Next >> 1 2 3

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive:
First published in 1969, this classic manual of automotive repair equips VW owners with the knowledge to handle every situation they will come across with any air-cooled Volkswagen built through 1978, including Bugs, Karmann Ghias, vans, and campers. With easy-to-understand, fun-to-read information — for novice and veteran mechanics alike — anecdotal descriptions, and clear language, this book takes the mystery out of diagnostic, maintenance, and repair procedures, and offers some chuckles along the way. This edition features new information on troubleshooting, new photos, and an updated resource list. John Muir (1918-1977) was a writer, mechanic, and expert on the maintenance and repair of Volkswagens. Originally a structural engineer working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in the 1960s he quit his job to become a writer and car mechanic in Taos, New Mexico. Muir collaborated with the artist Peter Aschwanden to create the definitive manual for Volkswagen owners, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive; A Manual of Step-By-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot. The first edition sold more than two million copies. In November 1977, Muir passed away from a brain tumor. His self-published first edition is considered one of the most successful self-published books in history, and his manual remains the definitive guide for VW owners.

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive

Coco Mats: When shopping around for new floor mats for your Beetle, there are quite a few choices out there. Rubber and carpet are two, but there is another type of floor mat that has been around for ages, the Coco mat. Coco Mats are handmade from natural materials - Coir and Rubber. Coir, also known as Cocos, is a natural fibre that is extracted from the protective husks of coconuts. The husks are seasoned in lagoons then converted into fluffy golden coir fibre. The coir is then spun into yarn that is hand woven into mats and backed with a special nibbed rubber that hold the mats firmly in place.

This rubber backing also insures that dirt and sand will never have a chance to make it into your VW's carpet. Colors to choose from are Black and Red, Black and Gray, Black Herringbone, Tan Herringbone, Blue/Black and Tan and Cream/Tan and Brown. Besides the handy nibbed rubber backing, they also have a rubber heal pad that is sewn into the drivers mat to protect it from heel damage and a matching vinyl binding that is sewn around the edge that trims this vintage look floor mat off quite nicely. These floor mats are very easy to clean as well. You simply vacuum them to freshen them up, or if they get really dirty you can pressure wash them with soap and water and then hang them out to dry. I have had a set of the Tan and Brown Coco mats in my Super Beetle for a few years and have found them virtually indestructible.

California Pacific JBugs

Letters to Zerky: I got an email about a book written about touring the world in a VW Bus, so of course I had to read it. Reading a book that is actually printed, rather than reading on my iPad was really nice. Pictures, the smell of the paper, and even putting in the book mark reminded me of why I love reading so much. I totally enjoyed reading Letters to Zerky and here is a review of it taken from Bill's website. "In April of 1967, when The Summer of Love was dawning in San Francisco, Bill and JoAnne Raney left with their dachshund, Tarzan, and ten-month-old son, Eric Xerxes. They flew to Germany, bought a VW camper van, and spent the next thirteen months traveling through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Saddened that young Zerky would not remember this amazing trip, Bill began to write him letters and Joanne kept a diary so that when he was older he could read about all the adventures he'd been on. The Raneys' journey took them through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, and a few countries that no longer exist. The book will appeal to a wide audience, including those interested in travel, Middle Eastern history and simply a well-written story of adventure. It is a lovely tribute to a little boy who crossed cultural divides to bring people together. "Zerky was the common denominator that brought us together with the peoples and cultures of the world during this thirteen-month-long adventure between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans," Bill writes. "He was our passport to the world."

Letters to Zerky

NEW Sway Bar Hardware installation kit: Jon Chabot from Top Line Parts talks about the famous Super Beetle Shimmie. Chabot says, "We are often asked "Will lowering my Super affect the shimmies that I get at about 40 to 55 miles per hour?" To answer this question, we must first know what you have already done to your car in the way of restoring, customizing, and modifying. In most cases the "shimmies" are caused by a combination of bad bushings and out of balance or bent wheel rims. Also, some rims have a different offset than the original, exaggerating the problem further. The condition of every component in the Super Beetle front end must be in perfect condition to prevent problems.

To help with your Super Shimmies we have come out with a NEW Sway Bar Hardware installation kit. If you have lost or damaged sway bar hardware, try this all new hardware kit. The 4130 chrome moly washers are much stronger than original washers, and replace the VW parts exactly. Kits are also supplied with original style castle nuts and cotter pins. All components are zinc plated for a rust free finished look! Once all the proper rebuilding, checking, and balancing has taken place, there will be no more shimmies! Your car can then be lowered successfully with our components, and you will enjoy the best riding and handling bug that VW has ever produced!"

Top Line Parts

Rear Defroster Vents: While attending a local VW event I noticed that the 1972 - 1975 Super Beetle Sedan has six little rear defroster vents beside the rear glass. Three on each side, while my 1975 Super Beetle has none. Hmmmm. It looks as if when the original owner changed the headliner he neglected to put them back in. From talking to various owners it seems that over time these plastic vents becomes brittle and literally disintegrate when you try and take them out and these little gems are nearly impossible to find.

Now I've always been a firm believer that Volkswagen knows a lot more about the Beetle than I ever will, so these must have been put there for a reason. (Don't even get me going about whether the Beetle can run without a thermostat or not, it shouldn't!) So, wanting my Beetle to be as close to 100% stock as possible I set out to find these illusive vents. I searched VW parts swap meets, eBay and The Samba, but the ones that I found were ugly to say the least. Most were yellowed and cracked and I don't think that they could ever survive installation. What to do? I don't know if it was fate but a few weeks later I spotted them at and for under twenty bucks to boot!

When they arrived I went out to install them and thought, "I am going to have to cut six holes in my near pristine headliner ...maybe I'll wait". So the other day I was getting my SB ready for a VW event and saw my vents sitting on a shelf in the garage. I guess I was feeling brave that night (or maybe it was the adult beverage that I was drinking at the time) and I decided to put them in. I felt around the rear glass until I found the first oval hole and then lined up a new vent with the indentation and pushed into the liner. This left an oval impression that I quickly slit from end to end with a blade, GLUP! To my surprise the vent snapped in perfectly! The moral of this story is that it's the small things that can really make your Beetle complete and it's companies like California Import Parts that can supply them for us.

California Import Parts

Chrome Vent Covers: For those of you that love the look of chrome there's a perfect inexpensive accessory for your Classic Volkswagen Beetle, Chrome Vent Covers from Mid America Motorworks. With these two half moon covers you can add a touch of sparkle to your late model Beetle or Super Beetle and installation is "Super" easy too. You just pop out your old black plastic vent covers behind the rear windows and snap in your new chrome ones.

Made in Denmark the quality of these vents is flawless and since they are made with chromed plastic there is no worry about them rusting or losing their shine over the years. While replacing the original ones with these is a matter of preference and taste you are certain to get a lot of questions about them at the next Volkswagen event that you attend. Me? I think they are great and I'm going to get a set for my Super Beetle before the season starts in the spring!

Mid America Motorworks

VW Beetle Calendar- Calendars 2018 - 2019 Wall Calendars - Car Calendar - Automobile Calendar - Beetle 16 Month Wall Calendar by Avonside: Yep, it's time for a new Volkswagen calendar. Last year I got one of those big-hang-on-the-wall versions, so this year I wanted something that is a little more tasteful, compact, and with better pictures, not just a series of twelve different Beetles parked on the grass somewhere (and no NEW BEETLES, sorry). The legendary Volkswagen bug is captured on the pages of the VW Beetle Wall Calendar 2019 featuring images of the car through the years. Each month offers a spacious grid for recording birthdays, anniversaries, and important appointments. Perfect for home or office, the calendar is a great gift for car enthusiasts and fans of this iconic car. This would make an awesome Christmas for birthday present for someone that loves VWs. BTW honey I'd love one too!

VW Beetle Calendar

Lower Steering Column Bushing: If the needle bearing at the bottom of your steering column wears out, it will give you almost un-drivable play in the steering wheel and up until now this part has been almost impossible to find. The NEW Top Line lower steering column bushing replaces the VW plastic needle bearing without any modifications to the tube or steering shaft. It is made from high-tech Nylatron, is self lubricating, and will last for thousands of miles. Here's how you install the new one: The steering column and shaft should be removed from the car for easiest installation. You should have on hand a blunt punch and hammer, rubber mallet, belt sander, and a good bench vice.

1 - Slide the steering column out of the housing. Tap out old bearing with any long straight shaft (from the top to bottom) 2 - The Top Line bushing is on the left, and the old VW needle bearing is on the right. 3 - The steering shaft will have the inner bearing race still on the shaft. It’s a press-fit, and must be removed. 4 - Clamp the shaft in a sturdy bench vice. Soak the bearing race with lubricant, and tap off the race with a dull chisel or drift. Apply some heat to the race with a butane torch if necessary. 5 - Here the old bearing race is removed from the steering shaft. Note the knurling on the shaft that was under the race. 6 - Using a belt sander, polish off the knurling that was underneath the bearing race. The finished diameter should be .866 inches (22.0mm). 7 - Test fit the bushing onto the steering shaft with a little grease. It should slip effortlessly over the shaft. The fit will get slightly tighter after you tap the bushing into the column. 8 - Tap the bushing into the column using a rubber mallet. Don’t use any lubricant, as it may cause the bushing to shift after installation. 9 - Finish tapping in the bushing past the flared end of the tubing with a socket or similar driver. The finished depth of the bushing is about 1/8” (3.2mm) past end of column. Rub a little grease or oil onto the end of the steering shaft and re-insert it into the steering column. It’s ok to feel a little resistance in the bushing as you turn the shaft by hand. The mechanical advantage of the steering wheel will make the slight drag of the bushing to the shaft negligible and just right for a tight driving feel. Once again Top Line Parts has come up an improvement over the original Volkswagen design and supplied a part that is superior in every way. Thanks to Jon Chabot and Top Line!

Top Line Parts

Retractable Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts: My seat belts were done. Once you took them off they would lay there unless you fed them back into the retractor, not good. You could tug at them all day long and they wouldn't lock up, not too smart. Because even if you don't like to think about it, Volkswagens do get into accidents and your seat belt is the only thing that is going to keep your face from meeting the inside of your windshield, OUCH!

I was reading the latest California Pacific JBugs catalog and noticed a complete set of front belts that would fit my Beetle on the back cover. As a matter of fact they fit 1966-1977 Beetle Sedan and 1971-1977 Super Beetle Sedan, nice. I ordered a set and within a few days they were sitting on my desk at work. Inside the package I found two black original-looking seat belt retractors, two buckles, two brackets and a whole bunch of bolts, washers and nuts, along with a small diagram on how they all go together. It didn't seem like a big job so I decided to tackle it one Saturday. All you need is a socket set and a bit of patience to install these in your Beetle. The first thing to do is to take out the old belts, which is simple because it's only three bolts each. Then you have to figure out which way the brackets that hold the retractors go, not so simple. Make sure you take a good look at the original brackets BEFORE you take the old ones out.

The new brackets are not exactly the same but they do install the same way. Once you bolt the retractor in place you're going to wonder how to get the belt out, which is fully retracted due to shipping. HINT - Make sure that the retractor is 100% level, both horizontally and vertically and it will pull out without a problem. Install the buckle and your ready to sit down, buckle up and take off. If you have a 1975 or newer Beetle you will have to disconnect the seat belt interlock system which plugs into the bottom of the seat and cut the wire that goes to the buckle. I'd say within a 1/2 hour I had these installed and was testing them out. Not by running into a tree, but by giving them a quick tug and feeling them lock up. Oh what a feeling. One thing that I noticed about this product is that the bolts that are included have a different size head than the originals so the trim that covers the bolt that holds the buckle in place will not fit. I put a drop of Automotive Goop (a fantastic glue) on them popped them in place and I was good to go. Here's one more bit of advice about these and the original seat belts in your Beetle. It's pretty hard to reach the tongue that you plug into the buckle because it falls down to the bottom of the belt. You end up either squishing your hand in between the door panel to reach it or opening the door. Honda makes a little button kit that you install that keeps the tongue at the top of the belt so you can just reach over your shoulder to grasp it. Contact your local Honda dealer and order two of part number 04814-SP0-305ZA for an easy fix. So check yourself before you wreck yourself and bring your seat belts up to spec with these great units from California Pacific JBugs.

California Pacific JBugs

Chrome Wheels and Hub Caps: I own a 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle of the La Grande variety. It's close to 100% stock and that's the way that I like it. The only problem is that the "Sports" wheels that came with this Special Edition are boring. They are your typical silver painted wheel that Volkswagen jazzed up by adding a black plastic center cap and some black plastic wheel nut covers, nice but boring. I thought that painting the wheels gold to match my Super Beetle would do the trick. Again, boring. So what's a person that wants the "Stock Look" going to do to the wheels without stepping over the border into custom? Good question.

For me the answer was a set of stock Volkswagen wheels paired up with a set of stock Volkswagen wheel covers, but done in chrome! The stock wheel that came on the VW Beetle never came in chrome, which is a shame because the styling is timeless. I checked all of the usual online stores and ended up getting a set from California Pacific JBugs. The wheels that I got where manufactured by Mangle of Brazil, one of the largest O.E. wheel manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately from what I've heard these wheels won't be available for much longer, so if you are looking to upgrade your whip, you'd better act fast. You could always have your stock wheels chromed, but finding a good plating shop isn't easy and it's very expensive too. So I took my new wheels to work and mounted them on my stock rubber. Oh yeah! I don't know what it is about these wheels, but installing them on my 1303 added a huge WOW factor. Best of all my VW is still considered "Stock" and it looks fantastic! Now all I get is complements where ever I go. Nice.

California Pacific JBugs

Robert Bentley Repair Manual: There are a lot of repair manuals out there for your classic Volkswagen and I've seen just about every one of them. The most famous would most likely be John Muir's "How to keep your Volkswagen Alive". It's a great book that is easy to read and has some of the coolest "Hippie Style" drawings on how to repair your Bug. But is Mr. Muir's book the best buy for your hard earned cash? Not really. Enter Robert Bentley and his repair manuals for every air-cooled VW. These are the only service manuals that are officially authorized by Volkswagen. This manual was created specifically to cover models built for sale in the United States and Canada and doesn't miss a trick. From my way of thinking you can always tell when a repair manual has been well used by the dog-eared pages and by all of the greasy fingerprints inside. My copy of this informative book is no exception. I can tell you first hand that this manual has saved me many trips to the shop and a ton of money in repair bills.

Here is a sample of the kind of up-to-date information you will find inside: Tune-up and oil change. Specifications and procedures for all models up to the latest 1979 models. Troubleshooting and replacing or repairing every component of the electrical system, complete wiring diagrams. Troubleshooting and repair of the electronic fuel injection system used on 1975 and later models. Troubleshooting, repairing and rebuilding the clutch, manual transmission and Automatic Stick Shift. Rebuilding the carburetor, including the 1974 California-only carburetor. Rebuilding disc and drum brakes. Rebuilding the front axle and steering gearbox. Strut front suspension for the 1302 and 1303 Super Beetle and Convertible, including the suspension modifications for the 1974 through 1979 models. Rack and pinion steering for the 1975 and later models is also covered. Spark advance curves for all distributors, including the latest type emission controls for the 1974 through 1979 exhaust gas recirculation systems. Official Volkswagen tolerances, wear limits, settings and tightening torque specifications for every part of your VW. This Volkswagen Type 1 service manual for the 1970-1979 Volkswagen Beetle and Karmann Ghia contains 720 illustrations, 27 pages of wiring diagrams and 466 pages of what Volkswagen dealership technicians use in the workshop, so you can't get any better than that.

Robert Bently Official VW Beetle Service Manual

Ultra VW's New Website: British Volkswagen magazine Ultra VW has been a strong supporter of our web site for years. This month we take a look at their new web site. Their old web site was clean and easy to navigate but it lacked content. The new Ultra VW site is a whole new story. The first thing that you notice is a picture of a Type 3 with a link to the classified ads section where you can place an add to sell your Volkswagen They accept ads of up to 30 words with a picture and will post it for free, how nice. On the left side of the home page you'll see a "Features" link that will take you to over 100 Volkswagens that have graced the pages of this world-class, full-colour magazine. Each feature has four or five pictures of some of the most beautiful Volkswagens that you have ever seen along with it's complete story taken from the month that it was showcased. Along with that there are lists of VW Clubs (we're listed under Canada), air-cooled VW Events, you can shop online for back issues, DVDs, or subscribe to have Ultra VW delivered right to your door. With all of this what more could you ask for?

VolksWorld and their New Website: If you're a fan of the air-cooled Volkswagen then you must love reading about and looking at them in print. Over the past few years some VW publications have gone, some new ones have sprung up, and the old faithful have gotten even better. VolksWorld has been around since 1987, and is still a major part of the worldwide VW scene. Based in the UK it covers the very best vehicles from around the globe with modified and customized cars through to the original and stock providing inspiration entertainment and scene-defining information to its readers. Between the monthly magazine and the web site, VolksWorld endeavors to deliver all the latest news from the air-cooled Volkswagen scene all over the world. With up to date news, excellent photography, features, readers' rides, how to's, history specifications and much more, VolksWorld has something for everyone and also reaches into VW exhibitions with the annual VolksWorld Show – the largest indoor VW event in Europe where many show cars debut each year.

Along with a fantastic magazine VolksWorld has reworked its web site into a world-class offering. Now featuring such sections as Car of the week, Latest news, Video of the week, The VolksWorld Blog, Buy and Sell, Events and Clubs, and Downloads, you could spend hours just cruising the pages. Make a note to check out the Download section where you'll find some of the most beautiful Volkswagens in the world just waiting to grace the desktop of your computer. So pick up a copy at your local bookstore, go online and subscribe. That way you'll never miss a VW-packed issue!


Super Sway Bar Clamps: Top Line Parts had just introduced their new Super Beetle billet sway bar clamp set.  The stamped steel stock VW clamps are the lowest part on the chassis of a Super, and often get beat up badly by close encounters with the pavement.  The new Top Line clamp set offers better support of the rubber bushing, as well as being made from strong T-6 aluminum billet. The Top Line billet aluminum sway bar clamp set replaces the VW items prefectly without any modifications to the car. The clamps will fit either stock rubber bushings, or the more popular urethane performance bushings. Since the clamps are made to exacting tolerances, you should first check to see if the fit of the bushings into the clamps is correct. The clamps are made to fit Top Line Caster-Fix bushings exactly, with no modification. While the curved shape of the factory clamps leave some leeway for bushing sizes, the Top Line clamps do not. The clamps include mounting hardware, and are available for 1302 (71 to 73), and 1303 (74 and later) models.

Top Line Parts

Tamiya RC Volkswagen Beetle Vehicle: The distinctive rounded, fun form of the Volkswagen Beetle (Type 1) is a familiar sight. The rear wheel drive car is powered by a rear-mounted flat 4 engine and while it has a no-frills interior, its reliability has endeared it to people across the world. In time, the car would also spawn the "New Beetle", a car sold from 1997 which evoked the Beetle Type 1's original body. More than 21 million Beetles had been produced by the time production came to an end in 2003, an auto industry record and the silhouette of that instantly-recognizable rounded body hardly changed through it all. This is an R/C model assembly kit of the 1967 version of the car, which is widely lauded as one of its greatest versions. The car's unmistakable form is accurately reproduced by the model, and includes metal-plated parts such as the front/rear bumpers and light cases and side mirrors. It runs on the M-06 chassis, which just like the real car runs on a rear-mounted motor and with rear-wheel drive. The M-06 chassis features a Rear-Mounted Motor, Rear-Drive setup and features a longitudinally-mounted battery pack, with R/C units positioned on either side for optimum balance and a low center of gravity. 4-wheel double wishbone suspension uses metal-plated wheels exactly like those on the real car, equipped with 60D radial tires at the front and 60D super grip tires at the rear. In addition, a 3-piece steering linkage offers nimble handling response. I've been cruising the streets with mine, but can hardly wait to take it to a VW event and watch the heads turn as it drives by. Maybe I might even win "Best of show", or at the very least, "Coolest of show".

Radio Controlled Volkswagen Beetle

Bug Me Video - Electrical Troubleshooting: I'm glad that I have the full set of Bug Me videos on how to maintain and repair my Volkswagen. These videos have saved me countless dollars in repairs and maintenance to my Super Beetle. So when I found out that Rick Higgins and crew was now releasing their famous videos on DVD, I was ecstatic. With the release of most titles on DVD, fast forwarding, rewinding and searching for what you are trying to find on Ricks latest DIY presentation is now "Super" simple, and makes the entire Bug Me Video collection much more user friendly.

Volume #10 - Electrical Troubleshooting starts off with basic battery care and then moves along to the Starting System. This is where Rick and his son Chad go over a very common problem with almost any car; no start. Working from the battery, to the ignition switch, and then on to the starter motor, you'll learn that it's not always one of these three items that can cause your trusty VW to play dead. Problems can range from old wiring to a starter solenoid that is drawing too much or too little current. And this DVD shows you how to pinpoint the problem by using a series of methodical steps. Other topics on this informative DVD are Charging System, "Turn Signal Arm", "Install Guages", "How to Solder" (you can get a sneak preview of this in our Tech Talk with Rick section) and one of the most popular questions that we get at the web site, how do you go about "Converting 6 volt to 12 volt"?

The DVD is a full three hours long and after watching it you'll be confident enough to take on almost any electrical problem that might pop up. Visit their web site and check out the nine other titles that will have your VW purring like a kitten. And remember what Rick Higgins says, "You can do it - Let us show you how!"

California Import Parts

Replacement Window Regulator: The window regulator on a Beetle is a pretty interesting device. It consists of a track with a mount that attaches to your door glass, a spot for your window crank handle to fit on and a long screw-like coil that moves the glass up and down. Over the years these regulators can become stripped and generally difficult to raise, such was the case on my 1975 Super Beetle. It was "Super" easy to wind down, but you needed biceps like Arnold to roll it up. The only solution was to order a new one from California Pacific JBugs. It was a deal and arrived quickly via the local post office.

There are no instructions with the regulator so I figured that I'd just rip the door apart and sort it out for myself. Here's where you can learn from my mistakes. First, remove the window crank and armrest, then unclip and remove the door trim panel. If you temporarily put the window crank handle back on you can see how the glass goes up and down on the track. It's held on to the track by a couple of bolts. Unbolt the glass and lower it gently to the bottom of the door. When you unbolt the track you can carefully remove the glass from the door by sliding it past the bottom of the track. I covered mine with a cloth so I didn't scratch it when removing. After that, unbolt the piece that the crank handle is attached to. Now, you should be able to slide the whole thing out, but no. The tube that the coil is in passes through a small opening (inside the door) where the vertical channel for the vent glass is bolted in. I unbolted it but it is nearly impossible to get it out without removing the vent glass channel from the door. Somehow I pried the vent glass channel open enough to get the old regulator out and the new one in. But after working through those sharp little holes in the door my arms looked like I just finished wrestling with a Siberian Tiger. I loosely bolted the glass back in place and raised it to the top and then tightened the bolts that hold it to the regulator. To finish, install the door panel, armrest and window crank and you're done. Remember to put some white grease in the tube that the winding coil is in and you'll be good for years to come.

California Import Parts

Next >> 1 2 3

To have your book or product reviewed here please contact us at SuperBeetles (at)

Product reviews are opinions of the author and are for informational use only
and we do not endorse the use or results of any product listed.
All products are reviewed "without prejudice."