Question about 2003 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible

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2003 beetle convertible top detached from window

My top has detached from my window and now there is quite a gap which allows water to pour into the back of the car. Mold has begun to grow. The VW dealership wants $5,000 to replace the top, window, gasket and inside liner!!! I have contacted VW Service and complained; meanwhile, my fun convertible cannot BE a convertible since I am afraid that if I lower my top the entire window will let loose. I know for a fact that other people have this problem with their VW Beetle convertibles also.

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  • robynjudge Jun 19, 2009

    jerseyfresh: My heart goes out to you, sincerely. First, how severe is your damage? Just a gap? Total detachment? Second, have you ever taken the car to be repaired anywhere other than your dealership? Keep your appointment with the dealership; get an estimate. Call the advocate again once armed with information. Be honest; plead your case and mention that you've been online and are aware that other owners of Beetle convertible have the same dilemma. Insist that they review your case. Be firm but controlled. Again, my car is still in the shop and again, VW said they would fix the problem to their specifications. I'll post again when I pick up the car and fill you in on the repairs. Be patient but relentless. I wish you luck; let me know how it goes, please.

  • robynjudge Jun 23, 2009


    I'm so sorry! I have not yet picked up my car from the dealer--won't be able to tell you how things turned out until then. I promise to post again after the repairs. My car did have extremely low mileage, so maybe that's why I got lucky. Hang in there; continue to pursue. Why did you buy another Beetle? You did not encounter problems with the first? Just curious.

  • robynjudge Jul 01, 2009

    jerseyfresh: As promised, here is my update. I just got my car back yesterday after 15 days in the shop. But so far, the top looks good and functions well. I did have to pay for the guides (?) that operate the top functionality, but the total bill was only $259 rather than $5,000, so that works for me. On an interesting note, I also noticed that replacing the top also solved another annoying problem I was experiencing with my car. The left blinker has been spastic for about 1 year now. I'd replaced the bulb numerous times (at VW suggestion) until they told me that the problem was that I needed a whole new mechanism which would cost in excess of $300. I decided to put up with the spastic blink since I felt that the mechanics did not really know how else to diagnose the problem and just said, heck, let her replace the whole thing. I'm glad I listened to my intuition since now that problem has disappeared and the blinker is acting normally again. I think these cars have electrical problems, even though VW will not admit it. I've had several electrical quirks in my car. I'm still thinking of trading it in after reading all of the messages on this site about engine problems, etc. I do not think I can afford a VW. I bought one b/c I thought they were well made and would run forever with just standard maintenance and repairs. We, the owners who purchased on that premise, were all wrong. But I do have to say that my Service rep was awesome and I was treated with ultimate courtesy. I hope you will be able to solve your problems also; I do wish you luck.

  • jerseyfresh May 11, 2010

    Hooray!!! Thank you for giving me hope!!! I had my appointment with the Volkswagen of America representative today....I didn't get the same sweet deal that you did but they are willing to replace the top for labor costs...which comes to just over 500 bucks...not what I'd hoped for but way better than $3000. You were so right about not giving up! ( even though I felt like I was banging my head against the wall) Thank you for your posts and I will post again when the repairs are complete to hopefully help others as you helped me!!

  • jerseyfresh May 11, 2010

    What a way to spend my birthday..arguing with VW customer "care".Well , maybe it was the low miles,or a really nice dealer,but was your warranty out?My other car from VW wasn't a Beetle it was a 92 Cabrio which I gave to my sister,and is still on the road,aaand the top was just replaced for the first time this year.... I guess I should have kept it!! I ha No one has offve explained everything to VW.oA and just keep getting back "you are a valued member of the VW family but your warranty is expired" "We understand your concern but your warranty is expired" "We have reviewed your case and the supervisor agrees that your warranty has expired" etc. etc. No one has offered to check into the problem.It's as if they are reading from a script. No one has even examined my car!!! I mentioned that I had contacted VW customer "care" when I brought my car in to get an estimate and they told me that I could go into their privacy room and re contact customer care since they didn't want to interfere , I was on the phone with customer care at the dealer for 45 min. they said " warranty blah blah...",I said "supervisor please", the supervisor said "warranty blah blah..." Round and round we go. I spoke with the service manager at the dealer,who was very nice,and set up for me to meet with the VW rep that has to give the okay for non mechanical repairs,but since she's corporate as well ,I'm sure I'll get the same warranty speech because now I'm 'on file'.Plus the dealer told me to drop the car off on the day she'll be there so unless I want to sit there all day on the slim chance that she'll even speak with me (and IF she will speak to me I can safely say that the words "Sorry" and "warranty" will be mentioned frequently.) Oh well, at least then I will be able to say that someone working for VW has actually even laid eyes on my car!!!! Thank you for letting me vent. You've been very kind to reply to me.Thank you.

  • jerseyfresh May 11, 2010

    Well, I just got back from the dealer.You don't know how lucky you are. I spoke with the service manager who made an appointment for me to see the VWof A rep when she comes in July and he said he'd put in a good word for me as this is my second car from them and I too have had all my repirs done at the dealer but the advocate at VW customer care as well as the supervisor will go no farther than " You are out of warranty,we are sorry, but we have no further obligation." I have 59,000 miles which is 9000 over so they "consider the matter closed". I'm going to keep my appointment with the rep in July but my outcome looks grim, and this means I can't even do a temporary fix besides duct tape before my appointment because they will blame the damage on me.The advocate said that even if it is a manufacturer defect that they are only obligated for the terms of the warranty.This is so frustrating.The parts department said that the top costs $1850 and will take 6-8 hrs of labor at $98 an hour.AAAAARRRGGG! Keep me posted when you get your car back and let me know if they replaced the whole top or just resealed the window,and buy some lottery tickets because you are truly lucky indeed!!!

  • jerseyfresh May 11, 2010

    How many times did you have to call the advocate? What did you tell them? I'm having the exact same problem with my 2003 Beetle convertible.I sent VW customer care an email,because when I called direct I was pretty much blown off.Did you call from the dealership? My appointment with the dealer isn't until next week and I would like to be prepared because I'm sure that they are going to tell me "5000$ please".Any help you can give me would be super because the duct tape isn't sticking and it has been raining here for weeks!



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My problem has been solved. I contacted the VW Customer Service and spoke with an advocate. The advocate and my dealership reached a conclusion and VW has decided to replace the items to alleviate my problem at their cost. Sometimes, dreams come true. Good luck to all of you who have similar problems with your VW Beetle convertible. It took quite a lot of patience and determination on my part, but the VW advocate was sympathetic to my plight since I'd never taken the vehicle anywhere else but the dealership for all repairs. The repairs have not been completed yet, so I cannot say whether or not the dilemma is, indeed, solved.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009


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