2004, was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era for me, moving on from my 20+ year career and transitioning to my real passion, the medical field. To celebrate, I bought myself a Tornado Red Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.
In the past, VW has always been my “go to” car when beginning a new milestone. Previously I had bought a brand new red Cabriolet and headed to grad school. VW had always represented starting over and beginning anew, a fresh take on life. It was always me and my brave little car crossing the miles on my way to the next phase in my life.
While the career didn’t go as planned, I began the journey of matrimony, marrying my soulmate and moving across the country. It was there my romance hit the skids. It started with a repeated headlight bulb shorting out and required numerous replacements. No reason was ever given to me by the dealer, just that I needed a new bulb and to add insult I was charged to replace it each time.
The next issue involved the airbag light coming on in the instrument panel. Again, repeated trips to the dealer resulted in non committal responses and the usual run around. No resolutions and this was disturbing considering the car was not even six months old. After numerous code resets, I resigned myself to driving around with the airbag light on.
Next to go, was the return of the check engine light. I would be driving along and the check engine light would light up like a Christmas tree. As a result, the dealership dance began and I was told, “nothing to worry about, scan shows nothing, reset the codes” . But, like a bad penny, the light was on and on. I got to the point where I thought it was normal.
The tipping point occurred when the tiptronic sensor began to malfunction. Once again, it was high ho, high ho, it is off to the dealer I go. Only to hear the patent response. “scan shoes nothing, reset codes next” or as I call it “second verse same as the first, little bit louder, little bit worse”.
What I found most annoying was according to the powers that be, this was not under the warranty. As the tiptronic sensor failed, it was a slippery slope to the transmission. It started innocently enough, one minute, we were driving, top down relaxing with our dog Napoleon and the car began to lurch between first and second gear. Never thinking it could be that serious we shrugged it off.
Fast forward, and the car is bucking more than a rodeo bronco. Numerous inquires to the dealer and VW proved to be migraine inducing. At the end of my rope, I turned to my hero, my Yoda, my High Nerd (HN) (who is also my hubby). The HN who was also an automotive engineer began to use his super powers to get to the root cause of my problem.
End result was not pretty, he uncovered numerous technical bulletins and recalls on every problem I had encountered. Even worse, was that VW had knowingly put the same faulty transmission in 2004, 2005, 2006, etc, you get the point models until the they updated the model.
Still not willing to part with my beloved, I printed up all of the technical bulletins and recall notices and made an appointment with my local dealer. I assured my HN that VW would do the right thing and fix the problems.
For those of you wondering, please e-mail and I will send you the links to the technical bulletins and recall notices for VW.
Well, that visit resulted me in leaving Wonderland once and for all, not only would the dealer do nothing, “It’s not our problem” they would refused to even do a courtesy diagnostic. Fixing the car is cost counter effective and not with the aggravation. Those who buy a VW, exercise caution, as it is akin to having a boyfriend that can’t commit.