By on February 9, 2016

Volkswagen SCR

Owners of some Volkswagen TDI models are experiencing premature selective catalyst reduction (SCR) failures because of AdBlue heaters that, in some cases, aren’t lasting more than 50,000 miles.

According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, many Volkswagen TDI owners are arriving at dealerships after seeing check engine lights for failing AdBlue (diesel emissions fluid) heaters. Those heaters, explained the source, fail “based more on time than mileage” and cost over $1,000 to replace.

The cost of the parts and labor is a slap to the face for many TDI owners, as SCR systems in those cars are not scrubbing the required amount of NOx from diesel exhaust even when the AdBlue heaters are operating properly.

The AdBlue heater in question is covered under warranty for up to 36,000 miles or 3 years, whichever comes first. However, many of the failures are happening just outside of that warranty window, at around 50,000 miles or 4 years of ownership.

With the increased focus on Volkswagen’s diesel emissions, many have taken to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s complaints website to explain their issues and voice their displeasure with how Volkswagen is handling the issue.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.54.34 AM

NOX SENSOR MALFUNCTIONED OUT OF RANGE CODE. WAS QUOTED 655 DOLLARS TO REPLACE. NOX SENSORS ARE NOT REQUIRED BY FEDERALLY MANDATED 80K EMISSIONS WARRANTY SO VW WON’T INCLUDE VOLUNTARILY. ONE WEEK AFTER HAVING THIS FIXED, THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT TURNS ON AGAIN WITH CODE P203B, REDACTANT LEVEL RANGE/PERFORMANCE. SPEAKING A FEW TIMES WITH TECHNICIANS AT THE DEALERSHIP, THIS LIKELY MEANS THE REPLACEMENT OF THE AD BLUE HEATER UNIT AND TANK WHICH IS OVER 1000 DOLLARS. AGAIN, NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 2.26.36 PM

THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON 9/10/15. I BROUGHT THE CAR INTO THE DEALERSHIP ON 9/12/15 AND LEARNED THAT THE CAR’S ADBLUE HEATER HAD GONE AND WILL COST JUST OVER $1,000 TO REPLACE. THE ADBLUE HEATER HEATS THE ADBLUE TO REMOVE NO2 FOR EMISSIONS, HOWEVER VOLKSWAGEN IS CLAIMING THAT THIS IS NOT COVERED UNDER THE EMISSIONS WARRANTY. THE ADBLUE SYSTEM HAS NOT OTHER PURPOSE THAN FOR EMISSIONS AND SHOULD BE COVERED UNDER THE FEDERAL WARRANTY, AS THE EMISSIONS WOULD FALL OUTSIDE OF THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS WITHOUT THIS COMPONENT. PROPER EMISSIONS HELP TO KEEP OUR ENTIRE POPULATION SAFE AND HEALTHY FROM THE HARMFUL POLLUTANTS GENERATED BY VEHICLES.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 2.29.25 PM

THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON AND I HAD CODES READ. THE CODE WAS P205C AND THIS INDICATES THE EMISSIONS ADBLUE HEATER AND SENSOR HAD A PROBLEM. THE UNIT (HEATER AND SENSOR) IN THE ADBLUE TANK IS A NON SERVICEABLE UNIT AND MUST BE REPLACED. OVER $750.00 TO REPLACE. ALL THE EFFICIENCY OF TDI JUST WENT UP IN SMOKE. HAPPENED AT 4,000 MILES PAST WARRANTY AND DEALER HAD NO HELP EVEN THOUGH A LOT OF TDI’S ARE HAVING IDENTICAL PROBLEMS. SEEMS TO BE A DEFECT IN DESIGN, MANY MANY TDI’S ARE HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM.

An entire ClubTouareg.com forum thread is dedicated to the failures.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 2.35.02 PM

Forum user TouaregRoadie says:

My dealer-maintained, IMMACULATE 2012 TDI Lux just went in for a check engine light and the diagnosis was the AdBlue heater has gone bad. I have 51,000 all-highway miles and was surprised to learn (as are many after reading on these forums) that this part is not covered under the powertrain or emissions warranties.

Interesting to note, this happened within a week of my 50,000 mile service at the dealer. Coincidence?

After calling VWoA they came back with an offer to cover the parts (approximately $1,000 of the $1500 quote after labor and shop fees).

In light of the bad press that VW is having with the EPA currently on it’s other TDI models, I’m wondering how many of our vehicles are experiencing this problem, and how many of us would it take to get VW to fix this via recall?

In many cases, like that experienced by TouaregRoadie, Volkswagen seems willing to pony up for the cost of parts, but only in certain situations.

Our source explained “a good dealership will be able to receive goodwill assistance for loyal customers with under 70,000 miles on their vehicles. But after 70,000 miles or so, there hasn’t been any goodwill help.”

A diesel vehicle owner’s chance of receiving help for an AdBlue issue, or one of the many injector failures resulting from bad diesel fuel, is mainly dependant on a dealer’s relationship with Volkswagen, and less on the customer’s loyalty to the brand, said our source.

Since 2012, the model year which has seen the most AdBlue failures to date, Volkswagen has redesigned the AdBlue heater and replacements shouldn’t run into the same issue in another 50,000 miles.

That’s not much comfort for the many thousands of Volkswagen TDI customers. Shelling out $1,000 or more to keep a vehicle compliant with emissions law is one thing. Doing the same and still not being compliant is something else entirely.

As of today, we have stopped reaching out to Volkswagen Group of America for comment.

In the months since the diesel emissions scandal broke, we’ve given VWGoA every possible chance to offer its side with regards to numerous stories. Recently, those requests for comment have gone completely unanswered. As such, we will no longer be reaching out to VWGoA for comment.

Volkswagen knows how and where we can be reached, and they’re welcome to contact us at any time.

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170 Comments on “Volkswagen TDI Owners Being Stuck with $1,000+ AdBlue Heater Repairs, Still Not EPA Compliant...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    I thought the EPA required an 8/80 warranty on emissions-related hardware. How are they getting away with only covering this under the 3/36 bumper-to-bumper?

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Well, it looks like the heater is located next to the bumper…

      I got nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      the “emissions-related hardware” has been pretty narrowly interpreted to only mean certain directly related physical components, and things like controllers or heaters, while required for emissions compliant operation, they’ve gotten away with forcing customers to pay for failures themselves.

      This unfortunately seems to be the norm.

    • 0 avatar

      I know how you feel. My 2012 Tdi cracked a dpf at 73k and VW paid half. There is a tsb for this. 2400 dollars total. Eight hours labor 1200 dollars net to me. Yea. The system lasts 70 k. Are you kidding ? VW would not do anything more. i don’t see another VW or Audi product in my driveway. That Tdi was flawlessly maintained and the 70 k was all highway.
      Bastards !

      • 0 avatar
        marcheld

        I was thinking the same thing. The DPF can cost up to 3,000 to replace, and a lot are blowing up at 120,000 miles.

        If I knew about these expensive components going before the car hits a quarter million miles, I would have never purchased a diesel.

        Fortunately for me, I have a 1st Gen EA189 in a JSW (no AdBlue) and the latest news is VW will be buying my car back. Next one will be gasoline powered.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      It’s never made any real financial sense to buy a diesel in the US given the extra cost of the motors without any real savings on fuel costs, let alone one made by a manufacturer with an awful reputation for reliability.
      Drove me crazy to see people claim that diesels were somehow a better solution for fuel efficiency than hybrids, but I guess people just have to learn first hand why those TDIs were a bad idea.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        @tekdemon: It’s never made any real financial sense to buy a diesel in the US given the extra cost of the motors without any real savings on fuel costs, let alone one made by a manufacturer with an awful reputation for reliability.

        You’re not kidding.

        When my wife bought her Passat a few years ago, this is precisely why we opted for the bulletproof 5-cylinder instead of the TDI.

        With the TDI (back then) you got the privilege of adding DEF periodically as well as timing belt changes in exchange for a 700-mile driving range. And now this!

        With the 5-cylinder, our driving range is in the mid 500’s – so we figured that was good enough (that, and running on the cheaper 89-octane gasoline).

    • 0 avatar
      Bill

      VW won’t cover it since it is not an emissions component, and the extended warranty company I used to work for wouldn’t have covered this part since it is an emissions component. Sad the definition of what it is depends on who is or isn’t paying for it.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    No automaker (and its dealers) that I’ve had experience with knows how to p!ss off their “valued customers” models than V-Dub.

    It’s really something to behold & contemplate.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      What does a sadist do to a masochist?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They’re like that awful old teacher everyone had at least once between K-12. Doesn’t give a crap, won’t help, and blames you when any problems arise. Which reminds me of a related personal story for today’s story time.

      My worst teacher was the first grade one – a woman who I can look back upon and estimate was probably 70+ when she taught me. Near Christmas time, some kids were wondering why the other rooms had a Christmas tree, and we didn’t have one. She announced the answer to the class as she stood at the front. “Well, we can’t HAVE a Christmas tree, because TIMMY is Jewish.” *points a finger*

      This literally happened. In 1992. I’ve never forgot it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        TIMMAH.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        We could not sing Christmas songs in my Kindergarten class because of Jehovah Witness twins. Good thing they turned out to be very attractive or I would still be mad about it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          My mom had a JH kiddie in one of her classes a few years ago. His mom’s instructions were to send him into the hall during any celebrations. So he had to sit out there alone the whole time and color or read.

          I substitute taught that class he was in (2nd grade kids) and his mom was also a sub that day for a different class. He was genuinely well-behaved and quiet. She came in and said “Well I wanted to make sure he was behaving.” I said “Yes he’s been very good.”

          And in front of him – she goes “Well, he’s a liar so don’t believe anything he tells you.”

          My instinct was to yell at her WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WOMAN!? But I resisted and said nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure what the law is in this upside down litigious society but in a more perfect world I would want the teacher to celebrate both Timmy’s faith along with anyone else’s, instead of him feeling different. Kids knowing a little about Chanukah isn’t going to kill them.

            Again I don’t know the law, but I don’t see a Christmas tree -without any religious decorations- as a threat to anyone’s faith. Call it a “holiday tree” I don’t care, if we want to have some “holiday candles” along with it I’m game.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Serious question – did the “holiday tree” and whatnot exist yet in 1992? Not that a 70 year-old woman would’ve been aware. I’m glad my class didn’t have any racial minorities, she’d have treated them poorly.

            I have no doubt that in today’s society if someone had reported her singling out of a student’s religion she would have been suspended or canned.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Seems to have come out after MY00:

            “One of the most prominent Christmas tree controversies came in 2005, when the city of Boston labeled their official decorated tree as a holiday tree, and the subsequent response from the Nova Scotian tree farmer who donated the tree was that he would rather have put the tree in a wood chipper than have it named a “holiday” tree.[6]”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_controversy

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Very interesting. And bravo to the NS resident for keeping it real.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I wonder how down with this “holiday” stuff are hispanics. They’re the ones who’ll matter most in 30 years.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They aren’t pulling the strings on this PC crap and despite a majority, they never well.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Well, I won’t be around to see but I think you could be wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’d tend to agree with 28 and say we’re headed for a ruling racial minority, like other nations which become second and third world. Concentration of wealth is happening rapidly. Wealthy liberal whites dictate this PC stuff.

            Speaking of which, Subaru needs to plan a luxury brand pronto! ;)

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            But elite whites don’t breed much. And someone’s got to staff the military which means professional development in IT and medicine as well as weapons & tactics. Hispanics gonna have mucho leverage by 2050.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s okay, you need fewer and fewer as time goes on and concentration increases.

            Like South Africa. Or Panama.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Well, now I’m gonna have to live another 50 years so I can find you at Misa de Medianoche Obligatoria and say “Te lo dije!”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh claro. Ole!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If Hispanic folks want to come in and behead the true criminals at the top of the pyramid I say viva la revolución! but… notgonnahappen.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I wonder what Grango would say…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Friend’s:

            Often in My Country between the couple of years of 1930 through 1991-or-so-forth, there was just only a few people at the “top of the food chains,” (and they had guns, too, so Top Guns? ha ha) maintaining the Ivory Tower of Power where they chose to live. Always in Capital of course.

            Eventually the burgeroise have all of the power of the money and of a National Army, and it is not always a good consolation for the non-burgeroise prolific common attendees and citizen’s. Deep down, those people below the belt of wealth and fortune feel such a resentment. It gathers, growing like interest of US Treasuries Bonds (slow and steady, you see – ha ha !)

            Until, it’s time to pay the dividend. I think you can see now what I mean, I know not everyone is the Student of Goverment Actions like me (nope, just factory labours! :D) but if you can make the regular of example of accessibility – there won’t be handicap of understanding in general.

            The time always comes around.–

            Respecting,

            Grango R.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I hear if you say Grango, Grango, Grango into a mirror at midnight, he shows up in a Yugo and says “Allo Freind”.

            EDIT: Yay! Yes the time always comes around…

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            He’s my greatest hero since Cisco Kid.

            Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo once visited my grammar school in full regalia!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo once visited my grammar school in full regalia!”

            Wow! Didn’t know you were that old.

            They named a State Park after Leo Carrillo in California. One of my most favorite places growing up.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Corey, you have to have developed Grango over quite some time. It’s just so polished and inventive!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Haha, thank you thank you. He’s a character in my head, then I just add way more words than necessary to whatever the subject matter.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I demand Grango have a weekly column.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            OMG yes!

            I’d feed a paywall for that.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            What’s interesting about the “have the teacher talk about Hanukkah” idea is that teachers actually did this in both my kids’ cases. She had them go the front of the class and explain the holiday. And then every time something remotely Jewish came up, they got called on yet again as the class “expert.”

            It ain’t easy when you’re the only Jew in class, and doing a Hanukkah celebration ***just for you*** doesn’t make things any easier. You feel singled out in a way that’s hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it. In my kids’ cases, all those well-meaning teachers did was to make it easy for the bullies at their school – and there are many – to go after them.

            I vote for the holiday tree. Just sayin’…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for chiming in with some real world experience.

    • 0 avatar

      It worked for me. No more VW here …….

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Mark this is some good research but outside of Dieselgate, historically this sort of thing is par for the course on a VAG product.

    I think the great irony here is the VAG products which did have the DEF fluid equipment are suspect yet the “clean diesel” products which did not would not have suffered this malady.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    The potential for freezing DEF is an issue that has always made me worry about modern deisels. I dont have links but I’ve heard of modern Passat TDIs going into limp mode in the middle of the Canadiam prairie in the winter due to the fluid freezing. Thats scary.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      From the Wiki:

      “Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is an aqueous urea solution made with 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionized water.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_exhaust_fluid

      So yeah, that will probably freeze. If it does freeze, this is the sort of thing which is supposed to be ironed out in QA; or just not done in the first place.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    VW always has the antidote for whatever’s left of their owner loyalty, don’t they?

    As for their no-comment policy, I guess they have the antidote to any residual press sympathy, too.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Up to the introduction of the EA288, the only VWs with AdBlue were the 2012-present Passat and 2011-present Touareg, so those are going to be the sole model of focus here. I sure hope they didn’t use a defective heater on my Golf SportWagen. VW really seems like it’s gunning for that lowest-customer-satisfaction-of-the-year award…

  • avatar
    readallover

    VW reminds me of my ex-wife: It has that innate ability to take any bad situation and make it worse.

  • avatar
    jmo

    This goes to bad crisis management. In any corporate crisis many unrelated issues that never would have been covered in the media suddenly become big stories. If they had just paid up and covered the repair this story wouldn’t have gotten nearly the same traction.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I’m pretty sure they’re DIYing their crisis management at VW.

      In other words, they don’t have anyone doing it because in their minds all of this is no big deal.

      That being said, I’m glad I didn’t buy a 2012 Passat TDI and got a wagon instead… My CEL came on a couple weeks ago for the exhaust flap failure. Cleared the code with the Torque app and it hasn’t reappeared. At least VW extended the flap warranty to 10 years/120K miles.

  • avatar
    Coopdeville

    Cue James Kilpatrick.

    “They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash!”

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Yes, this is pathetic. Yes, VW should just suck it up and replace anything related to the TDI system for free at this point.

    But I’m not sure why people are filing a complaint with the NHTSA. This does not appear to be safety-related in any way, shape, or form. The NHTSA will, quite properly, utterly ignore the complaints.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed on all points.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      They shouldn’t ignore it, they should forward the complaint to the EPA which oversees the emission warranty regulations.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        So the EPA can do what? Parts on a car failing after the emissions warranty expires (even parts that cause it to fail emissions) is not a violation of govt. regulations. Warranties expire. When that happens, it is (legally) the owner’s responsibility to keep the emissions system in compliance.

        I’m not saying that VW is doing the right thing here, or that, say, a class-action lawsuit would be unsuccessful, just that it isn’t a matter for a regulatory agency to fix.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          ” Parts on a car failing after the emissions warranty expires ”

          The warranty is 8 years 80,000 miles these heaters are failing at 40k. The question for the EPA is whether the heater is covered by the Clean Air Act warranty.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Seriously, is there a car more designed to be leased than a VW? Lease it for three years, give it back, and now it’s somebody else’s problem. Owning a VW is like buying a house on mudslide hill. Sooner or later, you’re going to regret it.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?

      Lance: What?

      Kilgore: Ad Blue, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.

      [kneels]

      Kilgore: I love the smell of p*ss in the morning…….

      Lease it and park it in the dealer lot at 49,999 miles, done.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Isn’t that true for all German cars? They seem to all be designed to last for 3 or 4 years, after which everything starts falling apart. I presume this is generally when your employer replace it with another company car over in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      I think that’s true of all the German brands. My advice to prospective owners is either to lease a German car or, if they insist on buying it, get the longest possible bumper-to-bumper warranty and get rid of it before the warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      goldtownpe

      Land Rover?

      • 0 avatar
        IAhawkeye

        Yes, how could they have forgotten the British like to join in on the unreliable fun too. Land Rover, and Jaguar are both plenty unreliable with the best the Germans have. Though VW is way cheaper/higher volume.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I hate to be the advocate of extended warranties…..but this would certainly be the case for one.

    I’m wondering what the actual root cause is; I’m going to bet that VW is going to blame the owners for using “poor quality” DEF.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Repairing these for free would buy VW a little goodwill, but they’re fumbling the ball every time lately.

    A friend whose older Sienna ate the transmission at 70k miles received a new transmission for free from Toyota; his warranty at the time was 3/36. Guess which brand he prefers?

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. BMW replaced working coils at 90k (90 k!!!) because some of them in other cars failed. Likewise, issues with the nav were fixed outside of warranty. Ford fixed intake manifold parts past the 3/36. Acura fixed a transmission on the edge of warranty.

      That DPF failure and failure to pick up the repair 3k out of warranty cost VW – Audi any future sales from me….and I’m the guy they need to sell the A/S 4 or 6 to.

      I have a good friend who bought a TDI based on my experience before it all went to merde…..now I’m afraid his car with this ad-blue system is gonna blow.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Simply…amazing…disastrously amazing.

    So it begs the question, if part of the cheating fix is going to be increased consumption, does that mean even more stress on the system and increased failures?

    Why would anyone buy a VW diesel anything in the United States ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      With what is known now about VW’s fraudulent actions, why would anyone buy a VW product regardless of the type of fuel you put into it.

      These problems keep bubbling up because of VW culture rot, and it’s highly unlikely that this will change anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Take the word “diesel” out of your last sentence and that’s my sentiment.

  • avatar
    ant

    The voodoo magic of a lease still escapes me.

    The lease payment is calculated on how much the car is worth at the end of the lease. So, ah, if no one wants to buy a just off lease VW, then it is worth less than some other brand. Therefore the lease should cost more. At least the way I understand it.

    What do I know right?

    If you lease, it is magic on depreciation, unlike buying. Or something. It’s like totally different, man.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “how much the car is worth at the end of the lease. ”

      That’s up for interpretation. If VW wants to move metal now it can lease based on an optimistic residual. If it sells for less in 3 years, they can take that loss in three years when hopefully the scandal has died down.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      ant,
      You have it right: cars with higher residual values require lower lease payments than cars that lose a lot of their value.

      So car companies with lousy residual values will subsidize leases (i.e., charge the dealer less for the car) to remain competitive. Right now, there are some really cheap leases on new VWs, because they are desperate to retain what market share they can.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      With a new-car loan, the payment is set based on amortizing the entire purchase price of the car over the term of the loan.

      With a lease, the payment is set based on amortizing what the financing company estimates the depreciation will be over the term of the lease. (So, if it’s estimated that a $22k car will be worth $10k in three years, only that $12k is financed.)

      Leasing allows the “captive financing arm” of the automaker to play kick-the-can by being wildly over-optimistic about how much the car will be worth at the end of the lease, so they can move cars for cheap, but not take the loss until several years later.

      (And yes, it’s possible for the bank to be pessimistic on the resale value, in which case the consumer is on the losing end.)

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Another good question, ant,
        Several carmakers (BMW for example) would prefer to give a deal on leasing rather then ownership. They figure that if a consumer sees big cash on the hood – like $6K off list! — that it will tarnish the brand, whereas a $399 lease may be the same discount economically, but because leases are confusing, they are less damaging to the brand.

        The other reason that automakers like leases is that they force the consumer back to the dealership within 3 years to buy/lease another car.

      • 0 avatar
        ant

        So buying a car from a maker that fudges the end lease value means that the car you buy is even more likely to have cost cutting/early part failure than other brands, as they have make up the loss somehow.

        Again, why lease a poorly made car?

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “Again, why lease a poorly made car?”

          Because you really like the car and it will break down after you’ve turned the car back in. Also, every car maker offers subsidized leases from time to time. Toyota is offering one on a Camry right now for example.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          ant,
          If the carmaker is subsidizing the lease, then either they are not making as much profit on the vehicle, or they are finding ways of manufacturing it cheaper. So, yes, they may be cutting corners.

          But you are walking away after 3 years, and you have a warranty until then, so all it costs you is the hassle of dropping the car off at the dealer when there are issues.

          I’m not recommending you lease a lousy car, just laying out the economics behind leasing. If I wanted to recommend leasing lousy cars, I’d be a Dodge sales rep.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “If the carmaker is subsidizing the lease, then either they are not making as much profit on the vehicle”

            Don’t they also offer subsidized leases in order to fill the CPO pipeline?

        • 0 avatar
          meefer

          I would argue that you should ONLY lease a “poorly made” car.

          If you wanted a Camry and planned on keeping it ten years, then by all means buy it.

          But if you didn’t want a refrigerator on wheels (or the box it came in) then leasing should make more sense, not less. What better shield from depreciation/out of warranty repairs than a contract that states exactly how much the vehicle is worth in XX months? You didn’t really want to keep that 911 out of warranty anyways, right?

          I look at it this way – it’s a chance to buy your car of choice AND get a do-over in 2-3 years. You can opt to keep it if you’ve found a diamond in the rough. Or move on to a new car with no hassle if you’ve learned your lesson/enjoy something that might be fun, yet unreliable.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      One advantage to a lease is that your costs are predictable. Stay within the terms of the lease and, when you turn the car in, you are done with it. Because of the current scandal, trade in value of VW products has tanked. If you are an owner, you are screwed. If you leased the car, nothing has changed.

      • 0 avatar
        ant

        Again, the voodoo magic escapes me.

        These dealers are going to be a lot more likely to hit me with weird charges and adjustments/penalties at the end of the lease I suspect.

        How in the world can they predict the value of a car years into the future? Do they credit you if you are under mileage? How are rim scrapes/rock dings/interior stains/smoke smell/tire wear/windshield cracks/paint scratches/blown speakers/ect accounted for at the end of the lease?

        Do ya’ll negotiate this stuff?

        I must be getting old.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “These dealers are going to be a lot more likely to hit me with weird charges and adjustments/penalties at the end of the lease I suspect.”

          There is no incentive for them to do that.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          ” How are rim scrapes/rock dings/interior stains/smoke smell/tire wear/windshield cracks/paint scratches/blown speakers/ect accounted for at the end of the lease?”

          That any scratch, dent or ding that can be covered by something the size of a credit card doesn’t count, is a pretty standard term in most lease contracts.

        • 0 avatar
          galaxygreymx5

          Yes, you negotiate this.

          I think what you’re missing in the lease equation is that the residual value at the end of the lease is an agreed-upon number in the contract of the original lease agreement when you take delivery of the car. It doesn’t have to be a real number (the automaker can inflate it to reduce the cost of the lease) but it’s in writing ahead of time.

          For example, right now, I know that the residual on my car is $15,400 on October 16th, 2017. The automaker’s finance company has agreed to lease me the car for the difference between the selling price of the car (which I negotiated to $2,300 under MSRP plus rebates) and the residual ($15,400), plus interest.

          If the car sells at auction for $5,000 after I’m done with it, it’s of no concern to me; the automaker will eat the loss. If for some reason there’s a massive demand for my car on 10/16/17 and it’s worth more than $15,400 on the open market, my contract says I can still buy it for $15,400, even if it’s worth $20,000. I can then sell it for market price and pocket the cash.

          Excessive damages incur fees. My last lease had $145 worth of damage, for example, from a door scratch and some curb rash. The finance company provides a guide of damage costs several months prior to the end of the lease in order to give the customer time to repair the car and avoid fees.

    • 0 avatar

      Taxes, my friend, taxes. You can write off much more of a lease than a buy. Tax law is written so that the utility company can write off Neons or some other small car. If you are a person, and want to write off a luxury ride, you have to lease it, or go over the 5000 lb GVWR and get that X5, Range Rover,, Escalade, etc.

      Makes no sense, unless you sell luxury cars for a living. This is also the REAL reason so many of the ‘prominent’ folks in your community drive a luxe trux instead of an E class or 7 series.

  • avatar
    countymountie

    In the end, after VW has exhausted all of their goodwill and pissed off what few fans remain, I think they will end up doing an extended warranty like they’ve done for TSI injectors, fuel pumps, and intake manifolds. Those are warrantied up to 10 years and 120k. It sucks that the first ones with the problems get screwed over.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Like with all VW “problems”, this obviously is a case of improper emission system maintenance from LAZY and very likely obese American owners who would rather watch the Kardashians over reading the official VW Service Manual that they should have purchased from BlackForestAPR-TDI.de within the first month of taking delivery.

    These issues do not occur in Europe where VW holds a 92% marketshare. Perhaps these people would be happier with a trailerpark approved Mustang or a pushrod Silverado over an Autobahn-engineered example of the cutting edge.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      You’re like Robbie Ryan with a brain!

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      As a VW owner, this definitely is an actual problem. VW is good at coming up with problems that are mindbogglingly stupid, yet expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > VW is good at coming up with problems that are mindbogglingly stupid, yet expensive.

        I think you meant ‘solutions’ that are mindboggingly stupid, yet expensive.

        In any case – that was SPOT ON!

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Hey Ajla,
      I tried reading my VW manual but I can not read German, I know this is my fault so I will forgive VW. I am surprised VW is not just green lighting the repairs on this , they had been very good green lighting the HPFP ( Fuel Pump) and that fix is way more expensive to fix. I guess when it rains it pours.

  • avatar
    nerdowell

    “Like with all VW “problems”, this obviously is a case of improper emission system maintenance from LAZY and very likely obese American owners who would rather watch the Kardashians over reading the official VW Service Manual”

    Dear VW apologist – Hate Americans much?

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    One wonders if there is any sort of diesel-specific component that doesn’t cost in excess of $1000 to repair/replace? If so, I haven’t found it yet.

    BTW, the crap at the end about not reaching out to VWoA for comment anymore is some seriously chickenshit stuff. Even if they don’t reply you should at least reach out to them, and indicate that fact in your article. Let them have the choice of of whether or not they want to look bad, don’t take that away from them.

    • 0 avatar

      If Volkswagen were to at least reply with a “no comment,” I’d continue to reach out for comment. But, as it stands now, we never know if they are working on a response to just not bothering to reply, so we just won’t ask anymore.

      Like I said, they know how and where to reach us.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        That’s the thing in this article that caught my eye btw. Their pr department isn’t even returning contacts? I’d understand given the current workload if they were ignoring small pop up blogs but TTAC isn’t that.

        Isn’t their job to at least be on smiling terms with you regardless of what you write? So that you continue to reach out for comment and perhaps throw them a heads up once in a while? Maybe I’m wrong here, but from a non pr perspective that seems to be what the job entails. I’d be tempted to make that a story in its own right if I were you.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It would be more appropriate to ask for comment and provide the response or lack thereof. You should keep asking, regardless.

  • avatar
    ant

    and why does it cost over a grand to fix a stupid heater anyway?

    Aquarium heaters cost like forty bucks.

  • avatar
    NickS

    For anyone that is daring and willing to save some dough, I highly recommend DIY. Many VW and Audi owners I know do nearly all the maintenance and servicing past the factory warranty.

    That is classic VW by the way. Ask any VAG owner.

    Pics of the tank/heater or part number? Maybe you can hack any old 12v heater with the same resistance.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    This is all because us dumb Americans won’t pay $32 a gallon for VW branded AdBlue.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Remember all those diesel guys FUDding it up here against hybrids for years with claims about Rube Goldberg complexity leading to guaranteed unreliability while they’d happily burn oil for 200,000 miles or more?

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I say,hypothetically speaking…depending on one’s insurance coverage, and driving record, winter is a GREAT time for an accident. Make sure whatever you hit is not another car…say a really bad ditch, or concrete barrier.
    Then CHA CHING no more VW TDI and on to a better car. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    Another winner from the VW Group. Google “Audi A4 burns oil” for another example of wonderful VW/German engineering.

  • avatar
    haroldingpatrick

    I can’t fathom how the heater is not covered under the emissions warranty. If the heater doesn’t work the emissions controls don’t work right?

    On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised when at 59k miles Ford happily took care of a failing wheel bearing under the powertrain warranty of my wife’s car last year – I was getting my debit card out to pay when they gave me the good news. I don’t consider wheel bearings part of a car’s powertrain, but Ford does. She replaced that car with a Beetle TDI, so we’re hoping this gets resolved soon. Other than having to tighten the bolts on the door hinges (apparently our friends in Puebla forgot to use a German torque wrench during assembly – goodandtight) it has been a good car over 17k and she loves it. It does drink DEF and a full tank is not enough to get from one service to another. That $1000 bucks they gave her will come in handy for genuine VW DEF.

    Cars break and the end of the warranty is a line in the sand for a claim, but this really should be covered under the emissions warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I wonder how CARB will be handling this problem, don’t they mandate some kind of long warranty on emissions controls on examples sold in CA?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      VW’s position is that the *heater* is not an emissions component, since it doesn’t directly affect what comes out of the tailpipe. The fact that it is built into the DEF tank as an integral component is simply an example of superior German engineering.

      If the DEF tank is empty or frozen or playing Candy Crush, the car goes into limp mode until shut down, and won’t restart until the DEF tank is hunky-dory again.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think wheel bearings falling under powertrain warranty is an industry standard thing.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    So, the new improved heater is going to last all of 50,000 miles? And then cost $1000 to replace?

    Tell me again about diesels being an economical alternative. The TCO is lower on a Grand Cherokee SRT.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Soon, gasoline engines will be joining the particulate filter party:

      https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/100142

      • 0 avatar

        From what I understand particulate is only an issue on DI engines. Ford claims they can meet particulate standards by adjusting combustion chambers and intake runners. Others seem to be looking at maximizing standard EFI systems to meet the mileage and keep the particulate low.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So

        “New regulations in the United States and Europe, designed to address climate change concerns by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are causing increased use of gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engines in light-duty vehicles (LDV).”

        yet

        “GDI engines are proven to create more particulate emissions than previously utilized port-injection technology.”

        Maybe it would be best to just tune PFI better?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Once again, VW sticks it to their customers. They cheated on the test, now they are lying about what is and what is not part of the emissions control system.

    How did VW become such a large company?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Maybe they’re actually a small company and they lied about their sales.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Since VW arrogantly says the adblue heater is not part of “emissions”, I say “OK fine”. The Adblue heater is part of the “drivetrian” since its failure disables the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      @John Horner: Once again, VW sticks it to their customers. They cheated on the test, now they are lying about what is and what is not part of the emissions control system.

      How did VW become such a large company?

      You just answered your own question.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I think the Nazis were fond of “the peoples car” as long as slave labor was used, and all the profit went to their VW followers and the Nazi party.
    However, Hitler is always seen in Mercedes Benz vehicles, as they were more stately. I don’t think Mercedes got in on the slave labor. I have never heard so.

    • 0 avatar
      marcheld

      While the beetle was designed and first manufactured under the third reich, they didn’t actually build any until the Brits and Americans took over.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Daimler-Benz used Jewish women from the concentration camps at Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen as worker-slaves. One group of female inmates working at Daimler-Benz was moved back to Sachsenhausen in the final weeks of the war, apparently to be gassed. They survived to tell the tale when the camp’s gas chamber failed to function.

      http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/23/books/books-of-the-times-daimler-benz-and-its-nazi-history.html

      The VW plant devoted virtually all of its production to military vehicles during Hitler’s rule. Not many Beetles were produced under the Nazis.

  • avatar
    redliner

    My father bought a 2009 Jetta TDI brand new. I have no doubt that there will never, ever, ever be another VW in his driveway again. That is truly a loss for VW, because at his age, he still has another 4 or 5 new car purchases left.

    He always liked the GTI, and he is finally at a place in his life where he can afford to buy whatever car he wants within reason. After the TDI saga, the GTI was crossed off the list. He bought a Focus ST, his first domestic car. He loves the ST so much he is contemplating a trade in to an RS once dealers stop ADM-ing them.

  • avatar
    EAF

    From what I gather/read, the temp sensor is located inside the tank and is not serviceable. There are people who solder inline resistors onto the temp sensor harness & fool the ECU; thereby not having to replace the entire tank. The temp sensor triggers the heater at -10 degrees F. So, if you live in a hot climate you ought to ghetto rig it, it is a POS anyway.

    The heater, on the other hand, is a serviceable part. To replace it requires rear bumper removal and then dropping the entire tank. Surprisingly, it looks incredibly easy for the do-it-yourself crowd.

    I also wanted to add that I absolutely hate all VW products and I’m happy to see TTAC finally getting on board. Welcome!!!! Butttttt what took you so long???? :-)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    My view is we are expecting to much from the manufacturers sometimes.

    We only need to go back a couple of decades and have a look at vehicles and the cost of maintenance and repairs.

    70k is quite a good innings from any vehicle component, except maybe any driveline component.

    Would we complain about replacing shock absorders at 70k? Would we blame the conditions of our roads first?

    What about the quality of US diesel fuel. I have made many comments here on TTAC regarding the poorer quality diesel fuel in the US in comparison to many other advanced nations.

    The guys also complaining probably complain that they pay too much for their vehicles and want them to be as cheap as.

    The guys complaining are also the ones who want to consider themselves special and more sensitive towards our environment.

    So, this is what occurs. You want perfectly clean vehicles, at Dollar Store prices.

    Stop whining and research what you are buying. It is you the consumer that must be aware of how and where your money is going or catch a bus.

    As motor vehicles become more complex, probability indicates the cost of ownership will rise.

    Cars nowadays are far more reliable than 15 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > Cars nowadays are far more reliable than 15 years ago.

      They better be, because with the adoption of direct injection, there exists an even bigger elephant in the room besides the more expensive fuel injection components and high pressure fuel pumps: carbon on the intake valves. This elephant may rear its ugly head once these new vehicles reach the higher mileage stratosphere (100,000 and up). And so far, only Toyota/Lexus and Audi have implemented dual injection systems (port and direct) to solve the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – Seriously you’re always topping yourself on the stupid nonsense you post. This has to be purely for reaction, so I won’t go there.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Except you failed to address why people are having to replace these at 30-50K miles. Completely unacceptable.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    $1000 for a small electric heater is bonkers. I have designed and built many heating/vaporizer circuits for small R&D chemical reactor systems. A 250 watt industrial quality cartridge heater can be had for less than $50. A programmable digital temperature controller is $99 from Automation Direct. A good tyke K thermocouple can be had for $25. Assuming that you need an SCR to between the controller and cartridge heater adds another $20. So your talking $200 in parts for an industrial quality system that will last 10 years or longer. I imagine that the control system and heater on the VW tanks are way cheaper than this. My guess is that the unit cost of the VW heater and controls is less than $50, maybe a lot less.
    Anyone out there have more detailed info?

  • avatar
    UberKafer

    We have two of the 3.0L TDirty Cayennes with one bought new and the other bought as a CPO. Both of them had the tank heaters fail at around 35k miles within a few weeks of each other and the dealer replaced both under warranty with a loaner provided while they waited for parts from Der Vaterland. I used to think I was a dope for paying the Porsche tax instead of getting a Touraeg or Q7 but looks like it paid off for once. They really are lovely to drive so I hope the proposed fix of new exhausts and a flash don’t turn them into turds.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    We followed a TDI Jetta on the freeway last night. Although there was no visible smoke, there was a strong diesel exhaust stench, one that made me scan the traffic in front of us for a big truck or even a 3/4-ton or one-ton pickup that might be diesel-powered, but no, just the Jetta.

  • avatar
    janubram

    I own a 2013 Passat TDI and question why anyone would repair or replace any failed or failing part of the emissions equipment. For about $2,000 you can get a full turbo-back exhaust system and ECM tune which would eliminate all future emission problems PLUS increase engine performance by 70+ HP and +150 ft-lbs of torque. All the emission control devices on diesel engines retard engine performance and reduce mechanical efficiency. Just a word of advice to TDI owners, do yourself a favor and do what I did. Buy a DPF, EGR, and AdBlue delete performance kit then have the ECM tuned to bypass any check engine lights, I promise you will love the extra power.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    some people do live in states that check these things. But yeah, I’ll saw the cats off my ecoboost and we can all breathe deep like it’s 1977!


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