2000 Volkswagen GTI GLS VR6 from North America
A high-cost, high-frequency repair ride
Window Regulator: The window fell off its track and down into the door three times when I was attempting to roll it down. I have had the regulator replaced -- once paid, and although Volkswagen has now issued an extended warranty for the part valid through the next 7 years, I was not reimbursed for my expense.
Mass Air Flow Sensor: The mass air flow sensor went bad before my warranty expired. I researched the symptoms of my car's performance, took the car into the dealer and clearly explained both the symptoms and the part that I believed it was (which turned out later to be correct). Their response was that because no "check engine" light had come on, there was nothing wrong with the car. I took it back again and had the same response. Soon after my warranty expired at 20,000 miles, the warning light came on and Volkswagen wanted to charge me nearly $400 to fix the problem. They did not tell me I had an extended warranty -- though I had never received the information card from them in the first place! I left the dealer and went to my trusted personal mechanic who had fixed my Toyota for years. He charged me $300 to fix the problem. Volkswagen America has now launched a massive reimbursement campaign for this problem.
Throttle Body: At 55,000 miles, my throttle body went bad -- to the tune of $415 for the part alone. My personal mechanic (because I refuse to deal with the dealership anymore given that they "accidentally" canceled my paid-in-full warranty and would not reinstate it) cleaned the part so that I could keep driving without fixing it. He spoke to Volkswagen, who said that they have many of those in stock because they go bad so often.
Rotors / Brakes: I am now at 74,000 and the rotors and brakes have gone bad. I've already replaced the brakes once, but this time, the rotors are destroyed as well.
Stereo: Also at 74,000, the stereo (Monsoon in-dash CD player) popped and stopped working, complete with black marks across the front. I called Volkswagen and they said it sounded like a fuse... which in German engineering terms means that the whole stereo needs replacing. Again, since this happens so often, they said it wouldn't be a problem to purchase a "re-manufactured" (i.e., repaired) stereo through the dealer for only $205. The new and not-yet-broken stereo would be $380. They come with the same one-year warranty.
I will never, never, never buy another Volkswagen. I have spoken to the dealer to emphasize my displeasure, and they told me to call Volkswagen America because they didn't have the ability to discount the repair. Volkswagen America told me to call the dealer because they are "authorized" to discount repairs up to 50%, and Volkswagen America does not issue free or discount repairs from the corporate office.
Basically, I have had a terrible experience with the dealer, with corporate Customer Service, and with the car. It's fun to drive, when I'm not paranoid about the next thing that's going to break on it, but the stress has been terrible.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th January, 2004
You are not alone with your problems. I, too own a VW lemon. Check out TIME magazine's Dec. 8, 2003 edition. Someone has finally blown the lid off of VW and their poor quality as of late.
Agreed--my 2001 VW is currently undergoing the "throttle body" issue that I am just finding out is common among VWs from my time period. I also sprung $900 two months ago to replace the exhaust system, which had "rusted out." Interesting, since I was in for my 60,000 mile service only two weeks prior, and was not told that there was any corrosion damage. Never buy a VW!