2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test - Maintenance

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Broken Fuel Cap Cable

April 29, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Yesterday I tried to fuel our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and noticed that the cable attaching the fuel cap to the door was broken. It is a minor issue. Still it is something we'll have looked at next time the VW goes to the dealer.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Tire Swap

April 11, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

As the long-term clock on our VW Beetle winds down, we need to mount the original tires and wheels back on the car. Rather than wait for the car at Stoke's, our local tire shop, Magrath and I decided to do it ourselves at our own shop.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: 15,000 Miles Cleared

February 27, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

While motoring along California's I-5 and up and over the Tejon Pass (near Frazier Park) our Beetle hit 15,000 miles. That puts us three-quarters of the way toward our typical goal of 20,000 miles.

Other than doing routine maintenance, we've only had one issue with the car so far: the failed auto-window operation, which was fixed under warranty.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: 10,000-Mile Service

January 18, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

When the odometer turned 10,000 miles we knew it was time to get our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle to the dealer for routine maintenance. The Beetle requests routine service at 10,000-mile intervals. And thanks to Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance, it doesn't cost a thing.

We were late on this one. But because of our preemptive, and out-of-pocket, oil change at 3,000 miles, the dealer counted this as our 10k and no monetary penalty was applied.

Since we arrived late in the day without an appointment, we weren't surprised when the dealer asked to keep our car overnight. Our phone rang first thing the next morning to inform us the car was ready. This visit was simple and straightforward, how we like it.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 13,700 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Chipped Windshield

January 5, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

Our VW Beetle's windshield fell victim to a small rock off the back tire of a jacked up Chevy Silverado just south of Hearst Castle on Pacific Coast Highway. It was partly cloudy and about 50 degrees. Cows were nearby.

The new Beetle's more upright windshield probably wasn't helpful in deflecting the force of that little rock. Hopefully we can repair the small chip and centimeter crack instead of a full replacement.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,343 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: New Recall

November 20, 2012

2012_volkswagen_beetle_f34_lt_5021212_1600.jpg A new recall was announced today for the 2012-'13 VW Beetle. 

Seems some cars might not be able to recognize if a child safety seat is installed in the front passenger seat, and therefore won't disable the airbag, leaving the child at risk of an airbag impact.

As the early report says cars with leather seats are especially susceptible to the issue, it's unlikely our Turbo is included.

Read the full recall story here.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: New Wheels

October 29, 2012


Scott wasn't a big fan of the so-called "Twister" 18-inch wheels that came on our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. A few others in the office have been luke warm on them, too.

They're supposed to resemble the Porsche 914 5-lug wheel conversion that was popular back in the day on early Beetles, but with their extra long spokes and flat profile you have to squint real hard to see them that way.

So we asked VW if we could try out a set of the 18-inch "Disc" wheels shown above, which have a more obvious -- by still stylized -- vintage look. That old-school chrome disc is in reality an oversized plastic center cap that snaps onto 8-spoke alloy wheels. The wheels come on the Beetle 2.5SL, but only when you get the loaded version with the "Sunroof, Sound and Navigation" package.

We didn't want to go all the way to the more accurate vintage look of the "Heritage" wheels, though, because our plan was to swap the Turbo's P235/45R18 tires straight across onto the new wheels, and the Heritage wheels measure just 17-inches in diameter.  

When the wheels arrived, however, we discovered they came with new TPMS sensors and tires already mounted and balanced. This is going to be a very simple swap indeed.

The new rubber is the same size (P235/45R18), has the same load & speed rating (94H) and is still rated for all-season duty. But these wheels came with Continental ContiProContact all-season tires instead of the Hankook Optimo H426 tires we had before. Apparently this is a second OE fitment in the same size, a common practice employed by carmakers to guard against natural disasters or strikes at tire supplier plants. 

The Twister/Hankook combination weighs 52.0 pounds...

...and the Disc/Continental pairing weighs 50.2 pounds, almost 2 pounds less per assembly.

It goes without saying that we'll be retesting this combination at the track in the coming weeks to see if there's much difference. But the result is secondary because this was never about performance. It was about cosmetics, a desire to change up the look of our Beetle Turbo with other OE parts.

So, as my optometrist is fond of asking, do you prefer this...

...or this?

Either way, the latter is what Erin is rolling on during her trip to New Mexico. You don't have to make up your mind just yet because we'll be seeing more photos of these wheels on the open road in the coming days.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,766 miles 

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Windows are Fixed

October 1, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

We delivered our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle to Volkswagen Santa Monica to address its failed auto-window operation. Two days later the car was back in our hands and, we hope, the problem fixed. Here is what happened:

First, VW inspected the seals to confirm they were not deformed. Those checked out fine. Then, we're guessing to cover all bases, the window motors and regulators were replaced on both the driver and passenger sides. The windows now operate as intended.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 5,689 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Fixing the Windows

September 20, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

We hoped to finally settle our on-again, off-again struggle with the windows of our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. So we left it with Volkswagen Santa Monica. We'll let you know how it turns out.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 5,689 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: The Window is Fine

August 29, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

As previously noted, the driver's window in our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle was acting up. This was the first I heard of it. So I grabbed the key, went downstairs and reset it.

Climb in. Start the car. Hold the switch to roll the window all of the way up and continue to hold up for about 10 seconds after it's closed (I heard 10 secs, but 3-5 sometimes works). Roll the window back down, again holding the switch for 10 seconds after the window is fully open. Roll it back up and it is reset. The window is fine now.

In my experience, this miscommunication between window and switch often follows the car sitting, turned off, with the window partially open. It happens to sunroofs too. Why exactly does it happen? I can't tell you. But 90-percent of the time, this is how you fix it.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,899 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Poltergeist Protection?

August 04, 2012


I'm experiencing an intermittent auto-up window pinch-protection malfunction. Occasionally, it believes there's something impeding the window and backs it off. The trouble with this is that after two tries, it then locks out auto-up/down and it will only motor the window either way with the partial pull/push on the button. Luckily, shutting the car off resets the system. I checked the window track for any crud, and there is none. Does anybody else have this problem?

There's a video after the jump if this doesn't make sense to you...

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: First Service

July 31, 2012


(Photo by David Landsness)

Yesterday we delivered our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle to the dealer for service. Normally, VW picks up the tab every 10,000 miles with its Carefree Maintenance Program. We choose to give our cars the severe service treatment once before falling into the OEM recommended intervals. So we knew this one would come from our pocket.

These services aren't counted against the ownership tally for the car. But they do offer some peace of mind, which to us, is worth it. They also give us a bit of insight as to what we will be paying once our free maintenance expires.

Santa Monica Volkswagen had our car for about three hours. We weren't waiting, so it was not a big deal this time. The experience rated as average until we had to call our advisor to follow up. Then it lost a point. We can't hold it against this dealership exclusively, however. The unfortunate reality is that this extra step is required at more dealerships than I can count.

Oh, and the cost for the oil change and tire rotation...

Total Cost: $148.19

Total Days out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 3,813 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Tire Recall

July 19, 2012


There's a raft of important recalls in the news this week, including one for improper tires on the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.

Luckily, our Turbo was not included.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: More About The Headlights and Drained Battery

June 26, 2012


I saw some comments on yesterday's drained battery post where people were wondering about how exactly the Beetle's headlights/parking lights operation works and how I actually managed to drain the battery. Here are my responses in a separate post.

Allthingshonda was wondering about parking lights, since the headlight switch has just two positions: off and on. The parking lights activate if you turn the headlights on and then place the transmission in park and set the parking brake. Basically, you get the DRLs up front plus illuminated taillights and side running lights. That's what is pictured above, and what effectively drained the battery as the parking light mode is not automatically shut off according to the owner's manual.

Benhamean figured out the headlight/parking light situation, but wondered how I actually let it happen. Well, I tested it out today. If you have the headlight switch on with the car running, then turn off the ignition and open the driver door, you do get a warming chime. In theory, I should have noticed this and then turned off the lights.

But, there are two excuses here. One: From the driver perspective inside of the car, it does look like the car's headlights turn off when you shut off the ignition off. No more bright headlight illumination, just the parking lights. And that can go easily unnoticed since just about every car these days leaves the lights on for you after you exit the vehicle (especially in my situation, since we drive so many different cars, and I'm not super familiar with each car's peculiar operation).

Two: The chime isn't different than any other warning chime and repeats five times and then turns off. Like isend2c wrote, in modern cars you get chimes/beeps for everything these days. Sure, five times should be plenty, of course, but I suspect I was just distracted as I was returning home late with my wife the night before and was probably talking to her and not paying attention to a beeping chime, which is all too common.

Finally, hybris wrote that it's all blown out of proportion since it was indeed operator error. No question there. But I do think it has taken on a little more relevance here since the Beetle doesn't have automatic headlight operation nor a method to really prevent the battery from draining if the driver does indeed leave the light switch on.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Mental Note -- Turn Off Headlamps Next Time

June 25, 2012


Well, I managed to drain the Beetle's battery over the weekend. I went out to the VW on Sunday to run an errand only to find that it wouldn't start. The accessories worked, just not the engine starter. For a moment I thought something might be wrong (such as when the Jetta died on Mike for no apparent reason), but then I checked the headlamps switch, and sure enough I had left the lights on from driving the Beetle the night before. Oops.

The Beetle was on my driveway and I had access to another vehicle. I thought about jump-starting, but instead hooked up the Beetle's battery to my portable charger and let the battery charge back up for the afternoon. Two things came out of this:

1) A subsequent read of the owner's manual revealed that the battery "...should be charged by an authorized Volkswagen Service Facility because the factory-installed battery requires a charger with overload protection." Hmm. Well, the Beetle and battery seem fine after charging, but good to know I guess.

2) Also from the manual: the Beetle does have a battery rundown protection feature, but it doesn't apply to the parking lights (i.e., light switch on, vehicle parked/not running).

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 2,697 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Emblem Love

June 19, 2012

emblem before.jpg

A layer of schmutz had collected on our Beetle's hatch-opener/emblem. So last night, inspired by Jay's paean to elbow grease and our freshened-up story on how to wash and wax your car, I pulled out a bottle of high-shine protectant for vinyl, rubber and plastic and tidied up the emblem.

I employed a cotton swab and a tiny little pointy thing (OK, a bamboo skewer) under a thin cloth to get into the corners.

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