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I'm a 16 year old girl and I found a VW Beetle. to be the first car I've ever owned if I buy it. The odometer is broken, but they think it has 130,000 miles on it. The list price is $3,995. I was wondering if a bug is a good first car? Are they reliable? Do they do well in crashes? My Dad is really good at working on cars and could do minor repair work if needed.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Colleen McGee, Driving Instructor at Americas Driving School Hi Madison Most people who have bought VW Beetles give them a 4-5 star rating for every model year. I would use the Kelly Blue Book to find if that price is good for the year and condition. The crash safety ratings are good for the drivers side, acceptable for the passenger side. Hope you make the right decision!

Jessie L Thatcher, F&I and Sales Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds Company  (Retired) First the VW Beetle is a good first car, however that being said purchasing a vehicle with a broken odometer and unknown mileage is a big gamble and that price is really high. You should be able to find a better deal. Even through your Dad is a good independent mechanic it would be a great idea to have someone go over the vehicle before you make the purchase decision to insure there is nothing else wrong. A vehicle with 130000 miles on it can have lots of issues that are not obvious to the untrained eye.Don't rush into a purchase that you may regret.

Chris Walsh, Owner at Consolidated Automotive Services of indiana Hi Madison thank you for your inquiry. I think the V W Bug is a really cute car. In the used car safety ratings it is ranked about 29. It is an import so a little pricey when it comes to repairs. You can ask the dealer or you can google CARFAX. If you enter the full serial number it will tell you what the last recorded mileage was when it was last sold. This may give you an idea if the mileage they are stating is correct. You also want to check to make sure the speedometer is operating. You will need that. Sometimes if the odometer is broken the speedometer is also. You did not mention the year in order to tell you if that is a decent buy we would need to know that. Good Luck.

Brandy Schaffels, Editor at, Inc. I would be cautious about purchasing any car with a broken odometer. They might think it has 130,000 miles on it, but what if it has 150,000? 130,000 miles is a bit low for a car that is nearly 15 years old, when the national yearly average is about 12,000 miles per year. How will you keep track of maintenance, etc., without a functioning odometer? MSN Autos ( shows the NHTSA gave the 1999 Volkswagen Beetle four out of five stars for both Driver Front and Passenger Front safety in the frontal crash test, and IIHS gave it "good" scores (the highest rating) in all its crash test injury measures. That indicates the car is most likely a very safe vehicle. Your Dad would be the best judge of whether he is able to work on the car. Blue Book value on this vehicle is between about $2000 and $4000 depending on condition and mileage.

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