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Honda Civic vs Volkswagen Jetta



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Sounds like the Honda is the ONLY gas guzzler in your family. TDI Jetta, eh? If the Civic averages 40 MPG at $2.20 a gallon, and the Jetta averages 49 MPG at $2.70 a gallon, it almost seems like a wash!

    If the Honda sees a higher percentage of city miles than the VW does (which is what I'm trying to figure out) then it still sort of makes sense to me.

    What kind of tires do you have on each, out of curiousity? I just realized I probably look like I'm grilling you. I'm not trying to be a pest, so send me an online *slap* if I need to stop! :)
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    No not at all. Since I see them side by side, something that might seem totally logical and a no brainer would not be as apparent if someone else just owns one or the other. No attempt was made to equalize the tires, other than run what came OEM. GY LS, Dunlop on the other.

    Yes ULR is currently at 2.83 and diesel at 2.97. So the math would put fuel cost at 2.83/40=.07075 vs 2.97/49= .0606122. This would make the ULR 14.3% more per mile driven.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    In terms of lessons learned about the vehicles side by side, quite a few "commonly known" things about Honda and VW have been shown to be at the worst suspect and on a practical level reinforces the dictum "buyer beware." Indeed for the same miles driven (41,500) on both cars. The Honda is one alignment and 4 tires more expensive than the VW. This is of course with a look back with the VW as it has more than 2x the miles the Honda has currently. So if we put some dollar figures to those items, we are talking 60-100 for the alignment and (just to replace with the obviously short wearing) oem tires, app 300.

    While sort of unrelated, BUT REALLY RELATED, another issue would be what tires to replace the Dunlop OEM's with. If one is not careful, most selections lose mpg which would partially negate why one bought a economic/economy vehicle in the first place? However it is pretty obvious, they are not long wearing in my case. When you start to take this stuff out to 250,000 -300,000 miles the consequences of the decision just jump out at you. On the other side if one is a ricer, they are probably thinking geez, what a fogie.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    On the VW side, I am just as surprise as anyone (in the VW gearhead community) that the lowly rated and thought of oem GY LS tires seem to be going to 125,000 miles with no issues other than dead even across wear.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Even 55,000 miles on a set of OEM tires (or almost any tire for that matter)is a lot yet you say the tires on a Jetta you own is expected to go 120-130,000 miles. This on one (1) set of tires? I can honestly say that neither I nor anybody I know ever got anywhere near that and I would be happy if I got that "poor" 55K mile treadlife on ANY tire I ever bought regardless of price paid or brand or treadwear estimates. My tires wear evenly, I rotate religiously, keep correct air pressure, drive sanely, don't do burn-outs, but they just plain WEAR OUT!! How is it that some get 100+K miles on brake pads....100K miles on tires....50 mpg and so on? Am I doing something wrong? Am I buying the wrong brand? Do I believe everything I read on a website?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    How is it that some get 100+K miles on brake pads.

    It is quite simple, they were never really used for most of those miles. Before the car was handed down to me, it was driven 70 miles a day round trip on my grandmother's work commute, 31-32 miles or so of which was beltway-type interstate (I-459 in Birmingham, if you are familiar). 70 MPH speed limits, with very little traffic holdups. The car ran for 120,000 miles that way before I got it. She had them checked several times, because she just knew it would need them before then (she got the 1996 Accord only 2 years after changing where she worked - she has since retired), but they always told her approx. what percent of brake pad life was left, so she never had to get them done. That fell to me, at 141k miles. I still have the original rears, but want to get them at least looked at on my next oil change (I'm at 3,300 miles on this oil, so I'll go in very soon).

    The short answer for extending brake pad life?

    Don't use 'em! :P
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Yeah but you gotta stop sometime. It just seems unreal since I change pads at about 30K intervals and do not live in a large city where there is more STOP than GO. Sure I stop at a few lights and stop signs every day but still... Anyhow,we always use the tires...round and round we go.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Yes ONE set (1). No alignment since the new car break in ( 12,000 or one year warranty) What this means in English is I drove it around for app 5,000 miles and brought it in to the local VW Dealer and ask them to check the alignment and give me a written result. I did the same with the Honda Civic.

    On the tires, we do geek out, ( about the proper air pressure, but I will not bore you all with the discussion. Truly how I thought I had the wrong brand (GY) was on the discussion thread and as a result really thought I got the short end of the stick.

    I can't yet speak on either about the brake pads and rotors as I am not yet at 135,000 miles on either. As you all know it is VERY easy to check the remaining material on a disc brake. You can also feel when a rotor is warped. I can swag with a micrometer and a bit of shop manual research but....

    Both cars routinely see once or twice a month operation on the streets of San Francisco.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yeah but you gotta stop sometime. It just seems unreal since I change pads at about 30K intervals and do not live in a large city where there is more STOP than GO.

    You have to remember, she drove about 60 miles (of 70) where she never had to apply the brakes (unless an unlikely traffic tie-up occurred). This meant that for over 80% of her driving, she never used the brakes more than occasionally. The other 20% is when most of the wear occurred. It isn't where she lived, it is how far her brake-less commute was versus the area where she DID have to use them. Between her house and her office, in my head, I'm counting four traffic lights and two stop signs; over 35 miles. She made a round trip, so 8 redlights and 4 stop signs a day, over 70 miles. Considering all of the lights fall in zones where the speeds should be under 40 MPH, it doesn't surprise me at all, nor does it make me think a different car of similar weight and driven similarly couldn't do the same thing.

    I've got 30k miles on my current front pads now, and they have been used a lot more than my grandmother used. Still plenty of life in them though, although not nearly as much as the original ones would have had at this stage. I drive 28 miles a day, with probably 15 lights, and 3 or 4 stop signs; only 14 miles of interstate in that 28 miles.

    We always use the tires, yes, but how do you use them? I think the current pattern is looking like I'll get about 65,000 miles from my OEM tires on my 2006 Accord (approximately 1/4th of tread above the "warning bars" has been used, and I have 17,000 miles on the car). If you drive in curves, do more turning, or drive more aggressive in general, tires, brakes, and gas will all be fleeting.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    "Am I buying the wrong brand?"

    On the Tires Tires Tires thread, there is very slow fishing for recommendations for the 185/70/14 sized tires. I had actually heard from a few Honda Civic folks (same model generation) the Dunlop wore very fast. Indeed Tire Rack has them rated something like 29th/30 tires. They are working hard over there at Dunlop to dominate last place. :) Perhaps in a couple years, they will stick it! :)

    Since I did this about 1.5 years ago, I bought the Toyo Spectrum? for this size and application (T rated) The indications are no loss in mpg and I think a 100,000 mile ?chance. I will report when I get them on, if folks are interested. I got Toyo's because I have some Toyo's (Proxes T1S's) and was impressed with the quality after 17k miles. They have way better rain performance than the more dry performance oriented GY Eagles that came standard with the Z06. They suffer a bit in the dry performance department but I have to say, I don't call on 1 g lateral performance too much. Plus when I take it cross country, I have inevitable run into rain, some snow, and that extra rain performance helps. An example would be: rain all the way from Las Vegas, NV to Grand Canyon, AZ. Yes, I thought that too: IT DOESN'T RAIN IN THE DESERT! :) Overnight snow storm in the Colorado Rockies.

    I wonder what other folks experiencs have been with Civic oem tires. One lesson in the side by side comparison would be to get the VW oem tires that fit the Civic. But neither Continental, Michelin nor GY have the oem tire that fits. I do know that Costco sells the Michelin DT, which is a model they sell to specific vendors and not for overall sale to the wider retail tire market.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    All my questions were "tongue in cheek" and or rhetorical but seriously I never got tire life or front pad life approaching any of these posted numbers. This through 40 plus years of driving and any number of vehicles with most (OK,many) of the popular brands of tires e.g. Firestone, Goodyear, Kelly, Continental, Dunlop, Michelin, Sears and many of the brands sold with off names but manufactured by the major tire companies. I used bias belted tires ( including wide ovals) in the 60's and 70's then radials in all sizes since. I can't say I always was religious about tire pressure and rotation but I have been for a few decades. I was pretty hard on tires in the late 60's early 70's having owned a string of 383-440 cu in Dodge and Plymouth cars and again in the 70's with a 70 Chevelle SS 454 but not now. I say again I do not know how anyone can get that many miles out of tires. I will concede brakes will last if you never use them however. But once again,you gotta stop sometime..!!!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Well there you have it then. Mine is only 41 years of driving. :)

    On a more serious note, however is the Honda Civic is 450#'s LIGHTER than the VW Jetta. 2950#'s vs 2500#'s. So there theory broke down, there should be less wear due to weight. The other issue; while oem tires do take their share of criticism for a whole host of reasons, one usual significance is they normally have the least rolling resistance to get the best epa mpg.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    "On a more serious note, however is the Honda Civic is 450#'s LIGHTER than the VW Jetta. 2950#'s vs 2500#'s. So there theory broke down, there should be less wear due to weight. The other issue; while oem tires do take their share of criticism for a whole host of reasons, one usual significance is they normally have the least rolling resistance to get the best epa mpg. "

    I probably should clean up the quote a bit.

    to: So in this example, the theory has broken down: there should be LESS wear due to lower weight.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    So what this has done over the same amount of miles is to increase the cost per mile of operation of the Civic over the diesel Jetta, specifically by app 400 dollars. A quick and dirty per mile would be 42,000/400 dollars = $.095238 cents per mile.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Not necessarily, diesels are very expensive to work on and if you ran into some engine repairs on your diesel Jetta it would very quickly kick your carefully crafted "savings" over the Civic to hell. There are so many variables in this possible savings idea between the Jetta and Civic as to render it useless. OK maybe the fuel saving could be charted but as far as wear way.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    In the context of my post, your last assertion is almost illogical. It would have no effect, if for example; I didn't have to pay for it. Or someone like you would. :) Indeed my (Civic) expenses put a hole in YOUR carefully crafted idea/argument that the Civic is cheaper to run than the Jetta. I am just talking about what ACTUALLY happened. (at like miles) Indeed Civic has 47k more miles to go to be at the same level of comparison as the Jetta.

    Indeed, I have EVERYTHING to GAIN with the tires on the Civic going to 100,000 miles with the original alignment!? Since I did buy the replacement tires 1.5 years ago, one could say, I went into the Civic ownership with eyes fully opened. So I shall see when I actually change the tires on the Civic. Nothing at 89k on the Jetta and I already talked about 42k on the Civic.

    Upcoming are timing belt changes, 105k/100k on both vehicles. The price is about the same. But as you point out I do have 258k left on the Civic and 211k on the Jetta till both hit 300k.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Filled up after the alignment. Got 39 mpg (actually 39.2) I had been getting 38 or so. So the alignment seems to let the vehicle track better and the mpg is 1 better right after the alignment. Will see if it is a trend. :)
  • Could you explain in a little more detail why diesel engines are more expensive to work on? I've been looking into buying a Jetta TDI and wasn't aware of this. I'd really appreciate the help. Thanks!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Actually they are not. The problem and opportunity is not many mechanics know how or specialize on diesels. This is also true of independent shops/vendors.

    Right now it is similar to hybrid mechanics.

    So as a result, some specialized shops have taken to charging a premium. It is sort of the difference between what a Toyota vs Lexus dealer charges. :( :)

    Also Honda's brake components (in the community) have a reputation for wearing out faster than other brands. While Honda has never addressed that publicly, (to my knowledge) so I will stand corrected with any postings or links. I understand the newer models 2007 have so called beefer rotors and pads combinations. Again, I do not know many 2007's with 100,000 miles so would defer to those with those experiences.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    While I do not have first hand knowledge of specific repair costs of gas verses diesel I BELIEVE in general diesel engines while not having all the ignition parts a gas engine has (although these parts cause very few problems these days) do have some parts that are diesel specific. Some things that are used only in a diesel...maybe a high dollar fuel injector pump?? In addition, while the internal components are similar to gas the costs are greater for labor and most probably parts. You will also probably have a harder time finding a "run of the mill" local mechanic willing to work on one. As I said I do not have first hand experience but if labor cost alone (not to mention more expensive parts) is considered they ARE more expensive to work on than gas engines.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    I didn't make the assertion the one verses the other would be cheaper to run only that there are so many variables that you cannot predict. Apparently you own both, a little fact I missed originally so yes you can chart them side-by-side and continue to monitor. My post was based on the assumption you owned one but speculated on the mistake.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Truly as you surmise and state, there are some "diesel" specific items. But there are truly some gasser specific ones also. We just do not normally refer to and think of those itmes as gasser specific for 97% of the passenger vehicle fleet ARE gassers.

    For example; a very subtle shift, but a shift nonetheless, I have to/should make sure the glow plug lamp goes out before I crank it up.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Yes, there are items found on only gasoline engines and not on diesels. Mainly they involve ignition components and spark plugs. Years ago I could have pointed to the distributor..the coil...distributor cap and rotor...plug wires...ignition module within the distributor and finally the plugs themselves all as potential trouble points the diesel didn't have. However, most of these individual components have been eliminated with inception of "coil on plug" modules that effectively do away with everything except the plugs and they now last upwards of 100K miles. So for all practical purposes the ignition system on a modern car has been so simplified that ignition problems (due to the sheer number of components ripe for possible individual failure)has all but been eliminated. Frankly the ignition system was about all the diesel has over a gas engine in its favor (with regard to potential extra repair items and costs) in as much as a diesel doesn't have one. A diesel does have that expensive injector pump, at least I guess they still have them. And instead of a $2.00 spark plug you have glow plugs that cost how much? Oh, I almost forgot what about that expensive turbo? (or two as on the new Ford Powerstroke)?? Virtually everything else is common..both have starter motors ( more expensive on a diesel due to it needing to be more powerful to crank a diesel)..alternators (more expensive on a diesel due to that extra powerful starting system and maybe two batteries)..water pump and radiator (possibly more expensive on a diesel due to the need for being larger to cope with the extra heat generated. You have all the internal components e.g crankshaft,bearings,pistons, connecting rods, valves etc. except all these pieces are made stronger due to the high compression of a diesel(costing more of course),and lets not forget extra large (and extra expensive fuel and possibly oil filters). And finally, as both you and I have stated labor costs are likely more due to the specalized mechanic needed to do any work on a diesel. They MAY last longer (I am not talking commercial truck diesels)between the need for internal rebuilds..BUT my last 1987 Ford taurus had 293,000 miles when I sold it last fall and the new owner drove it away. Most modern gas engines can do 100K miles without trouble and 200K with regular maintainance. I should add,it (my Taurus) used no oil did not smoke and was aside from fuel economy what benefit a diesel? I will finish by stating I LIKE diesels and would like to be able to buy one in the brand of my choice but the argument a diesel isn't more expensive to maintain and repair than a gas engine..nah.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    ..."$2.00 spark plug you have glow plugs that cost how much? "...

    I just about fell out getting the price for 4 each spark plugs NGK PZFR6F-11. 17.03 per, retail = $68.12. Of course you can google.

    Glow plugs are not a "scheduled maintenance" type item, such as Honda Civic spark plugs. But $60. per 4 each. Truth is you can replace just one or up to 4.

    Congradulations. Got to hand it to you, 293k on a FORD Taurus!! Woo Hoo! What do you swag was your mpg? It might be a stretch to assume you had NO unscheduled maintenance!? EVERYONE I knew with a Ford Taurus had very expensive issues, well below even 100,000 miles. My neighbor of at least 18 years, got Fords exclusively. He was/is almost totally meticulous in DIY. Yet, he had expensive issues on every one of his Ford's. His OCI's were 3/5 k and he used Motorcraft oil and filters. So the truth is I have helped him in his DIY. He of course wondered to himself and out loud at times, how I even considered going to 15,000 to 25,000 mile OCI's, but again he has helped me with all of mine. :)

    Now if my Honda Civic gets to 315,000 miles (3 timing belt changes, 105k miles per) I'd be a happy camper. My goal is keep this in operation as long as possible even past 315k.

    On the VW, past my initial misgivings, is seems to be no brainer at 90,000 to go to 300,000 miles. The timing belt change is due at 100,000 miles. If folks are interested I will report. But I have seen my timing belt guru do 15 of them, so I do not anticipate anything out of the ordinary, i.e., road hypnosis :)
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    I seldom bought plugs anywhere but an auto part store where you can buy Bosch platinum in a variety of electrode numbers from 1 to 4 for maybe $5-6.00 per plug for the 4 electrode version and lesser electrodes for something less. I did pay something over $60.00 for six plugs recently for our Dodge Stratus...this at the dealer while the car was in for something else. I don't know if one can even get non-platinum plugs yet but they should be fairly cheap at Pep Boys.
    With regards to the Taurus first I have a question..what does "swag" mean? But fuel economy was reasonable on most of the six or seven Sable/Taurus I owned. Around 20 in town and I saw as much as 29-30 on several long (once to Dallas Tx from Pa and once to Florida from Pa)trips. All were the 3.0 liter Vulcan engine and none of them required anything except alternators, waterpumps, on starter motor, and oil changes. The 87 wagon had the highest mileage but I also had an 87 LX sedan earlier that had 190K miles when sold.It too ran fine. Additionally there was an 87 Sable wagon the had around 160K miles when sold. The biggest(most expensive) issue were automatic transmissions. The sedan had the original transmission when sold @ 190K the Taurus wagon had a transmission explode at around 180K miles and it was replaced with a reman. The Sable was only a bit over 100K when the original went and the salvage yard replacement was on its way out at 160K. Yeah there were other issues, lots of them along the way but the 3.0 Vulcan V-6 in my opinion is/was one of Fords best.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Scientific Wild [non-permissible content removed] Guess. SWAG

    First off I am a tad confused, You got 293k miles on one or several? Your follow up posts indicate several. Again, correct me if I am wrong.

    I don't know how to say this but; alternators, starters, batteries, water pumps are sort of unscheduled, BUT scheduled maintenance items. However, anecdotally they do last however long they do last, i.e., do have a cost per cycle so to speak. If anyone is confused by this seemingly double talk, let me know. DIY folks and maintenance types do understand.

    One of the things about 4 bangers is the timing belt change at app 100/105k. The good news, belts are more precise and obviously changed at the scheduled intervals refresh for another 100/105 mile cycle. The bad news is they stretch and can break and the design.

    The older A-3 gen VW Jetta's put the water pump out of line. So in effect a water pump is good to go to at least 250,000 miles. BUT if it doesn't, you do not have to change the timing belt and is a simple ( less than 20 min) procedure vs a timing belt procedure of 2/6 hours. Both Honda (75 plus shipping) and A-4 gen (60 plus shipping) put the water pump in line. So even though it can be good to go to 200,000/250,000 miles it makes sense to change the water pump (early) at the 100/150 mile cycle (SAME LABOR COST). The reason is IF it does leak you have to perform the same belt change to change the water pump.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    To help clear things up then...a 1987 Taurus wagon = 293K miles. a 1987 Taurus LX sedan = approx 188K miles a 1986 Sable wagon = approx 160K miles. I owned about 6 or 7 of these from the 1986 to 1989 model years but these three reached the highest mileage before disposing of/selling them. I bought them used after they were more than a couple of years old and drove the hell out of them. They fit my needs back then especially the station wagon versions. I kept the 87 wagon with 293K the longest (13 years). I never computed the cost to own any car I had but remember some were more problematic than others. When you keep a car as long as I kept some of these replacing alternators etc is inevitable. The only one that stands out was the 87 LX sedan which had an immense amount of small to medium problems mostly electrical (power window motors..power locks...climate control/AC wiring etc) it was in the shop more than any car I have ever owned however the Vulcan 3.0 V-6 ran flawlessly on all.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,380
    Under the category of lessons learned; truly if Honda's Civic's and VW's Jetta's are STATISTICALLY better than Ford's Taurus's, then in a manner of speaking, I have set my mileage goals WAY too low.

    Since I have in the past run app 250,000 on a 1970 VW Beetle (bought used in 1971 with 10,000 miles, sold in 1978) and on conventional oil (1.5/3k mile OCI's). Geez every time I turned around, I was changing oil. For the oil filter super freaks, it might bear mentioning, the Beetle's air cooled engine didn't even have an oil filter! It quite literally used a stainless steel "mosquito screen". Oxymoronically the motor oil was used as an air screen, pre intake manifold.

    I also ran a 1987 Toyota Landcruiser, 4 speed manual app 250,000 miles on Mobil One 5w30 oil with 15,000 OCI's.

    So I think I will target 420,000 miles on the Civic (4 timing belt changes) . I will keep the same targets for the Jetta. Incidently a brand new TDI diesel engine is app $4,200.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    So I think I will target 420,000 miles on the Civic (4 timing belt changes) . I will keep the same targets for the Jetta. Incidently a brand new TDI diesel engine is app $4,200.

    Those are reasonable targets - the first engine in my 1987 Golf lasted 429,000 miles....
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