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VW Beetles purchase guide

When purchasing a new addition to your family a number of things should be looked at. Throw away your rose tinted glasses and get ready to grovel around the car. At this stage the owner of the car will either walk away and leave you to it or start some absolutely unreal sales speach about how great the car is and what a bargain it really is.


Firstly you need to have a good grovel around the front of the car particularly around the bumper mounting area. These are pretty easy to replace but chances are you will need to replace the front clip panel at the same time (which means a spray job!!).

Always remove the rear seat and have a look underneath it this photo shows a typical rusting pattern on the Beetle and is due to a build up of mud between the torsion tube and the body at the rear. To repair this properly you need to remove the body from the floor pan or do as on the right picture. It should be noted that corrosion here will mean that the sills are probably rotten (a major job!!)

Always lift the carpets. This cannot be stressed enough. corrosion in the sills will mean complete replacement. This is a major task and will require the removal of the body from the pan. Pop over sill covers are not recommended. Whilst here check the condition of the bulkhead panel and floor. As with most Beetla panels prices are low but time to fit can be high.

The Beetle is a very well designed car but does suffer from corrosion after a while if you are to become an owner the consider investing in a MIG welding set. These are quite cheap now and are essential items, as are angle grinders, tin snips etc.

Whilst in the body are you should always check out the state of the rear bumper mountings. These do corrode out and again are fairly easy to repair but if the bolts holding the wings on are rusted solid you could end up having to wel at least new captive nuts to the body around the wheel arch area.

These can be bought quite cheaply again but the problems you can have here is the wiring loom setting on fire during the welding process as it is routed behind the aptive nuts on the left side of the vehicle, or the foam that volkswagen squirted inside ther cavity both sides catching fire, this can be difficult to put out in the extreme

Now we move to the most important area to check.... The frame head. This is where the front suspension mounts to the body.

Corrosion here (unless you are a wizard at aligning bodys and with a welding set) should be considered as a lost cause. Walk away and don't look back. Any corrosion here means loss of integrity to the body suspension interface and if you weld a new one in out of alignment then steering and suspension geometry will be adversly affected making the vehicle a death trap.