How Manufacturer’s Get Out Of Covering Recalls

Hey Cool Car Fans,

There are certain manufacturer’s that you want to lease instead of own. That is unless you have no problem writing a check for senseless repairs that are just not normal with other manufacturers. I’ve spent well over $500,000 fixing cars over the years, which is quite a bit compared to most people.

Recently, I purchased a 2012 VW Tiguan for a client with only about 38,500 miles on the vehicle.  You would think that with that few of miles that it would be in fairly good shape mechanically. I took it to the VW dealer to get a tune up prior to delivery and had it checked out. The VW dealership said there were not any serious issues and that there were no recalls for the vehicle.  A few days after I delivered it the vehicle it started to stall out on my client. This was not good and even though I had sold the vehicle “As-Is” without a warranty it just wasn’t cool that this VW was having these problems. She stalled out in the middle of an intersection, which was terrible and dangerous.

2012 VW Tiguan

I got the vehicle back and took it to another repair shop where they looked at it for about a week.  They couldn’t find a solution to the problem she was having after changing out a crank case sensor and some other possible solutions to the problem.  They reproduced the problem and after a week they thought that they had it fixed.

In the meantime, I went back to the website where recalls are listed for vehicles.  There were actually three recalls for these 2009 – 2014 vehicles.  You can see the recalls listed here and it’s very interesting how manufacturers play what I call, “the recall game” with the U.S. Government.  I’m surprised a good team of attorney’s hasn’t figured this one out yet, but hopefully they will read my article and see how it works.  Hopefully, we can get the manufacturers to comply and fix the problems they are creating for the consumer. The VW Tiguan that I delivered as a used vehicle with only 38,500 miles was having the exact same problem as 151,389 other VW Tiguan’s, but this particular VIN was excluded.

It was the same vehicle, same engine, same exact issue with the vehicle was stalling while driving, but you will notice that VW’s solution and reason for this was not even close to accurate. It’s a con-job to get out of paying for the real issue with their vehicles and paying more money for a hefty recall on hundreds of thousands of vehicles. Here’s what they state is causing the problem – ” When using winterized fuel, in certain conditions bubbles may form in the fuel system which could result in the vehicle stalling. “

That sounds so simple and friendly doesn’t it? “Why it’s just bubbles in the fuel system from winterized fuel. ” Want to know what the real problem was and the cost of the repair? Let me first tell you that I had to go back to another VW dealer and they wanted $600 to scrape carbon out of the engine from not using the Premium Fuel since it wasn’t covered under the recall. I loved that one. That definitely wasn’t the issue.

In fact, my client took it to a VW dealership in Colorado Springs and they had the vehicle there for two months. That’s right, they had her vehicle for two months to try to diagnose the problem that didn’t match their recall issue, even though the vehicle was “stalling”. They told her that they had to have a VW Engineer fly in from Germany who looked at the vehicle and determined that coolant from the radiator had leaked down the wiring harness that feeds into the ECM unit and corroded it. That’s a far cry from using the wrong fuel.

I went round and round with the technician after they quoted $3,800 to fix it and we got nowhere with VW. We contacted the VW Rep and got nowhere. I decided to go to another European vehicle mechanic I know here in Denver and told him the situation. He said it “was a known problem” with VW and their motors and engineering and that he could get a used ECM, have it reflashed, clean off the wiring harness and have it back up and running for about $1,500. Of course, my client by this time was worn out from the fiasco with VW since they had her vehicle for two months!

I couldn’t blame her and she opted for the $3,800 repair for something that should have been a recall item. I offered to pick up $2,000 of the repair bill for her, which is more than the manufacturer VW offered. I lost money getting her this vehicle, but it was pathetic how VW as a manufacturer handled this situation with their faulty engineering.

It’s pretty pathetic when The Cool Car Guy, who owns a used car dealership did more to stand behind a faulty 2012 VW Tiguan than VW did with their crappy engineering. Let me share this too about why I am calling foul on VW and their “winterized fuel” scenario for their VW Tiguan recall.


Here’s an article showing that VW recalled 281,000 Passat and CC vehicles that were “stalling” and it wasn’t “winterized fuel”, but a faulty fuel pump –

I used this 2012 VW Tiguan as an example for this article and obviously I was pretty ticked about how the manufacturer handled this situation with their vehicle. However, the reality is that many car manufacturers play this game with their vehicles to get out of paying for costly repairs. I’ve seen it with just about every manufacturer. It’s a shell game where they know there is a serious issue with a vehicle, but they can issue a recall for something cheaper that won’t cost as much to temporarily fix the problem. They can also exclude certain VIN’s with the real known problem and then make the customer feel like they have a problem and not their vehicle. Sometimes they will do the recall and it won’t fix the problem and the service technician’s response is “Well, the recall has been done, so we know it’s not that.” and the reality is that it never was that to begin with. It’s your word against theirs.

It’s not just recalls either. If you buy a Dodge vehicle that was previously in Canada you will not get the warranty transferred to the United States simply because it was in KM instead of miles. Which is definitely a “buyer beware” issue before you buy a Dodge to make sure it wasn’t in Canada previously.

In closing, I felt it was important to write an article about this issue because nobody is actually talking about recalls. And in fairness, many times manufacturers will actually issue recalls for the right issue as well and fix them. I’ve seen it both ways, so it’s very annoying.

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant who owns, a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide. Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.comor Twitter @coolcarguy

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