Piston Slap: The Waffle Iron and the Vee-Dub

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator Windswords writes:

Sajeev, My oldest son has been bitten by automotive wanderlust. He is about to go off to college this fall and has decided that his grandfathers’ hand-me-down 4 cylinder 2000 Accord with only 30,000-ish miles is just not cool enough. Also, it needs new tires and a battery.

So he has cast his wondering eyes on a 5-speed 2000 VW Golf GLS 2.0L hatch listed in AutoTrader. It looks like a nice enough car but then I start thinking about VW’s reputation for reliability vs Honda, not to mention the size of the potential repair bills and I start to do what any normal parent would do—worry. Should I be worried? If the B&B here can’t convince him to stay with Honda is there anything I should have him be on the look out for trouble-wise on the Golf?

Per AutoTrader Ad, here are some noteworthy facts on the Golf:

Mileage is 82,413. One owner car modified with cold air intake, honeycomb grill, fog lights, clear side-marker lenses, stubby antenna, Neuspeed exhaust, Neuspeed short shifter, RS 17″ alloy wheels, Euro headlight switch, brushed aluminum interior trim kit, Tokico sport shocks, drilled Brembo rotors, Audi TT foot pedals and foot rest, painted brake calipers and vinyl decals.

The oil changes were done every 5000 miles, tires were rotated/aligned/balanced last year, battery was replaced last month and car is current with NJ inspection (thru 09/2011). Vehicle is clean inside and out, given its age, with minor wear and tear on the interior and light scratching on the exterior. One of the fog lights was hit with a stone and cracked, but still functions normally. The lid to the armrest/storage compartment is broken, but sits in place.

One of the arms on the glove compartment broke, so it falls down on one side when opened. The interior has some staining along the door edges and light wear in heavily used areas, but nothing severe. This car has treated me well for almost 10 years and never needed serious repairs. It runs just as well today as when I drove it off the lot (better, actually, with the addition of some of those aftermarket parts). It has never failed inspection, has practically no rust, gets around 25 MPG and starts on the first try no matter the conditions. CAR SOLD AS-IS.

Sajeev replies:

When I was a little kid, my mother told me to NOT touch the waffle iron while making waffles. She was clear, but I was unbelievably hungry. And that thing was chrome plated and had an amber light on top: it was begging to be touched, dammit!

And touching that waffle iron hurt like hell. I might have cried because it temporarily crippled me: it was a pain I’d never felt before. Which leads to my question: will you kiss the owie like Moms do, or is he flying solo when selling a chronically reliable, cheap-to-fix Honda for a somewhat-drastically tweaked VW that wasn’t exactly a pillar of strength and value when it was new and unmodified?

Best of luck with that answer.

[Send your technical queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Rainless Rainless on Jun 19, 2009

    I'm no American, so the perception is probably different, but to me a 2000 Golf is pretty much the German equivalent of that 2000 Accord. It doesn't get any more dreary than that.

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jun 19, 2009
    rainless : I’m no American, so the perception is probably different, Very different, I'd say! We should put that disclaimer: the comments posted on this episode of Piston Slap only have relevance to those that live in the US (and Canada?). Or maybe any country far from Europe where VW has a more limited presence.
  • Lorenzo The unspoken killer is that batteries can't be repaired after a fender-bender and the cars are totaled by insurance companies. Very quickly, insurance premiums will be bigger than the the monthly payment, killing all sales. People will be snapping up all the clunkers Tim Healey can find.
  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.
  • RHD Welcome to TTAH/K, also known as TTAUC (The truth about used cars). There is a hell of a lot of interesting auto news that does not make it to this website.
  • Jkross22 EV makers are hosed. How much bigger is the EV market right now than it already is? Tesla is holding all the cards... existing customer base, no dealers to contend with, largest EV fleet and the only one with a reliable (although more crowded) charging network when you're on the road. They're also the most agile with pricing. I have no idea what BMW, Audi, H/K and Merc are thinking and their sales reflect that. Tesla isn't for me, but I see the appeal. They are the EV for people who really just want a Tesla, which is most EV customers. Rivian and Polestar and Lucid are all in trouble. They'll likely have to be acquired to survive. They probably know it too.
  • Lorenzo The Renaissance Center was spearheaded by Henry Ford II to revitalize the Detroit waterfront. The round towers were a huge mistake, with inefficient floorplans. The space is largely unusable, and rental agents were having trouble renting it out.GM didn't know that, or do research, when they bought it. They just wanted to steal thunder from Ford by making it their new headquarters. Since they now own it, GM will need to tear down the "silver silos" as un-rentable, and take a financial bath.Somewhere, the ghost of Alfred P. Sloan is weeping.