Every Time VW Fixes My Car, They Break Something Else

Amy’s ’06 VW Passat has been in the shop 106 of the past 141 days. After the engine broke down on a road trip and needed replacing, VW replaced it, but broke the transmission. When they replaced the transmission, they broke an axle. When they fixed the axle, the car started leaking oil worse than the Valdez. All Amy and her family want to be able to do is drive their car around like normal. So far, that’s not happening, and VW’s only offer of contrition has been to waive one car payment and $250 in services. So Amy launched her EECB, complete with a graph of how long VW has held her car hostage:

Amy writes:

“On September 3, 2009 my family and I left our home in Acworth, GA in our 2006 Volkswagen Passat and set off on the 500 mile journey to a family reunion in St. Louis, Missouri. About halfway through our trip the engine in our Passat failed. It was towed to the Hallmark Volkswagen dealership in Murfreesboro, TN. They determined that my engine needed to be replaced and that repairs would be covered under my VW Manufacturers Powertrain Warranty.

This began a series of most unfortunate events….when VW installed my new engine they broke my transmission…when they installed the new transmission they broke my axle. After fixing my engine, transmission and axle they returned my car to me, but it began leaking massive amounts of oil a month later. It is now at the Jim Ellis Volkswagen dealership in Marietta, GA. Repair attempts on the new engine were unsuccessful so ANOTHER new engine is currently being installed.

To summarize my VW experience:
September 3, 2009 – Engine failed, car taken to VW

September 25, 2009 – Husband drives 3.5 hrs to pick up “fixed” car, drives two blocks and the car breaks down. Car goes back to VW.
** VW tells me that when they fixed my engine they broke my transmission. So they ordered a new transmission.
** VW then tells me when they fixed my transmission they broke my axle. So they ordered a new axle.

October 22, 2009 – The engine, transmission and axle were fixed and VW returns my car to me.
November 27, 2009 – After having my car for about a month it begins leaking massive amounts of oil. Car returned to VW for repair. Over the next eight weeks attempts are made to repair the engine but those attempts are unsuccessful. VW tells me they’re in the process of installing another new engine.
January 22, 2010 – still no car….

As of today my car has been in a VW dealership shop for 106 of the past 141 days. That’s almost a third of a year! Two engines, a transmission, an axle and 106 days later my perception of the safety of this vehicle has been compromised. Additionally, the value I ascribe to it has been greatly diminished. I am seeking your assistance in finding a mutually agreeable solution to this problem. The waiver of one car payment and $250 in services I was offered by my Regional Case Manager (case #redacted) is unacceptable.

Thank you in advance for the effort you will invest into restoring my loyalty to the Volkswagen brand.

– Amy M.”

Can VW just fix her car right for once? I like Amy’s EECB because it is clear and focuses in on the key details. The one thing I would say though is that you need to make clear what deal you do think is acceptable. They made an offer, now you counteroffer. Otherwise you’re making them negotiate against themselves and no one likes to that, and it makes for wrangling when you can put something concrete out on the table.

Hopefully Amy won’t have to make a series of hilarious complaint videos like Freya Svensson, the singing Swedish mother and Volvo owner, just to get the attention she deserves.

Perhaps a small claims suit under Georgia lemon law is in order.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.