Just Bought Car - need advice

Tiny
KEVINPIERCE
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
  • 5 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
Just returned a few minutes ago from a 4 hour drive returning from Seattle. Bought a 2007 VW Beetle with 36,000 miles on it. When my wife drives up with the car, we notice right away a major oil leak. The dip stick doesn't register any oil. I immediately put three quarts in it and pull it in my shop - it appears to be leaking from the oil filter housing. When we inspected the car at the car lot, it was raining intensley. We noticed fluids on the lot but we didn't crawl under the care because of the weather. Because it is a major car dealership who deals in high-end cars, I took the saleman word that the rainbow fluids spreading around the car were not from our "bug."

Here's my question. Obviously I'm going to have some words with them tomorrow. But IF it is an easy fix, like replacing the filter housing, would you keep the car after driving it 200 miles with it leaking oil profusely? Could it have caused problems with the engine that are undetectable right now but will appear later? This dealership has a 7 day return policy (although they won't refund your money they will allow you to pick another car).

What do you think? My daughter LOVES the car and doesn't want to return it.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 AT 6:21 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
My personal opinion, shared by many, is if you have the opportunity to return any Volkswagen, go for it. There's just too many things they designed into them to cost you money after the sale. Ask any VW owner what it cost them in towing and repair bills after simply disconnecting the battery or letting it run dead.

It also has "throttle-by-wire", the same system that put Toyota in the news. These systems are just begging for lawsuits.

Aside from that, it doesn't take much oil to make a major mess on the ground. You could be right about what is leaking, but it could also be the old oil filter gasket stuck to the housing and got overlooked when they changed the oil. Double-gasketing happens to the best of us, but usually it blows out right away and dumps all the oil on the ground before you get out of the shop. Three quarts sounds like a lot, but if it took 200 miles for that much to leak out, the leak is not severe. I haven't changed the oil in my '88 Grand Caravan in over 8 years. I just add a quart every 1000 miles or so. When I forget to check it, the valves start to rattle to let me know. At that point, it's just over 3 quarts low. This has happened a lot of times and the engine has over 380,000 miles on it. If you aren't hearing any unusual noises from the engine, it's likely no damage was done.

With the generous return policy they gave you, you can be sure no salesman would knowingly allow you to buy the car if he knew it had an oil leak or any other problem. They want to see you again when you buy your next car, not when you return with a complaint. At most new car dealerships, trade-ins get the engine washed, a safety inspection, and the oil changed. If there's oil on the engine, there's your proof it has a leak. If you're really in love with the car, ask them to fix the leak rather than trading it back, but you might want to call first to schedule an appointment. If they're booked up with waiting customers, they might not be able to squeeze you in if you just show up unannounced. Also, ask for the salesman first. Part of their job is finding the vehicle that meets your needs, and part of it is in being your advocate after the sale. He has more pull when it comes to getting you on the schedule for a time that works best for you.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 AT 6:52 AM
Tiny
KEVINPIERCE
  • MEMBER
Thank you! I have heard enough VW horror stories from friends to have known better, but I find myself believing in modern engineering regardless of who they work for! Would you not agree that you should be able to buy any 2007 car from a major manufacturer and receive a dependable product? What I basically want to know is, if the car is running well and sounds well, is it 99% odds that we didn't cause any damange on the way home?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 AT 7:19 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. That's what I didn't do a good job of saying earlier. If the engine sounds normal after adding oil, chances are there's no damage done.

I didn't mean to pick on just your Volkswagen. As far as a dependable product, you're right, but if every car met that goal there would be no need to include a warranty. Many years ago cars were WAY more dependable because they were simpler and built with common sense. Typical complaints had to do with doors that didn't fit right and seat tracks that didn't move smoothly. My grump has to do with all of the unnecessary use of complicated and unreliable technology. We use computers to run power windows, power locks, dome lights, heaters, and wipers. I answer dozens of questions every day related to these things, but not one of those things has ever caused a problem on my older vehicles that don't use computers.

My real complaint has more to do with the business practices of the manufacturers. General Motors, Volkswagen, and BMW are in a tie to see who can bleed the most money from their owners after the sale. You must purchase replacement computers from the dealer and have them programmed to your car before they will work. That means you can't buy a replacement from the salvage yard. GM radios have an extremely high failure rate. To prevent people like me from repairing them at a reasonable cost, they stopped allowing us to buy radio service manuals and parts. You're tied to their grossly over-priced repair facilities. To prevent you from just installing a better radio from Best Buy, they are now building the Body Computer into it. Without that exact radio installed, you won't have power windows or cruise control. If you disconnect the battery on a Volkswagen, on some models the engine won't start and the transmission won't come out of park. Some will start but it won't speed up when you press the gas pedal. They have to be towed to the dealer to have "minimum throttle" relearned. You can't tell me the engineers didn't plan for people to replace their battery every so often. What about the people who want to store their cars for the winter? All of the computers' memory circuits will kill a good battery within three to four weeks. If it runs dead, or if you disconnect it, you have to tow the car to the dealer in the spring. The engineers planned for that, all right.

That's just the top few complaints I have. The things I saw people complaining about at the dealership now have more to do with electronic problems, and it's always related to the "toys" people must have. Dome lights that fade out slowly with a computer instead of turning off with a common sense three-dollar switch. Sliding doors that fail to close due to a computer failure, and the owner can't figure out how to close the door by hand.

Customers even get angry when their new cars are so quiet they can hear the wind noise over the wiper arms. In the '60s, rear view mirrors vibrated because we were driving on rough roads. We're still driving on the same roads, but now a vibrating mirror will get an angry mention on the internet followed by a flurry of replies about the poor quality of that car model.

People's expectations have changed, and there's no arguing fit and finish have improved dramatically along with improved tail pipe emissions, but the same vehicle could be built with the same quality in those regards without any of the unnecessary complexity. When they build another '88 Grand Caravan with it's single Engine Computer that never needs reprogramming, I'll buy it.

Oh well. Thanks for letting me get up on my soapbox. Let me know how you make out at the dealership.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 AT 7:04 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides