Modern Diesel Maintenance

I’ve been car shopping recently and have pretty much set upon a new VW Golf TDI (diesel). The only thing I’m unsure about in respect to the vehicle is how the maintenance of this car will differ from the maintenance of a traditional gasoline passenger car. I’m not terribly proficient when it comes to tinkering under the hood of a car, so the VW would end up at a garage for pretty much any necessary tune-up, unless the remedy truly foolproof.

Ask to see a schedule of maintenance in the owner’s manual at the dealership. That will give you a good idea of what is required to keep the car in good shape. They should also be able to let you know the current prices for most of their maintenance packages which cover those items listed for maintenance in the schedule. Since you would be taking it in anyways.

I suggest you stop by the TDI Club 

The are the place for TDI Info and help.

The TDI needs different maintenance than a gasoline car, but it is not really easier or harder, but a little different. The guys at tdiclub can help you out with instructions and in many areas there are local owners who meet regularly and would be happy to lend a hand.

Your owner’s manual will spell it out completely, there’s next to nothing to ‘tinker’ with, you’ll want to maintain it by-the-book. Go to the dealer while under warranty, then find a good independent VW TDI mechanic near you. These are complex motors, you’ll want knowledgeable people working on them. Don’t feel any pressure to do it yourself, unless you fully understand what needs to be done. By the time the warranty will be up there will be repair manuals available, Bentley is the best.

In spite of what you might think about fuel mileage, don’t expect to save any money driving a TDI diesel. The cost for changing fuel filters every 20,000 miles will cost around $25 to $30 for the filter alone and more for someone else to install it for you. My gas cars are lucky to get a $10 filter at 50,000 miles. TDI diesels use special expensive engine oil for near $10 per quart. It lasts 10,000 miles but a gas car can do that too according to our experience with the oil change calculator on our GM car. Oil for that car is between $5 and $6 per quart.

Compact gas car fuel mileage is approaching TDI fuel mileage. Check the EPA site for evidence of this. If saving money with a TDI is your goal, it will not happen. The difference in new car price will buy a lot of gasoline too.

Thanks for all the input. That TDI club looks like it has more information than I could consume in a lifetime. I’m sure to waste a few days reading through it. That’s just what I need, something else to geek out on. :slight_smile:

They are big-time nuts on these - just filter out the discussions on older TDIs, yours is quite a bit different. Should be covered in a FAQ section there.

Not sure if VW uses it, but some modern diesels use some kind of urea that mixes with the fuel/exhaust gases somewhere to help clean up emissions a bit. This stuff requires periodic filling/changing, same as the oil, coolant, or transmission fluid.