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Old 01-25-2011, 09:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Default VW Beetle, Alarm keeps going off.

(Apologies in advance to your moderators if this is in the wrong forum, or if there is already a topic. I am new to your boards, and couldn't find a search function: as I also have my own forum I totally understand if this post is moved)

I'm sorry this is long: I'm just giving as many details as possible so that hopefully someone can be like "Ding, Lightbulb - I totally know what's going on!" haha... I should be so lucky I suppose.

I've been the proud owner of a 99 VW Beetle for 5 years, this coming May. I love it to pieces, it's been a good car to me.

I was in an accident in November that required a new radiator and a bunch of other work underneath (ran over a deer - long story). I mention this because the last time I had work done on her, she randomly started automatically locking the doors if sitting idle and unlocked for litterally 30 seconds. I'm told this is a regular feature: however, this feature didn't present itself until after I rolled my car 3 years ago. My car has a history of phantom features (I'd love to tell you about the phantom temperature sensor, but another time.)

I've had my car back from the shop for a little over a month, and I've noticed I have a burnt out brake light. So thats on my list to fix. No big deal.

But now, tonight - for the first time in a VERY long time, my car has decided that it's having a grand ole time allowing the alarm to go off for no reason, at random times. Please note, last week, this did not happen.

Last week, I had my car serviced for winter's - they put nitrogen in my tires and thats all the funky stuff they did. Oh and the checked my battery to make sure it was okay - had some trouble starting in the -20*C we had here over Christmas.

I will be honest:
I have boatloads of aftermarket pieces in my car.
- HID Lights
- Performance Chip
- Aftermarket stereo
...and as a result, i have boatlaods of blinking lights. And I have these checked regularly (My dad has a codereader especially for this purpose) to be sure that nothing is actually ever wrong with the car. ANd anytime I take it anywhere - no on will work on it till they check the codes (which is fine) and I've been told by two different VW dealers, that there's nothing that can be done about the blinking lights on my dash. Fine, I can live with those.

Sometimes my glowplugs light blinks. Sometimes, it doesnt.
My check engline light is almost always on - due to the chip is what VW told me.
My Ebreak light blinks in conjunction with the ABS light - sometimes. Due to the stereo - according to VW.
My Highbeams light - is on whenever the highs or the lows are on.

(And all of this, as I understand - is because the aftermarket parts draw from the battery at rates its not used to.) Or something like that.

Point being: These lights have been on for years. Since i had the stereo put in the first month I bought it, the HID's the second month, and the performance chip the third month.

My car has had all reccommended servicing at the appropriate km intervals.

So here's te story, tonight, at 1am. My alarm has gone off 6 times. My neighbours are starting to yell (ack!).

So I've done one of two things.

1.) I've opened the hatchback, opened the drivers door - and started the car with both doors open and the smart key. (As suggested on another forum) As I understand this will totally disengage the alarm, until taken to the dealership to re-engage?

(Ill have you know, this worked for about an hour - the alarm just went off again, and now that Im so irritated, I just left it.)

2.) I was going to disconnect the battery, but the security guard in my building has suggested against it, as these "new fangled beetles have computers - and who knows what could happen." So we've left the battery as is, attached. Connected etc.
....curious: what would happen if I disconnect it for the night, and reconnect it tomorrow?

I'm trying to give as many details as possible... I dont know why this started today. Friday I drove 5hrs home, parked it until today (monday) and today is day 1 of this problem. Is it possible that either shop (the one that did repairs and the new rad, or the tire people) might have tripped something? My guess is no, because if that were the case, the alarm should have been going off a month ago when I got my car back. A week ago after I got it back from the tire shop. Right?

Not today, a day where I just drove home a drive I make often - stopped for groceries, and parked my car.

Could it be the burn out light? Not likely. I've had burnt out lights before that didnt send my alarm into an alarm-frenzy.

Basically: I just want to sleep tonight. And tomorrow night. And the night after that without having to run out in my PJ's on campus, to turn off the car alarm that is driving anyone and everyone crazy - yeah no one likes being THAT person. And I am totally that person! Lol.

Anyway... should I try perhaps opening the hatch, and closing it just so it clicks - and closes - but not all the way?

If disconnecting the battery isn't an option, can I just leave the lights on a drain it? Might that make my car hush hush for the night?


Honestly: I just need the stupid alarm disengaged, I dont care if it ever comes back on again. Well maybe I do, but I mean for the short term.

Is there something proven to work, that I can do? Or Am I best just to take it to the dealership?

Thank you

Also: I just tried something from another forum, I unlocked the car, then locked it with the button the passenger side door... we'll see how that works.

Last edited by AC2010; 01-25-2011 at 09:50 AM..
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2011, 04:21 PM
emma2049's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
San Rafael, CA, USA
Car: 1999 2.O GL auto

There's going to be someone on here who knows exactly what's going on and will be able to nail it in one sentence, I'm sure..but for my 2 cents worth, I'm going to guess it might be a faulty door lock module. I've got a 99 and had problems with the door lock (very common problem). Do you have interior lights, a puddle light on the driver's door, and does it lock ok with the remote? I say this as I've had the same problem with the doors locking after sitting idle, even if I'm in the car, and random alarm goings off!

Also, does your driver's door lock go down once you hit 10mph? Does it re-arm the alarm when it's idle? Does the alarm go off if you manually lock the drivers door with the key and then set the alarm via the remote?

The car might not be recognizing the door is shut. There's a super cheap fix which I know there is a link for on here, with a $3 part you can buy from Radioshack or online. Otherwise it's a new door lock actuator.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:31 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005

Willing to bet money your driver door microswitch is failing in the ON - OPEN position, causing the alarm to go off.

Temp. solution: lock car from passenger door with the interior button. The driver door has a manual lock out to prevent you from lock it with the door open and using the interior switch.

You have a 98 with ABS? You have 99... 98s didn't come with ABS. I've never seen one. I know MotorTrend said their early 99 didn't have it either. Do you have LED Blinkers in the little patch area just below the mirror and above the fender? Do you have key slots on both doors? If yes to #1 and no to #2 you actually have a 99...
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:33 PM
Smileybug's Avatar
5/23/10 <3
Join Date: Sep 2005
Cary, NC, USA
Car: 2003 20th GTI, 1984 Jetta GL TD, 1982 Rabbit pickup (In Progress)

The OP says '99...

I will third investigating the door lock module. Here are a couple of links which might be helpful for troubleshooting and cheap fixes:
VWVortex.com - MKIV door locks explained - why you're having problems!!!
Stupid door Switch!! $3 Fix!!! - TDIClub Forums

Also, one thing I thought was odd was you said the CEL is on due to the chip...the light will have a code associated.
The Past Ride: Darla, 102k, '99 New Beetle GL 5-speed. Bone stock. Acquired 4/6/05. Gave her life for me 8/17/11. RIP
The Project: Klaus,'84 Jetta GL Turbo Diesel. Rebuilt and bringing 50+ mpg.
The Baby Brother: GŁnther, Stage 2 Unitronic, 20th Anniversary Edition GTI
The new project: Mr. T, 1982 Rabbit Pickup (Caddy), work in progress
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:57 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005

Long day, I read 98...my bad.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:07 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011

Thank you for the help guys, while visiting a VW performance shop in town I mentioned the issue to the mechanic, who agreed - probably the door locking mechanism (this happens with 99's).

Again, thank you!
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