Time to Ditch my VW Golf?

I have a 2003 VW Golf GLS. It’s been a great little car, but there are two things that are really killing me about it right now. I was in a car accident a few years ago, and recently, the car has started leaking in the back (around the hatchback, which was replaced after the accident). Now, my car is starting to smell, and I’m afraid that getting body work done to fix the hatch is going to be extremely expensive, but I’m guessing replacing the carpeting and upholstery if it mildews would also be pretty expensive. My radio has also pretty much stopped working, and again, I’m guessing that’s not going to be a cheap fix. I already have 122k+ miles on it, and I just can’t decide if it’s worth putting in the money to fix these things or whether I should sell it. I also can’t really afford to buy a new car right now, so I may just be stuck. Anyone out there have any ideas on how much these kinds of fixes cost, ballpark? I remember it was around $1800 when I had to get the hatchback replaced, and I just don’t know if I can swing that.

These might be pretty cheap fixes. Some rubber weather-stripping might fix the leak problem, or a $3 tube of silicone. Find out where it’s leaking. Get in the back and have somebody spray a hose on the car.

An aftermarket replacement radio shouldn’t cost very much.

You can rip out moldy carpet yourself.

These problems don’t have to be expensive. Don’t let them linger and add up. Once you give up on a car, things spiral downhill, then you get stuck with new car payments.

You are assuming expensive without knowing expensive. The hatch could need a simple adjustment to make it align and seal properly. Or, some new gasket material to seal better. A new radio can be bought and put in at lots of aftermarket audio shops. These radios are as good or better than factory, not a lot of money. You could buy a used VW factory radio from Ebay. These are ususally cheap and installation is pretty simple. Once the leak is fixed hook up a small space heater with a blower and leave it to work overnight when you park the car. In a couple of nights the car will be dryed out.

A friend bought an Audi TT convertible and he noticed it leaked in the first rainstorm he encountered. The leak was near where the windows meet the roof. A body shop adjusted the doors and no more leak. He expected the typical Audi mega bill and the body shop charged him all of $60. Get you car to a decent independant body shop, show them the area where it is leaking and see what they propose as a fix and the cost.

Don’t dump the car yet.

The leak could be a simple fix, but you won’t know until you get an estimate. Go to a good local mechanic or a good local body shop and see what they say. You might even be able to find the leak yourself in a high-pressure car wash. Unfortunately, if the car already smells, you’ve probably waited too long, so you’ll have to get the carpeting and especially the padding pulled up and disinfected or replaced.

As for the radio, if it’s the radio itself, an aftermarket unit from someplace like Crutchfield is probably your cheapest solution. However, it could also be a problem with loose wiring or the antenna. What exactly is happening?

May I delicately suggest that having an eight-year-old car and not having put away enough money toward your next car already is not really a good place to be? VWs are troublesome cars on average, so you’re likely to run into other expensive issues after these are fixed.

I agree, neither of these sound like expensive fixes, and you need to get that leak stopped ASAP. As for the radio, VWs have lots of information connected throught the audio system (don’t ask me why), so you’ll want to find a shop familliar with their oddities to replace it. A new radio is relatively cheap, just make sure it is compatible with your Golf. I might go to Crutchfield.com to start the search, then contact them directly for their advice.

In addition to fixing these problems as cheaply as possible, you should be putting away money to pay for the next thing to go wrong with this car or to buy another.

At this age, a VW is probably going to cost $500 - $1,000 per year in repair & maintenance to keep it going. Some years could be over $1,500, so be prepared.

The rear hatch position may need to be adjusted. Does it look like a good fit when it is closed? Does the weather strip look like it is in good condition? Is the rubber gasket around the hatch window seated properly?

Sit in the car and have someone hose the outside of the hatch area and see where the water is coming in. This is a problem that more likely than not is an easy fix. Do you have any warranties on the work done before? That is something else to look in,

Crutchfield.com would send you an aftermarket radio with instructions on how to install. Should be able to do this with $100m I have found these units much better than the originals, but then my cars were of inferior quality compared to VW.

You havent said anything that strikes me as an EXPENSIVE repair yet. I am sure you could fix these little issues yourself with a little time and elbow grease. CERTAINLY nothing on the level of Junking the car type of problems…That little Golf is just getting warmed up at 122K…C’mon…give it the attention it deserves man…