45K - (3 days after used car purchase) 1st flat tire. After dropping off my pet at the emergency room (at night, during a snowstorm), came out to a flat tire. My boyfriend tried to change the tire, but there was no tire iron included with the car. We called the 800 number for VW, and they called to dispatch a tow truck to us. The truck that was sent did not have the proper sized tire iron to change my tire, he drove my car (with a flat tire) up his ramp, damaging the rim. Fortunately for me, my boyfriend had an old BMW with the same tire iron to change my tire - otherwise I would have been left stuck at my house with no transportation.
45K - (4 days after buying) 2nd flat tire. We were on our way to ME for a weekend trip. We had gotten the tire iron from the dealership. During a hair-raising trip in the snow, we got a second flat tire. I flipped the switch to turn on the hazard signals - and nothing happened. In addition to immediately shorting the hazards by hitting the hazard switch, it also killed the turn signals. The rest of our trip we could not use our signals.
46KM - (2 weeks after buying) Turbo died. I had no car for 4 days while the dealership repaired. They didn't want to cover it under warranty, but they did.
46KM - (3.5 weeks after buying) 2 startup glow plugs failed (in January 2005, in MA) - it was difficult to get it started, to say the best. They did not want to cover it under warranty - it was my fault they died. I explained to them that I knew how the glow plugs worked and was careful about that. Duh!
49KM - Mass air-flow sensor went. By this point, I gave up working with anyone from VW. My boyfriend took it in for me and had the repairs done - they seemed really cool about it.
56KM - The passenger side window broke. We had to tape the car up - which was a pain to get on, and then back off when it was all done. What was really, really funny was that my neighbor - who also had a Jetta - had the same thing happen the week before. It took several days to get an appointment to fix it. We were parked, side-by-side, both sporting duct tape on the passenger door.
57KM - Broke windshield while changing the windshield wiper (hehehe - can't really blame VW for that one).
59KM - While driving on the highway (like always), a big plastic shield that covers the alternator fell off. Scared me half to death.
65KM - There was a recall on the heaters in the seat. They were getting too hot and it caused some to catch on fire. Some of the recall stories on the web were really funny. I *thought* it was really toasty - I am always cold and didn't need it off the 1 setting! The dealership fixed it with no issues.
67KM (or so) - This one is my favorite. I was driving down the road, and suddenly my radio stopped working. I looked it up online, and to fix it, I had to pull the fuse for 15 seconds and then put it back in. The radio came back on. Does that sound like the Windows OS, or what?
70KM - The check engine light came on again. I had it checked out at the same time the air bag light came on (see below).
72KM (or so) - The air bag light came on. I went back to the dealership, and they did not want to cover it under the warranty. I am not paying another dime to a VW dealership. I just don't want to spend my time with continuous negative experiences dealing with them. Stuff like that gives people ulcers. The light comes on.
77KM - Needed brake pads and rotors. I had the pads done once before after buying. Due to a bad washer in the caliper, I had to have them done twice due to leaky brake fluid (another very unsettling thing).
92KM - Failed inspection... needs glow plugs. The parts cost $21 or so. I am going to buy the book and see if I can get it done reasonably somewhere.
I researched for two weeks before deciding to find and purchase a VW (Note: there were not nearly as many negative posts then, as there are now). I had a Toyota Celica, which I really liked (and it was so much peppier). I had just landed a job with a 110-124 mile round trip commute per day. After plugging in the numbers, I realized it made a lot of sense to buy the TDI. It has the best numbers for gas mileage, and even after the diesel price spike, it was still the most economical for the amount of miles I was driving. I had to buy a used TDI, because for some odd reason MA state law prohibited the purchase of new TDIs. I purchased a used 2002 TDI with 44,915 miles. The dealership I found it at was 45 miles away.
The most disappointing thing about my TDI is the experiences I have had with VW personnel. The first was the sales guy. I told him that I was a single female with a long highway commute. I loved my Toyota, but it was pushing 135K miles, and I was concerned of being stranded on the road. After having the problems, he just defended the car, and was a real jerk when it came to owning up to repairs and the warranty. I feel that he had no concern for my safety whatsoever. That made me lose all confidence in the dealership's ability to repair faulty items correctly.
We worked with a much closer dealership in West Springfield for a while, and they were a pretty good bunch. I have a feeling one of the *only* good ones, because they were so busy that for several immediate repairs, we could not get an appointment there.
I took the car to another dealership in West Hartford for a couple repairs. The first one, they took the car in as a warranty repair, and when I went to pick it up they tried to charge me almost $600. I went ballistic, and it went back to a warranty repair. Unbelievable. But I went back (unbelievable!), and they fixed a recall. They also told me they couldn't just do warranty repairs on a car they didn't sell - I should probably find somewhere else or pay for the repairs, because they weren't making enough from warranty repairs (or something like that). They also told me that the mass air-flow sensor was bad (again), and that "a free code read." Not covered without payment.
Basically, they just kept beating me down until I realized that it was worth dealing with the crap car than getting what I paid for from VW. It's exhausting to me - dealing with a bunch of jerks that know how to package beta testing gone bad. If they had actually been decent to work with, I probably would have sat through all the services needed - but they made it as painful of a process as possible. Although I had once thought I may go and get one from Europe and bring it back, I don't think I want to deal with that kind of operation - regardless of how good they *might* be.
It is really frustrating that I spent so long to find a nice car that only looks good on paper. I have been happy with the gas mileage, and this car did achieve the whole "fuel saving" objective for me - even when I lost 10mpg due to mass air flow sensor (or one of the items - I'm no mechanic, I just take notes and keep invoices.)
I've pretty much decided that the car is going to fall apart around me one day on the highway. I'm hoping it's after the 2 more years or so I still have to make payments. If not, I am going to beat every last penny out of the damn car. Then I'll buy something else.