Service History Gap on Used 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI

Hi- I’m looking to purchase a one-owner 2010 JSW TDI with 98K miles. CarFax show services conducted every 10K miles…EXCEPT between 34K and 70K. All services before the gap were done at one dealership and all the ones after the gap were done at another, nearby dealership. I’m trying to gauge how serious this gap in the service record is.

Is there a reasonable chance that a service was in fact performed between 34K and 70K miles but that it would not show up on the CarFax? (I currently get oil changes done for my 97 Sube at jiffy lube and the like, and know that those don’t show up on CarFax. But I’m not sure if you can take a TDI to that kind of a place for an oil change) Unfortunately, the dealership selling the car says they don’t have access to info beyond the carfax.

Secondly, how bad would it be if this 2010 JSW went 36K miles without an oil change? Would a mechanic be able to see the damage?

Thanks very much in advance for your advice.

CarFax is just a gimmick, as you know not everything is reported to them, and they do also get completely false info. Car fax for my Camry says it has been wrecked, the car has been in the family since new and I know it hasn’t been in any accidents.

A more likely explanation is that the former owner took the car to an independent shop for several oil changes but then he had something that required dealer attention so he went back to a VW dealer at 70K miles…Don’t rely on Carfax to give you the complete picture…Small shops don’t bother to report oil changes to Carfax…

All my d.i.y. work is NOWHERE on record. If you bought one of mine it would look like it was never worked on…on paper.

I concur and and I also see this as a big red flag. Strike one for the Jetta Wagen.

If I am looking at a used vehicle and I have any doubts I just move on . There are plenty of used vehicles for sale.

Yep, I’ve got 100K on my Pontiac and even though I change every 3000 miles, it’ll never show up on Carfax. Same thing with my Acura, it would show one oil change in 50,000 miles when in fact I changed it ten times. On the other hand, 10,000 mile oil changes would be a deal breaker for me. It would tell me that the previous owner was more interested in saving money than taking care of the equipment and going the max on change intervals. But then Iffy Lube might be close to as bad as not servicing it at all.

If you take your car to any of the quick lube places stay away from VW . VWs require the oils they specify and those quickies don’t know from nothing .

Carfax is questionable at best and even omitting the gap in the service records from the discussion I would be a bit antsy about 10k miles oil change intervals; especially on a turbocharged car.

I also agree with genex about VWs using specialty oil and the Jiffy Lube will probably be using whatever is handy.

Youall must remember…CarFax is a SUBSCRIPTION service. Only MEMBERS report anything to them and even then they can pick and choose what to report …or not.
CarFax does not data mine. They simply sit back and wait for info to come to them.
Even their commercials say so…albeit very subtly…by including the words ‘‘reported to them’’ when selling their amazingly all knowing report that knows EVERY REPAIR ( ‘‘reported to carfax’’ ).
THAT language qualifies as honest representation to the feds regardless if the listener does not hear the meaning .

Is it a one owner car? CarFax should at least show that. If it looks great after you check it thoroughly, get a prepurchase inspection from a mechanic you trust. Make sure they know you want to buy it. This will probably cost around $100, so make sure you will buy it if the evaluation shows all systems go. You may still want to buy it if something is wrong, but adjust the price down for anything that is needed. Don’t forget tires, fluids, filters, and any maintenance it needs to make it tip-top.

I'm not sure if you can take a TDI to that kind of a place for an oil change)

I don’t see any reason a person couldn’t take a TDI to one of those quick change oil places. I’m not recommending it, but it seems a possible thing to do. No need to guess, stop in at one of those places next time you drive by and ask. It’s true they probably won’t service certain models, or might charge more for other models. But I don’t think the would refuse to service such a common vehicle as a TDI Jetta.

The Car Fax reports is just one piece of the puzzle. And it may or may not be accurate or complete. Suggest to take the car and the various reports you have to an inde mechanic and ask for a pre-purchase inspection. And take a look at what Consumer Reports says about this car for reliability. That combination is probably your best bet. The VW diesel engines seem to have a pretty good reputation.

I am with everybody else here. If you bought my last car at 175K miles, the only thing you would see on carfax was buying the car at 50K miles.
Check the car and have it checked. Used car purchases are a gamble at best, seems like at least you are doing your due diligence.

“I don’t see any reason a person couldn’t take a TDI to one of those quick change oil places.”

I do!
VW, just like the other German manufacturers, specifies European motor oils that many service stations don’t keep in stock.

J-Lube uses Pennzoil, as I recall, but the garden-variety Pennzoil that they get in 55 gallon drums is not likely to be the oil that VW requires for their diesel engines, namely the very expensive Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra.

Walk away from this one; it’s not a sterling vehicle to start with and any work will cost you lots of money.

A TDi requires special and a bit expensive maintenance…being a very modern Diesel engine.

There is no way it would survive on one single oil change in 34K miles…thats not happening. Diesel engines are rugged and reliable…and when they require maintenance…it is ALWAYS more expensive than a comparable Gasoline engine. That maintenance occurs at longer intervals than the gas engine as well… Because of this and also because of the rugged build quality of the Diesel…the Diesel maintenance and or parts ALWAYS costs more… Can you skip a bunch of stuff with your fingers crossed for a while? Yup you can…but it WILL catch up to you and eventually need to be done…and it will be more expensive at that time after someone tried to “Ride it out:” for a while.

Diesel maintenance records are a basic MUST HAVE when buying a Diesel Vehicle… At least they are in my book. I know a few things about engines…so… See if you can squeeze the maintenance records out of someone…or at least talk to the prev owner and ask him about it.

Its pretty important IMHO…