How Long Do Volkswagen Beetles Last?

The Volkswagen Beetle is an easily recognizable compact sedan that was in was first manufactured in 1938.  This car has recently been discontinued with the 2019 model year being the final year of production.

Enthusiasts looking to acquire this iconic car may wonder how long Volkswagen Beetles are expected to last.

This article will dive into that question to help you decide.

How Long Do Volkswagen Beetles Last?

Volkswagen Beetles are expected to last 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance.  For the average driver who drives 15,000 miles a year, one can expect this car to last around 13 years.  Although they can last this long, they are costlier to maintain as they age.

How Long Will A Used Volkswagen Beetle Last?

How long a used Volkswagen Beetle will last will depend on a variety of factors.  You should consider the following factors when purchasing a used Beetle:

  • How many miles were on the car at the time of purchase? – Higher mileage Beetles will have less useful lifespan left; thus they won’t last as long.
  • How well was the was car maintained by the previous owner?– Better maintained cars can be expected to last longer than cars that were neglected.  Getting the service records from the previous owner can help you determine how well the car was maintained.
  • How well you maintain the car while you own it – Even if the car was maintained well before your acquisition, you have to keep up the maintenance in order to get the most life out of the vehicle.
  • If the car was in any accidents and how the damage was repaired – Accidents can impact the longevity of a car depending on the nature of the accident.  Check the CarFax for reported accidents and if possible, have a mechanic examine the vehicle before purchase so that you are aware of any previous damage that may affect the lifespan on the car.
  • The climate/area where the car has primarily been driven – Cars driven primarily in densely populated congested cities where the cars are driven in stop and go conditions will have shorter lifespans.  As well as cars driven in climates with a lot of wintery perception as these municipalities often use road salt and other chemicals to treat the roads which can cause premature rusting.
  • How many miles you plan to drive the car annually – A more heavily driven Beetle will have a shorter lifespan.

What Is Considered A High Mileage Volkswagen Beetle?

A Volkswagen Beetle with 90,000 miles or more is considered high mileage.  Although some owners drive this vehicle for more than 200,000 miles, vehicles with mileage over 90,000 are too expensive to maintain for some people’s preference.

Is The Volkswagen Beetle Reliable?

The Volkswagen Beetle is rated just above average for its reliability, but these cars can be very reliable if properly maintained.  However, because of the high costs of maintenance, a used Beetle can be less reliable if the previous owner skimped on the maintenance.

Most Reliable Volkswagen Beetle Years

Here are some of the most reliable years of the Volkswagen Beetle:

For the classic Beetles, one from 1967 or earlier are considered to be reliable and high coveted but these are harder to find.

Volkswagen stopped producing the Beetle for decades then reintroduced it in 1997.  This period of production is not known for being the best reliability-wise.  The most reliable Beetle to own during this phase of production are ones produced in 2002 and later.

For the final generation (between 2012 – 2019), the most reliable are cars produced in 2017 and later.

Is the Volkswagen Beetle Expensive To Maintain?

Yes, Volkswagen Beetles are known to be expensive to maintain.  They are slightly less costly to maintain during earlier years, but once they hit their higher mileage years they are more costly to own.

Also as a German car, their parts are more expensive and the way these cars are built they generally take more labor time to service than an American car.

Common Problems That Can Affect The Beetle’s Lifespan

According to RepairPal, below are some common issues with Beetles that can impact the car’s longevity.

These issues can be a problem either because they are catastrophic failures or because the cost of repair would result in a mechanical totaling of the vehicle.

  • Engine Overheating due to damaged water pump impeller
  • Oil leaks from camshaft chain tensioner and valve cover gaskets
  • Reverse gear failure and transmission issues

How Often Have Volkswagen Beetles Been Recalled?

Here is a list of the number of recalls for Volkswagen Beetles for its most recent 10 years of production.

Model YearNumber of Recalls

Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Volkswagen Beetle

The useful life of most cars can be extended by implementing the following tips:

  • Get the vehicle serviced in the manufacturer recommended intervals
  • If issues arise, get them address immediately
  • Driving the vehicle less than the average of 15,000 miles year
  • Wash the vehicle regularly
  • Treat interior surfaces with UV protectant to prevent drying and cracking
  • Don’t add modifications that would overexert the vehicle

Final Thoughts

The Volkswagen Beetle has a huge following and has been a popular car since the 1930s when it first came to market.  Since the Beetle has been discontinued, there are many enthusiasts looking to obtain this car before they become impossible to find. 

Volkswagen Beetles are expected to last at least 200,000 miles, with many owners having cars that far exceed this figure.  Proper maintenance and care of this vehicle are key to its longevity. 

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