VW Diesel Bug

If you are bound and determined to get rid of it, I’d find a local VW club and post a for sale ad - you’ll get the best price there if it’s as well maintained as you state. Personally, I recommend a simple diesel engine car over a complex (dealer can only fix it) hybrid any day.

A diesel bug makes a great high-MPG commuter, and 185K is nothing for that engine (think 400-500K as a good rebuild time for it). Most of us VW club people do our own work, so the only cost is parts, so the overall cost to maintain a car like this is very cheap compared to a monthly payment.

Your underwear story is hysterical! I try not to be so passive-aggressive as to cut up my husband’s stuff, but I have been known to spirit things away to Goodwill before he can stop me. He NEVER misses them! But as far as the car is concerned, this it totally his call. I will discuss it with him and work out the finances, but the decision it completely his. The only time I put my foot down on a car, in 26 years together, is his last car where the brakes were nearly worn and he refused to spend the money to fix them (said car wasn’t worth it) and wouldn’t replace the car. But he finally agreed and got something safer.

Good point! His commute is almost entirely highway and very little stop and go–almost none unless there’s an accident. That’s why he bought the diesel in the first place, even though he had to pay list price for it and special order it.

He was explaining to me yesterday that the Insight has a different, simpler hybrid engine than the Prius. It’s battery assisted rather than recharging when the car is idling like the Prius does. He’s a man who does his homework, that’s for sure. So, he felt that he could get good mileage from the Insight even given the nature of the commute.

I think we are both intrigued by the hybrid technology and like the idea of supporting that, but it is, as you know, still very new and in it’s infancy. In 10 years, cars will be totally different. This is exciting, good for the economy and environment, etc., but it makes shopping challanging!

Thank you so much! This may be the best advice I’ve received! The fact that you are a VW lover, and very experienced with them, really helps!

Our mechanics have said that we could get a lot more miles on the engine, but, of course, they’d like to see us keep getting our car serviced there and they make more money on an older car than a newer on, even just on maintenance. As the maintenance costs rise (and it is just maintenance) he’s starting to feel the pinch: new belts, tires, water pump, etc., etc., and wondering if it’s worth it. The body is also not perfect with the dings one would expect to see in a car that age. He’s not a gambler and sometimes feels that as he keeps putting money into the car, it’s a losing proposition.

He has neither the time nor inclination to work on it himself, and VW parts are not cheap, as you know. But all cars cost money, either up front, or for maintenance. Given the fact that this car has been a very good, reliable friend–and it’s SOOOOO cute–his inclination, at the moment, is to keep it until something major dies, and then get a new car. But he hates putting out the big bucks to fix it.

Ultimately, however, it’s totally his call, unless it becomes unsafe. Then I speak up, and loudly. :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

When the “bug” is in the shop is there another car your husband uses without major disruption to your life? If yes, I’d keep the car. The repairs listed, new tires, etc. are just part of putting on the miles. Tires, struts, brakes, belts, hoses, plugs, ignition coils, yadda yadda, just plain wear out over the years and over the miles. New cars give you the convenience of starting fresh and not having the car out of service for repairs very often. If you have a back up vehicle then the costs of repairs is usually less than the monthly new car payment. Bonus is that there is very little depreciation on the old car.

When the car body rusts out, or the frame and structure of the car rusts out to a point the car’s not safe anymore then you have no choice but to replace it. You put about 24K miles on the bug a year. At this age you can expect to replace the radiator, the AC condensor, the AC compressor, the brake master cylinder, the alternator, the power steering pump, the steering rack, perhaps the transmission, each of which can be expensive. You are not going to have all of these things happen, and certainly not all at once. If you budget say $2,000 per year for major repairs and replacement of wear items that’s less than $200 per month. What is the new car payment going to be?

You are now dealing with an older car and you just have to budget accordingly and have a back up plan to deal with one or two occasions per year when the car is out of service for a few days per occurance.

My institution has Honda Civic Hybrid vehicles in its fleet. I drove one to a convention about a 400 mile round trip with almost all Interstate driving. It was filled up when I left and refilled when I returned. Even though I wasn’t paying for the fuel, I calculated the mileage and it was just over 41 miles per gallon. How does the compare with your VW diesel highway fuel mileage?

Incidentally, I didn’t find the Honda Civic Hybrid particularly comfortable–I am tall and needed more legroom. I prefer driving the Ford Taurus vehicles from the fleet because the seats are more comfortable for me. On the other hand, my research partner liked driving the Honda Civic Hybrid. She isn’t very tall and her personal car is a Honda Civic (not a hybrid).

My '03 Civic ES with 5 spd stick does 41+ mpg on expressway trips too. My speed is usually just at the 70 mph mark. I think I got 44 mpg on one trip, but I always get in excess of 40 mpg on highway trips. My worst mileage ever was 32 mpg when most of the tank was used on general around the neighorhood “city” use, and I get 36 mpg routinely with a mix of city and highway use.

I am not surprised at your mileage. I think that the Honda Civic with the manual transmission would be very competitive with the Honda Civic Hybrid under most conditions. My intitution quit buying manual transmission cars for its fleet back in 1958. The cost of clutch replacements exceeded the improvement in mileage, even with the Borg Warner overdrive that was in some of the vehicles. This was more than 50 years ago.

The inconvenience of not having the car is not so great. Hubby does not go into the office on Fridays but works from home. If I’m working (I work part time) then he takes me to work and takes my car. I work close by so it’s not a problem.

Your comments about the finances is right on. Appreciate it.

He gets about 50± with the diesel. Our daughter’s Honda Fit gets about 40 on the highway, although she does very little highway driving with it. Then there’s my Subaru Outback. I’ve actually gotten over 30 on the highway, but average about 27-28 overall, which, given the size and weight of the car, is not too bad.

And you are thinking of replacing this gem? I have a friend that owns a Toyota Prius and his highest mileage is about 54 mpg. When it’s time to replace the VW, I think I would look for another VW diesel if I did the type of driving your husband does.

I believe it was Wired magazine a couple years back made the claim that you would have to drive an Prius and an H2 over 100k mi for them both to have the same carbon footprint. So much more pollution is created making the Prius’s batteries and the additional parts that you’re playing catch up to conventional vehicles for a long time before the fuel you’re saving makes a real difference.
I don’t know if this is still true about the newest hybrids.

The article was saying the best thing you can do for the environment is drive your old car until it can no longer be repaired. Keeping it out of landfills and preventing the pollution created building new cars.
I know you can’t get them in the US but I saw a BBC show report that they got far superior milage in a VW Lupo Diesel then a Prius.
I think Hybrids are a good technology to support. They’re are only going to keep getting better but it would also be good to support Diesels in the consumer market too. There are a lot of clean diesels in Europe that we can’t get here in the US and that’s a real shame.

jojismith; parting with a car you really like can be difficult. Your husband’s decision has to center around the distance he has to drive every day and if he can tolerate more frequent repairs and disruptions in the future.

Most regular posters here keep their cars a very long time; a while ago I sold my 1988 Caprice while still in good condition, but needing significant repairs soon.

Most hybrid owners love the frugal nature of their cars, but few seem emotionally attached to them. Your husband may find a Honda Insight as interesting as a super-efficient refrigerator!

As others point out, it’s usually more economical to repair a car until something very major breaks or parts are no longer available. On your bug, the engine will last at least another 100,000 miles if it has been well taken care of. It’s the other electrical, electronic and mechanical things that will go long before. If your husband has really looked after this car, I would keep it longer; the fuel mileage is great, and until it starts rusting, he can be proud of his little yellow friend.

Agree with others that if he should buy a new car, another diesel might be better for long commutes. So far he has driven 23,000 miles per year or so, and gas prices are going to rise again soon.

Time is on your side, since the price of hybrids will keep dropping and more companies, including Honda, will come out with small diesel cars in the near future.

In the meantime, stop worrying, and take things as they come.

Congradulations for pro-actively thinking about you husband’s transportation needs!

Keep in mind, a VW Diesel prob gets a good, or better MPG than a Hybrid. They are cheaper to maintain (that TDI still has another good 100,000 in the engine) If he’s all highway, he should be seeing mid 40’s to low 50 MPG.

Also - if you are thinking about selling it, TDI Bugs are very rare, and old TDIs are favorites of people looking to run Veggie Oil conversions…

Hope that helps - sounds like a great little car!

(PS i have heard repairs on hybrids can get very expensive)

I would sell it outright and then take a look at the Honda Fit, The regular Honda Civic or a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid (the first year with VSA - Electronic Stability Control - the ultimate safety feature.) The Insight would be on my list AFTER the Hondas listed above.
Ken March