Buying a Volkswagen is not always easy especially if it is your first one, there are lots of factors, hints and tips that can be taken into consideration to make sure you make the right choice.
We have put together a short list of tips to help you make your mind up on buying your bug, specifically your first!
This isn’t a list to stick to religiously as it depends on factors such as what level of restoration you want to achieve, whether you want to restore it or buy it all complete or whether you want to use it as a daily driver and of course what type of VW your buying.
- First appearances - Despite the level of restoration you want to achieve first appearances are important…the state of the VW will usually be a big clue to what lays beneath.
- Heater Channels – Apply gentle pressure with your hands on the channels and feel for any areas that are soft and give way…an instant sign of corrosion that is easily missed. Also depending on the level of corrosion can mean further corrosion throughout the rest of the body. A costly and tricky job to get fixed and best avoided.
- Rubber seals – if they haven’t been replaced in the past then original window seals are most likely to become brittle and cracked causing unwanted leaks. The same applies for the body/chassis seal. Any water that gets into the vehicle will contribute to corrosion in the long run.
- Floor Pans – To check for corrosion of the floor pans look under the vehicle, any holes in the floor pan will be obvious. However, there are different levels of corrosion and some are not so obvious so feel for any ‘give’ in the floor pan by transferring some weight onto it.
- Bulkhead – If the vehicle has been involved in a head on accident and only the body panels have been repaired/replaced this may still be damaged/bent. A costly job to get repaired.
- Test Drive – Take the vehicle out for a short drive and listen for any unusual jarring sounds when going over bumps. When bearing and bushes have worn with age they will knock/rub and will require immediate replacement so further damage is not caused.
- Documentation – Check previous services and receipts to see what work has been carried out on the vehicle. This will help you see how often maintenance has been done and if there have been any frequent problems.
- Oil Change – Regular oil changes are important to give your engine a more full problem free life. I have been advised to change my oil every 3000 miles, some may do it more frequent and some may leave it longer…depends how much you love your bug.
- Brakes – Standard brakes are not brilliant however, they do the job. If you do find them to be spongy or unable to stop the vehicle effectively check the brake lines for cracks/splits/corrosion. If the vehicle has been serviced regularly you shouldn’t have these problems.
- Electrical system – Check all gauges and instruments work, headlights, brake lights, indicators, interior light etc. Remember a lot of Volkswagens unless previously restored will have the original wiring looms that may be 30 years or older.
If we put our minds to it there are probably 100 other more tips to mention when buying a Volkswagen, these are just 10 tips that we hope you may find useful and hopefully get you the bug you want and are tips that certainly helped me when I knew nothing about Volkswagens.
You don't have to be a mechanic to maintain your bug, they are easy to work on and learn from which is what has made them so popular for so many years.