relationship with the VW dealer and it is easy to work with them, it sounds like they didn't fix the problem and need to complete the repairs.

As noted, as rain being a contributing factor; the coil pack being cracked, could be a possibility. For stalling at a stop light or suddenly in traffic, etc.; we have seen a dirty throttle body, cause this issue or a vacuum leak of some sort, cracked vacuum plastic hoses, from the brake booster and other vacuum hoses, around the engine are common.

It sounds, like you should DEFINITELY, get the stalling issue resolved; as it doesn't sound like a very safe vehicle to drive, especially in traffic! That can be danger and scary; when, a car dies and you can't avoid a accident or keep up with the flow of traffic. That is disappointing; that the VW dealership, returned the car to you like this but if you going to continue to deal with them, contact them and return the vehicle, until it is fixed right. You might want to discuss things with the service manager and discuss; how dangerous, the stalling problem, has become.

If you do decide, to ever check up on things; it would be beneficial, to invest in a VW scan tool, driving a almost 20 year old vintage VW, problems are going to become more common and you will need to keep up on maintenace, as many old parts will wear out, need replaced. There are cheap scanners out there and you can keep it in your glove box and if a check engine light pop up or something; you can scan for codes and post up here, see if we can help or be able to tell the VW dealer, what is going on.

As to when to get rid of a older car; that can be a tough call and i guess, it depends if it is a primary vehcle, can do what it needs to or it is just is a secondary form of transpo, not that critical to your day to day needs. At this point, it sounds like you have invested; quite a bit, in the transmission replacement and full brake job.

Let us know; how things go at the VW dealership and we can go from there. Thanks.
 

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PS: i just noticed on your battery photos; the left terminal wires is getting hot and is melting the battery fuse box! Unfortunately, this is a common problem, you should tell the VW dealer about this and the harness to the alternator, may need to be replaced, along with checking the grounds for corrosion and installing a new battery fuse box. Definitely, another issue; to get fixed and this could contribute, to the battery being low, not charging correctly or failing.

This may not be of interest; if the vw dealer is going to fix things but here is a overview of this common electrical problem:



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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi billymade,

Ty so much for the detailed response.

I'll follow your advice and address the issues (including the terminal wire! Which might explain the occasional scent of burning rubber when the car's running).

This is my first experience using a dealership to service the car -- can't say I'm wholly impressed and will likely move on once the issues are resolved, I'll look for a good non-dealership mechanic in Toronto (mine retired a few years back).

As of 2021, I retired to the warmth and only use the car when I'm in Toronto for a couple of months in the summer, so it's a quandry re: keeping it stored until I'm in town vs. letting it go.

I really do appreciate your taking the time to help me out here: otherwise I'd be completely lost with this.

Cheers!
 

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The alarm on these cars is active and so will drain the battery if the car is in storage or not driven much. When you are gone for more then a week or two, the battery will discharge fully; you might consider buying a battery conditioner or tender, so the battery doesn’t die or go bad from not being used.

This can save you the cost of a tow truck coming to your assistance, another nee battery purchase and keep the battery charged, ready to use your car as needed.



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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi billymade,

Thanks for the suggestions. I never would have known about the battery terminal without your input. Once the dealearshp makes things right, I'll move on to an independent shop (the one my mom used for her beetle in the 80s is still in business!) I do have a battery tender but the person who looked after my car over the winter only drove in 1x per month and didn't plug it into the tender! Next job: find somewhere reliable to store it over the winter :)

Thanks again, you've been more helpful than I can express.
 

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Hello Bruceal,
After reading your posts re: your '03 Beetle, I feel compelled to write you. I'm also a "Little Old Lady" and drive like one too! I bought a 2019 VW Beetle Convertible Final Edition new and had problems (factory issue) with it pretty much right away. I really only drive it in commute traffic (Bay Area/Northern CA) so was also terrified that I would have problems with the stop and go highway driving from the burbs to the City. I kept taking my car to a nearby dealership because it was still under warranty and it was closer to home (from the dealership where I purchased it). Every time I took it there (6 times) for the same reoccurring problem, they not only didn't fix the problem but managed to always create new ones! When they finally fixed the problems, I immediately started taking my car back to the original dealership for servicing and I'm so glad I did. They've been nothing but terrific, professional, knowledgeable, and polite. I ended up writing to VW Corp. about my experiences as I thought that they should know.
Anyway, I truly wish you the best of luck,
Gina
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The saga concludes (for now) the dealership was shockingly awesome: they sent a tow for my car (I'm at a summer house 125 miles from the city), rented me an SUV and dropped the car back off (again at summer house) 9 days later. Looks like the problems are resolved for now --- and, on balance, it cost them way more to fix the "repair" than what I initially paid, so they did make it right.

Gina: my beetle's been great to me far longer than I could have imagined. Gtk that you, too, have had a good dealership experience -- until this occasion I'd never used the dealership before...probably a case-by-case basis with franchises.

Billymade: an extra-special thank you for your guideance with this...it was immeasurably helpful when talking about issues with the dealership.

All-in-all, I think most of the service guys at my dealership were in kindergarten when I bought my car :) -- so not overly surprised that they kinda pooched things. But I am glad I (over)paid as if I'd run into the same problems at my old mechanic's, I'd have been eating sticks and berries in the woods while it was being fixed.

To my original subject query: There's life in the old gal yet (me and the car), so will try to find a nice hibernation nest for it over the winter (I head south). And maybe get the rusting chunks on the running boards dealt with!
 

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That is a great ending to your story! I'm glad your VW dealer; went out of their way, to get the car fixed and all the needed transpo issues handled. If you have a chance: take some shots of your New Beetle! We would love to see your long term VW companion; its great to know, these cars can be long term friends, when cared for correctly! :)

PS: if you have a list of the work done to the car at the VW dealership; it would be of interest to us and see, what things were fixed and parts replaced, to get things back in working order! Thanks! :)
 
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