From the start, the power adapters never worked. At the time, I thought the problem was my old car charger and didn't think much of it. After all, the car was brand new, obviously there's nothing wrong with it. Hah! Turns out, in VW Land, vehicles don't actually have to be 100% functional when new.
The ignition sticks. Something like 6 months ago, one of my keys broke. (Keys are the kind that fold and flip out. The key part broke off the remote control part.) Then the other key broke. Then the key broke so much that it's completely unable to turn the key in the ignition. Of course this happened while I was running errands, so I had to go to a hardware store and leave the car running while I went in to buy a pair of pliers so I could turn the key. This is super-fun, because the car can sense the remote part of the key and won't run without it, so in order to start the car, I have to hold the remote against the ignition with one hand and use the pliers to turn the key with my other hand.
There's something wrong with the transmission or something. I don't know yet. The car's in the shop. Once on Sunday and once on Monday I started the car and it would not shift gears. It ran in 3rd gear. Period. Both times, I stopped and turned the car off and back on again, and that fixed it. Last night, I started the car and the check engine light and this little wrench symbol (for service) came on, and there was no indication of gear. There should be a letter or number showing what gear the car is in (I have no idea what the correct name for that is). Nope. Not there. But it was not shifting again, presumably stuck in 3rd. I turned the car off and back on several times with no luck. I drove home at a crawl so as to not drive the RPMs too high.
I emailed Volkswagen about two weeks ago about the first two issues, explaining what had gone wrong and how displeased I was. I had been quoted over $700 at the dealership to replace the ignition and keys. I flat out refuse to pay that. Why should I pay that much money because the ignition is faulty and broke my keys?
Here is the reply I got:
Your Jetta was built to last, and I apologize that you are experiencing concerns with the ignition sticking.
We appreciate that you have taken the time to reach out to us, and make us aware of the concerns with your key breaking off in the ignition.
I understand you are requesting assistance with the cost of the repair. Volkswagen considers all requests for assistance with a repair outside of warranty on a case by case basis.
I have had the opportunity to research your request. The Jetta is 18,000 miles outside of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Volkswagen is unable to assist with the cost of the repair. I apologize, as I know that this decision does not meet your expectations.
We look for every opportunity to assist our customers. If you would like, we can follow up with the VW dealership on the diagnosis for the 12v charger, and work with the dealer to ensure all of our technical resources are being utilized for both repairs.
If you need help locating your nearest dealer, you can do that here: http://www.vw.com/portal/en/
If you’d like us to follow up on your diagnosis and repairs, please reply to this email with the name of your servicing dealership and your appointment date.
Sincerely,Kathleen H.Customer CARE Advocate
To which I say... are you kidding me? I didn't reply, because why bother?
Yesterday, with the new shifting issue, I replied:
Hi Kathleen,I appreciate your sense of humor by starting off your reply with a joke ("your Jetta was built to last"), but unfortunately the situation is beyond humor. My 1996 Chevrolet Silverado had fewer problems than this Jetta--it made it to well over 100,000 miles before requiring any significant repairs. It could be argued that the Jetta will certainly last if it cannot turn on and be driven, but that's rather deceitful, don't you think? My paycheck would last if I didn't have to use it.
I would also like to make you aware of a new issue that has arisen. On Sunday, I left home. After about a mile, I realized that the engine didn't sound right and the tachometer was holding rather high. Apparently, the Jetta decided that 3rd gear was sufficient for everything--stopping, accelerating, going 50mph, etc. It would not shift, nor would it allow me to shift. I had to stop the vehicle, turn it off, and turn it back on (always a hassle, given that turning the key requires a complicated dance of holding pliers in one hand and contorting my other arm so the remote portion of the key can be held against the ignition). The same thing happened yesterday, although I realized what was happening almost at once.
On the bright side, this vehicle will prevent me from becoming a bank robber--a skateboard would make a more efficient getaway vehicle. Can you imagine trying to make a quick exit in a car that requires two hands and total concentration to turn on, and which periodically goes on shifting strike? And on top of that, the car is theft-proof! A car thief would likely sue me for emotional distress caused by the trauma trying to make this car work.
I'm almost impressed by how many problems this car has. Bravo, Volkswagen! You must have worked very hard to build a car that is so incredibly terrible.
Or, in the words of the Hulk: "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."Bottom line: This car is a piece of crap. I will not pay a cent to fix what should never have broken. Volkswagen obviously does not stand behind their product. Fine, that's their choice. My relentless campaign to make sure that anyone who considers buying a Volkswagen is aware that they might as well burn their money is my choice. To paraphrase William Congreve, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by the manufacturer of her lemon car."
VW replied within a few hours.
Thank you for your response, I’m sorry to hear you are now experiencing shifting concerns.The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and related seals and gaskets for a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first, for manufacturer’s shortcomings in materials and workmanship, from the in service date of 6/30/2011.Due to the nature of your concerns, I recommend making an appointment at your local dealership. It is difficult to make proper repair recommendations without being able to take a good look at your Jetta.Once the dealership has properly diagnosed the concern, they will be in the best position to determine if any repairs that may be necessary are covered under the Powertrain Limited Warranty.If you need help locating your local dealer, you can locate a dealer here: http://www.vw.com/portal/en/
We’d like the opportunity to follow up on your diagnosis and repairs. If you’d like for us to do that, please reply to this email with the name of your servicing dealership and your appointment date.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,Customer CARE Advocate
I bet she does look forward to hearing from me. Who doesn't enjoy a nicely scathing, sarcastic email?
I replied today with the news of the car being a piece of crap last night and my emergency service trip:
Kathleen,True to form, the Jetta decided that temporarily malfunctioning wasn't sufficient. When I turned the car on last night, it was not displaying what gear I was in. Instead, it lit up the engine light and the wrench symbol by the odometer. Apparently displaying the gear was too much trouble, on top of the engine light and wrench symbol. It can only put forth so much effort, and coming up with new things to break requires a lot of work.
Once in drive, the car would not shift gears. I don't know what gear it was in, as Jetta seems to feel that is confidential information. I'm assuming it was stuck in 3rd, as that's what it's been getting stuck in. On the one hand, I find it unlikely that the car would bother to pick a new gear; on the other hand, I wouldn't put it past Jetta to screw up as frequently and as variably as possible. I had a fun drive home, going 25mph in 55mph zones to keep the tachometer from going into the red zone. Thankfully it was fairly late, so I didn't have a hoard of angry drivers honking at me. (Don't tell Jetta I said that, it'll make sure it breaks at a more inconvenient time next time.)
I woke up a couple hours earlier than normal so I could get the car to the dealership as soon as they opened. It was shifting, but the bad lights are still on and the gear light is still off.
So now I'm driving a loaner (yay! a car that is not a VW!!!) until the dealership is able to figure out what is wrong. This had better be covered under warranty, or I will be very displeased. Lucifer will tremble in the wake of my fury. Because contrary to Volkswagen's belief, vehicles that are 2 years (and 1 month and 1 day) in use should not break.
On the bright side, it was rather entertaining to watch someone else try to start the vehicle. Hey, that's an idea--I should bring the car to Volkswagen's headquarters and ask the head of the company to start it. If s/he is able to start the car on the first try, I'll go away. If not, I get a new car that's not a useless piece of crap.
The junker is at [the dealership]. I would be more than happy to the scrap the vehicle if that would be easier, because I know how much VW likes doing things the easy way. Just let me know so I can get my things out.
Moral of the story: DO NOT BUY A VOLKSWAGEN! There is absolutely NO excuse for a car with 2 years of use and 55,000 miles having so many problems.
Now what? Well, I wait to find out what's wrong with my car. In the meantime, I'll spread the word far and wide. Buyer beware! There are much better cars out there... the Ford Pinto springs to mind.
I made a mistake. I believed the image Volkswagen presents about their vehicles. I didn't do enough research and I didn't look into the warranty well enough. Foolish me, I believed that a new car would work well enough that I wouldn't need the warranty. Rest assured, that won't happen again.
Please share this post. Warn your family, friends, neighbors, and enemies (even Voldemort doesn't deserve this car)! Feel free to email Volkswagen and reference my case #813004100. Let them know that selling junkers is not acceptable.
UPDATE 8/2/13 - I got a phone call late yesterday from the dealership. They had been working on the car, but had nothing to report yet. Diagnostics were being done, but they didn't know what the problem was. It's about 1:00 today, 8/2, and I still have not heard. WTF is wrong with this car that it takes more than a day just to find out what's broken???? VW has dispatched a regional case manager to work with the dealership and get this fixed, I got a call from them yesterday too. Still waiting to hear what's going on.
UPDATE 8/6/13 - Well, I got the stupid thing back yesterday. They were unable to find anything wrong with it. So next time it screws up (because there WILL be a next time), hopefully it'll be when the dealership is open so I can take it right over.