Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2010 VW Golf and something about the automatic transmission fluid, whats going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: So this vehicle is actually equipped with a DSG transmission and the DSG stands for direct shift gearbox. It’s a sort of a hybrid between a standard transmission and an automatic, trying to incorporate the best of both worlds. I mean, the difference between the DSG versus a pure automatic or standard is it uses clutches, but there’s no clutch pedal, you just put it in drive like an automatic and away you go or you can shift it manually like a standard transmission, although it doesn’t have the same kind of stick. You either just push a lever back and forth from the gear shifter or they can be equipped with paddle shifters on most cars. So those are the differences. Now what’s different is the vehicle uses, the transmission uses these clutches, it actually uses two of them, it actually has two gearboxes built into one. To be honest, I’ve never seen the inside but I’m looking forward to the day when I do, probably pretty cool. But it basically, one transmission has first, third and fifth gear, the other will have second, fourth and sixth gear on a six speed. They have six and seven speed models and the reverse is on one of the two transmissions and so what’ll happen is it’ll already have pre-selected, say you’re starting off on the road, it’ll have already pre-selected second gear but it hasn’t engaged it yet. First gear is ready to go so as soon as you accelerate it engages the clutch in first gear and away you go and when it’s ready to shift into second gear, it’s already made the shift it just has to change the two clutches from one to the other, so the gears shifts are very fast and that’s the advantage. Apparently they can do upshifts in 8 milliseconds which is like eight thousands of a second, so that is like really really quick and that’s a lot quicker than an automatic can do. There’s also some advantages, the disadvantages of an automatic is you have your torque converter which creates some slippage, so there’s always a bit of slippage in an automatic transmission. So in a way an it’s an automatic, so it’s the best of both worlds being a standard and an automatic, and I’d say more complex. Although like I say, I haven’t seen the inside, but putting two transmissions into one with a hydraulically actuated clutches, it’s got to be expensive.
Mark: So is there something unique about the fluid that this kind of pretty complex piece of machinery is going to use to be able to shift in eight milliseconds and live with all that complexity and make it work properly for a long time?
Bernie: Absolutely, so Volkswagen has a scheduled service interval at 40,000 miles which I think is about 70,000 kilometres and they have that right in their maintenance schedule. In the past, a lot of auto manufacturers have been a little bit glib with their transmission fluid recommendations, like automatics, they say it’s filled for life, don’t worry about it which I know we’ve talked before which is a bunch of BS, but with this one, they’re very specific, change the fluid every 40,000 kilometres. So whey they say to do it, they’re pretty serious on it, they know stuff will go wrong. So it is a special fluid, you have to use a special, it doesn’t have to be by Volkswagen, but there is a very special fluid made for this transmission. The service also consists of replacing a filter, so you do the filter, you change the fluid and that is basically what needs to be done. So with anything, there’s lots of expensive parts inside, you don’t want it to wear out, you want it to work reliably for a long time.
Mark: So again, we had to switch computers this morning so we don’t have any pictures but this was a fluid replacement on a 2010 VW Golf - was there anything particular about this vehicle that you wanted to mention today?
Bernie: Well not really about the Golf, I think we just talked about the DSG service in general. Just a little history of background on the transmission, it came out in 2003 so you’ll find it on some models way back then and Volkswagen Audi uses it, so you’ll find it in various Volkswagen Audi models anywhere from the mid 2000’s right up until current. We just did a service last week on a 2015 GTI with DSG, so you know there’s, like I say it varies between car to car and it just made me realize I said 70,000 K’s, it’s actually 60,000 K’s. So since we’re in Canada, that’s the way we should be thinking, that’s the way our odometers work.
Mark: Yeah, and how are VW’s on the whole these days?
Bernie: I think they’re really good, I mean obviously they suffered quite a blow with their TDI and rightly so, I mean they were dishonest with the public, shouldn’t be that way when you’re selling the car and advertising it to be a certain way but I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with the TDI other than it puts out a lot more pollution that it’s supposed to. But I mean, the performance is good, the reliability of Volkswagen is really a lot better these days. Ten, fifteen years ago I wouldn’t of recommended one, like their automatic transmission had problem after problem, super expensive to repair and they died at a very young age. Those are just some of the things, electrical problems, power windows, these are the things we used to see but they seem to be quite reliable these days so I think they really upped their game and hopefully they’ll will survive their TDI and I’m sure they will and come through and make an honest product for the public. but the reliability is good.
Mark: How is the reliability on the DSG transmission given that you were maintaining it on a regular basis, changing the fluid every 60,000 kilometres regularly?
Bernie: Well to be honest, I don’t really know. We haven’t seen a bad one yet, I haven’t seen too many of these on a high mileage vehicle so I don’t really know what their longevity is, but I would say that based on the complexity, I mean that kind of stuff always scares me, you know when I think about what you could be spending on fixing something like this, I mean I would imagine a rebuild on the transmission like this has got to be six to ten thousand dollars. So changing fluid, the service is about, off the top of my head, it’s in the $300 range to do a service so it’s not particularly cheap but certainly not anything more than a modern automatic with synthetic fluid to do a proper flush service is cheaper. Every 60,000 kilometres is really cheap insurance. But certainly when things go wrong, there will be expensive repairs. Just change the fluid and you’ll get the best life out of it you can.
Mark: Alright, so if you have a VW with the DSG or Audi with the DSG and you need service the the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can book ahead at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com - years of videos on there, great amounts of information that’s really trusted from a trusted advisor who really knows and works on cars, not just driving around in a brand new car all the time, someone you can really trust. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.