PseudoSandwich
Hey everyone, first post, I came to your fine forums because a buddy of mine wants to sell me his '72 super beetle for a great deal, and I really want to buy it, but I will need some help from my dad because i just got hired at my new job and don't start for about a week, so I have no money saved up. He doesn't think it will be reliable because he had a 60-something VW bus and he said it broke down all the time. What can you guys tell me about the '72 Super Beetle as far as maintenance and reliability? Is is rational to buy this car as an every day driver? Thanks for any help, I've wanted a beetle for a long time, and this opportunity finally came up for me, but I need to do a little convincing.
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kafertoys
Your talking about a 38 yr old car, in fact one of the cheapest ever made and not well maintained and so your asking if its reliable?  And your broke?  I bet there are alot of original parts on the beetle that should have been replaced before you were born 

You really need to know the true condition of the beetle and/or expect to spend money.

I have been driving the same beetle for 10 yrs now and have had to put less then most make on a few car payments or my 67 van that I had less then $400 in 3 yrs of driving.

have the idea of going thru the systems a little at a time consider the average maintenance cost for any car is $1500 a year, a few years of spending half that and you should be fine.
saving as many as I can
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flash

Super Beetles are different.  My has over 350,000 miles on the original engine, although it has been overhauled twice.  I also have AC.  I bought it new in '73 and have taken good care of it.  YOU have to have a good VW mechanic who knows what they're doing.  A shade tree mechanic that knows American cars may think they can work on a bug, but 9 times out of 10 they don't.  They can be finicky, but with that said...they're fun to drives and will keep on goin' if you take care of them.

Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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PseudoSandwich
I'm broke now, but within a couple months I will have a good amount of money. I know I will have to spend money on it, I'm just curious if they are known for breaking down more than a 30+ year old car would be expected to. If I do get it, I would plan on doing as much of the work on it as I can by my self. I still need to talk to the guy in detail and get as much info as possible, I'm just trying to gather as much information as I can from as many places as I can to make a smart, informed decision. Thanks for the help!
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flash

Look for rust...it's a killer.  Also the famous 45 MPH front end shimmy in the curves.  All bushings in front end may need replacing.  Supers have Mcphearson struts and ride smoother and turn in a 3' smaller radius than regular bugs, but they are prone to the steering wheel shake and front end shimmy as mentioned.  It can be fixed.

Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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olspeed
While everyone else has good advice, one of the main things I must add here is that the all early VW's were a hands on car. What I mean here is that there is always some type of maintenance that must be done on a weekly,monthly,yearly type schedule. For example early VW's do not have self adjusting brakes and they must be adjusted by the owner(or a shop) usually monthly, but if you drive hard or in fast conditions(like when I was using my Ghia to commute for work) it is a weekly ordeal to keep them up to the point where the car stops in a straight line, and will actually bring it to a stop from 70 to 80 mph safely. Oil changes, my wife's new Hyundai owners manual states that you can extend the change intervals out to 10,000 miles(not that I would do that) but in a Bug this would lead to almost certain early death for the engine. Even the normal 3,000 mile limit is a bit long for a VW with out a filter(the little strainer on the bottom works but is not a true filter) especially for one that is driven in extreme conditions 1500 or even 1000 miles would be more appropriate. This is something anyone that wants to use a old VW for a daily driver needs to consider. Are you willing to do the day to day normal maintenance that WILL be necessary to keep the thing alive(this is something that was true in your dads day also) because if not you might be better off with one of the newer econoboxes. And please believe I am not trying to dampen you spirit(I love to see old Bugs on the road and new drivers too) but sometimes I don't think people take in to consideration the amount of additional time that really must be put in to these cars to keep them as "your only means of transportation" If you do decide to get it then good for you and good luck and have fun driving a car that you can truly be proud of as you work on it and make it your own.
Olspeed
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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PseudoSandwich
I've never had a car that I could actually call my own and spend time tinkering with and fixing up, and not only am I ready to devote time to a Beetle, I would relish the opportunity to have something like that that I could take care of. It sounds like if I am willing to put in the time and money I could have no problem using a Beetle for my daily driver.
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MY72BUG
As a daily driver?  It somewhat depends on a number of factors.  1. your mechanical abilities  2. where you live ( southern California - yes  , rural Ontario, Canada - not any more)  3. how bummed out you will be if your car lets you down   Don't get me wrong I love my Beetle convertible but it is a summer toy.  Our climate was bad news for the old Beetles and after $7000 in body work I would not expose MY72BUG to those elements EVER again.  It gets babied and it knows it.  I have been left scratching my head in my driveway and at roadside at least once every summer but fixes have a nice habit of being cheap and within my mechanical abilities and the looks the car gets more than makes up for the time spent wondering what happened to my engine's spark.  As a daily driver?  There are a lot of newer, more dependable cars which get better mileage and which will outlast your Beetle.  Think also safety.  In your Beetle you are driving with 8 gallons of gas essentially in your lap.  A similarly designed new car today would be shown the door by the governmental bodies which licence new cars.  But damn, the old Beetles are fun. !  MY72BUG in perma-frosted Goderich, Ont.
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YELLRHD

I believe you will find just as many comments for as you will against.

I use my super as a daily driver and it has not had a breakdown that I couldn't fix without some basic hand tools and normally present spare parts.
(knowing the car is 30+ years old means I always travel with some basic spare parts)
If you are willing to give your super the attention it requires and have the basic mechanical abilities there is no reason you can't use your super as a daily driver.

And as mentioned in some replys some realitively inexepensive upgrades (disc brakes etc...) will allow it to share the road with whats out there today.

Besides it takes a lot to make an econo box stand out from the others and all a beetle has to do is show up

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olspeed
Quote:
  Besides it takes a lot to make an econo box stand out from the others and all a beetle has to do is show up
  LOL you got that right brother
Olspeed
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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Friedel
I will agree with all the positive remarks in the above postings.  I have always done my own work.  My last rebuild was in 1995, I removed and replaced the engine. I assembled the engines top half, (not the crank, pistons, or heads).  I have put 122K+ miles on this engine, without a breakdown.  The only other timed I was towed, (on a flatbed of course) was when I broke a clutch cable "eyelet" where the cable meets the pedel hook, that had worn sharp, and cut the eyelet).  Once I had to replace the coil.  I am ready for a rebuild now.  This time I am going to trust the shop-Steve Tims, Riverside CA to do all the work, and replace with a 1641 this time, with some performace work added.  I have been driving this Bug over 20-years and still having fun.  The beauty of a Beetle is that it is a very simple machine.  No electronics to speak of.  If something goes wrong, it is usually simple to figure out.  Blessings on your decision.  Hope you are a BugMan as I write...
 
Patrick.
1972 Super, daily driver over 21-years. June 9, 2011 new case Brazil "041" with rebuilt German heads, all stock 1600, new generator, starter, clutch/plate/throw-out, new German 34-pict-3, 1973 Air Filter(paper element), German stock exhaust. 4K+ on engine, 24-29 mpg.
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