Tag Archives: VW

VW Service – In Three Parts

So yesterday was another early start, as my Golf went in for part two of it’s service that was started last week. As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I’m running the Golf on variable service intervals – so when it went in last week it hadn’t had a service since February 2006, over 14,000 miles ago.

There were things I knew would need doing. There had been a warning over the brake pads on a previous visit to the garage as a result of the visual inspection they do as a matter of course, so I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was the news that the inside edges of three of the tyres on the car had worn significantly, so the tyres now needed replacing.

Last week they didn’t have anything other that some obscure brand of tyre I’d never heard of in stock, so they ordered in a set of Bridgestones of the same type that were on the car already, and booked the car in for this weeks visit. They had also managed to reproduce the internal lighting hiccup I’d found on the car last year, and needed to get parts in to fix that under warranty. So we found ourselves again up early to take the car in for part two.

It has to be said, that from the point of view of the garage, things did not go well. First off, since the switch was a warranty job they had had to wait for the all clear to go ahead from VW – and that hadn’t come through, so they couldn’t do the switch. The second problem became clear when they tried to do the tyres.

I’m not sure of the technicalities, suffice to say that at lunchtime I had a call from one of their technicians to say that there were problems with the set of Bridgestones they were trying to fit, and would I mind Continentals instead – I said no problem with that. However later on I got another call from the garage, apologising for the fact that during the course of fitting the new tyres they had damaged the alloy wheels on the front, and that they would of course arrange for that to be fixed at their expense. Although obviously it’s annoying when things like that happen, what was excellent is that the garage phoned up an held their hands up to something going wrong, and I didn’t have to either spot the problem and complain, or hassle them to get it to fix it.

I rolled up at the garage to pick up the car and took a look at the damage – it is worth mentioning that as most people do, I’d already managed to scrape the alloys thanks to a close encounter with a kerbstone, so I was going to ask them to fix that whilst they were at it – but I didn’t need to – although there was more obvious damage than my scrape, they’d managed to damage the same alloy I’d done already. Even better, for part three, no early morning – since it’s all a warranty job they’re going to come and pick the car up from work, and then whisk it away to do the switch and sort out the alloys, and then deliver it back when they’re done.

Anyway, what with the new tyres, and the full alignment and tracking checks they did – which found some of the settings significantly off – I took the car for a run around the block, just to see what had changed. Heading south out of Reading onto the A33, I switched onto the old A32 down to Hook when I got to Risely to see what it was like on twisty roads, and then from there onto the M3 from junction 5 up to 4a to see how it now handled on the motorway. From there back home via the A30 and A327. I have to say, that although as I’ve got older, and especially once I had a 44 mile commute I’ve stopped doing drives like this, and it was really quite fun to just drive without needing to get anywhere in particular. Whilst the combination of a TDI engine and the soft suspension is really intended for comfortable cruising – something reflected in the relatively low insurance grouping – with the right roads, the Golf is still a good deal of fun to drive.


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!