1999 Volkswagen Beetle Questions

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I am having issues with my 1999 VW Beetle. Check engine light has been coming on and now it flashes, with poor engine performance accompanying it. I want to know if there is an alternative method for obtaining diagnos...
stopped and turn car of for about 10 mins. Tried to start and nothing. Won't crank, won't jump start, lights work, horn works, but windows are down and won't go up, radio won't work and keyless entry won't work eithe...
had some work done on transmission and now none of the gauges work.
My 99 has ~207,000 miles. I bought her in 2010 for $2500. Seems to run fine after I boost her off. Can't live without AC in Memphis, though. And WHY is my expensive battery losing charge with a new alternator? ...
I've changed both bulbs and the fuse. I have blinkers, and regular lights, just no brake lights.
It does fine to run in all forward gears. It just no longer goes in reverse
Can anybody help solve this VW Beetle problems, without bankruptcy! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD9RVX4QSRjLTk03NgiNmm8j_q43Ha0tC
have replaced plug wires coil pack, maf sensor. cat is not plugged. now I have po301 cyc #1 misfire new air filter all vac hoses seem to b good have not checked egr valve
I have changed blinker switch,flasher switch and checked all fuse and light switch gotta be relay
Went to start it and it back fired through the engine... Now it won't stay idling. And No brakes.
Is it synthetic or conventional...Is synthetic really a plus to the engine, or just a costly oil change? Car has about 60,000 miles on it