Time to give up?

passat
volkswagen

#1

We have a 2000 VW passat with 140k miles. In the last 2 months we have spent $2000 on minor repairs (tires,a/c ). Now both catalytic converters are gone. The struts/brakes need to be replaced. The bill is $1800. We are not capable of doing these repairs ourselves. The bigger issue is whether it will pass the CT inspection. We received a ticket for driving w/out registration on Friday bc it won’t pass without the above. I would like to advantage of the 0.9% rate for a new car costing $15k or less. My other half wants to continue trying to pay to fix the VW. I feel like we are pouring money into a black hole without any real idea of return on investment. With a new car, say a hyundai, our costs will be mainly gas for the next 6 years. Any opinions?


#2

If it actually needs new cats I’d give up. Sometime the codes will indicate poor cat function when it’s some other problem causing it, sometimes something as simple as O2 sensors. If you actually need 2 cats, all new struts/shocks, and all new brakes, I’m surprised it’s only $1800.


#3

Unfortunately, its not the O2 sensor. We sound like a harley street gang, even in neutral. My fear is that we’ll take it in for the catalytic converters and something else will appear bc I thought $1800 seemed low too.


#4

Then I’m with you, we get lots of ‘we replaced that cat and the check engine light came back on’ questions here. The Passats during this time were known to have problems.


#5

Who is doing the fixing? Keep in mind that some shops may do a lot of unnecessary work. A lot of what you have had done may have been maintenance and that is just part of owning a car, like taxes and fuel.

Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.


#6

The shop is an independent mechanic (recommended by a co-worker). We did not bother with the VW dealership as we had already spent a bit with them last year. We priced it out with several mechanics and they had the best price. What worries me is that I couldn’t buy a cat online for less than $350, multiply x2 and I wonder where he makes his money. And my research has shown repeat problems with the cat time after time. I considered doing the universal cat that you weld into place but no one around here wants to touch that idea. CT inspections don’t normally let them thru.


#7

It seems to me that your thinking about the Hyundai is very flawed. Your costs may be mostly for gas if you neglect maintenance issues entirely.

From what you mention about the VW it seems to me that is all maintenance and wear/tear items. Neglected maintenance can lead to faulty converters and that’s assuming the converters are actually bad. They do get misdiagnosed on a somewhat regular basis and the ones that fail generally fail due to something that has been neglected.