2019 VW Beetle Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, exterior lighting and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2019 VW Beetle was the final year that this iconic car was produced. The automaker says that it is “a classic that keeps up with the times,” but it’s also clear to see why the car was discontinued. This particular model struggled with the electrical system, engine and exterior lighting.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 VW Beetle

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Power Train
Service Brakes
Electrical System:ignition:interlock/lockout

Problems with the Electrical System

In today’s modern world, more equipment relies on a reliable electrical system. When this is faulty, the ride is anything but enjoyable. 

Here is one Cars.com review to consider. “First car- net is a joke. I have make more calls than I can count to get it to work only to find it only works with a wi fi signal. What good is that, gave up and don’t use. My fordpass works ANYWHERE, starts the car and works flawless. take note VW . Second air conditioning has never worked, took into dealer, said sometimes they forget to put Freon in. Great quality control VW. Worked 2 weeks, brought in again, tried to fill it, Freon machine broke. Took in 3 time, filled it, not smart enough to check for leaks, stopped working again. Now bringing in 4 th time. If your crazy enough to like to waste a day at a repair shop, buy a VW. If not don’t get a VW, these cars are horribly unreliable. Hopefully I can lemon law mine a get rid of it.”

It turns out that the electrical system failures in the VW Beetle are much more severe than these issues. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V61500 signifies a recall that affected nearly 700,000 vehicles. It states that built-up silicate on the shift lever micro switch could enable the key to be removed from the ignition, even if the vehicle is not in Park. This defect makes it easier for the car to simply roll away, after the person has exited the vehicle. Unless cars of the future are meant to roll away on their own, this VW Beetle is definitely not keeping up with the times.

Problems with the Engine

The engine is another vital component of any functional vehicle. Yet, this VW Beetle seems to have forgotten to upgrade technology since the sixties. 

Here is one more Cars.com review. “As title says, EPC light and check engine light came on the 1st day of driving off the lot… I had to get a rental.”

While Volkswagen has a long list of engine-related communications, about three-quarters of them all talk about the same thing. They are simple bulletins that updated VW’s “engine oil standards.” That’s it! There’s nothing about the defects, problems or any solutions. Instead, customers are left in the dark about what’s happening to their beloved Bug. Maybe the automaker thinks that the car will turn into a Herbie that helps consumers fix the problem themselves.

Problems with the Exterior Lighting

Another system that is causing a stir is the exterior lighting. Without the proper lighting, driving in the dark can be dangerous.

One NHTSA complaint says, “Fuse that controls reading on map light in cabin and external lighting outside for night driving continually fails. Safety issue because rear lights at night only come on when brakes applied.”

While talking about brakes, it’s vital to discuss another safety recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V094000 stated that the instrument cluster might not tell drivers when the brake system fails in the VW Beetle. Without this warning, the driver could unexpectedly lose control and crash while attempting to brake. First of all, modern vehicles shouldn’t have so many instances of brake failure that there is a warning light needed. Second of all, this VW Beetle needs to head straight for the junkyard and retire. Maybe the 2018 Beetle should have been the last model instead.

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, Power Train
DateJul 27, 2022
My vw beetle has pushbutton start. The ignition can turn off when not in park. This was called a rollaway problem in keyed ignition models, but not pushbutton. I took it to dealer and they said not covered by warranty and no recall. This is as dangerous as in the keyed ignition model. I saw a report of a similar rollaway that vw refused to cover. Also, apparently pushed button while underway. Engine stopped while in traffic. Rolled to side of road and restarted without incident.
CategoryService Brakes
DateNov 18, 2021
2019 volkswagen beetle. Consumer writes in regards to defective brakes. The consumer stated while driving the vehicle, on 3 different occasions, the brakes went out. The consumer requested that the vehicle be bought back or replaced. *js
DateOct 08, 2021
Wheel hubs and wheel bolts. All four wheels and almost all the bolts affected. Replaced rear hubs & all bolts, after a three bolts were unable to be removed without extra effort by a mechanic. I have one bolt that indicates the bolt threads were deformed. The issue could impact the ability of the bolts to hold the wheels on safely.
CategoryElectrical System:ignition:interlock/lockout
DateSep 03, 2021
My 2019 vw beetle, at, keyless entry was parked in a store parking lot. When I left the vehicle it wouldn't lock. I thought my fob battery died. I came out of the store about 30 minutes later and my car had rolled away. It came to rest about 50 feet away, up against a fixed object light pole. I was shocked! My rear bumper sustained damage. I got in my car and saw it was in d. I guess I left it in d, turned off the push button start/stop and it rolled away after I left it. I then did some checking and found that when push button start/stop tech is installed in many cars with the added safety features of audible sounds or transmissions ratcheting into park when stopped with transmission in drive, which are standard safety features on most newer cars, but were not standard on my car. The car did not alert me to anything being wrong. This is a safety hazard. I noted that vw recalled their keyed entry beetles for rollaway risks, but did not include key-less entry vehicles. A call to vw ensued and a case number was assigned, #04874410. Regional personnel cathy was coordinating the case which she said caused an internal report to be filed. On sept 3 at approximately noon, she called me to say that the accident was my fault, for parking incorrectly, vw would not pay to have my rear bumper fixed, nor would they take any responsibility. This rollaway risk could have been deadly, it could have been worse. I would hate to see someone killed for being in similar circumstances. Vw is negligent in their response, these cars should be recalled for being a safety hazard to the general public. I am deeply concerned with the nonchalant attitude of vw. My husband's lincoln ratchets into park when he stops the car using the button if left in drive. Ford does the same thing. Nissan makes an audible noise alerting the driver to something being amiss. Vw is not even on the ballpark on this, what a shame!
DateFeb 17, 2021
With the defroster on while driving in town, the windshield cracked from the upper corner passenger side.
DateJul 14, 2020
Car stalls while driving. This has happen a total of 4 times over a 10 days.
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting
DateMar 08, 2020
Fuse that controls reading or map light in cabin and external lighting outside for night driving continually fails (3). Safety issue because rear lights at night only come on when brakes applied.
DateDec 29, 2019
My new 2019 volkswagen s coupe has a significant turbo lag. So much so, that I do not feel safe driving the car. I was making a turn at an intersection and it was as though the car lost all power when I excellerated. It goes from no exceation when moving from stopped position to surging very fast upon the car ahead of me. I feel that this is a very serious issue and that my life may be at risk. It seems the accretion cannot be controlled!! This is a continuing problem when I am stopped and hit the excellerator to go forward . I don't know how much longer I can drive the car without a serious crash!!
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateNov 02, 2019
The front headlight beam has a distinctive blind spot on the left side and a double notch on the right side. Volkswagen refuses to address this as they say it's by design though I have seen another beetle, same model year with the same hids, have a completely normal headlight beam. With the beam like it is, it makes driving the car at night unsafe, especially on black asphalt roads. I've escalated this to volkswagen of america and they insist this is by design and is due to the shutter that comes down when using the normal headlight beam. Our other vehicle is a gmc acadia with the same system and it does not do this. On the beetle the if I switch it to high beams the blind spot and notch go away. Also volkswagen claims that the left headlight is aimed lower on purpose as to not blind oncoming traffic. The car sits so low I don't see how that's needed, especially when our acadia which sits up higher doesn't do this. I did take a look at a couple of other 2019 beetles at another dealership and the headlight beams were all different; still a blind spot and notches but in different spots. The blind spot and notches are seen both stationary and in motion. I have pictures and video of both. I feel this is a design defect that will lead to an accident at night as it hinders the drivers view on the left side. Volkswagen has ignored my concerns and refuses to address this. I'm very concerned for our safety and my wife and I refuse to drive the car at night because of this. Volkswagen's 'remedy' is to trade it in. We love the car, just not the headlights at night. Please investigate. I have attached two photos; one low beam and one high beam so that you can see the difference.

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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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