2018 Volkswagen Beetle Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Most people that own a 2018 VW Beetle agree that it’s a cute car, but this “iconic bug” has been discontinued for a reason. The faulty electrical system and defective service brakes were just the final straws for avid Beetle enthusiasts.


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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Fuel/propulsion System

Problems with the Electrical System

The main parts of a car’s electrical system include the alternator and battery, but everything in a modern vehicle runs on power these days. If the systems aren’t functioning as intended, it can cause a lot of problems.

One example of this is found in an Edmunds customer review. “I currently have 3800 Miles on it. The EPC light keeps coming on. My car is now at the dealer service for the third time in a month for this. The service department can’t seem to figure this problem out. They keep assuring me they are in touch with Volkswagen engineering to solve this. The Honda dealer is across the street. I can’t help but think I should have bought my sixth Honda at this point.”

Apparently, VW isn’t wise enough to figure out what the problem is, which isn’t an uncommon concern. Many users are struggling to get their Beetles fixed properly. There’s even an electrical system-related recall that everyone should know about. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V615000 states that nearly 700,000 vehicles have a defect that allows the key to be removed, even if the car isn’t in Park. The fault is found in the shift lever micro switch, putting many owners (and those located around the car) at risk. If the key is removed, but the car isn’t in Park, it could roll away and cause an injury or collision. It’s the perfect way for the Beetle to go out in style – down in a blaze of glory.

Problems with the Brakes

The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle isn’t an overly powerful vehicle, but it still needs a strong braking system to stop in time. Yet, even auto publications warned against this system from day one.

Take a look at what a Forbes author had to say when this model was released. “A touchy accelerator causes the car to lunge away from stops and is very unpleasant in stop-and-go. Worse, the brakes had a grabby initial bite, as well.”

In this article, the author was discussing why the Beetle wouldn’t be missed. The braking system was just the icing on the cake of the problems experienced. Still, there is another recall worth mentioning related to this system. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V369000 states that the brake caliper pistons left the factory with an insufficient coating. This fault can lead to a reduction in braking power and lead to an accident. Obviously, the dealers are responsible for fixing the problem to restore braking performance, but according to what the auto experts believe, it probably has little effect. This Beetle was helpful in closing out the end of an era, but this is one model that won’t go down in history for being a favorite.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryElectrical System
DateJan 27, 2022
Driver and passenger windows go down all by themselves without the key even being in the ignition. Yes it is available to be fixed. My safety could be at risk if the window goes down and I'm not at home and some stranger lets themselves in my car and waits for my return. I've gone to break and I go out to my car and the window is half down. Dealership replaced something related to the windows unknown to exactly what. No bells or whistles its happened at least 6 times now once on the passenger side the rest on the drivers side. Started when it got really really cold out.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateOct 08, 2021
At normal speeds driving down the road traction control will come on and break the vehicle and jerk the steering will.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System
DateSep 12, 2021
2018 beetle with 2. 0 tsi. Vehicle is extremely well maintained and all work has been done by vw dealers. This is not our primary vehicle and, as a result, it only has about 8600 miles. Stopped at a store for a few minutes. Vehicle would not restart. Many fault lights appeared on the dash (e. G., battery, check engine, epc). Pushed vehicle into another area of the parking lot where there was more room in case it needed to be towed. Waited a few minutes and tried to restart. Vehicle sputtered and seemed to be running on only 1 or 2 cylinders for a few seconds. Gave it a little gas, all lights went off, full engine power resumed. Sat there a few minutes evaluating engine performance, everything seemed fine. Decided to head to the dealership instead of going home. After about 2 miles engine stopped running. Many fault lights appeared including battery, epc, check engine, and so many others I can't even recall. Had almost no steering. Struggled to coast vehicle to shoulder. Weather was very hot and traffic was heavy, not a pleasant situation or place to get stranded. Waited a minute or two. Tried to restart. Vehicle coughed, sputtered, and shook like it was only running on 1 cylinder. Shut vehicle off and sat. Tried to restart 2 or 3 more times without success. On next attempt vehicle sputtered to life, lights went off, and full power resumed. Tested engine performance and it seemed fine. Epc light came on. Still heading to the dealership. Got another 1. 5 miles or so. Epc and check engine light came on. Another engine failure. Super heavy traffic on a 6-lane highway. Luckily I had enough speed to coast off the road and into a dirt parking lot. Many fault lights on the dash. Waited a few minutes. Tried to restart vehicle, no luck. Vehicle was towed to closest vw dealership. Absolutely terrifying and horrific 3 hours.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJun 20, 2021
Center dash screen goes black occasionally which prevents using the backup camera, radio, and phone. Sometimes it will reboot by itself after several minutes, other times I have to shut the car off, wait, and restart the car. It doesn't always reboot the first time. This has happened at least 6 times.
CategoryElectrical System
DateMar 03, 2021
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 volkswagen beetle. The contact stated that the driver's and passenger's side windows would lower and raise independently, and without warning. The contact stated that the epc warning light was illuminated and the vehicle loss power when light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic to be diagnosed. The manufacturer was not informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 38,000.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJan 04, 2020
The driver side window is defective. The window shutters up & down all by itself, both in park, and while driving. When it does this, I can't shut the window using the window up & down button. The window goes down 1/2 while driving and then locks. I had it to tynans dealership in aurora co 3 times now. They replaced the locking mechanism back in oct. It helped for about a month. Now it is doing it again. There are times I have gone into the store, came back out, and my window was down 1/2 way - and I never rolled it down! I never leave my windows down while away from the car. I wish I could attach video - here is the youtube link: https://www. Youtube. Com/watch? V=_q6owmb_f5i
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateSep 30, 2019
The window keeps shuttering up & down after getting in the car and shutting the door with ignition on.. The window doesn't close all the way, and the auto door lock doesn't work. The window shutters up & down all on its own. Brought car to dealership they replaced the door lock. This still did not fix the problem. I have a video showing the issue after the door lock was replaced.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 16, 2018
Since purchasing more than 7 months ago, vehicle's blind spot monitoring system fails to recognize approaching vehicles and does not have an audible alert inside the vehicle making it nearly unusable and unsafe. Rear-cross traffic alert system goes crazy (incessant beeping) and unexpectedly when vehicle is shifted into reverse. Even if there are no vehicles around and there is nothing surrounding the vehicle the system will go off and beep frantically. Rear-cross traffic alert frequently will not identify or warn of vehicles passing behind, such as when trying to back out of a parking space. Vehicle's in-dash display will periodically go black when vehicle is started. Vehicle's radio system will display random characters for the song or artist, or display the same song and artist for 10 minutes or longer even though the song, artist, or stations have changed. Vehicle has been taken to the dealer multiple times without success. Vw corporate was contacted and responded quickly and with concern, but dealer was still unable to resolve the issues.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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