Dealer mistake and deception?

austinbighornaustinbighorn Member Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
So, I took my car to the dealership I purchased my 2002 Jetta GLS from for the 20k maintenance. They have done all of the warranty work on the car previously and I have not had any problems. I change my own oil with Mobil 1 synthetic and a high quality Fram filter so I told them specifically NOT to change the oil. The customer service rep made sure to document my request on the order. I return to pick up my car and the itemized list of work done states that my oil was changed with a non-synthetic and a generic oil filter. I then speak with the head of customer service and she states that after speaking with maintenance, the computer just prints a generic itemization of the work for the 20k maintenance and that they did not change the oil. She proceeded to take off the amount of the oil change and apologized. I took her word and went back to work. Now three days later and looked down into my engine and behold, and brand new oil filter.

Sorry for the long post, but it's helping me to vent. (free therapy)

My question is will this hurt my engine? What do you think I should request (demand) for this little incident? I only took it to the dealership because I'm in the process of trying to sell the car (reduce debt). I wanted VW to bless it and give it a clean bill of health. What am I going to say now in the ad, "used Mobil 1 synthetic all but this last time' I don't think so;



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Sounds like an honest mistake and a miscommunication between customer service and the shop. Given the measly profits involved, I rather doubt the elaborate conspiracy necessary to be deceptive in this case.

    However, having said that, you did lose some perfectly good synthetic oil. While the new oil filter is I'm sure as good as your old one, the new oil is not.

    So with the wisdom of Solomon (just kidding) I would say they definitely owe you a certificate for a free oil change--and if I were them I'd throw in a free oil filter to pacify you even further.

    If they don't want to give you a certificate, ask them for the difference between the cost of your synthetic oil and their regular oil.

    If you don't want to waste time doing all this in person, just send a letter to the President of the dealership, along with your invoice and a brief letter explaining what you want and what the mistake was.

    As for synthetic, unless you are racing or operating under very severe service conditions, you don't need this type of oil and no, nothing will get hurt using regular oil. I've run cars to enormous mileages without a drop of synthetic and so have millions of other people.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you bought it as a package, line item 5GB or whatever it is in their computer, you get the package. they can't delete "oil and filter change, 1VD" or whatever.

    so if you are going to be intensely detailed on these things, you are going to have to ask what the services would be if itemized and billed separately.

    it is possible that flushing the blinker fluid, wallet cleaning, bill shimming, and rotating the turn signal bulbs might not be separate line item charges at this shop, so you don't get them. on the other hand, do you need them?
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    Run, don't walk from this dealer. As far as the $30 you are out for a jug of oil and filter chalk it up to experience.
  • snarkssnarks Member Posts: 207

    Don't worry, new oil is not going to hurt a car even regular dino. VW specs this anyway and there are probably many high mileage VW's that only ran on that.

    People make mistakes, you do, I do and things happen, this is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things in this world. Nothing was hurt except you lost some $$$ oil in the process. Just change the dino out at 3k miles. The generic filter is more likely a VW filter which are good filters.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    but now you know they're oriented to selling the package. work with that if they seem useful and adept otherwise. don't do that oil change a thousand miles before the next "do all these" period, bite down hard on a towel and drive those thousand miles if losing the utility of that new oil and filter offends your sense of treading lightly on earth, or whatever.

    now, if they're trying to sell you on repainting instead of a wash because there's bird doo on the hood... THEN run, don't walk. PS, saw an eagle on a leash at the fair tonight... they dump a cupfull at a time. wax up before driving into eagle country.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    When I owned a Jetta, it was difficult to find a non-dealership shop that would change my oil because the filters were quite expensive, and the shops didn't get a discount from VW for buying in bulk. Thus, they didn't tend to keep any on hand. I would definitely go back and bargain for a free change AND filter as Shifty suggested!

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  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    I own a 2001 Jetta TDI with 85K miles. After my free oil changes were up at 20K, I stopped going to the dealer and went back to a mechanic much closer to my office. I have been going to him for 12 years and have only had 2 incredibly minor problems in all that time. I keep all of my receipts so if my so far completely useless extended warranty needed to be used, I would have proof of all maintenance work done.
    Anyway, when it was time to have my timing belt and fuel filter replaced, he recommended I take my car to a VW mechanic. I took it to Springfield VW in Springfield, VA(not the same place I bought the car from)to have the work done. I did and I am still regretting this decision. They forgot to replace the vacumn hoses and when I tried to accelerate onto the highway I had next to no power. I took it back to the dealer and they swear a test drive was done - I doubt it. They reattached the hoses and the acceleration has not been right since then. I took it back last week to have the timing checked and get an oil change. They said the readings were within VW's specs. I went to pay for the oil change and noticed that even though I brought my own oil they charged me for oil. They removed this charge and I then noticed they charged me for 2 oil filters and 2 gaskets. Again, they corrected this.
    That same evening my husband noticed I had a headlight out.***OK - I am finally at the reason for my post*** We went to replace it yesterday and realized the VW emblem on the engine cover and the 2 "caps" on either side of it were missing. You could see marks where the emblem was pried off. They were there the previous week because I had to refill the bone dry wash fluid resevoir (that is to be filled with every oil change) and I remember seeing it.
    I took the car into the dealer this morning and they had no explanation as to why the emblem and caps would have been removed. I asked them to pay for a rental car since they were going to keep my car and they refused.
    I cannot think of any other place these items would have been removed in the last week except while at the dealer. I park in a parking garage at work with my front end 2 inches from a concrete wall. At home it is kept in a locked garage. I always lock my car.
    Is there some sort of market for stolen VW emblems or something? I told the service guy at VW I was open to any other explanations aside from the fact that a mechanic took the items. It is not a money thing - it is just that I have had so many problems with this dealer and I still find it hard to believe that anyone would do this.
    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and perhaps VWs have gotten onto the list now. I would not flatly assume the dealer guys got it... after all, they can order them through parts. some rad dude hangin in the hood probably has it on an ankle chain or something.
  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    I am not flatly assuming the dealer guys took it, I just can't think of anyone else that had an opportunity. If I lived in the hood and left my car out in the street I might think it was taken by some kid. But I live on a mountain out in the country and even then my car is in a locked garage.Is there a way to open the hood without having access to the release inside the car? Would it leave marks on the hood? Also, the 2 plastic caps on either side of it were also missing - those aren't good for anything.
    The dealer did not have the part in stock and I have to bring the car back tomorrow.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It seems rather unlikely a mechanic would steal your emblems, as one would have to question the motive vs. the risks involved (the chance of being caught).

    But since there is no evidence a more likely explanation is that the emblems are now on someone's skateboard.

    The lack of accleration is troubling, though.
  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    I stopped by the dealer this morning and popped on my new emblem. That is the last time I will be visiting that dealer.
    They told me the acceleration problem could be an indication that my clutch is slipping. I am going to take it somwhere else and see if another reason can be found.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    there's a REALLY good chance your clutch is slipping.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You can test the clutch slippage by "lugging" the car in 4th gear at a much lower speed than usual. That will stress the clutch and slip it if it's really bad. If it isn't bad the car will just accelerate very slowly or "bog" and buck a bit.
  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    It seems that the life of a clutch can vary GREATLY. I've seen posts of ones that have lasted 30K and I can't remember where I read this but someone said a friend of theirs lasted over 300K. Is that really possible?
    Mr. Shiftright - when you say that my clutch will slip if I test it - I will still be able to drive it - right? What will I notice if it does slip?

  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Best way to test it - go to about 20mph, depress the clutch, rev the engine to say 5000 RPM, then drop the clutch (in top gear, i.e. fifth for your car most likely). If the car keeps revving your clutch is slipping.

    300K miles on the same clutch is quite possible. Depends on the driving style and type of driving. On the other hand, if you really want to destroy a clutch - you can do this in less than a thousand miles.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Ah...don't you think that's a bit much?

    Shifty has it right. slow to about 20 MPH in 4th gear and with your foot on the gas, "goose" the clutch a little. You'll know if it's bad.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well I don't know if I have it "right" but I was trying to devise a method that would show a bad clutch to be bad---srgd's test will also work but I was thinking that's more for a professional tester and really even a good clutch might slip some with that type of rpm.

    If you "load" the car at low RPM, say 1800-2,000, by putting it in a high gear like 5th and then stepping on the gas---a) you won't go anywhere fast, but b) if the clutch is truly slipping, you should see the tachometer needle rise as if the car were accelerating, even though the car isn't going anywhere. So what you would be seeing is the engine not connected to the wheels any longer--sign of a bad clutch.

    A bad driver can do in a clutch every 5,000 miles if they are truly a meat-foot. Of course, the more power the car has the easier it is to fry the clutch disc or shatter the pressure plate. This is why really powerful drag cars have scatter-shields, to protect your footies from shrapnel.
  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    OK - after reading the testing methods posted I opted for the method that didn't involve red-lining my car. I put it in 5th gear while going about 20 mph and pressed on the gas. It accelerated slowly and got up to speed with no problem without the tach needle going nuts.
    I know I have alot of miles on my car, but about 90% of them are highway miles so I feel that the clutch is very possibly still good.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well at least that tells you the clutch isn't totally "toasted". You might try the same test on a slight upgrade.
  • dunoondunoon Member Posts: 10
    This was actually done on a slight incline so I think I'm good to go as far as the clutch goes.
    Thanks for everyone's help - I know this a forum for dealer discussions so if I have any more mechanical type questions I'll post them on the other forums.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Member Posts: 300
    Yesterday I test drove a 2001 Jetta with the 5-speed manual tranny. Before I went to the dealer I had a tad bit of knowledge on how to drive a stick, but not much. The dealer was trying to teach me, and said that when I come to a stop or red light, shift into neutral and only keep your foot on the brake (some people leave the car in gear and keep their foot on the clutch and the brake). By keeping your foot on the clutch, the clutch continues to spin, leading to premature wear. I found it easier to keep my foot on the clutch at a stop, since I didn't have to worry about shifting into first gear when I would accelerate from a stop. But after I thought about it, I would much rather do it the hard way than pay for a new clutch. My point: being a conservative "clutcher" would add years to the bad boy.

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    slightly confused here. when I had a 4-H shift way back in the dark ages, there was a engine plate that spins whenever the engine is running, and then there is a clutch plate that is shiftable into or out of contact, depending on the clutch pedal. if you are not moving, the friction-surface clutch plate on a stopped car should not be moving, since there is no transfer back through the tranny of force from the car rolling backwards under a truck.

    hill-holders are nice to have when it is time to take off the brake and gas a little as you release the clutch so you still don't run backwards downhill underneath a truck, but that's not the point.

    what is spinning that is not supposed to that should force you to shift into neutral? why not just kick the whamstick over once to first and be ready to roll when the light changes?

    the sales guy just wants people playing with the stick IMHO, maybe get you into a fighter-pilot mood so you HAVE TO HAVE that car.

    not a class-A felony, but definitely I think bogus.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Keeping the clutch engaged and staying in first gear at the stop light is how they teach you to drive in the UK. This doesn't wear out the clutch in any way - most cars in the UK are manual and I've seen plenty high-milers on the original clutch.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    keep the throwout bearing out of position, so yes, it does wear the clutch assembly, if not just the plate.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It stresses the throwout bearing and the pressure plate springs and "fingers" certainly. Think of it as holding a spring-loaded screen door open to its maximum for long periods of time.

    Of course, net effect of this habit would not be seen immediately and I can't say as I'd claim that clutch life was shortened dramatically---but shortened, to be sure.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    but the guy said rotating parts would wear it out. that is a canard.

    it's not going to kill you if the throwout bearing does need a replacement in 90,000 miles, though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Given how long most people keep their cars, probably the net effect to the original owner who lets his foot sleep on the clutch pedal is...well...negligible...a few thousand less miles on the clutch perhaps. Really hard to say. I certainly wouldn't call it "abuse" but I certainly wouldn't "train" someone to do it either.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I got into the habit(shifting into neutral when stopped) soon after I got my 1973 Bavaria 3.0. The story I heard was that almost all Germans shift into neutral as a matter of course and thus their throwout bearings aren't designed for long periods of clutch disengagement. I never found out whether that was true or not, but it made sense-so I incorporated it into my driving technique. FWIW, I also heel and toe/double-clutch on downshifts-even in my Wrangler. Am I an anachronism or what?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    An optimist certainly, but the Wrangler is really the only true American sports car made anymore, so I appreciate your adherence to tradition.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Didn't Enzo make that comment originally? Regardless, the Jeep is entertaining in its own way. I'm sure some would consider it blasphemy, but I think that the Wrangler drives like a TR-6 fitted with a lift kit...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think Ferrari did say that, or if he didn't, he should have.

    Yeah, floor shift, bucket seats, side curtains, soft top, noise, wind, rough ride and 4-wheel drifting on skinny tires...that is pure sports car for the "fundamentalist".

    Okay, now where WERE we on this topic??
This discussion has been closed.