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Re: Changing Brakes concern
Most brake pads have what they call squeak indicators.These indicators will start squeaking when your not applying the brakes when the pads get low.Otherwise the best way is to inspect the pads and see how much is left.
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the brake lights don't light up or the taillights don't light up? the brake lights are brighter than the tailights so the tailights won't show up whenbrakes are applied. if no lights work when brakes are applied then check for a bad ground at the light assembly.
Remove the tire and then the caliper. Brake pads on the VW Beetle are relatively easy to change, and are done so in the same manner as an american car. I'd also recommend that you buy new rotors since they are not all that expensive. Not changing the rotors (or having them resurfaced) will lead to squeaky brakes. The cost to resurface will be more than half the cost of new rotors, and new rotors will make the job easier & quicker.
you will need to remove the tail lamp.
standing behind the vehicle, with the trunk open , inside on the affected side you will see a small plastic cover, remove this and under neath is a nut. remove the nut. now you have to gently prise the tail lamp out(taking care with paint work). start at the outside of the lamp. once removed, changing the bulb is straight foward. you will see the lugs for refitting the lamp.
I have a 2001 Beetle and changing many of the bulbs are a *****. I have found a very good mechanic who changes most of my exterior lights as some such as the fog lights require it to be lifted up and I'm not comforatble crawling under it when off the ground. I would call around to VW mechanics and see what they would chrage, That's actually how I found my mechanic, head lamps. If you buy the lamps you can also some body shops willing to install them for much leass than a dealership. Hope this helps.
Had one changed on my daughters 1998 VW Beetle, cost nearly $650 for part plus installation. Failure came while her car was in Boston so I was unable to complete the task. The part is readily accessible in the front of the engine compartment, and not all that difficult to replace. If you can change brakes, alternators, serpentine belts, etc. you should be able to change the secondary air pump. Check with your local parts supplier like AutoZone or Murrays, they may have tips & tricks to make the job a bit easier.