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Posted: 2/16/2012 6:59:20 PM EDT
I'm looking for a more fuel efficient car. I'm a huge diesel truck guy so the TDI cars have really caught my eye.

My budget is really around 6 or 7k so that would seem to put the car in the early 2000s or late 90s. How many miles is too many? Common problems? What should I look for?

2k + miles a month with my 14mpg Ford 6.4 is starting to hurt my wallet....
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:06:14 PM EDT
Great cars. Change the timing belt on time, or regret it.

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Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:11:16 PM EDT
Little thought about side note on diesel cars:

While having a F550's steering wheel smell like diesel fuel after fueling up is manly and all, having a little volkswagen's interior smell like diesel is not.

Use gloves to fuel up?

Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:12:06 PM EDT
Service Engine Light will always be on, but otherwise decent. small. Change the timing belt or else...
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:16:56 PM EDT
Volkswagen Automotive Group is never the answer to financial woes.

Just about any other econobox would be a better answer.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:17:01 PM EDT
As mentioned above, beware the timing belts. 2002 and up have a longer timing belt interval, I believe going from 40k miles to 80k miles. I had a '01 and changed the parts over to the '02 for longer interval. Dealer charges about a grand.

It had a few electric gremlins but nothing too bad. The automatics are known for being weak and VW doesn't recommend fluid changes anywhere in the manual. I sold mine a few weeks ago for $6k w/ 130,000 miles. Leather, sunroof, etc. Snow tires/wheels and OEM wheels with newish tires.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:17:41 PM EDT
Commute 150 miles everyday and gas was killing me. Bought an '09 TDI Jetta and couldn't be happier. 48-50 mpg at 65 mph and full blast a/c.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:22:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
Volkswagen Automotive Group is never the answer to financial woes.

Just about any other econobox would be a better answer.


this. in the long haul the maintenance costs is cost prohibitive. Take a look at some VW TDI forums and you will see plenty of people with stalling problems and soot issues of one kind or another. Get a Focus or Civic.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:36:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By maleante:
Little thought about side note on diesel cars:

While having a F550's steering wheel smell like diesel fuel after fueling up is manly and all, having a little volkswagen's interior smell like diesel is not.

Use gloves to fuel up?



I live in Oregon... thank god we don't have to pump our own gas. I hate the smell of gas but can tolerate diesel.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:38:20 PM EDT
About $8K more than the gas VW, and diesel costs $3.99 gallon vs $3.39 for gas.

With the extra maintenance costs, I figure the diesel would have to last something like 400K miles before its close to paying for itself.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:40:20 PM EDT
Hecho en Mexico.

No thanks.

My sister had a gas Beetle, it was a pile.

The new Jetta GLIs are cool though.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:48:29 PM EDT
I have a 2003 TDI and love/hate it. The seat is uncomfortable, the fuel economy is excellent. I have spent less money on it in repairs since I bought it at 30K then I have on the wifes 03 Trailblazer we bought at 30K. I have 125K on the Jetta and 80K on the TB.

You are going to find that clean TDI's hold their value very well. Mine could probably sell for 6K right now. They are very popular in the right crowds. Instead it is paid off and I am going to drive it till the wheels fall of then transplant the engine into something else for fun.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:51:32 PM EDT
I also found an extremely clean 1984 BMW 318i with 101k miles on Craigslist that I'm considering. They're asking $4300 which is about $2k too much for this car though.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 7:51:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
About $8K more than the gas VW, and diesel costs $3.99 gallon vs $3.39 for gas.

With the extra maintenance costs, I figure the diesel would have to last something like 400K miles before its close to paying for itself.


On the newest models, yes. Older models, not so much. My first diesel I hit 300,000 before I sold it. No more repairs than any other 16y/o car.

Get an early 2000's TDI and don't look back.

Just avoid the automatic and check to be certain it was built in der Vaterland, nicht Mexico.

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Link Posted: 2/16/2012 8:06:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
I also found an extremely clean 1984 BMW 318i with 101k miles on Craigslist that I'm considering. They're asking $4300 which is about $2k too much for this car though.


Meh. And I am a BMW tech.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 8:12:05 PM EDT
Do it. I love mine. 240K, it looks great drives great and it will be a long time before I give it up. I drive quite a bit too and it saves me so much money.
You are probably not interested in the quality but the interior is better than any Japanese or American vehicle I have been in lately. If you are on the road much you will like the full size spare and the huge trunk despite the tire.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 8:14:37 PM EDT
Reliability seems to be hit or miss. One guy here kept six coil packs in his trunk, he had changed them so often that he could do it blindfolded. Someone else bought a used Jetta and it needed a tranny, something like $9k. This really buggs me, in this day and time I don't think there is a excuse for poor reliability or electrical issue like this. Sure, not all auto manufacturers can be as reliable as a Toyota or Honda but they should be as reliable as a Ford Fusion as a minimum. To me it simply says that VW is not concerned about reliability, which is my number one concern. This is why I am on my 6th Toyota,we have two Rav4's and I just got a used Double cab Tundra.
Good luck.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 8:16:42 PM EDT
i found the interiors of those things like sitting on a bleacher. got to step up and out to get over the door jamb.


Diesel cost vs Gas .... its gonna take a long ass time to get that money back.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:04:54 PM EDT
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:09:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By watersniper:
Service Engine Light will always be on, but otherwise decent. small. Change the timing belt or else...

Only if you rely on dealer service. Don't skimp on timing belt quality either.

For an outlay of $500 in tools, you can do everything yourself. VCDS+Robert Bentley shop manual are a must.


Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:11:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?

13.5 gallons gets me 650 miles. You do the math. That is at an actual 75 MPH.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:16:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


My wife has an '02 TDI beetle.

Our driving is 45-50mph country roads, and in town. We get 38 on the low side, 45-47 if we are on the highway a lot.

Just replaced the oil pan for the 3rd time (we have a rough dirt road) so this weekend I'm installing a panzer pan, and debating lifting it 3" and putting BFG mud treads on it...

Serious about the panzer pan, debating on the lift. ;) Yeah, it will look crazy. But I won't have to replace any more oil pans...
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:25:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Originally Posted By maleante:
Little thought about side note on diesel cars:

While having a F550's steering wheel smell like diesel fuel after fueling up is manly and all, having a little volkswagen's interior smell like diesel is not.

Use gloves to fuel up?



I live in Oregon... thank god we don't have to pump our own gas. I hate the smell of gas but can tolerate diesel.


Hope that it will run on gas, because that's what the meth addict will be putting in there.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 9:44:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
About $8K more than the gas VW, and diesel costs $3.99 gallon vs $3.39 for gas.

With the extra maintenance costs, I figure the diesel would have to last something like 400K miles before its close to paying for itself.


you won't have to worry about a VW hitting 400k. I've known a couple of people who gave up on theirs in fits of desparation.
Link Posted: 2/16/2012 11:59:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


Yes

I drive one way 47 miles one way to work and average 45mpg at around 70-72mph. '09 Jetta TDI with 85K
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 12:27:44 AM EDT
good engine with a piece of shit built around them.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 12:28:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


The older ones do, yes. Until they break, that is.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 12:39:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Infallible:
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
Volkswagen Automotive Group is never the answer to financial woes.

Just about any other econobox would be a better answer.


this. in the long haul the maintenance costs is cost prohibitive. Take a look at some VW TDI forums and you will see plenty of people with stalling problems and soot issues of one kind or another. Get a Focus or Civic.


Yep
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 3:39:01 AM EDT
My GF has a 06 TDI and gets about 50MPG on the highway at 70mph. It has been very very reliable. I did the math on the service, and she has spent no more than what it would have cost if she had a car that ran on gas.(she gets the car serviced every 10,000 miles, as per VW) We also don't go to a dealer to get the car worked on; we got to a local mechanic with a excellent rep that works on VWs/imports only.

I think VWs are hit or miss. I think it depends on two things: A.where it was built. The German ones are usually the good ones and the Mexican built ones are the bad ones and B. keeping the car service schedule. Unlike Japanese Cars, German cars MUST be serviced on schedule with no delay. If you do, the car is reliable, if you don't....
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 3:47:08 AM EDT
I know that the new TDI engine is a popular swap for 4wd guys.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 3:51:27 AM EDT
Change the oil on a tight schedule like the book says, or more frequently.

Volkswagens do not have a reputation of being tolerant of slack maintenance practices.


Wanna see a mandatory engine swap? Hand over a VW to a college kid who isn't a gearhead.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 4:02:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
I'm looking for a more fuel efficient car. I'm a huge diesel truck guy so the TDI cars have really caught my eye.

My budget is really around 6 or 7k so that would seem to put the car in the early 2000s or late 90s. How many miles is too many? Common problems? What should I look for?

2k + miles a month with my 14mpg Ford 6.4 is starting to hurt my wallet....


Just for your information, comcast.net has rolling news and things where you login to your email and it has today a cars that are the lest dependable and Volkswagon was on the list, might want to read it further.

http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/finance-leastdependablecars/?cid=hero_media
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 4:04:04 AM EDT
03 TDI Golf here. The car just broke 190k (bought it new) last week and I've had no problems with the car. I do all the maintenance myself.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 4:46:24 AM EDT
I have a 2002 Golf TDI, and it's cost me about $600 in repairs over 150k + miles, and half of that was probably due to my use of biodiesel. Of course, if I took the car to the dealership every time I had a little problem, I could probably add another zero that cost, but most of my problems have been relatively minor, easy to diagnose, and fix. The car has been 100% dependable. Regular maintenance has been fairly cheap, with oil changes every 10k, air and fuel filter changes every 20k. Still have original brakes on all four corners, but I think I'm due for a new clutch (doesn't surprise me, I drive hard and downshift a lot).

I don't really believe the country of origin makes much difference (my Golf was made in Brazil), but if you want German then consider spending a little more for a Jetta Wagon. Make sure you get a '03 or older, so it will have the VE mechanical fuel system and not the PD unit injectors. There are more difference than just the fuel system.

Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


Yes. Basically 70mph=50mpg for a long highway trip. I bet you could set the cruist at 100mph and still get 30mpg... maybe better. Mixed driving yields mid-40s, it just depends on the environment and type of driving. City driving gets low 40s, and the only time I got below 40 was in the winter, with lots of short trips where the car never even got up to operating temp. And one time on the highway going into high, gusty winds, and possibly bad fuel also. My best mileage was 55mpg, with the cruist set at 65mph. If you fill the tank ALL the way, you can count on 700+ miles per tank for highway driving, and I've exceeded 800 miles on numerous occasions.

If you haven't already been there, check out TDIclub.com, and if you decide to buy a TDI, get a diagnostic cable from Ross-Tech.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 5:07:27 AM EDT
I bought a 2001 Jetta TDI last year. One owner (I know the owner fairly well), timing belt was done at the dealer right before I bought it, car was well maintained.

I haven't actually drove it all that much, but so far so good. Thing is amazing on fuel and is built like a tank compared to my Corollas (which I really enjoy).

Only thing I need to do with it is replace the rear axle bushings, which I'm reading up on at TDIForums right now.

I like the car.......so far.

vmax84
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 5:35:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2012 5:36:14 AM EDT by tmleadr03]
Originally Posted By SnoopisTDI:
I have a 2002 Golf TDI, and it's cost me about $600 in repairs over 150k + miles, and half of that was probably due to my use of biodiesel. Of course, if I took the car to the dealership every time I had a little problem, I could probably add another zero that cost, but most of my problems have been relatively minor, easy to diagnose, and fix. The car has been 100% dependable. Regular maintenance has been fairly cheap, with oil changes every 10k, air and fuel filter changes every 20k. Still have original brakes on all four corners, but I think I'm due for a new clutch (doesn't surprise me, I drive hard and downshift a lot).

I don't really believe the country of origin makes much difference (my Golf was made in Brazil), but if you want German then consider spending a little more for a Jetta Wagon. Make sure you get a '03 or older, so it will have the VE mechanical fuel system and not the PD unit injectors. There are more difference than just the fuel system.

Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


Yes. Basically 70mph=50mpg for a long highway trip. I bet you could set the cruist at 100mph and still get 30mpg... maybe better. Mixed driving yields mid-40s, it just depends on the environment and type of driving. City driving gets low 40s, and the only time I got below 40 was in the winter, with lots of short trips where the car never even got up to operating temp. And one time on the highway going into high, gusty winds, and possibly bad fuel also. My best mileage was 55mpg, with the cruist set at 65mph. If you fill the tank ALL the way, you can count on 700+ miles per tank for highway driving, and I've exceeded 800 miles on numerous occasions.

If you haven't already been there, check out TDIclub.com, and if you decide to buy a TDI, get a diagnostic cable from Ross-Tech.


The worst I have seen is 30 mpg towing a trailer. A filled enclosed uhaul trailer. 100 mph should still be in the 40s
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 8:12:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2012 8:15:10 AM EDT by jmt1991]
Originally Posted By Bassgasm:
Volkswagen Automotive Group is never the answer to financial woes.



It looks like that's one VAG you'd want to stay away from.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 8:21:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2012 8:25:02 AM EDT by sandblaster]
Originally Posted By HuckMeat:
Originally Posted By GraniteClimber:
Do they really get 40-50mpg on the highway?


My wife has an '02 TDI beetle.

Our driving is 45-50mph country roads, and in town. We get 38 on the low side, 45-47 if we are on the highway a lot.

Just replaced the oil pan for the 3rd time (we have a rough dirt road) so this weekend I'm installing a panzer pan, and debating lifting it 3" and putting BFG mud treads on it...

Serious about the panzer pan, debating on the lift. ;) Yeah, it will look crazy. But I won't have to replace any more oil pans...


Sounds like the Mercedes 240D treatment you see running around Nouakchott, Mauritania - jacked up 240d's running the Sahara.

ETA: I bought the wife a 2011 TDI Jetta sedan in April 2011 before deploying. 35,000 miles/45 mpg/no problems yet
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