Question about 2001 Volkswagen Beetle

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Hi, We have a standard 2001 VW Beetle w/ automatic transmission. On 04/15/2008, the car was taken to the local dealer when we were notified that the brake light switch had recalled. The dealer replaced the switch, under warranty; no charge. Last week we noticed that the rear brake lights were again not working. We took the car back to the same dealer yesterday, 03/07/2009. The service guy at VW told us that because it had been less than one year, and less than 15,000 miles had been driven since the brake light switch had been replaced, there would be no charge if the switch was once again the problem. So, we thought, of course, what else could it be? A bad switch equals a short in the line to the brake lights, which equals no charge. Go ahead and do the work. After they checked the car, they said that the brake lights were burned out by an electrical short. But, they insist this has nothing to do with the brake light switch that was replaced last April. We had to get the work done, and VW charged us $186 to get the brake lights to work again. The bill states "bulb sockets internally shorted, replaced both rear brake light bulb sockets due to internal short, replaced bulbs to prevent repeat repairs" Now, isn't it logical that a bad switch is the reason for the occurrence of the short? We are thinking of taking them to small claims court if they do not go to mediation or arbitration and agree to do the brake light work under warranty. How strong do you think our case is? Especially considering the specific previous electrical recall on this VW Beetle and its overall bad electrical history? Thanks B. Hoover

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It's very unlikely that both brake light sockets would short out, and if they did it would blow a fuze.  Is water leaking into the lights.  I would suggest that you find another repair shop.
Because of the small amount of money, small claims court would hardly be worth the effort.
Your brake light switch is under the dash near your brake pedal.  If this happens again I would buy a aftermarket switch as a replacement.

Posted on Mar 08, 2009

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Go see the service manager again and tell him you want to speak to the area rep and to elevate the issue to them. keep notes

Posted on Mar 07, 2009

  • Roberta Smith
    Roberta Smith Mar 07, 2009

    also refer them to TSB group 46 04-01 date Feb. 17,2004



    There were three such recalls on that brake switch. i am suggesting it was improperly installed or that the switch malfunctioned again.

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