- Car Care & Maintenance
Volkswagen's (VW) Rip-off DSG Transmission Service
The VW\Audi DSG automatic transmission is evolutionary and far superior to the non-DSG types. This new tranny is found only on German cars. It can predict, to some degree, based on your driving, what gear and when to shift.
It has been around for sometime, mostly on higher end models like Jetta TDI, GTI etc. But like many new things, not all the bugs are out of them. This prompted VW to issue a recall in 2009 for DSG models from 2007-10 for defective DSG temperature sensors, which when they fail will render the car powerless. Also, many of the computerized mechatronic module (sealed to the tranny that tells when the tranny to shift) were failing or defective with only 10,000 miles on it. On other cars, no problems occurred, so it remains totally hit and miss. The 2005-06 models with DSG were different and seem to have less problems than the newer ones.
Whatever you were told about changing the tranny oil once every 80,000 miles, is simply incorrect. VW advises owners to change at 40,000 miles with 5L of fresh oil and new filter. This tranny is a clean freak and requires special oil to keep it lubricated as it runs very hot. Now, some owners have changed it every 100K miles and state it is no different than new fresh oil. It could be that the 40,000 mile intervals are for warranty legalities.
Regardless, take the car to a VW or German car specialist, most will charge you $400-500. This is where the rip-off comes in. All they do is change the oil, change the filter, start the engine to heat the oil, and drain out the overfill which is usually a half a liter. This takes about one hour. They do not check the DSG temperature sensors nor do they test the Mechatronic unit. Even if the mechanic earns $100 hr, the total cost for this should not be higher than $250. Some shops claim it will take 3 hours of labor. Again, totally BS.
Owners can change their own oil for not more than $130. If your tranny has not been leaking, there should be about 4.5 quarts (1 liter = about 1 qt.) to 5 quarts drained. Simply replace the same exact amount. The shops always will overfill and heat the oil with the engine on to drain off the excess, which ends up being 4.5-5 qts.
If the shops would check the temperature sensor and mechatronic module (which slips out like a PC card) for functionality, then $500 would be a fair charge since special equipment is required.