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Old 01-24-2015, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Friends do not let friends buy Volkswagons

I seem to have a pretty good track record at starting arguments, even though I have never wanted one. I bring up Volkswagons because a coworker says that he needs to sell his motorcycle to purchase a VW and I told him that I have read numerous times that they just are not that reliable, including the mechanic that inspected a Civic that I considered purchasing--he said that Hondas were reliable, but he was always repairing his Jetta.

Coworker said that one mechanic will tell you one thing while another says something quite different. True. Will any mechanic say that Japanese cars are unreliable? I know that many people say derogatory things and that we need to purchase "American!" I have seen "Friends do not let friends buy VWs" on here five times. I know that we have some diehard VW fans, as well as Ford, and Chrysler, and plenty of people say that each of those is unreliable.

I have seen arguments rage regarding Prius versus TDI, while Prii are argued to be fun to drive, I do not see how they could compare with a turbodiesel. I have said that my understanding is that a Volkswagon dealer would tell you that you need a new turbo when you have a carbon buildup that some hard driving could burn off, while a Toyota dealer would tell you "Your car is ready, we changed the oil, topped off the fluids, checked everything else, and you are good to go! We will see you in another three months!"

Can we discuss VW reliability? Feel free to flame, just send me private messages!

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Old 01-24-2015, 05:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off, I have 3 Toyotas (99 Avalon, 92 Camry, 05 Camry). My experience with Toyota dealers and MOST Toyota mechanics is that they say "Hi, now bend over and spread your cheeks!" THAT has been my experience with Toyo dealers. I have a friend who has driven Toyo's since 1985, and that also has been his experience on more than one occasion. In fairness, I have had the same experience at Ford and Chevrolet dealers. But I have also had a good experience at a Ford and a Chevrolet dealer. I think that it depends on how slimy the mech is that you get. I have no VW experience.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had an 85 fox that would not die for the longest time!

Mind you it was pre - abused before i got it. No muffler, no interior, not even window cranks (wood shims to hold the glass), brakes that required multiple pumps to stop (often with help from the e-brake), a hole in the radiator! No clutch (really wasted, had to power shift up and down)
But that motor was strong! It loved the abuse, I swear! I drove it like that almost a year, never put a dime into it (lots of water, though). great car

Can't speak for any other VW'S, but that car was one of the most fun I've ever had. Just a cheap beater that went from a to b (with a stop for a drink every 20 minutes or so! - radiator hole!)

just like I'm laughing right now thinking about that car,it was a real jalopy! You all must think I'm crazier now!

I was16. It was fun. No regrets.


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Old 01-24-2015, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Subaru is a Japanese company that has problems with head gaskets on all of their 2.5L engines. It's just a known problem that an owner must be willing to address during ownership, and I have no idea why the flaw has remained for 20 years. My friend had a 1999 Outback and went through 3 head gaskets before essentially giving the car away. He then purchased a 2006 Outback and had his first head gasket begin to leak both oil and water.

That same friend has owned 2 VW Jetta diesels (not turbo) and went through 3 engines. He no longer drives them, and sticks to the Subaru knowing he will have to play the head gasket game. I never had a head gasket issue (never had anything break or wear out) with my 1996 Subaru Legacy in 245,000 miles, but it had the 2.2L engine. I just did oil changes, brake pads, spark plugs and wires once, and kick the dust out of the air filter.

Another friend has a 2002 VW Golf 2.0L with 135,000 miles. He is over about every other month to fix something or other. His current problem is a misfire in 3 cylinders, likely caused by a failed engine coolant temperature sensor. The sensor is registering the temperature as -40 F when I connect with the Torque app. About a year ago his alternator went out, and they are more expensive than Japanese or domestic alternators. A few months before that, it had a bad shake caused by worn axles. The DRL burn out all the time too. My opinion is the suspension is due for damper replacement too.

This is all unacceptable in my opinion. I thrashed my Subaru through the forest, climbed steep hills at speed smashing boulders, and never slowed down for potholes and caught air several times. The suspension was fine even at 240,000 miles and nothing ever broke. I never replaced brake fluid, power steering fluid, or engine coolant.

My experience is VW has many little parts failures that just aren't normal on other makes. To add insult to injury, they require specialized tools, like a hollowed out hex wrench, to remove normal items in the engine bay. You must remove the intake manifold to get to the spark plugs. Poor engineering from a maintenance perspective.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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When I drove a school bus, I spent a great deal of time on the road, and I noticed many VWs with a burned-out headlight, perhaps some had both out, I just could not tell. When I met Volkswagon owners I asked about that and they said they had problems with their windows and others that I forget. Dad had a Volkswagon.


It caught on fire.

As I recall, Mom bought the car before she married Dad, and before she had a license, so she needed someone else to drive it. Three or four kids later, it would not start, and a mechanic used pliers to force the ignition.

On his way home he noticed a "ram-jet" of sorts; I honestly do not blame the car itself. With the insurance money, he bought his 1989 Ford Escort Pony, which was a good car, lasting 350,000 miles, and I saw it at least once, in a town called Payson, roughly halfway between his old house and mine, with a very faded "I am proud of my Eagle Scout" bumper sticker.

I am that Eagle Scout!

Dad sold me one Focus with a quarter-million miles and another with 200,000. He took good care of his cars and they worked well for him.

Bacon now has a leaking head gasket. I asked the mechanic at the dealership if my ex overheated the engine before replacing the radiator and he told me that I could not blame her for that, there would be other problems had she done that, but they quoted $3,500 for a car that I am pretty sure is worth nineteen hundred.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Chorizo - '00 Honda Civic HX, baby! :D
90 day: 35.35 mpg (US)

Mid-Life Crisis Fighter - '99 Honda Accord LX
90 day: 33.43 mpg (US)

Gramps - '04 Toyota Camry LE
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J.D. Power gives the 2,014 Beetle 3/5 for quality and expected reliability 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Ratings | J.D. Power

4/5 and 3/5 for the CC: 2014 Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport Sedan Ratings, Prices, Trims, Summary | J.D. Power

5/5 and 2/5 for the GTI: 2014 Volkswagen GTI Wolfsburg Edition Hatchback Ratings, Prices, Trims, Summary | J.D. Power

3/5 and 2/5 for the Golf: 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2.5L Hatchback Ratings, Prices, Trims, Summary | J.D. Power

Ad naseum. I looked through a few pages and the highest "Predicted Reliability" was 3/5.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MobilOne View Post
My experience with Toyota dealers and MOST Toyota mechanics is that they say "Hi, now bend over and spread your cheeks!"
Seconded---Took my car in for two recalls, was told after said recalls were done that they needed to replace my serpentine belt and clean my rear brake drums (lolwut) to the tune of $257. I laughed and replaced my serpentine belt myself for $18.

To the matter of VW's, I have had two friends with VW's, and BOTH of them have cost thousands in repairs. When you add to that all the proprietary parts they have (including having to buy a f***ing special wrench to take off a BRAKE CALIPER), it just becomes a hassle. Why would anyone buy a VW? They are unreliable moneypits.

My opinion anyway.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm a big fan of the classic air-cooled VWs and perhaps some of the earliest liquid-cooleds (I do like their diesel engine of the early 80s) although an '80 Rabbit diesel is where the tide began to turn with my opinion of VW. The '80 was decent and I loved that diesel drivetrain, and it was still a pretty simple vehicle. Rust protection was non-existent. See any old Rabbits anymore??? Maybe outside of the Rust Belt but virtually extinct here. In '82 you could order for extra cost opening wing windows. The glass was GLUED on to the hinges. Of course, at some point when you go to open the window the whole damn thing falls onto the road. VW says "Tough isht" to you.

As noted by other posters, they design a lot of fiddly, damn near user unserviceable stuff onto their vehicles- unserviceable because you need special tools and/or you have to disassemble half the vehicle to get to the trouble spot. It doesn't have to be that way. They are just being dicks... on purpose. You are supposed to run to the stealership for every little thing. Of course the stealership is not exempt from having to disassemble half the car to work on it either, and that is reflected in the bill, which makes you wonder if you shouldn't have just scrapped the pile of junk.

VW execs have forgotten that "VW" stands for "people's car".

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Old 01-24-2015, 07:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Meh, I've had reliable skodas, and shonky bmws..

The 170quid polo is pootling along ok at the moment. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

The ability to figure out what is wrong and how to solve it is key-regardless of manufacturer.
also-service and look after the car and it'll look after you.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This thread reminds me of this flow chart...

Last edited by Jooseppi Luna; 01-24-2015 at 10:32 PM..
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