Why Won’t My VW Beetle Start?

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Officially named the Volkswagen Type 1 and informally as the German der Kafer, this model would be best known as the Volkswagen Beetle, a car originally intended for 5 occupants but later brought down to 4.

Surprisingly, it was Adolf Hitler who brought up the need for a cheap and simple car, and the Volkswagen Beetle would be the result, with civilian versions of the car being released in the 1940s.

Since then, the car has been known for various issues that make you go, “Why won’t my Volkswagen Beetle start?”.

The answer to this question could be anything from fuel issues, electrical faults, and battery problems, with the major ones being.

  1. Fuel/Fuel System Problems
  2. Dead Battery/Low Charge
  3. Alternator Issues
  4. Starter Problems
  5. Overheating

Many of these issues can be very difficult to figure out and locate, which is why in this article, I will be talking about all of these major problems preventing the Volkswagen Beetle from starting and what you should do when you encounter these issues.

What Would Cause A Volkswagen Beetle To Not Start?

Learn the starting problems of WV Bettle through my guide

While there could be some faults that can prevent the Volkswagen Beetle from starting, the main 5 issues that have been listed above are usually the culprits which cause the issue, and if you think you have any one of those problems, then you should check out the rest of this article.

1: Fuel/Fuel System Problems

First of all, you should check the fuel tank and see if the car is not running empty. You might have faulty fuel gauges which do not show the actual amount of fuel.

If the Volkswagen Beetle has fuel, the problem could be anywhere from the fuel pumps to the flow of the fuel system.

The engine needs a good amount of fuel to start, and it is not enough to fill the fuel tank.

You also have to ensure that good quality and adequate amounts of fuel reach the engine so that your car runs smoothly.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Turn your VW Beetle on and listen for your fuel pumps. They should give out sounds like clicking and humming.
  • If you hear nothing, you may have faulty fuel pumps, which you will need to check out by a mechanic and most likely replace in the long run.
  • If you hear them, your fuel pumps are fun, and you might be looking at clogged fuel filters that are much more easily solvable.
  • Replace the clogged filters with fresh new ones and ensure they do not get clogged again by using quality fuel and regular checkups.

2: Dead Battery/Low Charge

The battery is the heart of any car and needs to be in perfect health if you want your car to start.

The battery is responsible for providing power to all components of the Volkswagen Beetle, whether the lights inside the car or the car’s internal components.

Moreover, the battery needs to be properly maintained if you want to retain its charge.

If the battery cannot stay charged, its power output falls flat and prevents the Volkswagen Beetle from starting.

Difficulties in starting the car, dim lights, and recent cold weather may indicate that your battery has hit its health.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Conduct a voltage test to see if the battery is truly the issue. You should proceed with further instructions if the battery shows less than 12 volts.
  • Look for any faults around the battery, such as corrosion around the terminals or frayed wires, as these can also cause the battery’s poor performance.
  • You can have your battery replaced entirely if it has served you for around 4 years.
  • If not, a simple jump-start can easily get the battery back up to full charge.
  • To prevent future battery issues, keep driving your Volkswagen Beetle in decent amounts and protect it against cold weather.

3: Alternator Issues

Alternator issues are very common in many vehicles; however, most people do not realize that their alternator is damaged or causing problems until it’s too late.

The alternator’s job is to ensure the battery is charged while the Volkswagen Beetle runs, which is done by converting the mechanical energy to electrical energy, which it sends to the battery.

A faulty alternator will cause the battery to lose its charge, which will result in constantly jump-starting and even replacing your battery.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Disconnect the alternator and try to find any issues that you can visibly see.
  • A better option would be to take the VW Beetle to a mechanic and have the alternator checked out by a professional.
  • Once they identify the issue in the alternator, you can choose to have the component fixed or replaced.
  • It is always better to get a new alternator as not only will this be much more efficient in the long run, but it will also prevent your old alternator from degrading any further.
  • To avoid future alternator issues, you should have the component cleaned regularly.

4: Starter Problems

While this may be a bit on the lower side when it comes to probability, there is always the chance that something may be wrong with your starter motor, which may have even gone not good.

Turning the Volkswagen Beetle’s engine is the starter motor’s job; without it, you will not be able to start the car.

As I will talk about below, overheating may degrade the starter motor, making it much more difficult to turn and spin and harder to turn the engine.

This can be resolved by either replacing the starter motor entirely or attempting to identify and fix the problem in the starter system.

What Should You Do About It?

  • The starter motor is a very sensitive and delicate component of the VW Beetle, so it is not recommended to try and dismantle it yourself.
  • Instead, it is recommended to take the Volkswagen Beetle to a professional and trusted mechanic who can provide an expert opinion on the state of your starter motor and carry out the required fix or replacement necessary to get your WV Beetle working again.
  • Now that everything should be back to normal, it is your job to make sure that there are no more issues with the starter motor.
  • The first thing you can do is to regularly check the starter motor and see if it is working.
  • It would be best if you also prevented overheating, which I will discuss in the next topic.

5: Overheating

Everything is good in moderation, and regardless of whatever it is, if you do it too much, there will be consequences.

When it comes to cars and other machines, you need to make sure not to overwork them, or they might overheat.

The Volkswagen Beetle has a long habit of overheating, which makes this even more obvious.

Possible issues that could cause overheating could be a clogged air filter, worn starter motor/solenoid, fuel not reaching the carburetor, or a corroded battery ground connection.

With such varied issues related to the same problem, it cannot be easy to know what to do next.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If your engine runs lean when hot, you might have a blockage somewhere, which you should unclog.
  • If the carburetor is flooding, you should slowly accelerate the car and floor the throttle quickly while cranking it. This hot-start technique should start the VW Beetle, which should be enough for you to get the carburetor checked.
  • For issues related to the starter or the battery, you can easily get tons of information in the sections above.
  • Use your car in moderation, especially during the hot weather, and employ various methods to prevent overheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start With New Battery?

Always ensure your new battery is properly installed with all the wiring and connections.

If an amateur has placed the battery, a simple mistake prevents the car from starting.

Alternatively, suppose the battery is perfectly fitted.

In that case, your problem must be in a different system of the Volkswagen Beetle, either the fuel system or the ignition system, and you should have them checked out.

Q2. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start Even With A Jump?

If you believe your battery has a low charge, then a jump start is a good idea; however, if you jump-start the battery of your Volkswagen Beetle and it still does not work, you may have another electrical fault.

You should look for issues such as loose wires and frays and corrosion. If you cannot find them, you should look into the ignition system.

Q3. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start But Lights Work?

The internal lights of your Volkswagen Beetle do not require a lot of power to turn on, so even a low-charged battery can turn them on for some time.

However, the same battery will not be able to start the car, since the power required is simply too high.

To fix this issue, you can easily replace the old battery with a new one or get your battery jump-started.

Q4. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start But Cranks?

A vehicle’s engine needs to crank so the car starts, so cranking in the Volkswagen Beetle is a good sign.

This shows that the electrical system responsible for starting the car is in perfect condition.

Since you know the electrical system is perfectly operational, you should have other systems of the car checked out via a mechanic to look for the issue preventing your Volkswagen Beetle from starting.

Q5. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start Just Clicks?

While you want your Volkswagen Beetle to crank, clicking while attempting to start the car can be bad and indicate an electrical fault.

These electrical faults include the alternator, the ignition system, and the starter motor.

You should have all of these parts and systems checked out thoroughly as electrical faults are very difficult to detect, and even the slightest issue can prevent your Volkswagen Beetle from starting.

Q6. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start In The Cold Weather?

Cold weather can cause many issues that will prevent any car from starting easily, and this is the same for the Volkswagen Beetle.

The cold weather starts to slow down reactions within the battery, making it quite difficult to supply the engine with power.

Also, the spark plugs find it difficult to generate a spark, and the oil becomes too thick.

Q7. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start After I Get Gas?

Getting high-quality gas is essential to ensuring your Volkswagen Beetle works fine.

Even if you fill your Volkswagen Beetle with average to low-quality fuel, the engine might not even get it because of blockage.

Bad quality fuel can cause this blockage, especially in the filters, so make sure that you do not have any blockages preventing your Volkswagen Beetle’s engine from getting the fuel it needs to run.

Q8. Why Won’t My Volkswagen Beetle Start But Radio Works?

Like the lights, the radio inside the Volkswagen Beetle requires a small amount of power to start, so you can easily turn this on, but if you try to turn on the car with a low-charged battery, it will not be able to provide the necessary power.

Once again, you should attempt a jumpstart or look for a replacement battery to solve the issue and get the car running.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Volkswagen Beetle?


The Volkswagen Beetle was supposed to be the people’s car and, as such, be simple, cheap, and easy to drive.

However, with a variety of issues that surround the vehicle, not even German engineering could prevent owners from asking,” Why won’t my Volkswagen Beetle start?”.

Luckily, with the help of this article, you should have a solid grasp of why your Volkswagen Beetle is not working.

You should easily figure out which area of your VW Beetle has the issue and take the necessary steps to ensure the problem is completely solved, allowing you to start and drive your car.