- Car Care & Maintenance
Saving Money on Volkswagen Car Repairs
As with all car repairs, car mechanics are specially trained for their car type. Most will charge anywhere from $90 to $120 an hour. So, even spending just an half hour to do something can cost $60 in labor plus parts. Simple things like spark plugs, glow plugs, oil changes, oil filters and fuel filters can be done by the owner willing to use their labor. Doing these basic changes, can save you 50% since you are just buying the parts.
You should also buy or have the service manual for your car type. These show you how to do many basic services and more complicated ones. Going online also is valuable, especially, online car forums for your type of car. By searching the forum, you can often find out how to make repairs, or other problems others are having and how to resolve them. You can often find out the cause of a problem by entering in the symptoms your car has.
Car forums for your specific car probably exist and whatever your problem is, probably has come up before on the forum. You just have to find it on their site.
To highlight this, my own experience is great. My 2006 VW Jetta TDI had its glow plug light (the car is diesel) flashing. The manual tells you to immediately take the car into the VW place because this is a very serious malfunction. The VW service manual does not mention this much and neglects to tell you what causes it. When this light flashes, it can be serious or extremely minor that you can repair, it just depends. Not happy, I went to one of the several VW forums and entered in the search field various combinations of words to highlight my problem or symptom. A few threads or discussions popped up from others who had the same issue. As I read the threads, various suggestions of what to check came up- things anyone can check out.
It turns out, many others had simply replaced the brake light bulbs, even if they looked good, and that would correct the problem. Others had to replace the brake pedal switch behind the brake pedal (the switch activates the brake lights when applied) at a cost of $50. Still others had to simply replace fuses #14 and 34 at the cost of a few bucks. So, I simply spent less than an hour and replaced the brake light bulbs in the taillights and the fuses. As soon as I had done this, the flashing ominous glow plug light, stopped flashing. That was all. Now, had I heeded the dire warnings of VW in their manual, I would have been charged over $100 to do this because they would hook it up to their computer to analyze.
If your car has been running fine and the engine light or glow plug light turns on, the first thing is to see what engine codes are triggered. A code reader can be bought for less than $50 or you can take it in to many fast oil change places that will read it free. It could be minor or not. Then, go online to your car's forum and post what your codes are for feedback and advice or find how others fixed the problem. If you do not have codes, enter the symptoms your car has. You won't be the only other person having a similar issue.
As to VW, how they wire their cars is crazy. Fuses #14 and 34 also impact other functions that you would not think were. If the fuse is missing or blown, the glow plug light in their diesels with flash sporadically. Mine would flash then stop for days, only to flash again. In my case, my car did not even have a fuse in space #34, so, the car was telling me every so often. Yet, I would never have thought to look at the fuses had I not got online and searched the VW forum! Many others had paid a big price by taking the car into a dealer and paying $100 for a fuse. That would be a tough lesson. So, thanks to them, I avoided it.
If the end result is one you cannot easily fix, then you have no other choice, but at least try!