Aircooled VW Beetle Maintenance List– Howard Rose Check List

Here's the place to start. Introduce yourself and your ride.

Moderator: david58

Post Reply
User avatar
Jim Ed
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:14 am

Aircooled VW Beetle Maintenance List– Howard Rose Check List

Post by Jim Ed » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:54 am

Beetle Routine Maintenance Sheet by Howard Rose_original

Here's the service sheet I use for my 1966 Beetle, you may have to alter it slightly for your year, but the basics are there : (Put the sheet into Word and format it all nice - put American spellings in if you wish!)
<----START OF SERVICE SHEET---------->

Mileage: ________________________________ Date:________________________________
Serviced by: ________________________________
Signature: ________________________________

Tick the boxes when that part is completed.

Every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometres
[ ] Change engine oil and clean the oil strainer.
[ ] Check engine and transmission case for oil leaks.
[ ] Lubricate carburetor control linkage.
[ ] Lubricate door and bonnet locks and hinges.
[ ] Check condition of battery and grease its terminals.

Every 6,000 miles or 10,000 kilometre
[ ] As 3,000 mile or 5,000 kilometre service, plus the following:
[ ] Clean out air cleaner and refill with fresh oil.
[ ] Check oil in transmission case; top up if required.
[ ] Lubricate grease points on front-axle tubes.
[ ] Lubricate distributor cam lobes.
[ ] Check contact-breaker points for wear; replace if necessary.
[ ] Check contact-breaker setting and ignition timing.
[ ] Check fan belt for wear and correct tension.
[ ] Clean fuel filter.
[ ] Check condition of spark plug points.
[ ] Check valve-rocker clearances and fit new cylinder head cover gaskets.
[ ] Check exhaust system for damage, looseness or leakage.
[ ] Check rubber valve for crankcase ventilation.
[ ] Check brake fluid reservoir and top up if required; check hydraulic pipelines for signs of leakage.
[ ] Check operation of footbrake and handbrake and inspect shoe thickness; adjust shoe clearances if necessary.
[ ] Check adjustment of headlamp beams and operation of electrical components.
[ ] Check carburettor for correct idling adjustment.
[ ] Check engine-compression pressures.
[ ] Check free travel on clutch pedal; adjust if necessary.
[ ] Check for free play on front-hub bearings.
[ ] Check security of wheel-holding bolts (or inter-change the wheels to equalise tyre wear and remove flints, nails, etc., also oil and greasy dirt from tyres.
[ ] Check dust seals on tie-rod ends and steering joints, and security of tie-rods.
[ ] Check for correct operation of steering gear and have front-wheel alignment checked by garage.

Every 30,000 miles or 50,000 kilometres
[ ] As 6,000 mile or 10,000 kilometre service, plus the following:
[ ] Change transmission case oil.
[ ] Clean out front-hub bearings and repack with grease.

</----END OF SERVICE SHEET---------->

I like keeping a record of my cars services, as it had a full VW service history when I bought it. I don't trust the VW dealers of today with my car, so, as I intend to keep the car forever, I service it myself! Besides, you save an awful lot of money!
Howard Rose
1966 VW Beetle –
Email – how… (you know what to remove!)

<----START OF SERVICE SHEET---------->
Last edited by Jim Ed on Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Jim Ed
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:14 am

Re: Maintenance – Howard Rose Check List

Post by Jim Ed » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:06 am

Here is a modified version of the above list that I use on my 1973 Beetle. Check your manual to be sure.

Front End Check
[ ] Check fuel hoses for leaks. Always use Gates F.I. 1/4IN I.D. multi-fuel hose& F.I. hose clamps.
[ ] Check fuel filters for cleanliness.
[ ] Check bottom of gas tank for rust.
[ ] Check the lower speedo cable grommet on the inner side of the left steering knuckle spindle for
cracks. Water gets in there, freezes, and causes the speedo to act erratically in cold weather.
[ ] Check steering coupling disc.
[ ] Check horn ground strap at steering coupling disc.
[ ] Check and clean horn connections at horn
[ ] Check for brake fluid leaks.
[ ] Check brake hose hold down clamps.
[ ] Check tie rod ends for looseness.
[ ] Check for loose nuts and bolts.
[ ] Check grease zerks for looseness.
[ ] Lubricate grease points on front axle tubes.
[ ] Check front wheel bearings for looseness.
[ ] Adjust font wheel bearings.
[ ] Adjust front brakes.
[ ] Torque lug nuts; 14MM - 94 ft. lbs, 12MM – 72 ft. lbs.
[ ] Check throttle cable at gas pedal.
[ ] Check e-brake cables at hand brake lever.
[ ] plus anything else that comes to mind.
[ ] Check the battery. Replace it every three years.
[ ] replace front park/turn signal bulbs. Test afterwards. If the right turn signal blinks really fast, turn the
bulb just a little more to the right.
[ ] Replace the brake light switches every three years. Use FTE switches from

[ ] Check underneath for anything that does not look right.
[ ] Inspect and adjust the rear brakes .
[ ] Check the muffler for holes, looseness, and leakage.
[ ] Inspect the cv joint boots.
[ ] Check the drive shafts for looseness.
[ ] Check the rear tires. Remove rocks from the treads.
[ ] Inspect the clutch cable at the lever on the transaxle.
[ ] Check for oil leakage at the oil cooler vent .
[ ] Loosen the transaxle fill plug to make sure you can remove it later. 14 ft. lbs or a good yank
of the wrist. Use a heat gun & KROIL if it is difficult to remove.
[ ] Swop transaxle drain plugs or plug hole with a cork. 14 ft. lbs. Clean the magnetic drain plug
[ ] Check and top off transaxle gear oil level; GL4 80W90 AMSoil; capacity about 5.3 pints.
Wait 30 minutes and re-check the level. Top off if necessary.
[ ] Check the fuel hose.
[ ] check the fuel line rubber grommet on the firewall.
[ ] Check v-belt tension and condition. Fan nut -43 ft. lbs. - 12MM×1.5. if it is loose adjust it. If it is
defective replace it. Do not over tighten or it will ruin the generator or alternator.
[ ] inspect rear tail light bulbs.
[ ] Change the spark plugs. Use NGK B6HS or NGK B5HS. sells Bosch W8AC. .027 gap.
[ ] With the engine completely cold, check the valve clearances’ .006 IN gap
[ ] Warm it up. Change the oil, oil filter if equipped, and the oil strainer.
[ ] Bleed the brakes once a year.
[ ] check oil bath air cleaner level or clean and refill if it needs it. Fill to just below the baffle ledge.
[ ] check the intake manifold boots for cracks and the clamps for looseness.
[ ] Check all vac port plugs on manifold & on carb.
[ ] Check for air-in leakage or manifold leaks.
[ ] Inspect the timing. 7.5btdc vac hose plugged at 850 + or – 50 rpm with an SVDA distributor.
[ ] adjust the carburetor.
Test drive for 5 miles to warm it up. Re-check the timing. Make sure the choke flap is straight up.
Read instructions and follow. Then when you get to the part where you turn the little screw,
adjust for best idle.

I have been servicing and occasionally repairing my aircooled VW Beetle since, February 1991.
I started with a 1971 Beetle in February 1991 and in October 1994 I got a 1973 Beetle.
[ ] Try to use 91 octane non ethanol gas and use blue marine Stabil with ethanol neutralizer.

or at least try to use 89 octane U.S.A. pump gas
It is preferred not to use any additional fuel additives in hot weather since, they raise engine operating temperature.
Nearly everyone else says to use 87 octane U.S.A. pump gas since, on the gas filler door it say 91 RON which cross references to 87 octane U.S.A. pump gas.
My engine runs smoother on the 91 octane US gas.
[ ] Oil. This aircooled engine has flat tappets and does not have roller lifers. It needs an oil with a high level of zinc (ZDDP) to prevent pre-mature damage to the cam shaft.
Most motor oils on the shelf at auto parts stores do not have enough zddp.
It was reduced to be less harmful to catalytic concvertors.
An oil that still has a suitable amount of zddp at the time of this writing is Valvoline Racing VR1.
I use:
At temperatures below 85 degrees F Valvoline Racing VR1 10W 30.

At temperatures above 85 degrees F Valvoline Racing VR1 20W 50.
O Reilly Auto has it or can order it for you or you can get it online at or eBay. has it but, their price went up.

This costs just a little more but, it is easier to pay just a few more dollars than it is to replace the engine.

User avatar
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:52 pm
Location: Versailles, Ky 40383

Re: Aircooled VW Beetle Maintenance List– Howard Rose Check List

Post by KyDale » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:53 pm

Thx for great updated service chart.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

Post Reply