What to Check If My Beetle Bug Will Not Start?

by Lee Morgan
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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Your Volkswagen Beetle is unmistakable on the road. No other car has its style and design, and it is recognized everywhere. Although a respected automobile manufacturer produced your Beetle, your distinctive ride isn’t immune to the occasional mechanical problem. If you get into your VW and find that it won’t start, there are a number of things to check to determine the cause.

Start With The Obvious

When you are in a hurry, you may sometimes overlook the obvious. Begin checking for reasons your Beetle won’t start by going to the obvious easy fixes first.

Check your fuel gauge and see if there is fuel in the tank. If it is empty, your car will obviously not start. Put more fuel in the car and be on your way.

If your key is turning freely in the ignition or it will not turn at all, then check to make sure you have the correct key for your car, according to FamilyCar.com. You could have accidentally picked up the wrong keys on the way out of the house.

If you have an automatic transmission Beetle, check the gear selector and be sure you are in “Park.” If the car was bumped into a driving gear, the engine will not start. If you have a manual transmission model, be sure the clutch is pushed all the way in.


When you turn the key and hear a rapid clicking noise or nothing at all, it is likely that you have a problem with the electrical system. The most common problem is a weak or dead battery. Recharge the battery on a trickle charger or jump start it by hooking cables to another started car.

If the battery was not the problem, you may have to repair the starter motor or solenoid or possibly the ignition switch, according to FamilyCar.com.


If you have ruled out electrical problems with your Beetle, you will have to consider a fuel system cause. A clogged fuel filter or a bad fuel pump will keep your VW from starting normally.

Turn your key to the accessory setting in a quiet place with the radio turned off. You should be able to hear your fuel pump come on and build pressure in the line with a dull click and humming sound. If you hear nothing when you turn on the key, it is possible you have a faulty fuel pump, according to FamilyCar.com.

If your fuel pump appears to be working normally, the problem may be with a clogged fuel filter. This is preferable to the fuel pump problem and is a simple fix.

Depending on the year and model of your Beetle, you will find the fuel filter either in the engine compartment area or along the frame underneath the vehicle. Remove the filter and check it for crud to see if it is keeping a flow of fuel from going through the line.

The Volkswagen Beetle can be fitted with a number of different fuel filters, including stainless steel filters for some models that can be washed and reused, according to TheClassicBeetle.com.

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