Wtf vw?


The VW case is notable for the sheer hubris of the company, and its giant middle finger to its North American dealer network and, in some ways, the entire NA market. That, and the environmental aspect of the dieselgate thing, which is pretty significant. It’s all quite strange in some ways. VW isn’t exactly going gangbusters in the USA; their product line is problematic, with some great niche products (GIT, R) shining amidst a lineup of cars that are often hard sells to people who aren’t VW fans already, with trim and option levels that often leave you scratching your head, and with cost-cutting even on their top end models that feels petty and even vindictive. You can get a Fiesta with more convenience and comfort features than a VW costing half again as much, for instance, while selling someone a Jetta or a non-GTI Golf in a land of excellent Japanese, Korean, and American offerings in these niches is generally not an easy job.

All of which makes VW’s pissing in the pool even more perplexing. They just keep making their job harder.


My old 2002 Jetta refuses to die though… it’s a damn fine car.


Is that unusual though? Serious question, I guess.

I’ve driven a bunch of cars in my life, and there was a time in the 1970s and 1980s where the quality of many/most consumer vehicles was pretty shitty. Those cars would limp to about 8 years of age and then just croak before they hit double-digits in age. But 21st century cars seem to last a great deal longer, assuming regular care is provided to them… or at least that’s my impression.

Now it might just be my position in middle age, but I find myself replacing a car because the exterior is dated or dinged up, or the electronics aren’t quite as functional as the new models, or simply because the fuel efficiency of the new cars are so much better than my current vehicle. I don’t think I’ve bought a new car this century because I thought my 10 or 15-year-old car was unreliable.


Indeed; we’re actually living in what I’d call the golden age of automobiles. They’re safe, nearly universally reliable, durable, perform well, are (relative to their performance) economical, much more eco-friendly than in the past, and what you can get for a modest price is lightyears beyond what you could have gotten for the same relative price twenty or thirty years ago. You used to see dead cars all over the highways–I remember Vegas and Chevettes rusting on the byways by the bunches, along with Pintos and Gremlins and goodness knows what else.


The thing is though, the entire cost of maintenance on the Jetta, in the past 15 years, has been that I replaced the fan assembly two years ago for a few hundred bucks. And that’s it. Nothing else has ever needed work. So that plus oil changes.

The thing basically has no electronics. It’s got a tape deck for god’s sake.

The paint on the outside is disintegrating. Not chipping, but just wearing away from friction with the air at the leading edge of the roof.

The powertrain is still rock solid… and the thing is fun to drive. It was the first and only new car I ever owned.

This past fall, the AC died in it. I think the compressor is bad… But I’m debating whether it’s worth getting it fixed. I’ll probably take it in and have them figure out what the deal is, and then decide. The car can’t really be worth much at this point, and I’d like to have a new car, since every car has electronics that are virtually magical these days.

But part of me is still like, “WTF. You can’t just throw a car away. IT’S A CAR. DRIVE IT FOREVER.” And the damn Jetta seems happy to oblige for the time being.


I hear ya on the tape deck thing. I love VWs, especially the Golfs, but then again I first owned one in 1979, and I like small cars. But VW is atrocious with infotainment systems. Even their new MIB II setups are a generation behind stuff like Ford’s Sync3 or anything Mazda makes. Hell, even Honda’s lackluster infotainment stuff is better.


Meanwhile, VW is nearing a deal with US officials to offer to buy back 500,00 diesel cars in the US.



That’s…a lot of cars. Which I’m sure they’ll resell in Nigeria or something. Ok, probably not, but really, what WILL they do with them? Junk 'em all? Ouch.


As the owner of a 2010 Jetta diesel, I’m gonna take this buyback and money and run. It’s been a fun car, but it’s had numerous maintenance issues over the years - primarily related to the exhaust system - which has led to some highway strandings in rush hour traffic and a lot of repair money. Now the AC’s gone out, the stereo has gone out (a bad batch on this particular model that seems to go out for everyone, yet VW refuses to admit there’s a problem).

Totally unrelated to the scandal last year, I was attempting to buy a new car when the news broke. After that, I couldn’t get a dealer to offer me anything at all for a trade-in. One dealer offered me $200 - for a car which had a KBB price of $7-10K.

We’ve had 3 VW’s in the family over the past couple years, but they won’t get another dime from us again. They’ve really tarnished their reputation for quality and trustworthiness in my eyes.


I would certainly hope that part of the buy-back deal has the US forcing the destruction or re-engineering of the cars, rather than just irresponsibility allowing VW to push the problem to another country.


I have a 2009 diesel Jetta. I bought it for the mileage. I wanted a car that was an efficient daily driver. I got that, for the most part. What I ended up not liking about the car was the expensive oil changes (the car uses some kind of weird oil that pretty much no one but a VW/Audi dealer stocks) and extremely expensive automatic transmission maintenances to the tune of like $600 every 40K miles. I also had some kind of fuel system blow out that cratered my car, but VW ended up paying for it even though the car was outside of the warranty…I think this was to try and avoid a recall. There is also a crazy fucking expensive timing belt replacement recommended at 100K miles that costs about two grand. I did not go with that and am at 120K miles.

I will definitely jump on the buy back as soon as I can.


Car manufacturers don’t make oil, so don’t ever think the only place you can get it is the dealer. Check your manual and investigate who is making oils that meet the listed spec.

Seems the 2009 Jetta specifies a 507.000 rated oil. You’re right that it certainly ain’t cheap and back in 2009 there may well have been limited suppliers, but there are lots now. If you are/were paying USD$100/L (which the Mobil 1 507.000 oil goes for) or more, you certainly have plenty of other options today. For example, the Castrol Edge Diesel DPF goes for AUD$16/L over here.

Edit - actually that list was last updated in 2010, so there were plenty of brands around. Prices may have changed though.


I have a 2011 Jetta Sportwagen Diesel, with a manual transmission and it has been absolutely golden thus far. But if VW shows up with their chequebook offering to buy back a car with 100,000 on the clock I’ll grab that offer fast enough to break their wrist.


The quest for ever lower co2 emissions in Europe has led to fiendishly complex engine and exhaust systems in all diesel and the majority of petrol cars.

Repair costs out of warranty for even minor things are staggering. That, and the introduction of PCP (leasing with the option to purchase/refinance, or hand the car back for a lease with a new car) has led to more and more people simply buying new cars for the 3-5 years they stay in warranty and handing them back.

VAG diesels in particular have been notorious for poor reliability, ever since they moved to common rail away from their pumpe düse diesels starting in the mid 00s.


Maybe the USA wasn’t so backwards after all in not embracing diesels.

I do remember the diesel Chevette. Zero to 60 in over 20 seconds, I kid you not. Well, at least that’s what I remember from Car and Driver back then.

EDIT: Yep. Found this article here.


My first car was a regular gas Chevette. Driving down a really hilly road (The Taconic Parkway in NY) I had to gun it and get going as fast as I could on the downhill to make it to the top of the next hill and still be going over 20mph. Hated that car, thanks Dad.


For reference, if you need to change your oil before selling it, a VW diesel doesn’t take some kind of magic oil. It just takes standard CG-4 rated oil.

I think maybe the dealer is giving you a line to get you to pay their stupid prices for an oil change.

edit: Here’s a bunch of info on it:


I liked my 1999 VW Jetta. Black, lowering kit, lots of compliments. I also hated it. Towards the end everything, and I mean everything, went wrong with the electrical. Mechanically it was ok though.

We had a Chevette, it was beyond awful. My dad replaced it with a Chevy Sprint, which was a re-badged Suzuki and actually made in Japan. It lasted us 20 years after which we still got inquiries about it and offers of $2,000 or so.


We had a pair of Chevy Sprints growing up. They were the definition of ‘econo-box,’ but I can’t remember anything ever going wrong with either of them.


I had the same experience with my 1998 Jetta VR6. I absolutely loved the car – it was fun to drive, turned heads, and utterly reliable for about 3.5 years (except for the fucking electric window/door switches, which literally failed every 12-18 months). At about 3.5 years, the whole thing started to fall apart. The AC died (first the compressor, then the control unit). The CV joint literally fell off the car (while I was driving). The axle looks like it would need to be replaced. The alternator went out.

When I traded it in, I was thrilled to get anything. Much as I loved driving that Jetta, I’ll never buy another VW product again.