Tag Archives: Volkswagen

How Many Volkswagen Mechanics does it take to Change a Golf Headlight?

This morning when I started the car, there was a warning light left illuminated on the dashboard. Needless to say the icon was a bit obtuse, at a guess I thought it might be something to do with the brake lights, as it looked a bit like a cross between a bulb and the hand brake light, but after a flick through the manual it turned out to be a general bulb problem warning. A quick bulb check and it looked to be one of the headlamp bulbs.

Now as any long term readers of this blog will know I had a generally poor opinion of our previous Ford Focus, especially when it came to changing headlamp bulbs, since the design of the engine bay in the revised mark one Focus we had was so bad that even the experts had to disassemble the front of the car to change one of the bulbs. I’m not alone in that either, the original posting is by far the most commented on the site. There are various suggestions on how to make it easier, but whichever way you look at it the bulb change is still a pain.

Compare this to the Volkswagen Golf we now have. I’ve just popped down to the car park and changed both headlamp bulbs in about ten minutes with no tools at all, the back of the headlight is a screw fit, and the bulb sits in a socket that again screws in and out. It’s not exactly as if there is loads of free space in the engine bay of the Golf – it’s still a bit fiddly, but it’s a job that either myself or Beth could easily completed on the roadside, rather than needing a toolbox or a visit to a garage to do the job properly.


As a result of my the variable service intervals on the car, it is always a bit of a surprise when it announces it needs a service. To get around that, it will usually come up with a warning that one is coming up. A couple of weeks ago, the Golf announced that it would need a service in 3000 miles – no problem, on my current mileage that will be sometime next year. A while later this dropped to 2900, 2800 and latterly to 2700. When I started it up this morning it was saying 2700 miles, and all I did was take it down to Microsoft in Reading, which is urban roads and a couple of miles of motorway, came back to it tonight and with a fanfare (well an annoying dinging really) it announced that it needed a service now. Not quite sure what happened to it during the day to bring it on, but anyway, hopefully I can get it booked in next week.


One of the letters that was waiting for us when we got back from our holiday was one from the car finance company reminding me that the payments had almost been made on our Golf and that it was almost time for the final balloon payment on the credit agreement. The letter of course was tempting me with a new car – the whole reason they offer the deal.

Being the end of the deal, also means that the first MOT on the car was due, which is what we had today. It’s also one of the infrequent occasions when I get to drive Beth’s car – the Ford Focus that I replaced with the Golf three years ago. Every time it reminds me why I replaced it – and of course you only need to look through the entire category on the blog devoted to me grumbling about the car to realise quite how I feel about it.

As such, I’ve regularly thought about getting rid of it – usually more so after an experience with Reg Vardy. What is even more of a push is if I follow that up with an experience at our local VW dealer, Ridgeway. So a lousy experience a few weeks ago with Reg Vardy, followed by the MOT today, and where did we end up whilst we were picking the car up? Looking at new cars…


It has to be said, that Mrs Peat has fallen for this one – an ex-demonstration Polo Dune 1.4 TDI. It’s only nine months old, and being a demonstrator only has a few thousand miles on the clock. Basically the Dune is a normal Polo but looking a bit SUV-ish. It does have a bit of a higher sitting position than the regular car, plus alongside the styling tweaks has bigger wheels, and the suspension lifted by 20mm. Bearing in mind that Beth used to drive a Dodge Dakota in Canada the SUV-ish look does tend to appeal to her, alongside the small size that she misses from her Ford Fiesta.

We took it out for a test-drive too – it’s not got the same level of power as the Golf, and does sound a lot more diesel like at low-revs. However it is pretty nippy, and cruises quite comfortably at motorway speeds. So for what Beth needs, which is a good little run-around to go to work and back, and make occasional motorway trips it’s fine. Oh, and it can hook up to an iPod too… 🙂

The dealer seems to be proposing some complicated modification of our credit agreement whereby we continue the agreement paying off the Golf, buying the Polo and trading in the Focus – and gave it a pretty good go at trying to persuade us that the finance deal was a good idea, but I’m leaning more towards keeping it all separate. That sort of deal is inevitably totally confusing and as a result probably much the better deal for the dealer. Not that I’m complaining – I did somewhat skewer them on the Golf as it was the end of September and the salesman was within a few sales of wining a prize for salesman of the month, so it’s only sporting to give them a chance to sell us their credit agreement.

So are we tempted – I think so. Not least because it means I can finally get rid of the Focus and end my increasingly frustrating relationship with Reg Vardy.

Replacement Stick

Replaced Gear Stick

So before dawn this morning I was up and off to Ridgeway VW to have them replace the entire gear stick due to the broken bit of trim on the top. On the phone the service agent had said that the job would take about an hour, but it was best to leave an hour and a half just in case they had problems, or were busy. They had slots at 7am or 8am – not surprisingly with it being a Saturday I opted for the slightly later 8am slot!

When I arrived, there was one person already sat in the waiting area, and another car just being taken in, but aside from that it was pretty quiet. The car was moved by a technician almost immediately, so I sat down with a drink and some reading material ready for my wait.

However, barely had I finished browsing the brochure for the new Eos, and just started on an extreme level Sudoku puzzle on Sudoku Rules Extreme (usually takes me between 20 and 50 minutes to do) than the same technician was coming in to give me back my keys having done the job. When I mentioned that I had been told an hour for the job, he said that they usually leave an hour in case they have problems, but the actual job should only involve unclipping the trim and swapping over the stick. In total it took about twenty minutes to do. The only visible indication that anything has been done is that the new gear stick has a black plastic collar under the ball on the top, rather than the silvery chrome collar the old one had – not anything you’d notice unless you were looking, and certainly not anything that would affect the operation. The only reason I paid any attention to it was because they explicitly asked for the old broken top, and with the speed of the changeover compared to the estimate I was wondering whether they’d patched up the old one!

Nutcase Features

Sometimes you find a feature of something that you really can’t see a benefit for. I’m not talking about, for example an estate agent selling a house as having ‘good transport links’ when it is on a major road, something that you really just can’t understand. I have to say quite often you find such features in bits of software, and they just leave you scratching your head as to why the feature was included.

There is one such feature on the Golf, and a number of other VW cars too aparently, whereby if you hold the open button on the key fob down for three seconds or more, it opens all the electric windows in the car. Conversely if you hold the close button, it closes all the windows. Bear in mind that the car also has one-shot opening and closing of all the windows anyway, so it is a lot quicker just to use that rather than stand around holding the button down once you’ve got out.

What makes the feature even more bemusing is that it doesn’t work in tandem with the rest of the locking system. The remote central locking has a feature to cope with accidental unlocks. For example since it works by radio, my key fob will unlock the car from inside the house – so with my keys in my pocket it is possible to accidentally unlock the car. Having said that, if nothing else happens, like for example a door or the boot being opened, the car will then lock itself. However this doesn’t apply to the windows. If you squash the key for more than three seconds, the doors will unlock, and the windows will open, nothing else happens, and then the doors lock again, but the windows stay open.

Now I’ve done this once before. I was at work when the car was parked next to the building, and by chance level with my desk. Although I was on the second floor, I managed to open the windows remotely. I came out to the car after work in a rain storm to find the windows half open, and was totally bemused. However, having looked through the manual, I found details of the feature, and managed to replicate it from my desk the next day. After that I was always pretty careful.

However, last night I managed to do it again. I think I did it when I was lubricating a sticking door catch in the kitchen. In the process of bracing the door I think I must have managed to squash the key fob – so this morning I went out to find the windows of the car open – good job it’s a relatively safe area!

Anyway, apparently a Volkswagen dealer is able to disable the feature relatively easily – I can’t see a reason for the feature, so unless someone can come up with a persuasive argument, I think I’ll be getting my dealer to disable it just in case I manage to do it again!