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Beetle Buying Guide

When buying your first beetle, it will be wise if you can take someone with you that knows something about them, failing that here is some basic info on what to look for when purchasing your first beetle.

 
Firstly stand back from it and take a good look around it, make sure that it sits nice and square to the ground, i.e. one corner isn't lower than the other, and that the bumpers are even (not one end lower than the other).
Now check both heater channels, these are the hollow tubes that run the complete length of the vehicle, which the running boards are bolted onto. It is important that these are solid as they form the main structure of the vehicle, if
you are paying good money for it, and there is evidence of patch welding on these or any holes, then walk away.
 
Next check the condition of the floor pan itself, especially under the rear seat where the battery sits, make sure they haven't been botched up with fibreglass or body filler. Also check the area around the jacking points, and all the edges where the pans bolt onto the chassis.
 
Then open the bonnet, lift the spare wheel out, and check that the spare wheel well is sound, while you are there, check the condition of the front suspension mounts, look for evidence of botched patch welding, or worse body filler!
 

 

Have a good look at the petrol tank as well make sure that it is not too rusty, another rust spot to look out for while the bonnet is up, is the scuttle channel that the top of the bonnet shuts onto, if you can look under the rubber bonnet seal for evidence of rust. Also check the inside lip of the bonnet all the way around, this is a common water trap. 
 
Now go to the rear of the vehicle and check under the deck lid, first check this area for rot, especially at the base of the rear fire wall. Next check the engine for any major oil leaks, a little oil on the floor is normal, but puddles aren't! While your there get the seller to start the engine, and listen for any knocking noises, get him to rev it a little, see if it is ticking over smoothly, if not it may just need a service, but it could also have dropped a valve or two! Ask the seller if he has any service history with the vehicle.
 
Also while your there listen at the exhaust see if you can hear any evidence of the exhaust or the heat exchangers being holed, these items should be used more as a guide than anything, but hopefully we've helped you feel more confident buying an old VW beetle.