VW TDI’s – What Can Owners Do?
Mark: Good morning, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation in Vancouver and we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive - Vancouver’s 15 time winners of “Best Auto Repair” in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today, Bernie?
Bernie: Really good
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a subject that’s unfortunately near and dear to my heart, VW TDI’s and the massive fraud that’s been perpetrated on 11 million customers worldwide and what can we do about it. So what have you found out so far in your research Bernie?
Bernie: Well a couple of things, but I want to put a questions to you as I know you own one of these vehicles, so obviously it’s important to you. So you have said you found out a couple of things, what can you share with us?
Mark: Sure, so I called VW, actually I was going to call the dealership and VW has a intercept phone number on there now, that if you’re calling about the TDI click this number, so I did and it of course goes to a call centre in I believe, Montreal somewhere and you know, they have no answers. We are as in the dark as you are sir was their final response, so who knows. Further research turned up they have a web page where they basically go through all the different questions you might ask, what if they detune it and if your mileage goes down, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know. We don’t know answers as of today October 16, 2015. So it’s been about a month, so not much progress as far as actual let’s do something about this. That’s what I found.
Bernie: Awesome. Well, I can speculate on a few ideas that Volkswagen has to fix it and obviously they’re probably working hard somewhere and they don’t want to say anything until they come up with their strategy. I see they really have 2 options.
One is simply to detune the engine to meet the EPA emissions standards they claim the vehicles going to have. Cost of that of course is going to be decreased gas mileage and engine performance; how much, it’s hard to say but it will definitely not be the same car that you were driving before. From Volkswagen’s perspective it’s probably the cheapest way to do it, I mean once they rewrite the software which is probably not all that difficult, it’s simply a matter of driving to the dealer, plugging it in, they reprogram it, it’s out the door in half an hour and really the cost is pretty minimal to them.
The other option and the better one I think for consumers would be to put an Urea system in, this could be, I heard somewhere speculating about $5,000 and I don’t really know, could be more, could be a bit less but this would involve pretty extensive work, they’d have to obviously reprogram the vehicle as well to accept the system but there would have to be a tank put in the trunk, plumbing, electrical components, exhaust system changed over to a different type of catalyst so that would be a lot more work; probably a day’s type of work for each car – there’s eleven million cars out there, that’s a lot, $5,000 I did a little rough calculation it’s $5.5 billion not to mention all the administrative costs and all the other things that are may occur.
For the consumer, the downside is you have to add some urea to your tank, it’s not very expensive, it would probably cost you depending upon how much you drive 20 to 50 bucks a year, it’s really very minimal and probably the best option but those from what I can tell are probably the two best things, the two ways it’s going to happen.
Mark: So would the urea option impact the performance and the mileage?
Bernie: I don’t believe so, I think you probably will be able to keep that intact and it’s possible it might even find some improvements in mileage and performance by adding that system which would actually be a nice little bonus for the consumer but I wouldn’t want to say, it might just be the same as.
Mark: Sure, so one of the things that I mentioned to you that I thought was an immediate fix, is let’s just put it on biodiesel and that will cure it and so what’s the problem with that?
Bernie: Well, biodiesel is definitely less polluting than petroleum diesel but it still doesn’t eliminate the knocks issue because knocks is a formation of a lot of combustion temperature pressure and diesel has a lot of pressure, it has a lot of temperature and that’s why knocks is so high in diesel. So knocks comes from the air basically it’s nitrogen in the air, there’s oxygen in the air and that’s what happens so diesel does create a lot of knocks, that’s the downside of it but the hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions I believe would be decreased by using biodiesel from what I’ve read, plus it smells a whole lot better too.
Mark: Well I’ve done it on previous cars and there’s more power too because the CT rating is actually higher for biodiesel compared to petroleum, compared to dead dinosaur bones.
Bernie: Yeah, that’s certainly an option.
Mark: I guess there’s other options, I don’t know, I haven’t researched it yet, I don’t know if you have yet but I know Mazda has a low compression diesel 14 to 1 compression and I’m not sure what kind of system, they didn’t even bring them into Canada, I think they’re in the United States, certainly in other parts of the world. I have no idea how they get a nitrous oxide or if it even makes as much nitrous oxide because the compression is so much lower.
Bernie: I don’t know much about that diesel engine but I would speculate that having that lower compression there’s probably a few advantages, one would be lower nitrous oxide because the combustion pressure and temperatures would be lower but I think the other reason they make the engine like that is that they can make it lighter and diesel has to be make pretty robust because pressures are so high that that the engine could explode pretty easily so diesels tend to be a lot heavier than gas engines so I think one of the reasons they went for that lower compression was a lighter weight engine which is more economical.
One other area you were mentioning to me, as an owner of a Volkswagen and I’ve had a couple people call about this type of thing, what do I do, do I just get rid of the car and I would just encourage you if you own one of these cars, the sky isn’t falling in, it’s a bad thing that Volkswagen did and I’m sure they will come up with a solution and there’ll certainly be some financial compensation and it’s going to be hard on the company and I wouldn’t have wanted to buy shares in the company before this happened, it definitely would not have been a great scenario but they’ll come up with a solution, they’ll be forced to and they’ll do something to make it right.
As far as the value of the cars, I did speak with a friend of mine who’s an independent car dealer and he said, well I might pay a little less for them but I’m not overly concerned about it for the time being so there’s probably a slight drop in value in the cars but I don’t think it’s huge and if you plan on keeping the car for the long term which a lot of people who buy these cars are, I’d just say hang in there with it, Volkswagen will come up with a solution, I mean it still drives, you still got the great mileage and power and they will come up with an emission solution. So that’s my thought, it’s a bit of a bad blip but I’d say don’t just get rid of the car right away, there’s other solutions, things will come.
Mark: Yeah, so that’s kind of my, as much as I’d like to have the problem go away, it’s funny how you are sort of proud about driving the car one day, you find out something and the next day, it’s the same car, drives, the same way and now I’m not so proud. That’s not my problem really, that’s not Volkswagen’s problem, Volkswagen’s got to fix the car and they will, one way or another, you know whether it’s we get compensated as an owner from Volkswagen, from class action lawsuits by forcing them to pay people for their mistake for their fraud, they’re going to pay a lot of money, they’ve really put the company at risk so stay the course.
Bernie: I think so; I just think stay the course and it will work its way through. It kind of brings me to the point with cars, there’s a lot reasons people, people buy cars for different reasons and a lot of people buy, most people bought the TDI Jetta for the economy, it’s got some performance and it’s good for the environment, not necessarily good but it’s the best one of the better options for the environment as far as an automobile goes so when you, it’s understandable you wouldn’t feel so good about driving your car after you find out, it’s like your spouse cheating on you, it’s like even if you have a 20 year marriage and it’s been fabulous it like all of a sudden like there’s something in the way and it needs to be worked out so let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, just get it fixed up and then move on.
Mark: So one of things I will do is we’ll collect up some URL’s, we’ll put them in below in the comments on this and we’ll share those on social media so other owners have resources to check and I’m sure other people are kind of wondering what the heck’s going on, as am I; so we’ll try and share all that information and if we find anything more, if there’s other solutions we’ll check and share those, maybe we’ll revisit this in the future when Volkswagen comes up with their solution.
Bernie: I think that makes sense once Volkswagen actually comes up with a plan then we can discuss that from there. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Mark: Awesome. So anything further Bernie?
Bernie: That’s it.
Mark: Summing up they’re good cars, they still get good mileage, they still have power, they’re polluting a little bit more than we thought but they’ve been polluting that way right from the day we bought the darn thing so that hasn’t changed, so continue until they fix it. It’s up to Volkswagen now and if you need service on yours the guys to go see are the guys at Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at pawlikautomotive.com or give them a call to book your next appointment 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.
Follow Up Links
Vin Numbers Find if your car is affected
Recall issued in Europe - Fixes start in 2016