First it was just routine maintenance.
Then it was two tires, an alignment, and brakes..... about $1000 out of pocket.
Two tail lights went out, at different times, and neither could be replaced by the owner. They required special tools and devices available only at the VW dealership.
Then it was $1700 to repair the sunroof, which refused to close. They had to order the parts, which took a while. Then they kept the car for several days, removing the roof assembly and installing a new rim.
I drove the car on the highway, and the noise from the air rushing over the roof was loud enough to drown out Mara Liasson on NPR. I was worried about bringing The Schnozz in for a noise complaint; I was prepared to be told that no one else could hear it. Unfortunately for me, the news was even worse. Not only could they hear it, loud and clear as the service rep described it, but they kept hearing it after three test drives.
The technician decided that the rubber gasket around the glass sunroof was creased, probably as the damaged sunroof made its way back and forth on the track. He thinks that replacing the gasket will make the car almost like new.
Almost like new?!??! What happened to fixing it right? The most surprising thing about owning this VW has been the excellent build quality; it had nary a squeak or a squawk or a whistle. Now, if I pay them an additional $247 to replace the gasket, the noise will mostly be gone.
That's just not good enough for me.
I've been driving with a noise under the hood every time I start the car for several months now. They told me it was a fan, it wouldn't bother anything, and if I could live with the noise I did not have to repair it. Now, I wonder if that advice was correct.
Did I mention that the car was in because the battery light flashed on as the noise annoyed me on the highway? That light was not my brand new battery's fault. It was the air conditioning compressor's fan belt which had torn to smithereens when the bearings in the compressor itself wore out. That caused the alternator to refuse to recharge the battery. The belt and the compressor, which had to be ordered, cost me $993.
No one knows - at least according to the service rep - why this happened. It is not an ordinary event. The fact that it happened two weeks after I had the car in for the sunroof repair; the service rep thinks it's an interesting coincidence but I'm beginning to wonder.
My wonder began to change to despair and then outrage when the service rep went on to say that both the timing belt and the water pump will need to be replaced in the next month or two. How he knows the timing on their failures is a mystery to me and to him, as well. He's just reporting what the technician tells him. Should those things fail, the car will stop dead on the side of the road.
If these things wear out on a regular basis, why aren't they in the owner's manual for routine replacement? It seems like a dangerous situation; had I not had these other problems I'd have been stranded when they broke.
The timing belt and the water pump will cost about $1300.
Including the routine oil changes and various fluid fill-ups and minor adjustments recommended by the company, I'm closing in on $6000 in repairs this calendar year alone. The car is worth about $6500, according to Kelly Blue Book.
I'm contacting VW's North American representatives to talk about this. It seems to me that if the sunroof broke they should be able to replace it to its original, non-problematic, status. Mostly gone... almost perfect....they don't work for me, especially after spending $2000 on repairs. If the timing belt and the water pump are going to die within the next 6 weeks, shouldn't they have been on the check me, please list at the 60,000 mile check up? Why do these things arise two or three weeks after my service appointments?
Inquisitive car owners want to know.
I tried to copy this post to VW's contact page, but I was only allowed 999 characters. I sent it to them via email, telling them how I'd love to tell my readers that I was thrilled with their response. As of bedtime last night, I've heard nothing.
Tune in tomorrow for the every exciting adventures of Ashleigh in CarLand.