Question about 1998 Volkswagen Beetle
Your brake switch is failing.
The brake switch is mounted above the brake pedal. When you press the brake pedal, it moves away from the switch, closing the switch. When this happens, your brake lights come on, and if you are in Park or Drive, it releases the shifter interlock.
The delay you describe for the 'foot' indicator is not normal in itself, and was a sign the switch was failing. The light should go out immediately when you push the pedal down.
The 98-2002 Beetles were subject to a recall for faulty brake light switches. You may contact VW at 1-800-822-8987 and provide them with your VIN and they can tell you if your vehicle was part of the recall and if the recall was performed.
Reference: Recall 06V183000: Brake Light Switch Defect
Reference: Recall 03V265000: Brake Lamp Switch Defect
If you are not eligible for the recall:
Depending on which switch you have (there were 2 and 4 wire versions depending on production date), the switch ranges from $10.25 to $17.18 from Volkswagen. Your dealer can identify your exact model by your VIN. The switches have been updated several times (due to recall).
It can be replaced yourself with some wrenches and a T15 Torx bit (to remove the dash lower cover) or at a shop for approximately $30 in labor.
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Posted on Oct 04, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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Check to make that the brake lights are working - shift interlock is in the same circuit - could be a bad fuse.
You can try turning the key (with engine off) o
to the first position (Unlock) shift to neutral to start vehicle and then shift to "Drive or Reverse"
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